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PST’s Top Ten Premier League midfielders and forwards

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ProSoccerTalk quizzed its staff on the best players of the 2017-18 Premier League season, broken up into eight categories.

Goalkeepers, left backs, center backs, right backs, center mids, attacking mids, wingers, and center forwards/strikers were slotted 1-10 (with wing backs lumped in with the fullbacks).

[ MORE: The Premier League season in statistics ]

In this first of two posts, we handled the goalkeepers and backs. Now, we moved further up the pitch. First-place votes are in parenthesis.

Center midfielders

10. Jonjo Shelvey, Newcastle United

9. Emre Can, Liverpool

8. Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace

7. Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City

6. Idrissa Gana Gueye, Everton

4. (tie) Mousa Dembele, Tottenham Hotspur and Eric Dier, Tottenham Hotspir

3. Nemanja Matic, Manchester United

  1. (tie) Fernandinho, Manchester City (2) and N'Golo Kante, Chelsea (2)
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Attacking midfielders

10. Abdoulaye Doucoure, Watford

9. Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur

8. Pascal Gross, Brighton and Hove Albion

7. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal

6. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Liverpool

5. Paul Pogba, Manchester United

4. Christian Eriksen, Tottenham Hotspur

3. Eden Hazard, Chelsea

2. David Silva, Manchester City (1)

  1. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (3)
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Wingers

10. Marcus Rashford, Manchester United

9. Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United

8. Heung-Min Son, Tottenham Hotspur

7. Willian, Chelsea

6. Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

5. Sadio Mane, Liverpool

4. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace

3. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

2. Leroy Sane, Manchester City

  1. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (4)

Center forwards/strikers

10. (tie) Alvaro Morata, Chelsea and Olivier Giroud, Chelsea

9. Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City

8. Marko Arnautovic, West Ham United

7. Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

6. Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

5. Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United

4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

3. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool

2. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

  1. Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Who has improved the most under Guardiola at Man City?

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Which three players have benefited the most from Pep Guardiola‘s guidance this season?

We won’t take the cheap way out and ride young players who looked set for breakout campaigns for any manager — Looking at you, Leroy Sane — though certainly Guardiola has played major roles in their development.

MORE: Ranking each Man City player out of 10
MORE: Jose Mourinho reacts to City’s title
MORE: The Opta numbers behind the title

MORE: Twitter reaction to title win

There are a few to monitor moving forward as the reach a second or third season in Guardiola’s system. Consider Kyle Walker and John Stones, English players who have had fits and starts to life in sky blue.

— Sergio Aguero — Follow us here. Yes, Aguero has long been one of the most prolific strikers in the world, but it’d be short-sighted to forget that Guardiola was talking up how much better the Argentine could be inside of his system (and was even rumored for a transfer away from City during Pep’s first season). At 29 years old, Aguero is in the midst of his best PL scoring campaign in terms of rate — 21 goals in 25 matches — and his production in all comps is his best since the 2014-15 season. Again, he’s 29 and supposed to be getting less done.

— Fernandinho — Unheralded on City’s lightning unit and derided by opponents as a hatchet man, the Brazilian is in the midst of his best season in the Premier League since his debut campaign in 2013-14. He’s currently completing more than 90 percent of his passes for the first time in his career, and owning the air with 2.7 aerials won per game (also tops for his career). His clearances are on the rise as well.

Raheem Sterling — There is question as to whether the youngster will ever be a truly elite finisher, but his electric skill set was so much more than pace this season. Sterling’s positional awareness and even his long-suffering second touch improved as Guardiola coaxed 17 goals and eight assists out of the 23-year-old. Sterling has 10 more goals and two more assists than any of his previous four PL campaigns.

BONUS: David Silva is having an incredible campaign, but it’s hard to say one of the best attackers in club and possibly country history is improving. What Pep has done, however, is supplied a system meant to open up the field for players of Silva’s ilk. It’s worked: Silva has equaled his second-best goal production numbers since 2011-12.

Man City survives late Newcastle charge

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  • Sterling scores from De Bruyne
  • City wins 18th-straight
  • Newcastle with 20 percent possession
  • First City league match with just one goal in 13

Raheem Sterling‘s 13th goal of the Premier League season lifted Manchester City to a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday.

Man City improves its table lead to 15 points with the win, while Newcastle remains 15th with 18 points.

City hadn’t been involved in a 1-0 match inside of Premier League play since a Sept. 30 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle hosts Brighton on Saturday, while City is off to Crystal Palace a day later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle’s plan to find any unlikely way past Ederson began off the opening kick, as Jonjo Shelvey tested the Brazilian from midfield.

City held possession, to no one’s surprise, as St. James’ Park was good value for volume despite its long odds.

An adventurous diagonal ball from Fernandinho to the back post saw Sergio Aguero flub a shot off the outside of the goal.

Kevin De Bruyne blazed over goal from the chalk of the arc as City crept closer to an opener.

Moments later, Vincent Kompany was removed from the match with another injury, making way for Fernandinho’s move to center back and the introduction of Gabriel Jesus up top.

A picture perfect free kick from De Bruyne was nodded on frame by Aguero, and Elliot made a sensational reaction save to keep it scoreless.

Aguero then tore into a 30th minute shot from 25 yards and just clipped the outside of the goal post.

Man City went ahead through Sterling, who got just enough of his left foot on a De Bruyne pass to fool Elliot.

Newcastle almost countered its way to an equalizer, as Kyle Walker fell attempting to track DeAndre Yedlin‘s cross. Rolando Aarons tried to sail a ball into the far post, but Nicolas Otamendi cleared the effort off the line.

That wasn’t the end of the hosts’ pressure, and the Magpies saw a pair of corners defended by City. A lightning counter from City ended with a corner collected by Newcastle’s Elliot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling danced through Yedlin and Jacob Murphy to poke a cross to Aguero, who couldn’t reach the offering.

Elliot stopped a tepid Ilkay Gundogan shot in the 54th after the German stripped Mohamed Diame.

Aguero had it 2-0 when De Bruyne’s whip off the post zipped onto his path, but the Argentine was offside.

Sterling chopped down Jacob Murphy at the other end to give Newcastle a rare chance at danger, but Ederson ended any chance at a scare.

Dwight Gayle thought he’d earned a penalty kick, though most others didn’t, when he leapt through Danilo inside the box with 15 minutes to play.

Newcastle nearly tied it late when substitute Christian Atsu‘s cross was headed wide of the frame by Gayle.

West Brom 2-3 Man City: Visitors strengthen table lead

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  • City restores five-point table lead
  • Concedes twice for just second time
  • Baggies winless since August

Fernandinho had a goal and an assist as Manchester City handled West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane also scored in the 3-1 triumph, which raises their audacious goal differential to 29 on the season.

Jay Rodriguez briefly gave West Brom a first half equalizer, but the Baggies finish the day two points above the drop zone in 15th.

Matty Phillips scored in stoppage time to round out the scoring, and the score line would’ve been much worse for the Baggies were it not for goalkeeper Ben Foster.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Brom’s high press plans were diffused by City in the early stages, and the purple-clad visitors danced up the pitch into the Baggies’ sardine 18.

Sane laced a left-footed shot past a helpless Ben Foster after Fernandinho found him inside the box. 1-0.

But the can would be repacked after an Ederson error allowed Rodriguez the space to level the score in the 13th minute.

Fernandinho restored order when his 25-yard shot took a turn off a Gareth Barry‘s indecisive block attempt and wrong-footed Foster. 2-1.

Kyle Walker cued up Sterling for a 65th minute insurance goal. While City wasn’t at its best in the second half, the marker did have an air of inevitability.

Phillips made it 3-2 in stoppage time off a back pass error from Nicolas Otamendi.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Follow @NicholasMendola

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.