Each week, Sport360 brings you the best five players from the English Premier League, as chosen by you the supporters through our ValoraFutbol fan ratings tool.
YOU have direct influence on who appears in each Top Five, so be sure to rate each weekend.
What do you make of this week’s ratings?
EDEN HAZARD (CHELSEA) – 8.2
Talk about making things happen and Eden Hazard has done that amazingly well this season. Dribbling, going past defenders and wreaking havoc in the opposition’s penalty area was just about Hazard’s story against Bournemouth.
He also scored his 50th Premier League goal in the process, a penalty kick, that went into the net past Artur Boruc with ease.
In short, Hazard was in the mood. And if he can stay in said mood, Antonio Conte may as well start practicing his victory speech.
Eden Hazard's performance vs Bournemouth.pic.twitter.com/aWnZUjVeUK— ChelseaUK (@CheIseaUK) December 28, 2016
PEDRO RODRIGUEZ (CHELSEA) – 8.1
While his first season at Chelsea might not have gone according to plan, Pedro has been up and running this time around, under Conte.
His accurate finish in the 24th minute gave Chelsea the breakthrough against Bournemouth. And then his deflected effort also found the back of the net to make it 3-0 for his team.
All in all, Pedro must be brimming with confidence. Happy times indeed at Stamford Bridge.
Pedro Rodriguez vs Bournemouth on 1080i— Shpendi10CFC (@ShpendZhubi) December 27, 2016
(This video can watched only with link)
YAY TOURE (MANCHESTER CITY) – 7.7
A complete performance from Yaya Toure was instrumental in giving Manchester City a win against Hull City. Toure was exceptional on the ball, made clever passes, positioned himself very well and scored an important 73rd minute penalty to put City ahead.
Toure must also be given credit for his return to the side. At one stage it looked like his career was over at the Etihad, but he has made his way into Pep Guardiola’s team and deserves acknowledgement for that.
DIMITRI PAYET (WEST HAM) – 7.6
West Ham’s 4-1 thumping of Swansea City on Boxing Day saw another fantastic Dimitri Payet performance. The Frenchman provided an assist from a corner-kick for Winston Reid to nod home the second goal.
He also took on the goalkeeper plenty of times and although he couldn’t get on the scoresheet, he grabbed the Man of the Match ward.
Dimitri Payet has provided 15 Premier League assists in 2016 - more than any other player ⚒ pic.twitter.com/293lrXLvjy— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) December 27, 2016
DARREN RANDOLPH (WEST HAM) – 7.6
Darren Randolph had been going through a rough patch before the game against Swansea. But having made some world-class saves, he really brought his A game into it. He was desperate to keep his clean sheet against Swansea.
That didn’t happen, but Randolph showed that he can’t be written off so easily. He was beaten by Fernando Llorente in the 89th minute, but only after putting in a stellar performance.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was probably left as open mouthed in amazement as Paul Pogba was, in witnessing his team-mate’s scorpion kick goal against Sunderland.
Just a few hours after providing fans with a late Christmas present (yes, of course, it was offside but it was given so let’s move on), Mhitaryan failed to make the list of the top 10 Armenian athletes for 2016.
Voted by the Federation of Sports Journalists of Armenia, the 2015-16 Bundesliga Player of the Year and most expensive footballer in his country’s history, was conspicuous by his absence among a host of successful Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers, weightlifters and gymnasts.
Ruben Hayrapetyan, the president of the Football Federation of Armenia, even went as far as to brand it “immoral”. However, based on the small sample size Jose Mourinho has afforded us of the 27-year-old wearing red, Hayrapetyan shouldn’t have to worry too much about 2017.
In just four matches this month, Mkhitaryan has displayed exactly what he can offer Manchester United in the second half of the season and beyond.
After a remarkably effective scoring season for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2012-13 where he claimed 29 in 42 games in all competitions, he was taken to Borussia Dortmund by Jurgen Klopp but the German never seemed to really know what to do with him. He was Klopp’s starting No10 but in placing him as such a focal point of his attack, for all his coach’s fine man management, the weight of his club record ¤27.5 million transfer fee was a constant burden and the bright form he showed in his first season descended into anonymity with Mkhitaryan himself labelled his second campaign a “disaster”.
It was Thomas Tuchel who unlocked the puzzle by instilling a sense of freedom and happiness in his game, playing a furious and involved attacking style where he was allowed to drift to the fight flank, and the weight of being Dortmund’s record signing was lifted and he played the best football of his career to date.
Jose Mourinho has never been one for imitation and his early work with Mkhitaryan has shown some alarming signs he was in danger of returning the Armenian to the insecurities he felt in his darkest days at Dortmund.
Everything Mourinho had done up to the start of this month was the polar opposite of Tuchel; his public admissions Mkhitaryan wasn’t physically or even mentally up to speed, affording him precious Premier League minutes and, overall, showing little faith. Yet the Portuguese is a manager who unmistakably gets results and whether it be accident or design he has a match-winner on his hands.
There was a symbolism to Mkhitaryan’s goal on Monday because it was assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede drifting to the right flank and then crossing with his team-mate doing the rest.
In two of his four seasons in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, Ibrahimovic was in the top three leading assist-makers. For much his late 20s and 30s on international duty with Sweden he was used as a No10. He’s a wonderfully creative player.
But up to now, Mourinho’s desire to have him primarily stationed as his furthest player forward has meant Ibrahimovic has too often been running onto the ball or with his back to goal and playing passes 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
Pogba, Juan Mata and Ander Herrara are all immensely gifted midfielders but they are not prone to breaking beyond the striker. Mkhitaryan does, especially after his season with Tuchel where 12 of his 13 goals in the Bundesliga in Europe were scored from inside the penalty area.
A fit and confident Mkhitaryan has a multi-layered effect; he gives United extra pace and dribbling in transition, is a selfless and diligent presser of possession in a defensive role, is a clever passer plus a strong finisher. All attributes that also allow Ibrahimovic to get involved more in the general build-up.
If the 35-year-old is afforded time and space to put his foot on the ball with runners to aim at, United’s attacking play can take on an extra dimension. Mkhitaryan’s spectacular finish against Sunderland was just one example but more should now follow and it may not be the last time we see Pogba left open-mouthed.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored an extraordinary scorpion kick goal to cap a 3-1 Manchester United win over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
The Armenian’s strike was so spectacular that the fact that he was offside has been treated as an insignificant detail.
Twitter went absolutely bonkers when Mkhitaryan’s acrobatic back-heel from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross nestled into the back of the net.
Below is the clip of that remarkable goal.
3-0 Man Utd— Utd Goals 🎦 (@UtdGoals) December 26, 2016
Amazing back-heeled finish from Mkhitaryan pic.twitter.com/Nl6FkAyQ9k
And here are some of the best tweets…
Mkhitaryan's goal - A view from Stretford End— SemperFiUnited (@SemperFiUnited) December 26, 2016
(via instagram) pic.twitter.com/4z91M7ear1
Henrikh Mkhitaryan Was Offside But Who Cares Because This Goal Was Dope pic.twitter.com/QMmnXckoHb— Great-Stuff (@Splurgehub) December 26, 2016
You may enjoy Mkhitaryan's goal if you watch @BBCMOTD tonight. It's so good they let him off being slightly offside.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 26, 2016
That Micki goal should always be on replay— Mkhitaryan's dribble (@DxonNduati) December 26, 2016
Henrik Mkhitaryan scored the goal of the season, today. #takeabow— Liam Barker (@liambarker25) December 26, 2016
Rewatching that Mkhitaryan goal on repeat. Wow.— Sophia (@s_beaumont10) December 26, 2016
Wow just seen Mkhitaryan's goal! Best midfielder in the prem..Don't @ me— Joe Craddock (@wooz23) December 26, 2016
Henrikh Mkhitaryan on his goal: "I got the ball behind me so the only thing I could do was hit it with the backheel. I succeeded." pic.twitter.com/QLuzdKDB5k— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) December 26, 2016