As the 2017/18 Premier League season draws to a close with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City finally confirming their third Premier League crown, fans from all over the country voice their opinion on who has been the outstanding player this season.
The PFA has released their six-man shortlist of who they believe have consistently been the best performing players since August. The Manchester City trio of Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sané and David Silva are joined by Tottenham’s leading man Harry Kane, Manchester United’s David de Gea, who many see as the world’s best goalkeeper, and Liverpool’s goal-machine, Mohamed Salah.
All six men made the PFA team of the year and were joined by two more players from the champions and Tottenham respectively, Sergio Agüero, Nicolás Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen. Completing the line-up was Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso.
Much talk of the recipient of the award has surrounded Kevin de Bruyne for his outstanding performances this season. Manchester City’s Belgian international has been instrumental to their success, creating the most chances of any player with over 100, resulting in 15 assists and scoring 11 goals himself. He is the only player to achieve at least 15 assists in consecutive Premier League seasons and is perhaps a pick for the footballing ‘purists’ for his pinpoint passing and top-class ball control.
However, the immense talent all over the pitch at City may lead some to believe that despite de Bruyne’s undeniable natural talent, those around him do contribute to his performances.
Many would argue that the same cannot be said of Liverpool’s Egyptian superstar, Mohamed Salah. The ex-Chelsea and Roma man has enjoyed an unprecedented first season at Liverpool, breaking records left, right and centre.
Salah already has 40 goals to his name this season in all competitions, the first Premier League player to do so since Cristiano Ronaldo 10 years ago and has broken the record for number of goals scored by a Liverpool player in a single Premier League season, surpassing Robbie Fowler’s tally of 36. He has also scored more goals in a debut season than any Liverpool player, which was previously held by Fernando Torres with 33.
After already picking up three player of the month awards in November, December and March, in addition to his place in the team of the year and looking in prime position to win the golden boot ahead of Harry Kane, a PFA player of the year win would complete the perfect debut season from an individual perspective. His electric pace and crisp-cool finishing has guided Liverpool to an all-but guaranteed top-four finish and a Champions League semi-final against his old team, Roma.
However, there are other nominees that, if both de Bruyne and Salah had not had tremendous campaigns, could legitimately take home the award. Manchester United’s brick wall in David de Gea has featured in the Premier League team of the season for the fourth consecutive time and leads the way with clean sheets in the league with 17. He has consistently provided magnificent displays of agility to ensure that United grind out a draw or hold on to the three points that has lifted them to second place.
Also in contention is Harry Kane, who has scored 26 goals and counting this season and aims to win the golden boot for a third consecutive season – a feat only equalled by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
A BBC poll conducted before Sunday’s award ceremony found that a convincing 70% of people believe that Salah deserves this season’s award, whilst de Bruyne had 17% of the vote and in third was David de Gea with 7%.
Whoever wins, it can be agreed on that there has been an abundance of incredible individual and team performances in England’s top-flight this season.
Image: Brad Tutterow