It could be argued that this is the best season in the history of the Premier League. The battle between Liverpool and Manchester City came down to the last Sunday of the campaign and the City needed to win their last 14 games in the season to hold their lead one point and keep their crown. Liverpool finished second with the third highest point in the history of the Premier League, while the City continued to love life and survived with one of the most impressive runs you have ever seen.
Jurgen Klopp & Co won't break heart if they win the Champions League on June 1, of course, but let's encourage them and the rest of the league by distributing arbitrary awards. Back in December, I went around the Premier League and put too many plates for everything, from the best to the most exhausting management story.
Let's go back to the well and distribute prizes for the full season. I have closed the categories a few, but with a full season of data to work with, I have expanded the results from three options to five. Where applicable, I have used higher metric data and expected (xG) data prepared by ESPN Stats & Information. Transfer values are the prices listed in Transfermarkt.
BEST SIGNS OF THE TERM
Let's start by running through the best signals last season, covering the transfer windows of summer 2018 and winter 2019. These are weighted for location shortages – basically, an attacker is found for £ 10 million more valuable than paying the same price for a wing – and cost. The players that belong to this list are those that have their transfer value rising over the last 12 months, factors that contribute to keeping stars t like Felipe Anderson and Richarlison, as well as valuable veterans like Lukasz Fabianski, from this list.
5. David Brooks, Sheffield United to Bournemouth, £ 10.2m
It is rare for a player to move from a lower league to the Premier League after one season of senior football. It is even more unusual to make a big move after just nine started at Championship level, as Brooks did last summer.
This was a very dangerous investment for manager Eddie Howe, but it paid off. Brooks was a creative force for Cherries, producing seven goals and five assisting in 2,276 minutes. The 21-year-old seems hardly tired as the season progresses, which was promising given his small frame and lack of experience. Bournemouth acknowledged the impact of Brooks by signing it to a new contract in March.
4. James Maddison, Norwich City to Leicester, £ 22.5m
Leicester managed to overcome Riyad Mahrez's defeat to Manchester City by signing a more creative player to replace the Algeria star. Maddison is not of the same type of player, of course, but Coventry City products created 100 league opportunities for his co-players this season. Jamie Vardy finished fourth in the Premier League at xG during the second half of the season, and Maddison – who raised 4.6 xG and 4.2 xA over that period – was the biggest reason. Given the high price of British talent on the market, Maddison could double this price twice if Leicester decided to sell it to this season. It's more likely to be the focus of the post-Mahrez side for years to come.
3. Lucas Torreira, Sampdoria in Arsenal, £ 27m
Torreira numbers do not necessarily stand out in the same way as Brooks and Maddison, but given how long Arsenal had been crying for a defensive midfielder with some meaningful bite, is not # 39 Surprisingly, Torreira has become very popular with Arsenal fans. The numbers can be diverted for teams with so much possession of Arsenal, but Torreira is in the top 20 in ball recovery and some adapt to opponents go to regular beginners t . He is also a more thoughtful player in his possession than most players of his world. Torreira numbers fell over the season, which is why it fell from the top in the masonason to third, but our building building for Arsenal.
2. Ricardo Pereira, Porto to Leicester City, £ 19.8m
The other key sign by Third Leicester, recently, was Pereira with Home Player of the Season and Season Player at home honoring prizes for first campaign for the first time in England. After being employed as a traditional full-back and sometimes a right winger under Claude Puel, Pereira went in with six helpers contributing 117 tackle, the latter being second in the league amongst the backs. Of Pereira's two goals, of course, there was a wonder strike against Manchester City on Boxing Day. Not Mahrez from Pereira, but it was a huge upgrade on Danny Simpson on the right and one of the best backs in the department.
1. Fabian Schar, Deportivo to Newcastle, £ 3.6m
When you do not often spend money, you will need to make your few deals count. Rafa Benitez took off again in Newcastle this season. Although it could be argued that Miguel Almiron signs the winter window before going down with a hamstring injury, we consider Schar signing the summer given the very low price. Newcastle benefited from a recirculation clause in the view of the Swiss defender reducing the value of Schar, but all other clubs could also have made this move.
Newcastle has just ended up being one of the most influential defenders of the Premier League season. The difference between the Magpies this season. With it in the line, Newcastle has gone 12-7-5, with an average of 1.71 points per game and allowed one goal per competition. Without Schar? Newcastle's bait would fall at 0-10-4, good at an average of 0.3 points per game, allowing 1.71 goal of the competition.
Is it too simple to credit that difference to Schar? It's like. It also seems clear that he deserves great credit for helping to turn Newcastle's defense around, as the 27-year-old is among the league leaders in his position in progressive intercepts and runs every 90 minutes. Schar also scored four goals, including a world-class strike against Burnley who lost out on a place in my superlatives.
SIGN THE STATION DURING
Likewise, the time of judgment is the most disappointing transfers in the last term, too. I will throw in age as a factor here: Although players such as Yerry Mina and Caglar Söyüncü have substantial fees and had no effect in their first season in England, they are still young enough to turn well on investment their clubs. At a time when players on the wrong side of 30 often do not charge substantial fees, boys in their late 20s need to have an immediate impact to justify large expenditure given the relative lack of resale value of their contracts.
5. Matej Vydra, Derby to Burnley, £ 11m
The manager, Sean Dyche, has the practice of building his attacks around successful goal scoring at Championship level, after Ashley Barnes, Chris Woodand Andre Gray signed the second tier in the past. No surprise, therefore, when Dyche started for the 27-year-old Vydra this summer after the Czech international failed to agree personal terms with Leeds.
But Vydra has been a nonfactor. After scoring in September, he failed to hit the back of the net. It started on a loss from 4-2 to West Ham on November 13 and played just 68 minutes over the following seven months, and most came after Burnley's highest flight status was confirmed at the end of April. Burnley will be staying in the Premier League for another season but Vydra may not be on the way.
4. Alireza Jahanbakhsh, AZ for Brighton, £ 17.1m
Brighton was bound to their own Premier League status and scoring was their biggest problem. Chris Hughton's club only scored 35 goals this season, the smallest among 17 Premiership survivors this season. Only 16 of those goals came from open play, which was ranked 19th among 20 Premier League clubs, before only Huddersfield Town. After Glenn Murray 35, the club's second scorer was Shane Duffy, with five goals.
Brighton had to be hoping for more from Jahanbakhsh, who was a nonfactor during his first season in football in England. That's really literally almost: in 1,022 minutes, Iran's winger was unable to record a goal or support for Brighton. It is obvious that it is disappointing to return as the 25-year-old has led 21 goals in his final season at AZ.
Jahanbakhsh lost two months with a hamstring injury and then went to the Asia Cup on his return, but at best he has been a peripheral figure even when it was available. Brighton will expect more of their purchase next season.
3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Marseille to Fulham, £ 22.4m
It is difficult to collect the worst transfer of the crew given that Jean-Michael Seri has contributed one goal and three are helping in 2,000 minutes after signing from Nice, while Alfie Mawson was ineffective in the middle before having knee surgery. Most observers would still give Anguissa a goal, which had only shone for one season in Marseille before moving to London.
After signing to play as the defensive midfielder with Seri, it is similar in an assault role, it quickly became apparent that both were sub-fit. Anguissa labored through a catastrophic collapse and then lost considerable time with an ankle injury. Although he improved some after his return and had been a regular presence in the line under Scott Parker, Anguissa has not achieved the promise he showed in France.
2. Ben Gibson, Middlesbrough to Burnley, £ 15m
It is difficult to make less impact than Gibson this season. After being called up to the senior team in England, he was expected to count to Burnley's initial XI this season after a £ 15 million offseason transfer. Instead, Gibson entered the season with a hernia which once played, spelled 63 minutes on Boxing Day in a 5-1 loss to Everton. The best thing you can say is that Gibson has at least scored the comfort goal before he was shouted and sent to the bench for the rest of the campaign.
1. Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United, £ 53.1m
Could it be anyone but Fred? You may argue that the Brazil has been unfair as symbolizing the swelling that is being enclosed in Manchester United in the post-Ferguson period, with the club spending too much on signing players who are not their managers. want to choose them. Fred was not favored by Jose Mourinho, and although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave everyone a fresh start in the club, Fred was also not a significant part of the winning stand in the league.
The 26-year-old only played 162 Premiership records during the 12-game piece to start running Solskjaer, when United took 32 of 36 possible points. While Fred had also started in the miraculous recovery over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, he gave a penalty in Arsenal which had ended in the finale, and was surrendered in the 3-0 loss. in Barcelona. Fred came for criticism from Roy Keane for his efforts during United's loss at Derby Manchester. It's unclear which will be part of the next Manchester United reconstruction.
AIM OF THE SEASON
A great goal is a great goal, but context helps here: an amazing strike that took two points and helped determine that the title race (hint, hint) meant a little more than the fourth goal against Huddersfield. Yes, Vincent Kompany's strike against Leicester is on the list, but did the Citizen's effort do it in No 1?
5. Son Heung-Min, Tottenham vs Chelsea, November 24
It is hard to believe that once Son had been seen as a disappointment after struggling to make an impact in his first campaign in England. It is hard to imagine Spurs without the corrosive Korean star at this point, given that the 26-year-old is serving as a valuable winger when Harry Kane is in the front line and the focus of the attack when he is not. Son's most notable contribution this season was when he scored three goals over two legs to help beat Manchester City in the Champions League finals, but soon Spurs fans won't forget Son Clowning Jorginho and David Luiz on the way to Tottenham's score. against Chelsea.
4. Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool against Chelsea, 29 September
Although Sturridge had been anonymous and anonymous since the beginning of October, he helped cover the slow start of Mo Salah to the season by scoring four times across August and September. As well as a goal against PSG in the Champions League, Sturridge helped win a crucial point for Liverpool by beating in a great late equalizer against Chelsea.
3. Eden Hazard, Chelsea vs West Ham, April 9
There are plenty of great footballers in the Premier League, but I would say that no one else could have scored this goal. Hazards manage to create a dangerous opportunity in the eye country and dribble through the clock that West Ham has placed on the edge of the box, then place its finish in the corner perfectly. Hazard would score a second later in the game but has since failed to score; it would be suitable if this moment of magic was the last goal in a Chelsea kit.
2. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City vs Leicester, May 6
The goal saved the title. We would never know whether City would have been able to find an equalizer over the last 20 minutes if their long-standing defender had not been fired to the front, but this would be a suitable goal for deciding any championship race. The effect of Kompany on title races in the past has been more subtle, but again, this would be a significant fit moment to end the Kompany Premiership career if the Belgians leave the City.
One of the last signs of Thaksin Shinawatra's life before the City came under the ownership of the royal family of Abu Dhabi in 2008, Kompany was a huge force in the midst of the City's defense, and injury would only keep it off lists of & # 39 the best defenders in the history of the Premier League.
1. Andros Townsend, Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, December 22
He did not eventually decide on the title race with the whole, but even considering the importance of Kompany's goal, I still think that the absolute brightness of Townsend's volley to the corner is enough. to the top of this list. Remember how Paul George said that the game 3-pointer Damian Lillard to seal the Blazers series wins over the Thunder is a "bad blow"? This was a bad blow. You should not try this. He had a better chance of getting 20 rows into the stalls than from hitting the back of the net. Townsend did it anyway and produced the best goal he will ever score.
SAVE THE SEASON
With this superior degree, we are looking for savings where a keeper has to respond at the last minute, deal with a revolution or use every inch of his frame to prevent a certain goal. A blank pointing saves where a keeper does not know much about what happens before the ball gets it obviously valuable, but style is counted here.
5. David de Gea, Manchester United vs Tottenham, January 13
Almost I have to put De Gea to save this game at the sites, since this is the best individual performance of a goalkeeper each season. The long-lived United star had a brutal ending to the campaign, but all 11 needed to save United in order to secure a 1-0 win at Wembley against Spurs. You can choose your favorite, but I prefer his rescue kick to deny Harry Kane. (Another kick that missed this list was Angus Gunn saving her own goal against Arsenal.) T
4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham vs West Ham, October 20
Talking about Spurs and uneven seasons … Lloris went through his own battles on and off the field this season, but his best performance against the Hammers came in October. Amongst Lloris the game's performance leads to this final performance to deny Marko Arnautovic.
3. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea vs Fulham, March 3
Many Rangers in the Premier League had quite difficult moments this season, huh? The most memorable time came for Kepa's first season in England when he refused to be replaced during the League Cup final, which resulted in the £ 72m custodian being fined a week's wage. Seven days after the temptation, Kepa returned and performed well against Fulham. Aleksandr Mitrovic has an unreal ability to gain power on his shots without needing space or time, but Kepa was up to the task against this volley.
2. Lukasz Fabianski, West Ham vs. Manchester United, September 29
Having been known for his cafes in Arsenal, Fabianski may have been the most consistent keeper in the Premier League through the season. This was my price pick for saving the half term and honestly, it's still worthy of being Number 1. Our harder version of the Lloris was finished fourth. , as the Polish international has to respond at the last minute, using incredible wrist strength to keep Marouane Fellaini heading out.
1. Jordan Pickford, Everton vs. Huddersfield, January 29
Pickford failed to expect up to high expectations after impressing England during the summer's World Cup semifinals, but there is no denying that this is a great saving. Usually, it did not take much to keep Huddersfield out of contrasting nets this season, but there was a ticket for the bottom corner by this free headline from Elias Kachunga, just to Pickford sprinting from one side to & # 39 w a goal to the other to throw the shot off. In the end he saved two points for the beneficiaries in a 1-0 victory.
YOUNG NEWS FROM THE SEASON
I add this prize instead of a young player's honor of the year, and went to Raheem Sterling. Honestly, Sterling deserves all the hardware we can give him, but it seems stupid to give Sterling a prize for a young player after he has already been established as a Premier League star for years. Sterling is only 24, but that is no longer a young player. The average player in the Premiership this year on the basis of a minute adjustment was 26.8 years old, so let's change the criteria for a different award.
To qualify for the young entrants award, our applicants must be 23 years old or younger at the end of the 2018-19 season. Players who have had over 1,000 minutes of experience before the Premier League before starting the season are also ineligible, which clearly removes Declan Rice from the equation.
5. Diogo Jota, forward, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Part of the Portuguese revolution driving Wolves to the top 10 this season, Jota was originally signed on loan by Atletico Madrid during Wolves's successful promotional campaign last year before making a permanent £ 12.6m change on this offset.
Porto's products scored 17 goals and chips in five assisting in 3,632 minutes at Championship level last season and have almost kept up that score at a higher level, with nine goals and five assisting 2,368 records Premier League this season. Three of those goals came in a battle against Leicester in the Midlands, one of only three trick hat through the season by a player that doesn't represent one of the top six.
4. Lucas Torreira, midfielder, Arsenal
I mentioned Torreira's earlier achievements in talking about it as a great transfer; The Uruguayan is not turning 24 until next February, so it should be part of the squad that Unai Emery will be trying to build in North London for years to come.
3. James Maddison, midfielder, Leicester City
Likewise, Maddison is a great transfer and a very promising Premier League advocate. It has been a remarkable increase for a player who started making his teenage name in League One before going on loan to Aberdeen. Two years ago, Maddison had hardly appeared in the Championship. Now it is on the outskirts of the English national team.
2. Ruben Neves, midfielder, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Our other Portugal player is Wolves! Like Jota, Neves was on the journey as Wolves won the Championship last season. It could be argued that he was the best player in the second tier of the season back, and perhaps it was not surprising given that Neves had a transfer fee of £ 16 million, but perhaps the Porto product was only 20 years old. for most of the campaign.
Neves was not as prominent in the top tier, finishing the season with four goals and three helping, but few players doing so many things as well as Neves. The 22-year-old finished eighth in the league with 73 intercepts, but at the same time has kicks as this man against Arsenal in his locker. No wonder the Gunners are insulted to be interested in signing Neves instead of Aaron Ramsey.
1. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, according to Crystal Palace
The most striking event of the season belongs to the most successful graduates of Crystal Palace academy since Wilfried Zaha. The 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka only joined the first team last February, and although he played well enough to justify a place at this year's Crystal Palace team, nobody could be has seen this come.
AWB had 91 successes this season, second in the Premier League behind Wilfried Ndidi and 25 more than any other league right. The only defender in the league with more than 2,000 minutes at the top of Wan-Bissaka's 65.5 per cent success rate on tackle efforts is Virgil Van Dijk.
The Palace star also finished second in the Prem with 84 interventions. The revelation of Wan-Bissaka of a campaign is enough to justify putting it against Trent Alexander-Arnold as a future English countryside. A national team is definitely calling up on the way; it could move to one of the top six following.
I will choose to start 11 out of 4-2-3-1 formation and seven substitutes to follow. However, before I start, I should warn Spurs fans that there are no Tottenham players in the first team. Based on a Premier League form only, there was no logical point for one. Kane made my XI midseason and this is probably the striker of this team before his injury to his ankle.
Players such as Christian Eriksen, Moussa Sissoko and Toby Alderweireld all had excellent seasons, but it was clear that more productive players were in their respective positions. Son Heung-Min is great, but just over 2,000 minutes in the league and he had to compete with a handful of top quality wingers.
The only thing that could support Spurs fans – outside the upcoming game in Madrid – is that Arsenal does not have a player in the team either.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski, West Ham
Fabianski over Alisson or Ederson? Certainly, the 34-year-old did not cost as much as the two Brazilians and allowed more goals this season, but Fabianski had much more work to do and played a huge role in the development of West Wales. Ham in the table after a slow start. Fabianski led the league in a variety of categories: overall there are savings (148), collected saving (58), saves on shots in the box (104) and even fingers save (five).
At 73.2 per cent, Fabianski had a higher saving percentage than Ederson (72.3 per cent), who faced less than half of the shocks that Fabianski had to deal with each term. Alisson was ahead of Fabianski, 78.2 per cent, who led the league, but once again, the former Roma star had to deal with only about half of the Fabianski shooting volume covered during the season.
Alisson also had to play behind a commendable team defense that had the second highest possession percentage in the league, while the Fabianski side took five high league red cards, the middle was in possession and was not in possession. He has just Dijk Fan at the center back.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace
Alexander-Arnold could figure here – we live in a really good age for English-backed English backs – but I will lean to Wan-Bissaka's defensive strength over the attack side Alexander-Arnold offers as a cross. Once again, Wan-Bissaka completed the second season of the season in successful tools, intercepts and crosses which had been blocked. Alexander-Arnold is obviously a more complete player, but it is amazing that there is a right back to be as defensive as defensive as AWB for the Palace this season.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool
Duh. More about it in a minute.
CB: Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City
Laporte scored unmarked what will be the title title for City during a 4-1 win on Sunday in Brighton, and although he will certainly not be lost to history to compare with Kompany's goal against Leicester, Laporte has been an absolute rock for defense which ended just one goal behind the Van Dijk Liverpool side. There is a gap between Van Dijk and the other candidates around the league, but Laporte scored three times and was the centerpiece of a team allowing only 23 goals through the season, one off speed of Liverpool.
LB: Andrew Robertson, Liverpool
There were five players in this team who were easy choices, and although Lucas Digne was impressed in his first mile mile to the north for Everton, Robertson was one of those five. The Scot, who started his professional career seven years ago in the third section in Scotland with Queen 's Park, has matured in stunning one of the best backs on the planet since moving to Liverpool.
There was no back row in the league having restored the ball or completed successfully going to the grip more than the 25-year-old, and the only defender to t Raised more support than Robertson was 11 his team, Alexander-Arnold.
CM: Fernandinho, Manchester City
Fernandinho is not the best player of the city, but is anyone Pep Guardiola losing more if it wasn't available? The Brazilian played 29 games this season and in those competitions went City 25-2-2 allowing only 15 goals. The City lost twice during Fernandinho's nine absences and allowed eight goals across those nine competitions.
The 34-year-old was ranked 13 in the league in a tackled rate and was adjusted in the intercepted rate to be adjusted among players with 2,000 minutes or more and laughed with six pellets through. . He even added a goal to target our delightful attempt at 0.05 xG against Burnley. It remains vital to the City, even when other stars in their job usually moved to part-time roles.
CM: Paul Pogba, Manchester United
Collecting someone like Fabianski could be controversial in one way; adding Pogba is controversial in another. Pogba is a perennial flashpoint and appears to always be part of United problems. The World Cup winner spent the first half of the season appearing to be sucking under the order of Mourinho's fading, and although he seemed to shine after Solskjaer took over, Pogba's exhibitions attracted him. towards the end of the season – most notably against Everton – criticism by Roy Keane.
If Keane wants to parse Pogba's language and hold it up to his own high standards, that's fine. Here's what we know about Pogba: It's vital to United's chances of winning. He scored 13 goals this season, and while seven were on penalties, Pogba also created 50 opportunities for fellow members, behind Bernardo and David Silva only among midfield players. The French created nine assisting only 4.86 xA, owed to some of his impressive range as a passing man. His expected 21 goals were assisting in the 10th position in the Premier League and most for any central midfielder.
Has Pogba lived up to his £ 89m transfer fee? I'm not sure. Are there seconds where it is not tracing the way a former player would want? It's like. Would United be better off without the 26-year-old in their team? Not quite. He won United points on his own this season, with this example of interceptions and a loud noise to set up Marcus Rashford for the goal against Leicester alone.
Selling Pogba would be a step back to United.
RW: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Salah was not shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award after winning last season, but that is a mistake and is likely to be an unrealistic baseline product. It was always unlikely that Salah was going to the top 30 in successive seasons, given that his 32 goals had come against a baseline of 25.3 of the expected campaign's last goals. He scored "only" 22 goals this season, but by creating a greater chance of scoring and staying healthy for a full 38-game campaign, Salah was still the most productive aggressive player in the Premier League with a comfortable edge for the club. second campaign in a row.
The term ended by producing 31.7 expected goals jointly and assisting; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was second with 29.1 with each other xG + xA, and then nobody else in the league was top of Raheem Sterling's mark of 25.3. Doedd Salah ddim cystal ag yr oedd y tymor diwethaf, ond gellid dadlau mai ef oedd y ffordd orau ymlaen yn y gynghrair.
AC: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
Ar ôl blynyddoedd o danberfformio ei farciau xG ac ennill enw da annisgwyl fel gorffenwr gwael, llwyddodd Sterling i gynhyrchu 17 gôl yn erbyn 14.8 o goliau disgwyliedig y tymor hwn. Ni lwyddodd unrhyw ymosodwr yn y gynghrair a geisiodd 50 neu fwy o ergydion heb eu blocio i roi canran uwch o'r ergydion hynny ar darged na Sterling. Nid oedd yn ymwneud â gorffen, naill ai: Creodd Sterling 64 siawns o chwarae agored, y trydydd mwyaf yn yr Uwch Gynghrair. Mae'r person 24 oed hefyd yn haeddu canmoliaeth am ei rôl yn brwydro yn erbyn hiliaeth yn gyhoeddus, y tu mewn i stadia ac o fewn y cyfryngau. Mae'n hanfodol ar gyfer y clwb, y wlad a'r gynghrair ei hun.
LW: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Mae symud yn ôl y tu mewn i'r chwith i gynnwys Sterling a Salah ar yr esgyll yn Hazard, a allai fod yr unig beth oedd yn cadw Chelsea yn y chwech uchaf y tymor hwn, heb sôn am drydydd. Gorffennodd y seren yng Ngwlad Belg y tymor gyda 31 o nodau a chymhorthion cyfunol, y mwyaf o unrhyw chwaraewr yn yr Uwch Gynghrair.
Fe greodd siawns 75 uwch gynghrair o chwarae agored, naw yn fwy nag unrhyw chwaraewr arall. Mewn ymosodiad "Sarriball" a oedd yn ymddangos fel pe bai'n troi'n hunan parodi yn ystod y gaeaf, roedd Hazard yn gerdyn "mynd allan o garchar" Chelsea. This is a club that managed to get only 12 goals out of 2,777 minutes from the trio of Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud at striker throughout the season.
Sarri needed Hazard to carry this team, and he did enough to propel Chelsea into third place and a Champions League berth. That's significant guaranteed income for a club that is about to enter a two-window transfer ban and is essentially in a holding pattern until next summer. Hazard seems likely to follow Thibaut Courtois to Madrid, but he'll be leaving after his most productive — and in its own way, most important — season in a Chelsea kit.
ST: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
As is the case with Salah, we might be setting our baseline expectations for the legendary Argentinian too high: 21 goals would be a record season for most Premier League strikers, but it's just another season for Kun, who finished his fifth consecutive 20-goal campaign with the equalizer in Sunday's title decider against Brighton. It wasn't quite as impressive of a strike rate as last season, when Aguero scored 21 goals in just 25 matches, but 21 goals in 33 appearances should be impressive by anyone's standards.
Aubameyang would also have a right to sneak in here given that he finished second in both goals and expected combined goals plus assists, but the Arsenal star scored 16 goals from open play to Aguero's 18, with the latter figure topped only by Sadio Mane. Aguero also added eight assists, topping both Auba (eight) and Mane (one).
GK Alisson, Liverpool; LB Lucas Digne, Everton; CB Shane Duffy, Brighton; CM Bernardo Silva, Manchester City; CM Christian Eriksen, Tottenham; FW Sadio Mane, Liverpool; ST Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Let's finish by picking the best player of the campaign. In my eyes, there are four viable candidates for the award, and if you ordered that top four in any way, I wouldn't fault you. (I understand you might not offer me the same courtesy.) As you might suspect given the final table, four of the five candidates come from the top two clubs.
5. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
I would argue that Aguero narrowly misses out on that top foursome in part because he didn't play quite as much; he finished the season with 2,479 Premier League minutes under his belt whereas the four other players in this top five were on the pitch between 2,776 and 3,385 minutes each. City were understandably comfortable giving minutes to Gabriel Jesus at striker, but that costs Aguero in terms of a discussion about individual value.
4. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
It does seem strange that the two City representatives in these rankings finish below the two Liverpool options, but I think the top-five format might undersell just how good City are as a team. If I were making this a top-15 list, it would include Laporte, Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva. Ederson and Leroy Sane probably make it in if it's a top-30 list. No team – even Liverpool – goes as deep with world-class talent as City.
Sterling finishing fourth as opposed to first is simply a matter of context and preference. He didn't have to shoulder as much of the load as Hazard, which isn't Sterling's fault, but impacts his value. The English international was more productive than Salah on a per-minute basis, but if we're thinking about this in terms of who generated the most value for his team, Salah staying about as productive as Sterling while playing 309 additional minutes in the league means he brings slightly more to the table. If your criteria are picking the best player on the best team in the league, you could pick Sterling and I wouldn't bat an eye.
3. Eden Hazard, Chelsea
2. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
1. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
For the reasons I mentioned above, I think Hazard was probably the most important player in the league to his club. If we're using actual finishing versus expected finishing, Hazard's 31 combined goals and assists top the scoring table. Those are two great reasons to place Hazard first. I'd hesitate only because it seems difficult to pick the player of the season from a team that finished 26 points off the pace in the league, even if that had absolutely nothing to do with Hazard's play.
As you can probably surmise, that leaves us with Salah and Virgil van Dijk for the final two spots. I thought I would try to figure out whether the offense or the defense played a bigger part in Liverpool's season, but in using standard score to try to contextualize their performance, I found that Liverpool's offense was 2.0 standard deviations better than the mean. Liverpool's defense was … 2.0 standard deviations better than the mean. That doesn't help.
Van Dijk turned around the Liverpool defense when he arrived last January, but he had help this season from a starring left-back in Robertson and a wildly expensive keeper in Alisson.
Salah shouldered more of the load with Roberto Firmino missing for a chunk of the season, but he also got to play alongside Mane, who helped finish some of the chances Salah created or passed up. Salah made his attacking teammates better. Van Dijk did the same in the defense. Both had their reputations backed up by advanced metrics.
In the end, with the two relatively equal, I have to resort to positional value. With player of the season awards and transfer fees alike, we've generally come to a conclusion that world-class strikers are more valuable than world-class defenders. Van Dijk just sold for £76m, of course, but if Liverpool decided to sell Salah, they would easily get double that figure. (They're not going to sell Salah.)
If Van Dijk and the defense had been the best in the league by a handful of goals, I'd pick him as the player of the season. Instead, with the two Liverpool stars on a similar tier, I'm breaking my own tie by picking the forward over the defender.
This article first appeared on ESPN.com.