Without necessarily selecting each club’s own Player of the Season choice, theScore picks through every Premier League team and appoints its Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 campaign.
Alexandre Lacazette: Some Arsenal fans vilified Lacazette when he wasted two late, gilt-edged chances against Tottenham Hotspur 15 months ago. Now, his intelligent movement, 13 goals, and eight assists in the Premier League have established him as a terrace favorite and one of the club’s best players.
Ryan Fraser: The Premier League’s shortest player is one of its most explosive. Fraser, who stands just 5-foot-4, should attract big-name interest over the summer after he forged one of the division’s deadliest partnerships with Callum Wilson. The future of Scottish football isn’t so grim, after all.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Shane Duffy: It was strange when Brighton’s defense was leaky in April. Duffy and Lewis Dunk had been solid for years. Thankfully, they were on form when it mattered most, with the Irishman securing MVP status for his heroics against Arsenal in the Seagull’s penultimate match.
Ashley Westwood: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, and Dwight McNeil were incredible in the second half of the season, but Westwood was consistent throughout. The ex-Aston Villa midfielder topped his team in key passes and was second in interceptions, filling the void injury-stricken star Steven Defour left.
Neil Etheridge: It wasn’t a bad introduction to the Premier League. The Cardiff goalkeeper stopped a penalty in each of his first two top-flight appearances, and continued to be a steady presence between the sticks during an unfortunate campaign for the relegated Bluebirds.
Eden Hazard: Is this the last we see of Hazard at Chelsea? The seemingly Real Madrid-bound attacker scored 16 goals and assisted 15 times during his club’s hot-and-cold Premier League season. If he leaves for the Spanish capital, the Blues will find it almost impossible to replace him.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: “I only probably started tackling in the under-23s,” Wan-Bissaka claimed to The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield in February. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old former winger was one of the cleanest tacklers in Europe and was dribbled past only 10 times in 35 Premier League appearances.
Lucas Digne: Could Everton’s belated Leighton Baines replacement actually be an upgrade? Digne’s throw-ins and deliveries from the left flank are venomous – he only played three fewer key passes than fellow standout Gylfi Sigurdsson – and he out-tackled all of his defensive colleagues.
Ryan Babel: Blimey. No one really deserves it after an excessive transfer spend yielded practically nothing for Fulham. Babel made a decent impact after joining in January so can get the nod, edging out Aleksandar Mitrovic, who should’ve scored more than 11 league goals.
Philip Billing: Billing wasn’t even a nominee for fans’ award, but his teammates at Huddersfield voted him the club’s best. It was deserved. At times, Billing and Jonathan Hogg were a frenzy of tackles and interceptions in the heart of the Terriers’ lineup.
Jamie Vardy: Vardy scored four more than Bournemouth’s Wilson and five more than Lacazette over the 2018-19 Premier League term. Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, and (after his February debut) Youri Tielemans all shone for Leicester, but Vardy was their most important player.
Virgil van Dijk: Who else? Jurgen Klopp and Van Dijk head up a Liverpool era that promises to return the club to its 1980s pomp. £75 million now feels like a bargain for a player of such composure and influence. He was the first defender to win the PFA Player of the Year award since John Terry in 2005.
Raheem Sterling: The indefatigable Bernardo Silva was vital. Fernandinho was crucial for much of the season. Aymeric Laporte was colossal. But you can’t look beyond Sterling’s overall improvement, 17 goals, 10 assists, and massive influence in the battle against racism.
Luke Shaw: Paul Pogba was controversially selected in the PFA Team of the Year, but he was only Manchester United’s best player for a couple of months. The Red Devils’ most consistent players were either Victor Lindelof or Shaw, the latter of whom has given himself a fighting chance of becoming England’s first-choice left-back.
Salomon Rondon: He wasn’t great at the beginning of the season, but by the end Rondon was one of the best hold-up forwards in Europe. Newcastle need to sign the Venezuelan on a permanent basis and develop his promising understanding with record buy Miguel Almiron.
Nathan Redmond: When Mark Hughes was banished from St Mary’s and Ralph Hasenhuttl was drafted in, the improvements from Yann Valery, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, James Ward-Prowse, and Jan Bednarek were drastic. We may also see Redmond belatedly reach his potential after he was magnificent over the festive stretch.
Moussa Sissoko: If there was a league-wide individual prize for most-improved player, it would go to Sissoko. He was previously a laughingstock, but his physicality and tactical sense were used to great effect by Mauricio Pochettino. The Frenchman is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Ben Foster: Foster’s transfer seemed like a stopgap. He was in his mid-30s and had just been relegated with West Bromwich Albion. But Foster looked in tip-top condition until his recent errors against Arsenal and Wolves, overall producing the third-most saves in the top rung.
West Ham United
Declan Rice: Felipe Anderson was a delight but his form faded. Lukasz Fabianski has been at his best over the past two seasons. Rice should get the nod, though, as he quickly nailed down a place in the XI while appearing to revive Mark Noble’s career beside him.
Joao Moutinho: Compared to Wolves’ other pieces of business, the Moutinho nab was a little underwhelming. That was until he justified his place as the midfield metronome and set-piece expert – the very foundation that liberated Matt Doherty, and allowed Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota to wreak havoc in attack.