With the 2018-19 Premier League season now in the books, theScore is ranking the top 50 performers from a topsy-turvy campaign. Who shone brightest over the past nine months? Let the debate begin.
50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1
10. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
One of the league’s most popular players, Son left a lasting imprint on the season despite far-flung adventures with South Korea interrupting his calendar. At times, his strength and pace rendered him practically unstoppable and there were periods when he ensured Harry Kane’s absence wasn’t felt by Tottenham Hotspur. In fact, Spurs sometimes looked better with Son as their chief attacking threat.
9. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
Lacazette scored nine fewer Premier League goals than attacking comrade Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, the former’s tactical intelligence and work rate, and the latter’s tendency to miss gilt-edged chances, made Lacazette the firm favorite among many Gooners. Arsenal must quash the Frenchman’s links to Atletico Madrid and ensure he stays for the 2019-20 campaign and beyond.
8. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Kane’s ankle issues are a genuine concern, but 17 goals in 27 Premier League starts proves his unrelenting importance to Mauricio Pochettino’s side when fit. One of his more pleasing aspects is how he defies expectations: After safeguarding a reputation as a deadly scorer, he is now dropping deeper to dictate and curate play in a manner that would make Francesco Totti proud.
7. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
After a pair of goalless droughts in the first half of the season, Mane never went more than three consecutive matches without finding the back of the net. His two goals on the last day of the season earned the Senegalese star a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot award alongside Aubameyang and teammate Mohamed Salah.
6. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
When the opposition has constructed a defensive wall that is unable to be scaled by Ilkay Gundogan’s lofted passes or burrowed under by David Silva’s sharp, incisive jabs, it is often Aguero who steps up. The Argentine’s nudge-and-surge past defenders is as predictable as it’s uncontainable and helped him to 21 goals in his fourth title-winning season.
5. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Fernandinho is often cited as the most important ingredient in Pep Guardiola’s formula, but Bernardo Silva challenged that argument. It’s difficult to understand how a player who moves that quickly and that much, and with so many twists and turns, can retain possession as much as the Portuguese. The 24-year-old is a pest both in the middle and out wide.
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Has Salah already reached Robbie Fowler’s divine rank at Anfield? If he hasn’t yet, he could by the time the Champions League final concludes on June 1. Considering the average age and continued progress being made by Jurgen Klopp’s men, Salah’s goal-scoring exploits promise to fuel an era that may be one of the more fruitful in Liverpool’s history.
3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Van Dijk possesses all the attributes that English football looks for in a defender – commanding in the air, uncompromising in tackles, and an aura of invincibility – but also carries and strikes the ball like a cultured deep-lying midfielder. The only defenders to complete more successful long balls were Wolves’ Conor Coady, Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, and Chelsea’s David Luiz.
2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Hazard counted 16 goals and 15 assists in the 2018-19 Premier League season while Chelsea’s players grew accustomed to Maurizio Sarri’s game plan in west London. Whichever tactical blueprint he ends up in next season – Real Madrid are strongly linked with the Belgian – no doubt he’ll be careering in from the left flank and onto his stronger right foot. And, as usual, few will be able to stop him.
1. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
“He lost two, three or four balls when he has to avoid it, because he conceded counter attacks and, many simple things,” Pep Guardiola complained after Sterling bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory over Watford in March. It’s perhaps this tough love during Guardiola’s tenure that has prompted such remarkable improvements in the English attacker’s game. Once derided for his wastefulness and tactical naivety, Sterling romped to 17 goals and 10 assists during Manchester City’s victorious campaign.