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 (May 14) | 30-21 (May 15) | 20-11 (May 16) | 10-1 (May 17)
50. Jorginho (Chelsea)
Jorginho’s status as Maurizio Sarri’s teacher’s pet shoved him in the firing line when Chelsea were underperforming. But it’s important to be patient with a manager who’s trying to make such a drastic change to a team’s approach, and a player with Jorginho’s undeniable ability. The 27-year-old spread a league-leading 3,118 passes around the park, and the second-highest total for midfielders came from Arsenal hindrance Granit Xhaka, who recorded 2,245 passes.
49. Diogo Jota (Wolves)
In many ways, Jota is more entertaining to watch than Raul Jimenez. His style of play is similar to Sergio Aguero – perhaps due to his low center of gravity and cartoonish head-down running style – and his enthusiasm is infectious. He started slow this term, but his eventual move from the wing to the middle dragged Wolves out of a midseason slump.
48. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Rashford asserted himself as Manchester United’s de facto No. 9 over the first few weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, forcing £75-million signing Romelu Lukaku to the bench. Rashford’s performances dropped a level toward the end of the campaign as he missed on quality scoring chances. However, a steadier run at center-forward could give him the confidence to reach his potential.
47. Richarlison (Everton)
Richarlison is just 22 years old, but he could easily pass as a young-looking 44-year-old. His rough edges and decision-making hint at his age, though, and other English clubs should take notice. He should be in a position to trump his 13 goals and single assist next season, especially if Everton purchase someone in attack to support the big Brazilian.
46. David Luiz (Chelsea)
Calamity stalks Luiz. The Brazilian’s name is synonymous with his country’s 7-1 humiliation against Germany during the 2014 World Cup and other airheaded moments, but that makes us overlook his composure and intelligence as a defender. When compared to his center-back contemporaries this season, Luiz was second in key passes and fifth in successful dribbles. Chelsea were right to tie him down with a new deal.
45. Lucas Digne (Everton)
Brendan Galloway and Luke Garbutt clearly didn’t do enough to succeed Leighton Baines as Everton’s undisputed No. 1 left-back, so the club went shopping last summer. Lucas Digne cost £18 million to save from an underwhelming two years with Barcelona, and he’s since flourished under Marco Silva. The Frenchman boasts a devilish throw-in technique, and he finished the campaign with 71 key passes, just three fewer than teammate Gylfi Sigurdsson.
44. Salomon Rondon (Newcastle)
With a laundry basket for a chest and a forehead that swallows balls like a vacuum cleaner finding spilled garden peas, Rondon is the perfect focal point for the mid-to-lower grade Premier League team. The Magpies are much better at playing to Rondon’s strengths than his former club, West Bromwich Albion, and putting him alongside Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez makes for a decent attacking trio.
43. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace were a one-man team in 2017-18, but the performances of breakout stars Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luka Milivojevic, and Andros Townsend lifted pressure from Zaha’s shoulders the following season. The winger was still productive, though, scoring 10 times and laying on five assists. His name will undoubtedly surface often in the summer rumor mill.
42. Ruben Neves (Wolves)
This came down to Neves and Joao Moutinho. The younger Portuguese player should have won the Championship’s Player of the Season last term, and definitely outshone that year’s winner, Ryan Sessegnon, this campaign. With an improved tactical sense, Neves can orchestrate matches like Moutinho while finding space to unleash screamers, as he did in the second tier.
41. Fabian Schar (Newcastle)
After a slow start to his Premier League career, Fabian Schar emerged as one of the best defenders outside the top six teams. He was a commanding presence at the back for Newcastle United from November on this season, and a big reason the Magpies pulled away from the relegation zone. He even scored four goals, including a wonderful solo effort against Cardiff City in January to help his team out of the bottom three. Only his disciplinary record could’ve been better.