Best players of 18/19 season

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by AD78, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Basically they have the same non-penalty goals + assists rate, but with Cantona retiring in his prime. But of course it's always hard to compare players playing in different teams (i.e. it can be argued RvN at United was often the lone attacker of the team). I feel Salah of this season can be compared somewhat to Ronaldo in 2008-09 but of course Salah might miss the CL final (plus second leg semis).

    I'll try to update this post for the current players:

    He turned 50 a few days ago:

    There were some interesting comments by him when he looked at past photos - I'll try to post some of them in an appropriate thread (comments on Thierry Henry too). It's fair to say he knows some stuff; he's worked on a daily basis with Eriksen or Van de Beek more recently.
  2. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, since I probably see Bergkamp over Cantona on peak, it becomes a 'no brainer' when adding longevity in PL I suppose (with continued/sporadic excellence/brilliance rather than just simply playing more).

    Maybe I'd compare 07/08 C.Ronaldo with current Salah if anything (more than 08/09) but not wanting to antagonise Salah, and no doubt Ronaldo's movement around the pitch was more to be fair (but that came with the 'freedom' to do so I suppose). It might take quite a bit of further research to really analyse the different formations United used in that period I think (and more than the Ronaldo ones even, maybe Giggs and Rooney match videos would be useful...and they don't exist on YouTube of course - I'd be looking at how often Giggs started more central or effectively played a midfield role anyway, and how often Rooney played from the left attacking position). I think anyway it's both fair to say that sometimes the shape was still initially like a 4-4-2 of sorts, but also that it wouldn't be accurate to say that Ronaldo just played as a midfield winger for the entirety of his time at United - it's more nuanced like that and his most prolific period did coincide with playing more as a forward outright sometimes and at other times having instructions/roles that led to moving around the attacking third in games rather than tracking up and down the wing like a true midfielder. The disparity in goals to assists doesn't show that by default, but can be a hint too I'd think.

    EDIT - Not wanting to antagonise Carlito I meant! Although, sure not Salah either haha!
  3. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    Positionally or technically?

    Redefining the role of a winger

    In one of the finest – if not the finest – individual seasons in Premier League history, Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions. In the league he hit 31 goals in 34 appearances at a rate of a goal every 88.6 minutes. If those numbers appear staggering enough in their own right, it’s worth a reminder that Ronaldo was only 22 at the start of this jaw-dropping season. And was playing on the wing

    At the time, the very concept of a winger scoring so many goals was nigh on unheard of. Not long after his 23rd birthday, Ronaldo eclipsed George Best's 40-year-old record of 32 goals from a winger in one season. He fell just short of equalling Denis Law's record tally of 46 goals in all competitions at United.

    If the stats are impressive, they only go so far in illustrating just how brilliant Ronaldo was in a year he was instrumental to Manchester United’s league and Champions League double, secured in the soaking rain of a cool night in Moscow. Quite simply, it was the year Ronaldo revolutionised the role of a winger in modern football.


    Within the context of his time 42 goals for a wide player(who played often as a free roaming midfielder)was unprecendented

    It is very easy to play around with terminology to downplay one player or another
    The exact same thing can be done with george best who categorically wasnt a conventional winger in 67/68 but in fact used as a forward because denis law their nominal striker was injured for large portions of the season

    Strangely enough he is often referenced as a conventional wide man(when he played as a
    And yes even striker
    There is no consistency with the application of terminology when ronaldo is the player in question)
  4. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I don't want to drag this on now mate, but let's just say that article and the links I posted yesterday contrast with each other, and neither are telling the full story.

    For Best in 67/68, his shirt numbers (they used 1-11 in those days) can be gauged from here:
    (just by clicking on each fixture).
    It's complicated by the fact they used 4-3-3 as well as 4-2-4 in that era, and Best sometimes played in the midfield 3 even (more in the previous championship winning season rather than this EC winning one I think it's right to say though). Looking at the line-ups (including who his team-mates are in each match) it seems like wide right in a 4-2-4 might have been his most frequent starting position, but certainly in the EC Final they did use a 4-3-3 with him as a free-roaming right wing-forward (Aston playing as left winger on the other side).
  5. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
    United played with paddy crerand/best/charlton as a 3 man midfield in a 4-3-3 during 1968/69
    His goal scoring dropped here from 32 in 67/68 to 23(including 19 in the league which made him top scorer of the division even though denis law did outscore him in europe and all competitions)

    Best was expected to take up the flak and fill in the void left by denis law in 67/68 who was sidelined through injury(i dont recall how many game he played but it wasnt alot)

    This is what i meant by lack of consistency
    It is alright to consider george best as a conventional winger based on match day formations
    But for CR they are apparently not a accurate representation of his role
    Here is a channel with full matches and match day formations
    United in the league always played 4-4-2 in 07/08(and even more in 06/07) this is clear by quickly browsing

    The league games where SAF didnt use this formation are negligible(a handful)
  6. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I do remember the 4-3-3 with C.Ronaldo with Rooney/Tevez and that Rooney played from the left wing position at times (as described in that link I posted yesterday). That isn't made up or anything.

    I don't want to start getting angry though mate, or that it ends up as you antagonising me rather than vice versa (I freely joined the discussion again I guess). To me the way he played had more in common with let's say Salah of last season more than this one (as he did normally start wide and cut inside himself, and was more of a scorer than assister and took a lot of shots - like C.Ronaldo and not like 4-4-2 wingers such as Beckham, Giggs, Pires, Kanchelskis even....or obviously Figo to give an example of a prolific assister - I know that is partly playing style and attributes and not just system/role though and to clarify I don't say Salah and C.Ronaldo are especially similar comparing 07/08 and 17/18 in terms of playing style and attributes).

    I think in 68/69 Best more often that not played from the left wing in a 4-2-4 actually mate (with Morgan on the right) although not in every game. The 4-3-3 with him playing with Charlton and Crerand in midfield was more common in the 65/66 to 66/67 period I think it's correct to say. Again, that Stretford End page can be helpful to an extent.

    No hard feeling anyway!

    But I think we are at a crossroads where we agree to disagree. United already experimented with a 4-3-3 vs Roma in 06/07, with Giggs as one of the midfielders, by the way. At that time C.Ronaldo seemed more of a true winger still in the sense of mainly sticking to one side though I think didn't he, but that was an early occasion in which Rooney did play from the left side I know. Maybe I'm mistaken (and the authors of those two links are) in terms of how often it happened in 07/08 but all that stuff about the free roaming, position swapping, trio of Ronaldo/Tevez/Rooney isn't made up I'm sure. I think in 08/09 they still sometimes used 4-3-3 didn't they, but with Berbatov there they used two strikers in some games too (and in the comeback vs Tottenham I think they even ended with basically a 4-2-4 when chasing the game if I remember correctly with Ronaldo on the right, Rooney left, and two strikers in the middle IIRC).

    What is true I think certainly is that Best and Ronaldo did both switch roles quite a bit, and also that it could happen during games and they both drifted around quite a bit. Maybe Jairzinho in the 1970 World Cup is another good example of a goalscoring-oriented wing forward (although he helped set up some goals too).
  7. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Maybe this helps too though:

    There could be confusion though as the starting line-up from the CL Final could be confused with a typical line-up.

    In terms of a football manager role though, maybe inside forward from a wide position does portray Ronaldo's role well enough for that season in general (with a fairly high starting/nominal position - attacking midfield/forward area). Maybe there are elements of 'Raumdeuter' in how he played too though I'd say, to use another Football Manager role description.
  8. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    They have Ferdinand and Vidic on the wrong sides too I suppose if being properly accurate about it I think don't they?
  9. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
  11. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    After a quick check, from the channel Carlito linked (I haven't looked through hardly at all yet though):

    (A similar role in that game to the two I quote above it seems judging by the caption at 3:16 and presumably the game footage too; at first glance at the names I'd wondered whether it'd be 4-3-3 with him and Nani as wing forwards but unless the caption is wrong, no he was more the support striker/forward and Nani and Park were wide in midfield).

    Anyway Carlito maybe now we should finally leave the 18/19 thread alone (the links to Salah are becoming lost for sure now - apologies for that!), but accept that we both helped each other maybe in terms of re-adjusting our ideas/memories about formations and his role during that season (and in conclusion as I said both the links I posted that talk about the 4-3-3 and the article you posted that talks of him as winger/midfielder can be a bit misleading I think on their own - it was more nuanced than that).
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
  13. Tropeiro

    Tropeiro Member

    Jun 1, 2018
  14. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Arsenal FC
    I still don't think Pogba deserves to be in the XI. I'm not sure about Matip.
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Can someone help maybe?

    Also, I saw 'So Foot' (French magazine) published this article on the retired RvP (doing a quick google translate!)

    Show Spoiler

    By ending his career this weekend in Rotterdam, Robin van Persie left the world of football in the same place he had started. Especially, at age 35, the flying Dutchman goes away with the image of a player as talented as arrogant. From Feyenoord to Fenerbahçe via Arsenal and Manchester United, a portrait of an attacker whose track record should have been much more flamboyant.

    May 13, 2006, in Saint-Denis, the Arsenal of Arsene Wenger bow in final C1 to Barca after leading for nearly an hour. On the bench of Londoners, two Dutch have the head of the bad days. Dennis Bergkamp , who was 37 years old, is spending the last game of his career on the bench, helpless and frustrated with the coronation of Rijkaard, Van Bommel and Van Bronckhorst, his oranje counterparts . Beside, Robin van Persie looks at his model the crumbling mine. But no matter, the kid from Rotterdam has long since decided to become Bergkamp. With 133 goals in the colors of Arsenalhe will do better than the 121 of his eldest, deified by the fans for making the Gunners win . Top scorer in the Dutch squad with 50 goals, Van Persie had the misfortune of having played in an Arsenal team that will win almost nothing. After a decried start to Manchester United , then another to Fenerbahçe , he returned to Rotterdam last summer after fourteen years abroad. This weekend, surrounded by Van Bronckhorst, Koeman and Van Basten, he bowed out celebrating a career that began almost twenty years ago.

    Dennis and Robin
    "  I'm better than the others,  " Van Persie said when he arrived at Feyenoord Rotterdam in 2001. In his first year as a pro, he played and won the UEFA Cup against Borussia Dortmund . In the middle of Kalou, Van Hooijdonk and Thomasson, he plays his elbows and makes his place before getting mixed up with his coach for refusing to come to training with the car provided by the club sponsor. Spotted during a match against the reserve of Ajax , he signed to Arsenal in 2004 in an almost complete anonymity. " He arrived a little on tiptoe like many young people at the time. Arriving in a team that was already doing very well, with players like Bergkamp, Henry, Pirès, Ljunberg, Campbell or Lehmann, it's not easy. His arrival was also not minimized by the club, because it was a player with great potential, but his arrival had not made much noise,  "recalls Pascal Cygan, his teammate at Arsenal . When Van Persie arrived from Rotterdam, it was a "  thoroughbred, a rough diamond that needed some polish,  " says the former French defender.

    Renowned undisciplined, the Dutchman is quickly reframed by Arsene Wenger who asks Dennis Bergkamp to guide him. "  Dennismade fun of me. But it's the Dutch way. If you do not know something, ask, "said Van Persie in an interview for the Guardian in 2009. Pascal Cygan recalls"  several discussions about him, between him and Arsene after training. He was seen talking to him a lot. I imagine that he quickly realized that he had to channel it into certain areas: cold blooded or self-control.  »After playing left at Feyenoordthen right on his debut in selection, Wenger aligns the position number 9 following the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona . "  I am very grateful to the coach for this opportunity because I can improve in many ways. If you look at really special players - and I'm not there yet, because I need to develop these little details - they can play everywhere. Look at Zidane. He was the master in all aspects of the game,  "he told the English daily.

    V for Van Persie
    "It took almost three years to be the player he became. For some, it's a lot; for others, it's not much. But the important thing is that he became a great player in Arsenal after the Invincible period. Above all, he became team captain and we know that the English are very picky on this. When they give the armband to a stranger, it is that he is above, "says Pascal Cygan. For the former Lille man, unlike Cesc Fàbregas," Robin was more leaning to take over and assume it without problem. In England, apart from Arsene, we were all a little perplexed to see Cesc take over from Patrick (Vieira) while Robin appeared as a logical continuation of Thierry (Henry)." If RVP chained periods of doubt between 2006 and 2008, the fault of a metatarsal fracture and a twisted knee, he could always count on the advice of Dennis Bergkamp. Every time his Dutch eldest returned to London, he made a jump to the Van Persie family. Hard to know if his idol advised him in the summer of 2012 when he signed with Manchester United after eight seasons at Arsenal and a single FA Cup gleaned.

    In the summer of 2014, a year after his Premier League title with the Red Devils, Van Persie flew to Brazil for the World Cup. Four years after the defeat in the final against Spain, the opportunity is perfect to prove that he can win a major title with his country, and justify the praise from Cruyff or Van Basten. Having scored four goals in six games, including a magnificent one against Spain, he managed to take his team to third place, a little to everyone's surprise, as nobody was waiting for Holland. This World Cup was his last opportunity to shine at the highest level, because on his return to Manchester, the kid from Rotterdam is used. After three exotic and anecdotal seasons at Fenerbahçe, Van Persie returns to the Feyenoord on tiptoe.

    Arrogant, really?
    Salt and pepper hair despite a bit still slick, he bowed with a final season to sixteen goals, what closes out a very nice compilation. This weekend, his first professional club had put the dishes in the gloss to celebrate his departure. Ronald Koeman has even offered to honor a final national selection, as he did with Wesley Sneijder last September, but the person refused. "Very honestly, I think these farewell matches and honorary ceremonies are a bit forced. I have already received emough attention and I am very grateful. [...] If you talk about a farewell match or an honorary ceremony, my career as a whole with ups and downs is already that, "he told De Telegraaf before his last match against Ado Den Haag . By moving away from football when Feyenoord offered him a job, Van Persie is looking forward to more darts and ping-pong, his other two hobbies. The opportunity for him to show that he is as adroit with his hands as he was with his feet.[/quote]

    @PDG1978 - when thinking of 'parallel players' I dismissed him in my mind for the comparison So Foot makes but I can see the idea in terms of scoring a diverse range of quality goals based on kicking technique and volleying. But in the style of movement with the ball they're very different (then he was more like Rensenbrink indeed, when he was younger) - strange that the video cuts off the very last scene where he scores a goal.

    Anyway, I'll update above list for 2010 - 2020 players. This one:
  16. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    30. Paul Pogba
    29. Ilkay Gundogan
    28. Roberto Firmino
    27. Jan Vertonghen
    26. David Luiz
    25. Ruben Neves
    24. Idrissa Gueye
    23. Jamie Vardy
    22. Callum Wilson
    21. David Silva
    20. Moussa Sissoko
    19. Alisson
    18. Son Heung-Min
    17. Ryan Fraser
    16. PE Aubameyang
    15. Ederson
    14. James Maddison
    13. Harry Kane
    12. Joao Moutinho
    11. Andy Robertson
    10. Trent Alexander-Arnold
    9. Fernandinho
    8. Eden Hazard
    7. Aymeric Laporte
    6. Sergio Aguero
    5. Mo Salah
    4. Raheem Sterling
    3. Sadio Mane
    2. Bernardo Silva
    1. Virgil Van Dijk
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  17. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Yeah, that's right, it'd be the similarities you identify that would be the basis of any kind of parallel aspect between DB and RVP. I can't think right now of someone who'd be especially similar overall. I think the left-footed striking ability/style of a Riva or a Robbie Fowler would be a bit of a tenuous link.
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  18. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Arsenal FC
    I'm surprised Kane is so highly rated after missing the latter part of the campaign. Also surprised Laporte is rated more highly than Hazard.

    If Auba is 16, it makes no sense for Laca to not even be included. They're pretty much equal this campaign.
    AD78 repped this.
  19. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    #219 comme, May 16, 2019
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    On Tuesday, The Times writers all selected their teams of the season for the PL.

    Henry Winter: Ederson; Wan-Bissaka, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; Fernandinho; Bernardo, Sterling, Mane, Hazard; Aguero

    Matt Dickinson: Ederson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Moutinho, Sissoko, Bernardo; Hazard, Mane, Sterling

    Oliver Kay: Fabianski; Wan-Bissaka, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; Fernandinho; Bernardo, Sterling, Mane, Hazard; Aguero

    Paul Joyce: Alisson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Mane, Bernardo, Fernandinho, Sterling; Salah, Aguero

    Alysson Rudd: Ederson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Fernandinho; Bernardo, Sterling, Son, Salah, Mane

    Matt Hughes: Ederson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Fernandinho, Sissoko; Sterling, Son, Mane; Aguero

    Tony Cascarino: Ederson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Bernardo, Sissoko, Wijnaldum; Mane, Hazard, Aguero

    George Caulkin: Alisson; Wan-Bissaka, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; Fernandinho, Bernardo, Sterling, Hazard, Son, Aguero

    Paul Hirst: Ederson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Fernandinho, Bernardo, Eriksen; Sterling, Aguero, Salah

    James Gheerbrant: Fabianski; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; Fernandinho, Sissoko; Sterling, Hazard, Mane, Son

    Gabriele Marcotti: Alisson; Trent, Van Dijk, Laporte, Roberson; Bernardo, Fernandinho, Kante; Sterling, Son, Mane
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  20. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Would be good to see some of these for other leagues.
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #221 PuckVanHeel, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Each to his own but locks in a domestic eleven are for me:

    De Ligt (yes it's relatively rare for a central defender being this good at 19), Frenkie de Jong, Odegaard, Ziyech, Bergwijn, Tadic, Luuk de Jong.

    I don't see L. de Jong as a real footballer but he's topscorer without a single penalty (28 goals + 6 assists) and scored three Champions League goals as well (in 6 games). So that makes him a lock I think. For the national team he was a useful substitute player.

    Van Persie would be 8th in the WhoScored ratings without his final game but I don't think he should be there. He had still moments of class (including the 6-2 against a full strength Ajax team) but problems with fitness curtailed his appearances. It's a shame that a few big injuries early in his career (two broken foots, once after scoring the winning goal against Manchester United; broken ankle after a Chiellini tackle for which the Italian didn't receive a card) has caused all those issues. I read a while ago in The Times a piece by a doctor that Harry Kane is now also at risk to become an injury prone player (that his ankle will cause lingering issues elsewhere in his body).

    Odegaard is a good footballer for sure but whether he'll make Real Madrid dunno. It seems the marketing boys of Fiorentino Perez cs. have now placed their weight behind Vinicius Junior, commercially a more interesting proposition. Odegaard going to Ajax will be interesting to see, it might well bring him to the next level given the state of the organization now and the recent track record of improving players (which is quite admirable, given the various constraints).
  23. JoCryuff98

    JoCryuff98 Member+

    Jan 3, 2018
    He has that GOAT tier potential. Could be the greatest defender in history
  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    Serie A has two rounds to go, I expect more coming out after the end (Gazzetta ratings; the OPTA team).

    I have the feeling they 'quickly' included Aubameyang somewhere because he won the topscorer title and they hadn't an Arsenal player in yet (Arsenal as a team perhaps not good enough to stand out statistically). Therefore they also forgot about Lacazette. Aubameyang was in great productive form towards the end and the hat-trick against Valencia was fresh in the mind.

    The introduction below, plus text on Aubameyang


    The Premier League champions are Manchester City, Liverpool were a single point off it and overall the competition's best players play for one of those two clubs.

    That doesn't make for a particularly interesting ranking system though, and there have been some stellar performances from individuals at other clubs which need to be considered.

    Using a combination of our monthly player rankings lists with data to produce overall scores in six categories (attack, vision, passing, defence, physical and dribbling) we have ranked the top 30 players of the 2018/19 season. There is naturally an element of human judgment involved too. I have watched an awful lot of football this season.

    And so we begin. The best 30 players in the league are:

    30. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

    Put down the chair, relax - Pogba deserves a place in our list. Stop laughing, it's true. Just. Although dreadfully inconsistent, prone to throwing arms in a strop rather than do things like, you know, tackling people or track runners, he is stupidly talented.

    Thirteen goals and nine assists is a big improvement on last season (even if seven goals were penalties), and when United were flying for a few months in the post-Mourinho world, Pogba really was fantastic. Some of his moments of skill, dribbling in tight spaces and forward passes were sexy-looking functional tools in a much-demanded attacking setup but once things started getting difficult, Good Pogba disappeared and Meh Pogba emerged.

    Paul Pogba, end of season stats "Spider" With two other great players next to him, Pogba is brilliant. With Nemanja Matic and Fred... oh boy. That doesn't excuse some of the abject performances we've seen but if Pogba played badly and still ended up on a combined 22 goals and assists imagine the possibilities if he improves next season.

    29. Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

    Integral to City's title win, playing as both an 'eight' and a 'six' and establishing himself in the first team towards the end of the season. Six goals and three assists is decent enough but Gundogan's job isn't to score or assist anyway - he brings quality and reliability to the centre of the pitch alongside Fernandinho, deployed when City are worried about winning the midfield battle.

    28. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

    Scored 12 and assisted six other goals but much of the best work Firmino does is off the ball, running into space to free Mo Salah and Sadio Mane up to score or to draw defenders away. His first touch is exemplary - there should be university courses on it.

    27. Jan Vertonghen (Spurs)

    Vertonghen's influence is most obvious when not playing, which is natural considering he is a captain without the title on the pitch. One of the league's best defenders but his passing ability places him close to midfielders Ander Herrera, Mateo Kovacic and James Ward-Prowse. Dependable at the back and calm in possession.

    26. David Luiz (Chelsea)

    Once the Premier League figured out that tightly marking Jorginho takes him out of the game, a lot of creative influence became David Luiz's responsibility. The centre-back takes the ball beyond the Chelsea midfield at times and also launches direct passes out to wingers and mix up Chelsea's play, given space to do so because he's a centre-back. If this is by design rather than an accidental consequence of Plan A stalling, this is clever use of the player by Maurizio Sarri.

    25. Ruben Neves (Wolves)

    Could play for any of the top six, probably the top two, teams in the league as a regular starter. Neves has everything - leadership skills, incredible free kick-taking ability, long passes dropped onto the toe of teammates, amazing long shots, clever movement in the middle for passes, and he likes a tackle. In total, Neves made 74 tackles and 73 interceptions (the seventh most of any player), scoring four goals and assisting three.

    24. Idrissa Gueye (Everton)

    Joint top with Wilfred Ndidi for tackles made this season (143) having played five fewer games, Idrissa Gueye is the kind of player for whom Manchester United should be preparing a sizeable transfer bid. He might be the actual player. Everton would miss him enormously.

    23. Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

    Claude Puel didn't seem able, or inclined, to utilise Vardy's strengths but Brendan Rodgers has and the results are splendid. Vardy finished the season on 18 goals and four assists.

    22. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

    Has overcome a couple of serious injuries to justify Eddie Howe's trust and prove he is one of the better forward players in the league. Scored 14 goals and assisted nine others, linking up particularly well with Ryan Fraser.

    21. David Silva (Manchester City)

    Silva hasn't had his best season for City and has even been rested at times but the numbers and his obvious influence on the team means he gets place number 21, on this list. An achievement I'm sure Silva puts on a par with his Premier League medal.

    A deft flick which clipped the ball into Sergio Aguero's path for the equaliser against Brighton on the final day took his assists total to eight. He's scored six goals this season, created the third-most big chances (16), and the made the fifth-most successful passes in the opposition half. One of the best ever Premier League players, like a feistier Iniesta.

    20. Moussa Sissoko (Spurs)

    Didn't see this one coming. If you'd asked 'which player is least likely to make the top 20 list' at the beginning of the season, Sissoko may have been my answer. After seasons of searching, Sissoko found his best position on the right-centre of a midfield diamond. In Spurs' previous 4-2-3-1 Sissoko's poor crossing let him down when played in the '3' and he wasn't trusted as one of the '2'. This year, his new role makes best use of his dribbling skills while keeping him in a part of the pitch where he can win the ball. A sustained run in the team has been a big help.

    19. Alisson (Liverpool)

    The last piece in the puzzle and winner of the Golden Glove. Liverpool spent big and got their perfect goalkeeper, one as good on the ball as he is at stopping shots and plucking crosses out of the air. Alisson brings something to the Liverpool defence which improves them enormously than the era of Loris Karius or Simon Mignolet. Perhaps it's just confidence? Has made a few mistakes but those are always highlighted when the goalkeeper's involved and he recovered immediately.

    18. Son Heung-min (Spurs)

    Gotta love Sonny. What a player. So fast, amazing first touch, makes great decisions when charging at defenders, can play on the wing or through the middle, scored 12 goals and assisted six. It feels like Son has come out of Harry Kane's shadow this season to be an integral part of the Spurs XI, even though he's been that way for years now.

    17. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)

    A less famous name than others on this list but the stats don't lie and Fraser is second top of the assists table. That's not easy, especially when playing for Bournemouth. With 14 assists and seven goals, Fraser's output for Eddie Howe's team is impressive but consider that he created 28 big chances this season - 10 more than any other player - and it becomes clear that could have been even higher. Larger clubs are right to be considering making a bid for the forward, who is equally dangerous on either wing.

    16. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

    A Golden Boot winners but only number 16 in our prestigious list. Before you start thrashing angry words in the comments section, consider that Aubameyang does go missing in games when leading the line on his own and only created 33 chances for others, then remember that there are a lot of Liverpool and Manchester City players to fit in here. Please.

    15. Ederson (Manchester City)

    Another goalkeeper, though much of Ederson's contribution has been in transition and attack for City. Comes 40 yards off his line to clear danger, has a key role in short passing moves around the City box, often playing the calm pass between two chasing forwards that beats an opponents' press and his distribution is insane. Whether kicked from hand or on the ground, Ederson finds teammates up the other end of the pitch like he's in a video game, perfectly aimed and weighted. He saves a lot of shots too and commands the area brilliantly.

    14. James Maddison (Leicester)

    Created more chances than any other player in the league, despite playing for a mid-table team formerly managed by captain of average, Claude Puel. Of those 100 chances, seven were converted to give Maddison a decent assists return and he also scored seven goals, including some beautiful hits from distance. Brendan Rodgers plays him on the left or behind the striker, two positions that seem to really get the most out of a highly creative player. Has work to do on defensive positioning and workrate, is otherwise great.

    13. Harry Kane (Spurs)

    Kane scored 17 goals from only 28 games this season and were it not for a rash challenge on Fabian Delph turning his ankle so badly, it's likely he would have another Golden Boot. Has some sort of science-defying ability to recover from injury ahead of the time usually associated with humans too, which helps.

    12. Joao Moutinho (Wolves)

    Moutinho was Andre-Villas Boas's transfer wish during his ill-fated time at Spurs and by the looks of things, Tottenham made a mistake not signing him then. Moutinho is 32 years old and made 264 recoveries, 113 tackles, created 84 chances and assisted eight goals as the heartbeat of an impressive Wolves team, contributing enormously in both defence and attack. The best all-round midfielder this season.

    11. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)

    The first of our two-part series on Liverpool's full-backs is Andrew Robertson, whose roving role on the left is fundamental to how Jurgen Klopp's side plays. Named the Scotland captain earlier in the season, Robertson defends tenaciously - usually high up the pitch - and contributed 11 assists, which is one fewer than Christian Eriksen.

    10. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

    Alexander-Arnold provided 12 assists this season - joint third in the league - so calling him a full-back is a little silly. For large parts of games the 20-year-old is a full-on winger and his delivery from wide, as the stats suggest, is brilliant. Opposition teams have regularly tried to focus their play down his flank and expose weaknesses, eventually learning that there aren't many.

    9. Fernandinho (Manchester City)

    Fernandinho's midfield performance against Liverpool in January during his side's crucial 2-1 win was one of the season's standouts.

    Always in the middle keeping things tidy, Fernandinho is City's anchor and although he's getting on a bit now (34 years old) and will need replacing. The uncoachable, fundamental understanding of position and space is something that makes that task even more difficult, and the uncanny ability to get away with the tactical fouls City definitely don't regularly commit, borderline impossible.

    8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

    The last of our list before it descends into duopoly controversy debate. Aside from a quiet November and February, Hazard has been outrageously good this season, as in one of the best players in Europe good. He scored 16 goals and provided 15 assists (the combined highest of anyone) as something of a one-man team - he can decide matches in an instant and regularly did this season.

    The solo wondergoal against West Ham was something only a few players in the world would dare to attempt let alone execute so well and Hazard's dribbling stats for the year are better than any player. Even kicking his shins doesn't make much of a difference - Hazard is the most fouled player of the 2018/19 season, fouled 104 times.

    7. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)

    City's best defender by miles. As comfortable swapping between left-back and centre-back as he is moving the ball around midfield, Laporte made the fourth most touches and the third most passes in the league this season, also scoring three goals. His numbers are those of a tempo-setting midfielder and since Laporte spends most of the game at close to the halfway line, that makes sense.

    Solid in the air, always seems to make the right decisions but his ability on the ball is what sets Laporte apart. When City win possession near their goalkeeper, Laporte moves in and out of space to complete the little rondos that get City from danger positions to counter-attacking ones. Joel Matip can clear a ball but you don't want him chased by two forwards while in possession inside the six yard box.

    6. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

    Aguero, or to refer to him by his proper name, Agueeeerrrrrrrrooooooooo, has scored more than 20 Premier League goals for the fifth consecutive year and the sixth time in his career. Only Alan Shearer has done it more, only Thierry Henry can equal the year on year consistency, which means Aguero should be considered alongside these two as an all-time superstar. Finished one off the Golden Boot podium on 21 but the league winner's medal should suffice.

    5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

    Salah's exploits last season, when he completed English football, has made it feel like this term has been a bit of a let-down, but he's the combined top scorer and assister of goals in the league so text your pals about that.

    Goes down a little too easily in the box - the tumble against Newcastle was embarrassing - but Salah is a special talent so perhaps we should let him off? A little quiet at times but usually fun to watch - his long-range stunner against Chelsea was a wonderful moment.

    4. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

    Has either learned how to shoot or has found a way to manage his composure in pressure moments because 17 goals and 10 assists is elite level for a player who is essentially a winger. Guardiola has squeezed the absolute best out of Sterling, playing him in a system which entirely suits his abilities but without his talent and application, he wouldn't be able to play that system. PFA Young Player of the Year (at the questionable age of 24), and a deserved winner of the Football Writer's award.

    3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

    Mane's first touch and ability to dribble at high speed makes him a nightmare for anyone to defend against. Can go outside or in, kill a 70-yard pass dead with a single bit of control - even on the move - and springs to life so quickly from a standing start that he's too far ahead for a chasing player to get close by the time it's even obvious that danger is present. Joint top scorer on 22 goals, just needs to increase his number of assists (only one this season) and win the league to be considered a Premier League great.

    2. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

    City's most important player and Pep Guardiola's favourite this season. Exceptionally talented, hugely creative, fast and skillful, Bernardo is a match-winner and turned several tight games into City wins. Instigated the 2-0 win over Manchester United in April with a superb shift of balance and early-hit shot from distance which beat David De Gea at his near post, having moved from a right-wing position to central midfield.

    For all the attacking brilliance he brings (seven goals and seven assists), it is Silva's workrate which is most impressive. If he loses the ball he chases relentlessly until he wins it or commits a foul and although that sounds incredibly basic, it spreads to others in the team and makes City much better as a team.

    1. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

    Quite simply, a brilliant footballer. Van Dijk's performances have been consistently outstanding all season and with him in the team, Liverpool have kept 20 clean sheets.

    Great at bringing the ball out from the back and playing short passes, Van Dijk also fires 70-yard long-balls out to waiting attackers on the wings to kick-start goalscoring moves. When Liverpool are under pressure, he doesn't mess about either. Van Dijk won 182 aerial duels (eighth most), won 74 per cent of his tackles, and made the joint sixth most clearances (199). Brings a calmness and composure to Liverpool's defence that they've desperately needed for years. He is the best centre-back in the world.
  25. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    The official awards from France came out on Sunday night:

    Ligue 1 Conforama player of the year: Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain)

    Best goalkeeper: Mike Maignan (LOSC)

    Best young player: Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain)

    Goal of the season: Loïc Rémy (LOSC)

    Team of the season: Mike Maignan (LOSC); Kenny Lala (Strasbourg), Marquinhos (Paris SG), Thiago Silva (Paris SG), Ferland Mendy (Lyon); Marco Verratti (Paris SG), Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon), Angel Di Maria (Paris SG); Kylian Mbappé (Paris SG), Nicolas Pépé (LOSC), Neymar Jr (Paris SG)

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