Ranking Player of the Year candidates
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With the international break giving us a breather and time to focus on which star player deserves this accolade, below we dig a little deeper and rank the top six contenders.
Here it goes...
1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
His mix-up with Alisson against Fulham was one of the most surprising moments of the season so far. Up until that point VVD hadn’t put a foot wrong and has been a colossus and the main reason Liverpool are in this title race. The stats since he arrived at Anfield last January back up their incredible improvement in defense and the Dutchman will win this award at a canter, as long as Liverpool win the title...
2. Sergio Aguero (Man City)
The main trying his best to stop Van Dijk and Co. winning the title is Aguero. The Argentine striker is already a City legend as their all-time leading goalscorer, and he has returned to his best form in recent months. Aguero leads the PL with 18 goals this season and if he finishes as the top scorer you’d fancy City to win the title. Aside from his goalscoring, Aguero’s overall game has improved and he now presses with the intensity Pep Guardiola demands.
3. Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Taking about another play who has improved under Guardiola, Sterling has had another fine campaign for City. The English winger is showing maturity on and off the pitch this season and it is easy to forget he is still just 24 years old. Aside from his 15 goals and nine assists in the PL, Sterling has been a constant threat and unlike some of City’s other attackers he is one of the first names on the teamsheet. Mahrez, Sane and even Aguero can be rested, but Sterling must start on current form.
4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Undoubtedly Liverpool’s main man this season, Mane has cranked through the gears in recent weeks with 11 goals in his last 11 games for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp’s side were carried by Mohamed Salah this season, but Mane has improved his finishing and has his best-ever PL return of 17 goals with seven games to go. The searing pace of the Senegalese attacker means he is perfectly for Klopp’s system. We knew that over the past two seasons, and he is proving indispensable season.
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Okay, so he missed a big chunk of Spurs’ season through injury but there’s still no doubting Kane’s quality. He has stepped up time and time again as Tottenham have kept battling this season in the Champions League and PL. Kane has 17 goals, and probably would have at least 22 had he not missed almost two months through injury. Spurs’ top four hopes revolve around him, and Kane is not disappointing. Again, his all-round play is improving each season and he is now one goal away from scoring at least 25 goals in all competitions in each of his last five campaigns. Remarkable.
6. Fernandinho (Man City)
A proper unsung hero, the Brazilian is coming towards the end of his career. But that doesn’t mean he is getting any less important to City. If anything, the opposite is true. Like a fine wine, Fernandinho has got better with age as his passing range has improved and his ability to read the game and time his tackles to perfection launches so many of City’s attacks. At the age of 34, Guardiola knows he will not go on forever and the fact he has picked up plenty of injuries this season proves that. Fernandinho is always a 7/10 guy and he is a valuable, and key, cog in City’s imperious machine.