As the Premier League begins to enter the business end of the campaign, talk will soon inevitably turn to who will win this season’s Player of the Year award.
This year there has been a number of standout performers in the league with a plethora of stars all vying for the title of the league’s best.
Here Pundit Arena takes a look at the top contenders (and some honourable mentions) for this year’s Player of the Year award.
Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool
The bookmakers favourite and unquestionably one of the standout players in the Premier League this season, Virgil Van Dijk has had a transformational effect on Liverpool’s backline since his arrival in January of 2018.
The Reds’ season so far has been exceptional, with Klopp’s men going the first 20 games unbeaten and proving to be more than just pretenders to Manchester City’s throne.
Just like last season, Liverpool’s scintillating front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammad Salah have all been exceptional but this title push has been built on a base of something Reds’ teams of recent years has been sorely lacking. An almost watertight defence.
Van Dijk has been a key component of Liverpool’s backline which has only conceded 15 goals in 25 league games, as defensive partners continue to switch from one player to another due to a plethora of injuries, the Dutchman has proven more than capable regardless of who he is beside.
Should Van Dijk claim the crown this season, something that will likely depend on whether Liverpool win the league or not, he will become the first central defender to do so since John Terry in 2005.
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
18 goals and 15 assists in an incredible season for Raheem Sterling last campaign, the English international is already into double figures for both scoring and creating in the 2018/2019 season.
The 24-year-old has become one of the best talents in Europe and is a crucial part of a Manchester City which has scored a staggering 66 goals in 25 league games.
Sterling has proven in the last few seasons that he can step up to the plate for Guardiola’s men when required and he has had a knack of scoring at crucial times for City this season.
If City do end up retaining the title, then his goals and assists will no doubt have a major part to play in it.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea
The standout player of a Chelsea side which had a tremendous start to the season, Hazard shone at every given opportunity as Sarri eased himself into life in the Premier League.
The Stamford Bridge have since blown hot and cold however and there was the usual talk of Hazard’s head being turned by the possibility of a move to Madrid, but the Belgian stayed put and continued to show his talents in an inconsistent Chelsea.
Hazard is and has always been one of the most entertaining players to watch but this season he has proven that unlike a handful of previous campaigns, he can score and create when it really matters for his team.
Twelve goals and 10 assists in the league and a host of individual masterclasses have meant regardless of Chelsea’s apparent woes this season, the Belgian is still one of the front-runners to take home the Player of the Year crown.
Mo Salah – Liverpool
Despite a slow start, by his standards, to the Premier League campaign, Mo Salah soon proved that he was far from a one season wonder as the Egyptian began to find his form in front of goal for Liverpool.
A key cog in Liverpool’s side that went 20 games unbeaten before eventually falling to nearest rivals Manchester City, Salah’s goals have been crucial in the Reds’ bid for their first league title in almost 30 years.
Topping the goalscoring charts with 16 goals and providing his fair share of assists for his teammates, Salah’s current form means that he could be well on the way to retaining the trophy he won in such spectacular circumstances last season.
Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
A true shining light in what’s been a wildly inconsistent season for the Gunners, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s goals have been a massive help to Unai Emery in his first campaign in England.
Reminiscent of former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in his style of play, Aubameyang has been a serial goalscorer everywhere he’s gone and in his first full season in the Premier League has been one of the division’s top strikers.
Fifteen league goals and four assists so far this season, the former Dortmund man has fired his way into Player of the Year contention despite Arsenal’s continual ups and downs.
His partnership with Alexandre Lacazette, although sporadic, has been incredibly fruitful and if he can fire this Arsenal side into the top four then one could argue he would warrant a significant prize come the end of the season.
Heung Min-Son – Tottenham
An outside shout, but it’s hard to argue against the importance of Heung Min Son to Spurs’ ongoing title aspirations.
Harry Kane has so long been the main source of goals for Pochettino’s side but in the last number of season’s the South Korean has grown from impact sub to crucial cog in Spurs’ attacking machine.
Son grabbed twelve league goals in 37 games last season and has ten already this campaign despite the South Korean missing time for both the Asian Games and the Asian Cup.
Son has also recently proved that he is more than capable of stepping up in the absence of Kane scoring crucial goals against both Watford and Newcastle.
David Silva – Manchester City
One of the Premier League’s greatest ever players and a man who despite his age has stepped up in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne as Manchester City’s attacking fulcrum.
Harry Kane – Tottenham
Out injured until the end of March but Kane’s goals yet again have been crucial to Spurs’ title chase. It’s unlikely that he wins the golden boot barring a late resurgence towards the end of the season.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
Another ageless City wonder, Aguero was expected in some parts to be more of a rotation player while Gabriel Jesus took over the mantle of Guardiola’s number nine. Fourteen goals and five assists this season proves otherwise.
Matt Doherty – Wolves
One of, if not, the standout player in a quality Wolves team that has defied expectation this season, Doherty has been a revelation this campaign. Arguably the best right back in the league and surely a lock for team of the year at the very least.
Fernandinho – Manchester City
As crucial a player as any to the way Manchester City play, their slump in form coming in the absence of Fernandinho was no coincidence. One of the finest defensive midfield players in the division.