We are entering the business end of the Premier League season and there is enough evidence to predict the top contenders for the PFA Player of the Year award. Take a look at FOX Sports Asia’s Top 5 contenders for the prestigious and coveted award.
#5. Son Heung-min (Spurs)
Son Heung-min has been away on international duty twice this season and as a result, he has started only 14 Premier League games this season so far. However, he already has ten goals to his name which is only bettered by seven players.
The Korean had to wait till the start of November to get his first direct involvement in a league and it was an assist against Wolves in a crucial 3-2 win away from home. Since that assist, his form has peaked and he now has five assists in addition to his ten goals.
He averages a goal or an assist every 84.5 minutes in the league at the moment and in his last 14 Premier League games, he averages a goal or an assist every 67.4 minutes!
Spurs are currently struggling with injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli but goals from Son has helped keep them in the race for the Premier League title.
#4. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Liverpool’s biggest threat for the Premier League title is Manchester City and leading their title challenge this season is former Liverpool player Raheem Sterling.
Sterling has improved leaps and bounds under Pep Guardiola and this season, he took the responsibility of leading the City attack during the absence of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne through injuries.
The England International has ten goals and nine assists so far in the Premier League while averaging a goal or an assist every 98.4 minutes.
The 24-year-old is currently the eighth highest goalscorer in the league and also the joint second highest assist provider along with Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and teammate Leroy Sane.
#3. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The defending PFA Player of the Year is in the race to win the award this year and become the first player since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 to win the award in back to back seasons.
Salah hasn’t scored as freely and frequently as he did in the 2017/18 season but he’s still leading the chase for the Premier League Golden Boot with 17 goals and two goals more than the nearest competitor.
In addition to his goals, the Egyptian has also chipped in with seven assists and this tally is only bettered by five players in the Premier League with the highest assist provider racking up ten assists.
Salah currently averages a goal or assist every 92 minutes in the Premier League and Liverpool will need him to maintain this rate if they are to win their first league title in 29 years.
#2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Eden Hazard started the season in incredible form and it looked like he would break his personal best goal tally in a season with relative ease. However, he hit a rough patch in between and so did Chelsea. Nevertheless, the Belgian still has a direct involvement in 22 Premier League goals which is bettered only by Mohamed Salah.
Hazard has scored 12 league goals so far which is bettered only by Mo Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane. However, he leads the assists chart with ten assists to his name and only two players in Europe’s top 5 leagues have more assists than him at the moment.
Despite a minor injury setback during the season and his late arrival at Chelsea after the FIFA World Cup, the 28-year-old has had a direct hand in a goal every 87.8 minutes.
#1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
The last time a defender won the PFA Player of the Year award was back in 2005 and it was John Terry who received the honour. Since then, barring N’Golo Kante in 2017, every other award has gone to a forward.
This year, Virgil van Dijk is the favourite to win the award as things stand and if Liverpool win the league title, then there is no doubt that the Dutchman will win the award ahead of even Mo Salah.
Liverpool’s defence has improved massively since Van Dijk arrived for a world record fee back in January 2018 and this season, his colossal performances have ensured that the Reds have the best defensive record in the league.
He has played all but 35 minutes of Liverpool’s Premier League games so far this season and along with goalkeeper Alisson, he is the only Liverpool player to start every league game.
Thanks to Van Dijk’s imperious defending, Liverpool has only conceded a league best 15 goals and also kept a league highest 14 clean sheets.
Every 90 minutes in the Premier League, the Dutchman wins 4.3 aerial duels, makes 5.2 clearances, 5.5 accurate long balls and 82.6 passes with a passing accuracy of 90.2. However, the most impressive fact is that no player has dribbled past him in any competition this season for Liverpool in 32 games and 2845 minutes.