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 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1 (May 17)
20. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Pogba’s inclusion in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year was widely mocked, but when his obvious gifts came to the fore in the early days of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, he was unstoppable. Between Christmas Day and mid-February, the Frenchman pocketed nine goals and six assists in 10 domestic matches, practically orchestrating the Manchester United squad in a freer role.
19. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Wijnaldum’s season will be remembered for his two-goal haul in last week’s historic second-leg comeback against Barcelona, but he’s one of Liverpool’s key players on the domestic scene. His composure under pressure and overall excellent ball retention bring some welcome sanity in Klopp’s at-times frenetic system, and he’s easily the Reds’ most reliable link between their defense and their attack.
18. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
It was a year to remember for Ryan Fraser, who quietly finished the season as one of the top playmakers in the Premier League. The Scotland international played an integral part in keeping Bournemouth away from the bottom of the table, scoring seven goals and providing 14 assists – just one short of league-leader Eden Hazard’s 15 helpers.
17. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
If this was Christian Eriksen’s last season at Tottenham, the Dane can leave north London with the peace of mind knowing that he played a pivotal role in helping Spurs reach unprecedented heights. The 27-year-old’s subtle playmaking ability has suited Mauricio Pochettino’s scheme perfectly, as Eriksen displayed his phenomenal ability to pick out teammates with smart passes while proving himself a capable scorer with several timely goals this season.
16. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
It’s safe to conclude that the evolution of Roberto Firmino into a star striker is complete. Often thought as the glue that keeps Liverpool’s potent attack firing on all cylinders, Firmino has produced yet another stellar season despite being hampered by injuries that have limited him to just 16 goals in all competitions.
15. Fernandinho (Manchester City)
The football world’s realization of how important Fernandinho is to Pep Guardiola’s system was almost simultaneous. The Brazilian sat out the two matches either side of Christmas Day – against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, respectively – and Manchester City lost both of them, losing ground in the title race. The Mancunians have tried to find an heir to Fernandinho’s No. 6 role during recent transfer windows but have so far failed. He might be irreplaceable.
14. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Trent Alexander-Arnold is already one of the best full-backs in the game despite being at the infancy stage of his career. Along with his solid defensive contributions, the 20-year-old has developed a reputation as one of the best crossers in the Premier League for a Liverpool squad that’s benefitted greatly from his seemingly unlimited potential.
13. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
No matter the attacking scheme, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang successfully adapted to Unai Emery’s system, whether he was asked to play on the wing or if he was needed as a lone striker. Although a handful of costly misses put a blemish on his first full season at Arsenal, Aubameyang managed to finish the season on a scoring tear en route to becoming the first Arsenal player to lift the Golden Boot since 2013.
12. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Laporte was arguably Manchester City’s most consistent player. While his center-back partner flipped between one of Vincent Kompany, John Stones, or Nicolas Otamendi (remember him?), the Frenchman was a near-constant and seamless presence at the back. That continuity helped his club to the second-best defensive record in the division and he was often the springboard for City’s trademark team moves.
11. Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
A combination of pace, crossing, and relentless defending have helped Andy Robertson emerge as one of the best full-backs in the world. The Scotland international played a pivotal role in helping Liverpool challenge for the Premier League this season and was rewarded with a deserved spot in the PFA Team of the Year.