With the Premier League season approaching the business end of the competition and with the champions more or less confirmed, the million-dollar question that arises now is who has been the standout player of the 2019-20 season?
With Liverpool well on course of ending their 30-year wait for the Premier League title having been far superior to the other teams in the league, the season has seen certain individuals who have been head and shoulders above the rest? Here we will jot down five players who make a strong case for themselves to be considered for the prestigious Premier League ‘Player of the Year’.
JORDAN HENDERSON (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s inspirational captain Jordan Henderson joined the Merseyside club in 2011 from his boyhood club Sunderland. There were a few raised eyebrows on this transfer and the midfielder wasn’t particularly loved by the fans at the start. All through his career, he has had to prove the critics wrong and earn his place in the eleven. 2019 was a particularly big year for Henderson the captain, as under his leadership, Liverpool went on to lift their sixth Champions League trophy and he was named the England Player of the Year 2019.
Throughout the 2019-20 season, Henderson has been a key player in the remarkable 44-match unbeaten run. The team always strives with Henderson at the heart of the midfield and legs seems to come off when he’s off the pitch. It’s not just his contribution on the field but off it as well which makes him such a great leader. He took the initiative for the Players Together campaign which set up a contribution fund to the National Health Service (NHS) and frontline services fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.
The numbers don’t do justice to the significance Henderson has had on the Liverpool team. With 3 goals and 5 assists in the Premier League, one would think that they won’t be enough to put a strong argument for him for the ‘Player of the Year’ award but Henderson stands as the front-runner to win it.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (Manchester City)
Even though Liverpool has had such a dominant season in the Premier League, one player who has stood out from rival teams is Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne. De Bruyne has made giant leaps as a midfielder in the Premier League and is one of the most watchable players of the league. The Belgian playmaker has been remarkably consistent in the past seasons having registered 16 assists in 2016-17, 18 assists in 2018-19 season and currently is sitting on 15 assists so far in 2019-20.
De Bruyne has missed out on winning the coveted ‘Player of the Year’ award in the past seasons but surely this could be the one for him. With nine games remaining this season, he can go on to break Thiery Henry’s all-time Premier League record of 20 assists in one season. Surely then, nobody can stop de Bruyne from winning this individual accolade.
JAMIE VARDY (Leicester City)
With 19 goals in the 2019-20 Premier League season, Jamie Vardy sits comfortably at the peak of the scoring charts. Leicester under Brendan Rodgers has played great football and are currently third in the league without much competition from the teams below them. It seems like Champions League qualification for next season seems all set for the Foxes.
Vardy has been the influential figure in the Leicester team and has been scoring for fun this season. The team emphasises more on the possession of the ball, a system some people assumed Vardy may struggle under, but on the contrary, the Englishman has thrived in this playing style and is all set to clinch the Golden Boot award in the Premier League.
At 33, Vardy could be the oldest Golden Boot winner. A definite contender for the ‘Player of the Year’ Award, his goals tally will make a strong case for him.
SADIO MANE (Liverpool)
The African Player of the Year, Sadio Mane has had a remarkable couple of seasons at Anfield. This season the Senegalese has been a force to reckon with. With 14 goals and 7 assists so far in the Premier League, Mane has displayed his all-round abilities on a football pitch and has been super influential in Liverpool’s dominant run in the Premier League.
When in need of a match-winner or a man who can turn the match around its head, Mane has been the man to do it for the club. He has consistently stepped up when his team needed him the most. Whether it was an injury-time winner against Aston Villa or the winner against Norwich City, Mane has been superb when the players around him have faltered a little.
He has also pretty much been unplayable this season and even with his injury in December he has had a hand in 21 goals for his team. He will for sure be a top contender for the ‘Player of the Year’ award.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
Considered amongst the best strikers in the world, Aubameyang has done his reputation no harm this season, even though 2019-20 has been a difficult one for Arsenal. With 17 goals to his name, he stands second in the Golden Boot race and is expected to fight Vardy till the very last game of the season for this award.
Coming off a Golden Boot season in 2018-19, Aubameyang has been given the captaincy of Arsenal under new manager Mikel Arteta. Arsenal haven’t had a season to remember as they are languishing at ninth in the Premier League currently, but on a personal level for Aubameyang, it has been top class. More often than not he has played off the left-wing rather than his more natural central striker position and has been more impactful off the left. It gives the manager the option to have Alexandre Lacazette in the team and the two combine extremely well on the pitch.
If Aubameyang was to win back-to-back Golden Boot awards then his claim for the ‘Player of the Year’ title will become stronger.
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