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Race to POTY – van Dijk heads into 2019 on top

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@DaveTindallgolf‘s Race to the Premier League Player of the Year after Matchday 20.
Happy New Year everyone.

1/ Virgil Van Dijk

(Last week: 1)

It’s hard to assess how many points Van Dijk has been worth to Liverpool in their sensational start to the campaign. A magnet to dangerous balls into the box, the Dutchman has guided the Reds to 12 clean sheets in their 20 matches and they’ve conceded just eight times. Ask 50,000 LFC fans why they’re seven points clear and 50,000 will mention Van Dijk at some point.

2/ Mo Salah

(Last week: 3)

Salah couldn’t hit the heights of last season in Liverpool’s opening games but we’re now back to those same levels where we expect him to score in every match. The Egyptian now has seven in his last six and that includes goals in the two Festive fixtures which have put him joint-top scorer with 13. His superb cushioned pass also set up Sadio Mane’s strike against Arsenal so he has seven assists too. Add it all up and he’s scored or assisted 20 times in 20 PL games. Up he goes to No.2, his highest ranking of the season.

3/ Eden Hazard

(Last week: 4)

Chelsea wobbled against Leicester but, despite being played as a ‘false nine’, Hazard got on with it and struck twice – his 9th and 10th Premier League goals of the campaign – to inspire the Blues to a bounceback victory at Watford on Boxing Day. He’s also assisted nine times so, on those numbers, he nudges up a spot from last week,

4/ Raheem Sterling

(Last week: 2)

City were flying high and seemingly unstoppable going into December and Sterling was a big reason for it with his goals and assists – current tallies show he’s netted nine times and set up six more. But he’s gone a little flat over the Festive period and just one goal in his last seven games means he’s down to No.4 now having previously topped the charts for four weeks.

5/ Harry Kane

(Last week: 4)

The goals continue to fly in for Kane and excellent finishes against Bournemouth on Boxing Day and Wolves three days later have taken him into a three-way tie for the golden Boot on 13. It’s tough at the top though and, it’s not so much that I’m dropping Kane a spot, more a case of others (Salah and Hazard) flying past after guiding their teams to maximum points over Christmas. Spurs’ 3-1 loss to Wolves was a big blow and Kane looked a little tired when the game turned against them.

6/ David Silva

(Last week: 6)

Silva’s importance to City can’t  be overestimated. His absence coincided with their stunning defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester but, back in the starting XI for the first time since December 8th, Silva took just 10 minutes to find the net and set City on the way to three points at Southampton.

7/ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

(Last week: 7)

The Arsenal striker remains high up despite a genuinely forgettable game against Liverpool when he touched the ball just 10 times, six of those kick-offs after the Reds kept scoring. However, prior to that he’d hit a 13th Premier League goal of the season at Brighton. A livewire up front being let down by a porous Gunners defence.

8/ Sadio Mane


Mane held top spot in these charts at the start of the season before cooling a little. However, the Liverpool frontman continues to play a serious part in the Reds’ charge and banged in the third goal in LFC’s 5-1 hammering of Arsenal. That was his eighth of the Premier League campaign and his pace has played a big part in plenty more.

9/ Sergio Aguero

(Last week: N/A)

Aguero missed nearly a month of Premier League action with a muscle injury so it’s impressive that he still has nine PL goals and five assists these season. He nudged both tallies up by one in the 3-1 win at Southampton and will be a key man as City look to close the gap on Liverpool.

10/ Neil Etheridge

(Last week: N/A)

Back-to-back clean sheets for Cardiff and the latter against Leicester paved the way for a crucial 1-0 win. The turning point in the match was Neil Etheridge’s penalty save, his third of the season. As well as boosting his side’s hopes of beating the drop, it also prompted this memorable tweet from Lewis Swallow: “Neil Etheridge’s 3 saved penalties this season have been from players who share a name with a US President: Wilson, Kenedy and Maddison.”

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