The Premier League is enjoying the closest title race in many seasons and the race to be crowned PFA Player of the Year 2019 is no less exciting. Just as in the title chase, Liverpool and Manchester City lead the way at the bookmakers; seven of the ten favourites are from the top two.
Last season’s award went to Mo Salah, Liverpool’s prolific striker. He also bagged the PFA Young Player of the Year and Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year. The Egypt international is among the favourites this year with Marathon Bet quoting 5/1 on him retaining his title.
Should he do so, Salah will join an exclusive group. Cristiano Ronaldo was the last player to achieve that feat in 2007 and 2008. Thierry Henry in 2003 and 2004 is the only other member.
While the Reds might land their first-ever Premier League title – and their first league title since 1990 – much of the improvement came at the back. Which explains why Virgil van Dijk is currently 6/4 favourite to be voted by his peers as Player of the Year. Should the Netherlands international do so, he will be the first defender to win the trophy since 2005 when Chelsea captain won.
Sandwiched between the two is Sergio Kun Aguero and usually in that situation, the Argentine scores. At 3/1, the Manchester City striker is surely a good bet to receive most votes. He’s on course to enjoy his best-ever season in England, needing 10 goals in the final 11 games of the season to claim the Golden Boot. Salah, naturally, is level with him on 17 goals. Will the title be decided by whichever of the two scores the most goals between now and the end of the season?
Team-mate Raheem Sterling (6/1) is playing some of the best football of his career on the most consistent basis. Six goals short of his best scoring tally in the Premier League, his brace of goals during England’s 3 – 2 win in Spain last October were his first for his country in three years. He also netted his 50th Premier League goal in January 2019.
Completing the quintet of clear favourites is Manchester City’s magician, David Silva – 11/1 in the latest offerings. The 33-year-old Spaniard remains as important to Pep Guardiola’s plans as ever, and with six goals is enjoying as much influence over the team as ever. Along with Vincent Kompany and Aguero, he won three Premier League titles with City. Can he make it four and add the PFA Player of the Year award as well?
The Dark Horses
Son Heung-min is currently the highest-ranking Tottenham Hotspur player (14/1) with team-mate Harry Kane (16/1) forced out of the reckoning by injury. Across North London, Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (25/1) is a rare shaft of light on a dismal season. Just how poor the Gunners campaign has been is reflected in Petr Cech being (100/1) for Player of the Year, the same odds as Granit Xhaka.
Manchester United representation is thin on the ground which isn’t particularly surprising given their form under Jose Mourinho. Paul Pogba’s hype carries him along at 25/1 but staggeringly, the next highest ranked player is Jesse Lingard (66/1).
Never let it be said bookmakers don’t have a sense of humour. Alexis Sanchez is 100/1 as is Jermaine Defoe, Jack Wilshere and Alvaro Morata. If it’s down to christening them The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, the one nominated as ‘and’ is the winner of that quartet.
The Facts and The Figures
- This is the 46th PFA Player of the Year award
- Only four defenders have won the award – Norman Hunter (1974), Colin Todd (1975), Gary Pallister (1992) and John Terry (2005).
- Only two goalkeepers have won the award – Pat Jennings (1976) and Peter Shilton (1978)
- Only three of the last 10 winners won the Premier League title in the same season – Riyadh Mahrez (2016), Eden Hazard (2015) and Ryan Giggs (2009).
- The last English player to win the trophy was Wayne Rooney in 2010.