5 Early contenders for the Premier League Player Of The Year
We have witnessed some exhilarating Premier League football in the past 26 game weeks. Manchester City and Liverpool are battling it all out for the title while Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are chasing the remaining Champions League spots.
City have matched their record-breaking last season in terms of the quality of football they have been played. Though it is a Herculean task for them to outdo their unbelievable statistics from last season, some say Pep's brand of football has improved further this season.
Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have been toe-to-toe with Manchester City, boasting the league's best defensive record and only succumbing to a lone defeat at the Etihad. Clinical going forward and solid at the back, this season could finally turn out to be the season fans have been craving at the red half Merseyside for a long time.
Tottenham Hotspur are only five points behind City and Liverpool, but many are still not convinced that they are serious title-challengers. This Spurs side has what it takes to win the title but their lack of experience on the bigger stages could plague even their most remote chances of Premier League glory.
Chelsea were off-to-a-flyer in the beginning months of Sarri's reign, however, recent weeks have exposed the holes in this Chelsea side: lack of mentality, depth and motivation. Arsenal are still undergoing their transition from Arsene Wenger to Unai Emery. They have had their moments of joy, but are still a long way from competing with the best.
With the English Premier League entering its final stretch, we take a look at five players who have had a significant impact this season. These stand-out players are ranked according to their contribution to the team in terms of statistics and performance.
#5 Eden Hazard
The Belgian superstar's name is a no-brainer when it comes to listing the Premier League’s finest players of all time. Season after season, Eden Hazard has showcased his brilliance and world-class ability on the biggest stages.
Having said that, the former-Lille man has been scrutinized for his lack of goal-contributions in recent times. Being a forward with his capacity, Hazard has a relatively sub-standard tally of goal involvements compared to his counterparts.
However, this season, under Maurizio Sarri's attack-minded gameplay, Hazard has been absolutely prolific leading the assists chart with 10 ahead of the likes of Eriksen, Sané and Sterling. In terms of goal-involvements, Hazard (22) is just below Mohamed Salah (24) and Sergio Agüero (23).
The silver-ball winner of last year's World Cup has single-handedly bailed out Chelsea on several occasions. Chelsea had a fast start in the early months of this season, proving to be genuine title contenders, but over the last couple of months, their wheels have come off. Hazard, meanwhile, has been the standout performer in Chelsea's stop-start season. He is their only hope of achieving a Champions League spot.
Reports suggest that Real Madrid have been enquiring about the Belgian forward and his departure from Stamford Bridge come the end of the season looks highly likely. The Premier League will surely miss him.