Wednesday, January 20, 2021

PFA POTY contenders for Premier League 2018/19 season

The 2018/19 season of the Premier League is all set to witness a incredible title race and tense battling for the Champions League spots but who’ll be crowned the PFA Player of the Year?

As the Premier League turns towards the home straight, there are many unanswered variables. Last season (Gameweek 31), Manchester City had more or less wrapped up the title with their neighbours 16 points adrift. Arseanl had fallen off the race for the top 4 with a 13 point defict to the Spurs in fourth. The times hacve changed. This season as Manchester City trail Liverpool by 2 points, with a game in hand. While there is a gap to the chasing pack, Tottenham (3rd) and Chelsea (6th) are seperated by 4 points. In an intense Premier League sesaon, it might be tough to predict a winner, let alone the player of the year. But we at 12th Man are here to pore over the numbers and propose our the Player of the Year.

Contenders of the POTY

Virgil Van Dijk

Premier League

Let’s get the obvious option out of the way. Virgil van Dijk has been a colossus at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. The Dutchman’s arrival has seen Klopp’s men tighten their defence which has seen then go toe-to-teo with Manchester City for the title. However, a look at the statistics migth not give a fair refelection of his performances.

Virgil van Dijk’s tackle per 90 (1.1) and interceptions per 90 (1.2) numbers are fairly average. But his ability to read the game and his positional sense is second to none. The Dutchaman is what you call a pro-active defender. He puts himself in positions where he can twart attacks with having to tackle or intercept. As the great Maldini once said, “If I’ve to go for a tackle, then I have already made a mistake.”

Premier League
Virgil van Dijk doesn’t feature in the Top 10 for tackles per 90 or interceptions per 90 in the Premier League but that doesn’t necessarily paint the correct picture in his case.
Source: Whoscored

Final Word

Defending is an inherently collective task but Van Dijk is undeniably a great defender. His error against Fulham may have dented his chances a little. But there is time for redemption and Liverpool dethroning Manchester City to lift the Premier League crown will certainly swing the tide in his favour. 

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