PFA Team Of The Year Contenders: Forwards6 min read
In the final instalment of this series, the Premier League’s best forwards of the 2018/19 season are discussed. With only three slots available, it is tough pickings for what has been a remarkable campaign that has captivated fans from start to finish.
It seems ridiculous leaving out the likes of Sadio Mane, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, who would form their own immense front three, but it just signals how incredible the three chosen have been over the season.
Here are my three Forwards for PFA Team of the Year:
Raheem Sterling’s struggles off the pitch have been well documented over the last 12 months, but he has found absolute and relentless joy on the pitch.
The England international has been a standout performer in the Premier League this season, netting 17 goals and assisting his teammates on nine occasions. He is currently finding his name on the scoresheet every 137 minutes, which is only bettered by Sergio Aguero and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
From a wide position, Sterling causes consistent havoc when poised in a one-on-one situation with his opposite man. Whether he decides to come inside or take them on down the wing, the outcome is all the same: embarrassment.
Under Pep Guardiola, Sterling has improved drastically in a number of areas of his game, with the main one being his reliability – hence being one of the Spanish manager’s most-picked players.
Sterling deserves his place in the team and has also shown what a humble, generous role model he is that kids will look up to and take example from.
It is never a surprise to see Aguero’s name near the top of the Golden Boot award every season, and he leads the way for the 2018/19 campaign with 19 goals in 28 domestic appearances.
The Argentina international has had another stellar season – one of his best statistically since arriving at Manchester City – and is leading his side to retaining the Premier League title.
Happy about the win, the hat-trick and for matching an all-times record. It's my honour and my pleasure to belong to this FC, with great companions, amazing fans, and being part of this wonderful team. C'mon, City!!! pic.twitter.com/BM17BmERe6
— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) February 10, 2019
Such is his prolificacy, Aguero is finding the back of the net every 109 minutes, the best ratio in the league. With every half-chance that lands at his feet or on his head, it is expected that the Argentine will send the crowd wild and place the ball in the goal.
Aguero is a striker that will be remembered for being one of the best foreign imports into the Premier League for years to come. He has shown his world-class talent on a consistent basis and is the reason why he can be considered one of the best players in the world.
Once more, Aguero has been the best centre forward in England and produces match-winning moments on a regular basis that only very few in world football can match.
Perhaps a surprise inclusion given the feats of Mane and Salah, but without Eden Hazard delivering the goods for Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri might well have been sacked by now and the Blues out of the race for a top four finish.
Hazard’s consistency this season has been sensational, with stats to back it up. The Belgium international has provided 28 goals and assists in 33 appearances for Chelsea – a quite ridiculous number given the competitiveness and ruthless schedule of the Premier League.
Similarly to Sterling, it is Hazard’s unpredictability that makes him such an enigma for defenders as well as spectators to work out. His low centre of gravity enables him to change direction within a split-second and cause the defenders to fall on their backside emphatically.
With his contract up in 2020, Hazard has received a lot of interest from Real Madrid, whom he will want to impress and has done this season with his sensational performances – even when the going got tough with Chelsea.
If the Belgian is to leave the Premier League, then fans from all clubs will stand up and clap what has been seven years to cherish.