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Premier League: Who was each team’s top performer this season?

N'Golo Kante (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
N'Golo Kante (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

N’GOLO KANTE has monopolised the main individual awards this season, being voted Player of the Year by the PFA and Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.

His team-mate Eden Hazard was runner-up in both polls, which have been largely dominated by Chelsea and Tottenham players.

But who has been the top performer at each of the Premier League clubs?

Here, we give you the short lists and our verdict on the 20 individual club players of the season.

ARSENAL

THIS has been a season of underperformance from Arsene Wenger’s team with very few players doing themselves justice.

Alexis Sanchez made the PFA’s list of six nominees, but though he’s produced some magical moments, there’s been a sense over recent months that he’s become disillusioned by others failing to match his effort.

Hector Bellerin had a good first half of the season, but has faded and Petr Cech, though still one of the all-time great keepers, has made more mistakes than usual.

LAURENT KOSCIELNY’S value to the side has been illustrated by what’s happened when he’s missing from their defence.

A remarkable stat from the Champions League Round of 16 ties shows that best.

In the first leg, Arsenal were drawing 1-1 before the Frenchman was forced off with an injury just after half-time. Arsenal lost 5-1.

In the second leg, the Gunners were winning 1-0 when he was shown a red card just after half-time. Again, Arsenal imploded and lost 5-1.

BOURNEMOUTH

EDDIE HOWE’S team have survived with some comfort and it’s been very much a collective effort.

Harry Arter has received many plaudits, particularly for the way he managed to refocus on football after his partner Rachel gave birth to a stillborn child last season.

Full-back Adam Smith and wide man Ryan Fraser have made huge strides, but the outstanding contribution has come from striker JOSH KING.

The Norwegian spent four years at Manchester United without playing a first- team game and after multiple loan spells, ended up at Blackburn.

He scored only six League goals last season but has more than doubled that tally this term and his form since January has been electric.

Josh King (Getty Images)
Josh King (Getty Images)

 

BURNLEY

IF a team with as small a wage bill as Burnley survives in the Premier League, everyone in the squad has done his job.

Michael Keane has become the first Burnley outfield player to play for England since Martin Dobson in 1974.

Alongside Ben Mee — another outstanding performer — he’s been a key reason why the defensive record at Turf Moor has kept them up.

Behind them, though, is another who has gained England international status in the last year or so, goalkeeper TOM HEATON.

Like Keane, a former Manchester United youngster, Heaton has often been the difference between three points and one, or one and zero.

His stand-out game was perhaps his return to Old Trafford, when he made 11 top-notch saves to keep the score at 0-0.

 

CHELSEA

BUT for the two obvious choices, there have been maybe half a dozen players who might have justifiable claims to be the Stamford Bridge Player of the Season.

David Luiz was once described as a “PlaySation footballer”, but the Brazilian has cut out the unforced errors and has been rock solid in Antonio Conte’s defence.

Alongside him, Cesar Azpilicueta has been the epitome of consistency and Gary Cahill on the other side hasn’t been bad either.

Both wing-backs, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, have been surprise stars and Pedro has looked the player he seemed to be when he was at Barcelona.

But you can’t see past Eden Hazard and N’GOLO KANTE, with the Frenchman edging ahead partly because he’s now shown with two different clubs how much of an influence he can be on a title race.

 

CRYSTAL PALACE

THE departure of Alan Pardew and arrival of Sam Allardyce was perhaps not quite the game-changer many thought it would be.

In terms of individual performers, there haven’t been many who can say they have been pleased with 2016-17.

Christian Benteke has been more effective under Big Sam and on loan centre-back Mamadou Sakho did more in eight games than many have all season.

However, the pace and skill of WILFRED ZAHA have been in evidence all season, despite the pressure to produce the goods.

 

EVERTON

RONALD KOEMAN’S team have just fallen short of competing with the Big Six and will take little consolation from the fact that they are clearly the best of the rest.

The end of the season might have been different but for the loss of influential right-back Seamus Coleman, who suffered that horrific double leg break while on duty for the Republic of Ireland.

It’s been a season for introducing bright, new academy talent, with Tom Davies the stand-out star of a promising bunch.

Ross Barkley has been annoyingly inconsistent but the same accusation can’t be levelled at striker ROMELU LUKAKU, who looks like finishing the campaign as the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Belgian’s scoring had been patchy, but this season, he’s looked the real deal.

 

HULL CITY

THE Tigers’ relegation fight has thrown the spotlight on those players brought into the club following Marco Silva’s arrival in January.

Consequently, Kamil Grosicki, Andrea Ranocchia and Alfred N’Diaye have impressed.

But taking the season as a whole, you have to acknowledge Harry Maguire and midfielder SAM CLUCAS.

Maguire has caught the eye of bigger clubs, but it’s 26-year-old Clucas, whose background includes spells at Lincoln, Hereford, Mansfield and Chesterfield, who has been the mainstay of the side.

 

LEICESTER CITY

A SEASON of two halves for the Champions — first half awful, second half very decent.

Once assistant boss Craig Shakespeare went back to the formula that had brought success, the big names started to perform again.

You could plot virtually the same form graph for all the players — Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater.

However, keeper KASPER SCHMEICHEL whose injury absence was a factor in the team’s poor form, has been the most- consistent performer.

 

LIVERPOOL

JURGEN KLOPP’S team have been electric at times and ordinary at others and that means individual players have had similar inconsistencies.

Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane have all shone brightly in spells but each has had a season affected by injuries and patchy form.

JAMES MILNER has been operating as a left-back all season. It’s not his proper position but it’s testimony to his consummate professionalism that he’s made it work.

 

MANCHESTER CITY

IF Pep Guardiola had his way, it would probably be Claudio Bravo!

The City manager has spent most of the campaign telling everyone how good his goalkeeper is, though no-one who has ever seen Bravo play believes it.

Sergio Aguero has scored plenty as usual and Ferndandinho would have been in with a shout had he not kept getting himself suspended.

So, DAVID SILVA gets the vote, simply because he’s still the man who makes the difference in Pep’s expensive team.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

IT’S perhaps a reflection of the failure of others that there is only one possible winner of this one.

Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have been the two who have pushed him closest, but ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has been head and shoulders above the rest.

Before his season ended early with knee ligament damage, the 35-year-old Swede had confounded anyone who ever doubted his ability to thrive in the Premier League.

He’s scored 28 goals in 41 appearances.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

MIDDLESBROUGH

BORO go down as the Premier League’s lowest scorers, so it would be hard to justify naming anyone but a defender.

George Friend has been consistent, but the stand-out player has been BEN GIBSON, the nephew of Chairman Steve, who has Middlesbrough literally in his blood.

He’s on the fringe of the England squad, but may have to leave his beloved Boro if he wants to continue his progress.

 

SOUTHAMPTON

THE Saints have once again looked a decent team despite their usual change in manager and the sales of their best players.

There have been excellent performances from James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond, both of whom have attracted Gareth Southgate’s interest, but it’s ORIOL ROMEU who has really caught the eye.

He’s a former Chelsea defensive midfielder and Saints boss Claude Puel has said that he’s almost as good as Kante.

That’s a slight exaggeration, but he has had an excellent season.

 

STOKE CITY

IT’S been a bit of a nothing season for Mark Hughes’ team and to illustrate that, no single player has really stood out.

Ryan Shawcross and Marko Arnautovic would be worth considering, but the most-noteworthy contribution has come from midfielder JOE ALLEN.

 

SUNDERLAND

SO bad has the season been for the Black Cats that you would think they wouldn’t have any candidates!

That’s not quite true, because young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been outstanding and it might have been a different story had he been fit all season.

But the award must go to striker JERMAIN DEFOE, who has averaged almost a goal every two games in a team that barely creates a chance most weeks.

The 34-year-old has also revived his England career in the process and there will be no shortage of interest when he leaves the Stadium of Light this summer.

Jermain Defoe (Getty Images)
Jermain Defoe (Getty Images)

SWANSEA CITY

IT’S always tempting to look no further than Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson because he has long been the Swans’ best player.

He’s been good again this season and the goals of Fernando Llorente have been crucial, but the man who’s really taken the eye is young defender ALFIE MAWSON.

He’s a 23-year-old Londoner who was with Barnsley last season, but he’s become a bit of a folk hero in South Wales and could well have a future with England.

 

TOTTENHAM

LIKE Chelsea, there are probably half a dozen contenders for Spurs’ Player of the Year in what has been an exceptional season.

Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele — you couldn’t go wrong with any of them.

But the man who makes everything tick is CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN.

Everyone knew about his exceptional passing ability but this season, the Dane has added work-rate to his armoury.

It’s a cliche, but if Eriksen plays well, Spurs play well.

Christian Eriksen (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Christian Eriksen (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

WATFORD

THIS is a difficult one as the obvious choice, striker and club captain Troy Deeney, has found himself dropped on occasion by manager Walter Mazzarri.

If not him, then goalkeeper HEURELHO GOMES would be a worthy winner.

 

WEST BROM

ALBION have been chasing their highest- ever Premier League finish and the fact that they’ve never had even the faintest concern about relegation speaks volumes for the job Tony Pulis has done.

He’s been assisted by the fact he has probably the most-experienced squad in the League and every single one of them knows exactly what they’re doing.

So take a bow Craig Dawson, Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans and Chris Brunt, but mostly take a bow, GARETH McAULEY.

The Northern Irishman is the oldest outfield player in the Premier League at 37 and he’s still going strong, weighing in with half a dozen goals as well as some sterling defensive performances.

Gareth McAuley (Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Gareth McAuley (Ian Walton/Getty Images)

WEST HAM

THE Hammers have been desperately disappointing after the high water mark they set last season.

You’d always be on safe ground if you voted for Mark Noble, but that’s a bit of a cop out, so my choice is MANUEL LANZINI who has at least partially filled the boots of the departed Dmitri Payet.