Every month we rank the players leading the charge to be crowned Player of the Year, as Jordan Henderson slips from the No 1 slot and a Man Utd newcomer gatecrashes the top 10.
Every month we’ll be ranking the Premier League’s 10 best players in a bid to calculate who is on course to be crowned Player of the Year.
We’ll explain our thoughts, show you the climbers and fallers and name the players threatening to break into the top 10….
1/ Sadio Mane
(Last month: 2nd)
It’s been a strange month for runaway leaders Liverpool with two defeats (Atletico Madrid and Watford) in three matches although, but for Mane, it could have been worse. On as a sub, he produced a superb swivel and shot to get the only goal in a tight encounter at Norwich and the striker again popped up to net the decisive goal in the Reds’ 3-2 come-from-behind victory over West Ham. Two winners in the month is enough to return him to the top.
(Last month: 1st)
In a funny way, Henderson’s stock has risen by not playing although Mane’s tangible contributions are enough to flip the top two. Henderson was taken off in the defeat away to Atletico, missed out in the huff-and-puff win over West Ham and then had to watch from the sidelines as Liverpool were outplayed by Watford. His leadership skills and drive from midfield were sorely missing in the latter and the Reds will want him back quickly.
3/ Kevin De Bruyne
(Last month: 4th)
The Premier League assist king has 16 this term, four more than Trent Alexander-Arnold in second and double the amount of anyone else. KDB scored twice in City’s final three games of February and that included the winner away to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, showing that he should have been on penalty kicks all season. City have one trophy in the bag and De Bruyne could turn that into three by the end of the campaign.
4/ Trent Alexander-Arnold
(Last month: 5th)
A whopping 12 Premier League assists from right-back (second only to De Bruyne) and two more came in Liverpool’s final home game of February as he whipped in a superb cross for Gini Wijnaldum to head home the opener before showing quick reactions to lob the goalkeeper and allow Sadio Mane to tap in the winner. A huge creative force in Liverpool’s march to the title.
5/ Virgil van Dijk
(Last month: 3rd)
The Dutch man-mountain has been an imperious presence in the Liverpool defence this season, a huge contributor in the run of 19 straight Premier League wins that has put one hand and four fingers on the Premier League trophy. But, as his standards are ridiculously high, I’ll drop him a couple of spots for a below-par February which saw the Reds concede two at home to West Ham and three at Watford of which Van Dijk was culpable for two of them.
6/ Sergio Aguero
(Last month: 7th)
Presuming he stays fit and Pep plays him enough during City’s run-in, the numbers say that Augero will win the Premier League Golden Boot. His tally of 16 is just one off top spot but he’s banged them in at a rate of one every 84 minutes. That’s a mile clear of anyone else and, even at 31, Auguero still makes this scoring lark look incredibly easy.
7/ Danny Ings
(Last month: 6th)
Ings wheeled away in celebration twice more in February and his tally of 15 top-flight strikes accounts for 43% of Southampton’s Premier League goals this season. It’s a massive reason why the Saints have climbed to 13th, seven clear of safety, when they looked relegation fodder after the 9-0 home defeat by Southampton. His record of a Premier League goal every 128 minutes is better than Kane, Vardy, Aubameyang and Salah. That’s the level he’s working at.
8/ Raul Jimenez
(Last month: New entry)
With Adama Traore rather going off the boil in February, I’ll promote Jimenez back into the top 10 for his sheer consistency. The Mexican cost Wolves £30m to make his transfer from Benfica permanent but his strike-rate suggests he’s worth double that. Jimenez has scored 22 goals in 43 games for Wolves in all comps this season. A comparison? Joelinton cost Newcastle £40m and has netted three in 32. League tallies: Jimenez 13, Joelinton 1.
9/ Bruno Fernandes
United’s season has constantly teetered on the edge. Would they really go down the pan or finally get motoring? Thanks to the signing of Fernandes in the January transfer window, it looks very much like the latter. The Portuguese has been an instant hit, injecting class, verve and goals (three in his last three) to turn the stodge into something much more appetising for the United faithful, who now see a top-four finish (they’re 5/2 to get it) as a very realistic target. Recruit well and ye shall prosper.
10/ Dominic Calvert-Lewin
(Last month: New entry)
The youngster managed just eight goals for Everton in the last campaign and looked as if he’d be locked into the category of useful targetman who didn’t score much. But he’s been one of the Premier League’s best performers in recent weeks, scoring in five of his last six games. That’s 15 in 31 for the season, including 13 in the Premier League, and the Toffees now have a 1-in-2 striker on their hands again. Romelu who?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Anthony Martial, Richarlison, Mo Salah, Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish, Matt Doherty, Alisson, Riyad Mahrez, Ricard Pereira.