As we approach the end of the season, and Chelsea look to be the Premier League champions of the 2016/17 campaign, it’s time for AFEFootballNews’ to unveil its top 50 best players of the season list.
The list is dominated by Chelsea and Tottenham players, but also features players who have performed well for some of the leagues basement teams.
Players from one to ten on the list are in order and players named after that are a little bit scattered, but nevertheless deserve their place on the list.
So, from one to fifty, here’s AFEFootballNews’ top 50 stars of the season …
1. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Harry Kane has proven that he’s not just a one or even a two-season wonder, after enjoying a brilliant third season with Spurs this season, where they look certain to finish above North London rivals Arsenal for the first time ever.
A classic English striker, Kane knows exactly where to be to score the goals, much like Gary Lineker was back in the day. Poacher.
He has scored 19 Leagues goals this season and is AFEFootballNews’ player of the year, simply because he’s been in incredible form and helped Spurs out in so many matches this year, having a massive impact, even in big games.
2. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Alexis is another man who’s revelling in his third season at his club.
The Chilean has been in blistering form at times and his performance against West Ham in December was the finest of the lot. A hat-trick made up of three fantastic goals saw him prove that he truly is a special player
The Gunners winger turned striker has scored 18 League goals and provided 9 assists this season, despite it being a campaign that Arsenal fans will not want to remember as time goes by. It could get from bad to worse if he leaves in the summer, but there’s no doubting that he’d be a great addition to pretty much any team in the world.
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Belgian powerhouse Lukaku has broken records this season.
He is the youngest player ever to hit 80 goals in the Premier League (at 23 years old) and also surpassed Everton’s Duncan Ferguson’s club record goal haul. A seriously impressive record this season of 21 goals in 30 appearances has made him the Premier League’s top scorer *
It’s going to be really hard for Everton to hold on to Lukaku come summer time, as he himself has stated that he wants to leave. I can see him being at either Manchester United or Arsenal or even possibly returning to Chelsea. Time will tell though.
4. Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Alli has picked up where he left off last season, with 15 goals and 5 assists to his name.
He has added some serious attacking spark to their side, alongside Christian Eriksen, laying off assists to Harry Kane and scoring for fun himself, all the while, helping Tottenham reach new heights as they look set to finish in their highest ever position in the Premier League (2nd).
He is a truly special player and as he is still only 21 years old, he could easily become one of the best in the Premier League within the next few years.
5. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
When Liverpool paid Southampton over £40 million for the Senegalese winger in the summer of last year, they made him the most expensive African player of all time. People gawped and laughed.
But, he instantly repaid their faith and belief in him, with a debut goal in the club’s 4-3 away win at Arsenal on the opening day of the season. Since then, he’s continued to impress and has become their standout player with 13 goals and 5 assists to his name.
Unfortunately though, his recent injury has ruled him out for the rest of this season, which could potentially put Liverpool’s top four hopes in danger.
6. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Hazard has re-discovered his form this season after both he and Chelsea fell of the rails last season.
Alongside Diego Costa, he has been the Blues’ main attacking threat, which was well and truly highlighted in a 3-1 victory over Arsenal back in February, where he ran from just inside the oppositions half, through half of the Gunners team and slotted the ball into the net. The Belgian winger has 13 goals and 5 assists this year and will most likely be up for PFA player of the year, come the end of the season.
He’s played a big role in Chelsea’s revival this season as they look set to lift the Premier League title.
7. Diego Costa (Chelsea)
The controversial Spanish hitman sure knows how to wind people up. But, luckily for Chelsea, he also knows how to score goals too. 17 this season in fact.
The goals that he has scored this season have been vitally important to Antonio Conte’s side this year and for once, his effect on the team has not been overshadowed by other things such as his “will he/won’t he?” China transfer or his throwing his dummy out of the pram antics. He’s been a little quieter on the controversy front this year and I think Conte has a lot to do with that.
A deadly finisher, there’s no doubt that Costa is one of the best strikers in the Premier League right now.
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Whoever said that the 35-year-old Swede was too old to hack it in the Premier League (and I was one of them) was totally wrong.
The 6ft 5′ striker has been on fire for United this season, scoring 16 goals and being their best performer by far. He’s proven to be someone they can turn to in their hour of need.
His 16 goals have come in just 26 games for United this season, not bad for a player who was brought in on a free transfer (although his wages are through the roof!).
He may only be in the Premier League for a season, as he looks set to go to L.A. Galaxy in the summer, but he’s certainly leaving his mark in England, like he has on the rest of the world.
9. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)
For a Swansea player to be in the top 10 in the League, he’s got to be pretty special player and Gylfi is exactly that.
As the Swans have endured a dismal season, where they are still fighting to stay up (they are 18th in the league as I write this), Sigurdsson has stood out by a country mile. The Iceland international is joint top of the table in terms of assists in the League (11) alongside City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Some of the world’s biggest clubs are keeping an eye on him as if Swansea do get relegated this year, they’d almost certainly have to sell him (despite his apparent desire to stay).
If Swansea do go on to stay up come the end of the season, then they will no doubt have their superhuman midfielder to thank for it.
10. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Kante has caused a real storm among fans and pundits alike, being dubbed the “new Makelele” for his tireless approach to playing in the defensive midfield position.
Many are tipping him to be the player of the year when the season ends, as his ball winning tackles and his incredible energy and stamina have made him really stand out amongst his peers.
Following on from his fairy tale debut season with Leicester, the Frenchman looks set to make it two Premier League titles in just two seasons of playing in England.
11. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
12. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
13. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Another Belgian wizard, De Bruyne has been City’s main creative spark this season.
With 11 assists to his name, he’s been responsible for providing the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus with the through balls that allow them to score.
As he continues to get used to playing in England, he could become one of the best players around soon.
14. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham)
15. Michail Antonio (West Ham United)
16. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)
Jermain Defoe is a machine, pure and simple.
At 34 years old, the Sunderland striker has now been banging in the goals in the Premier League for 15 years and has stamped his name in the top 10 Premier League goal scorers of all time with 157 goals.
His ability to score goals out of absolutely nothing have seen him turn into a truly potent forward and despite playing in a struggling Sunderland side, he has 14 goals this season. He really deserve to play for a bigger club in my opinion, no disrespect to Sunderland, but he is too good for them.
17. Idrissa Gueye (Everton)
Much like Kante, Gueye has become an important player in the re-development of the defensive midfielder role.
Since his move to Everton from Aston Villa in the summer, he’s become a regular feature in Everton’s side. He’s also made more tackles than anybody else in the league (yes, even Kante) with 115 successful challenges to his name.
His performances often go unnoticed in some matches, but the work rate he puts in for his side really is incredible.
18. Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
19. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
20. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
21. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Often slated for “not being good enough”, even by his own fans, but the truth is, Oli G is a truly underrated striker.
His Premier League record speaks for itself. 9 goals in 21 matches this year, 16 in 38 last season, 14 in 27 the season before that. Not prolific in any sense, but pretty damn decent and certainly not “poor” as a lot of his critics will have you believe.
He’s struggled with injuries this season, 14 of those 21 appearances have involved him coming off the bench, but with his fitness slowly getting back to full flow, he could definitely add a handful of goals to his tally before the season ends.
As Arsenal look increasingly likely to miss out on Champions League football for the first time in 15 years, can Giroud be their saviour?
22. Troy Deeney (Watford)
21. Fernando Llorente (Swansea City)
22. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
23. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
24. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
25. Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Heaton has made the most saves in the Premier League this season, 117 in total.
Burnley’s form this season has been hit and miss but they look as though they should be safe from relegation with just seven games to go. If they do manage to avoid the drop, they’ll have their defence and in particular, Heaton to thank for collecting those crucial points throughout the year.
26. Ashley Williams (Everton)
27. Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
28. Josh King (Bournemouth)
Who could’ve predicted the season that Norwegian striker King has had?
Bournemouth fans would have thought before the start of the season, that either Callum Wilson or Benik Afobe would be the most likely candidates to lead the line for them in attack. But it is King who has truly stepped up.
After a decent campaign helping the Cherries stay up last year, the former Manchester United man has scored 12 goals in 30 games and has really caught the eye of fans of the Premier League.
29. Robert Snodgrass (Hull/West Ham)
30. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
31. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
32. Steve Cook (Bournemouth)
Cook has been quietly superb for Bournemouth this season and has established himself as a defensive rock.
He tops the clearances (304) and headed clearances (195) charts and has proven tough for strikers to play against, with even the biggest of teams dropping points to him and his team-mates throughout the season.
Often overlooked by many, but the 25-year-old is fantastic in the heart of the Cherries defence and it won’t be long before someone starts to take notice of that.
33. Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
34. Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)
35. Michael Keane (Burnley)
36. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
Belgian keeper Courtois is top of the clean sheets chart with 13 to his name, two more than second placed David De Gea (Manchester United).
The 6f’ 6′ stopper has been an important player in Chelsea’s side and kept them at the top of the league with some of the top drawer saves he’s pulled off throughout the campaign.
He’s developing into one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Chelsea will have to do everything they can to hold on to him.
37. Victor Wanyama (Tottenham)
38. David De Gea (Manchester United)
39. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
40. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
41. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
The world’s most expensive player after his £85 million return to Old Trafford in the summer, Pogba has been slated this season.
The pressure a price tag like that can put on a player can be immense and although the Frenchman hasn’t been incredible or shown that he’s worth that incredible price tag yet, you have to remember that this is his first full season of playing in the Premier League.
He’s shown glimpses of what he can do, a goal here and a fancy pass or skill there, but he’s got a long way to go before he justifies his “world record” status. Despite that, he’s got to be in the top 50 as his impact when he does turn up is undisputable.
42. Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
43. Gareth McAuley (West Brom)
44. Seamus Coleman (Everton)
45. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
46. Joe Allen (Stoke City)
47. Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
48. Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
49. Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
50. Curtis Davies (Hull City)
* Stats correct as of 07/04/2017.
Arsenal – 5 players
Bournemouth – 2 players
Burnley – 2 players
Chelsea – 6 players
Crystal Palace – 2 players
Everton – 4 players
Hull City – 2 players
Liverpool – 5 players
Leicester City – 1 player
Manchester City – 2 players
Manchester United – 4 players
Middlesbrough – 1 player
Southampton – 1 player
Stoke City – 1 player
Sunderland – 1 player
Swansea City – 2 players
Tottenham Hotspur – 8 players
Watford – 1 player
West Brom – 1 player
West Ham – 2 players
Amounts to 51 because Snodgrass played for both Hull and West Ham.
Agree with my choices? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
Player pictures taken from Premier League website.