The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) announced their Premier League Team of the Year last week and Player of the Year on Sunday.
No surprises on the Player of the Year: Liverpool center-back Virgil van Dijk won the award. He was the odds-on favorite to do so for over a month. VVD became the first defensive player to win the honor since the 2004-05 season when Chelsea‘s John Terry was recognized as England’s best footballer.
Underscoring VVD’s year, here’s a stat: NOT ONE SINGLE PLAYER HAS DRIBBLED PAST HIM IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE THIS CAMPAIGN.
Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool in the Premier League this season:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 28, 2019
🔴 Most touches (3,262)
🔴 Most passes (2,847)
🔴 Most duels won (228)
🔴 Most clearances (193)
🔴 Most aerial duels won (170)
🔴 Most interceptions (40)
🔴 Most shots blocked (17)
The Shield of Anfield. 🛡 pic.twitter.com/AXqR4oEfI9
While the Player of the Year was absent of any drama, that wasn’t the case for the Team of the Year.
Is there any data, at all, that shows that Paul Pogba was more deserving than Edez Hazard?
By basically every statistic, Eden Hazard is a demonstrably better soccer player than Paul Pogba this year.
Eden Hazard's stats for the 2018/19 Premier League season so far…— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 25, 2019
Absolute madness he didn't make the TOTY! 😳 pic.twitter.com/5aFQTCphgz
Let’s just say…Pogba’s stats don’t line up well with the above.
|Dispossessed/ Game||Tackles / Game|
There are very few areas we can find that Pogba out-performed Hazard this year. While Hazard gets a slight knock defensively (he rarely wins tackles, however he’s also dribbled past less often than Pogba, .3 to .8 times per game, respectively), he far outshines Pogba offensively.
Hazard should’ve been on the team of the year.
As should’ve Mo Salah. But that’s another story for another time.