With the Premier League season formally on the midway level, we’re handing out some {hardware}, trying on the good, dangerous, and ugly from the opening 19 matches of the marketing campaign.

Greatest participant: Virgil van Dijk

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That £75-million charge continues to appear to be a steal each week. Virgil van Dijk is not solely answerable for Liverpool‘s impenetrable protection – the Reds have conceded a league-best seven objectives this season via 19 matches – however he is the anchor of a backline that has featured a rotating solid of characters alongside him. Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, and Joel Matip have all slotted in beside the towering Dutchman, who exudes a way of calm and management that has Liverpool supporters able to consider within the prospect of seeing their membership seize a first-ever home title within the Premier League period.

Honorable point out: Eden Hazard

Most necessary participant: Fernandinho

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It might not be flashy – such is the lifetime of a defensive midfielder – however Fernandinho‘s position on the coronary heart of the Manchester Metropolis machine is completely very important. The Brazilian, 33, is the hyperlink between the protection and assault, and, extra importantly, is the defend that protects the backline. He all the time appears to be within the right place to chop out a possible opposition counterattack, which is invaluable for a facet like Metropolis that dictate tempo and possession. It is no coincidence that Pep Guardiola’s males have misplaced their final two matches – falling seven factors adrift of Liverpool within the course of – with the Brazilian out of the lineup. Metropolis merely haven’t got a direct substitute for Fernandinho.

Honorable point out: David De Gea

Greatest signing: Lucas Torreira

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Lucas Torreira‘s mixture of insatiable chunk and artful passing skill is exactly what Arsenal have lengthy been crying out for within the heart of the pitch. His transfer from Sampdoria, for a reported £27 million, screamed “slam dunk” when it was introduced, and the 22-year-old has really gone out and exceeded expectations for Unai Emery. Slowly built-in into the squad, the feisty Uruguayan midfielder is now firmly established not solely as a mainstay within the beginning XI however as a fan favourite on the Emirates.

Honorable point out: Alisson

Worst signing: Fred

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Woof. Arriving at Outdated Trafford for a reported £53-million charge from Shakhtar Donetsk, the Brazilian was imagined to be the complementary piece that solidified Manchester United‘s midfield, thus permitting Paul Pogba to have extra freedom to get ahead and take over matches. Quick ahead a couple of months, and he is largely been stapled to the bench, making simply seven Premier League begins. Hopefully for the 25-year-old, Jose Mourinho being out of the image helps to show his fortunes round.

(Dis)honorable point out: Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Most nice shock: Bournemouth’s Wilson-Fraser-Brooks triumvirate

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An oft-injured striker, a 5-foot-Three winger, and a baby-faced midfielder who seems to be like he is about 12 years previous is not precisely what you consider when attempting to craft an thrilling attacking triumvirate, however that is precisely the make-up of the trio that has powered Bournemouth this season: Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, and David Brooks have already mixed for 17 objectives and 14 assists on the marketing campaign. The English striker, thriving after recovering from a number of ACL tears, earned his first England cap in 2018, scoring on his debut; solely Eden Hazard has extra assists within the Premier League this 12 months than Fraser, the diminutive Scottish worldwide; Brooks’ breakout season has seen him linked with the likes of Tottenham.

Honorable point out: James Maddison

Largest flop: Jose Mourinho

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We must always have identified it might finish like this. Jose Mourinho had already begun morphing into the identical depressing curmudgeon he all the time appears to grow to be earlier than his third season at Manchester United even started, however he in some way kicked issues into one other gear on the tail finish of 2018. His sacking was inevitable. He racked up a meager 26 factors over 17 matches – United’s worst begin to a season in 28 years – and constantly put forth a dour product that was horrid to look at. His antics, and, certainly, his model of soccer, is grating even when his membership is profitable. When he is shedding, although, it is downright unimaginable to place up with.

Honorable point out: Fulham

Greatest younger participant: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

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Crystal Palace will want a miracle to maintain maintain of Aaron Wan-Bissaka via the summer time of 2019. The 21-year-old right-back has been one of many breakout stars within the Premier League this season, showcasing each his defensive aptitude – he is among the many league leaders in each tackles and interceptions – and attacking aptitude. The London native, who has garnered sustained reward from followers and pundits alike all through the marketing campaign, seems to be destined for an opulent switch within the very close to future.

Honorable point out: Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Christian Eriksen Award for making ‘the leap’ to stardom: Heung-Min Son

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Heung-Min Son is a bona fide celebrity. The electrifying Tottenham attacker, who has 5 objectives in his final three matches in all competitions, has gone from criminally underrated to perpetually praised within the blink of an eye fixed. Extra impressively, on this hyper-partisan age of fandom the place it is grow to be frowned upon to acknowledge the skills of somebody who performs for a membership you do not help, Son is universally liked. Maybe that is his best accomplishment of all.

The Jogi Low Award for weirdest touchline snack: Maurizio Sarri


If you cannot smoke ’em … chew ’em? Unable to gentle up on the sidelines within the Premier League, Chelsea supervisor Maurizio Sarri has resorted to chewing his cigarettes whereas furiously taking notes and giving directions from the dugout. Jogi Low is not the one one with questionable touchline etiquette, then.

The Harry Kane Award for proving the ‘one-season surprise’ haters fallacious: Mohamed Salah

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Those that questioned Mohamed Salah‘s skill to maintain his scoring output have, fortunately, gone into hiding. Very like the inane chatter round Harry Kane earlier in his profession, there have been questions on whether or not Salah’s unimaginable 44-goal season in 2017-18 was merely a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Do not look now, however he is sitting second within the Premier League with 12 tallies this 12 months – solely Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has extra with 13 – and, in a fair better indicator of his continued skill to ship, the Egyptian star is tops in Anticipated Targets, too.

The Antonio Conte Award for finest follicle transformation: David Silva

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The thriller has been solved. David Silva‘s jarring resolution to shed his luscious locks in 2017 left many perplexed, however his newfound hairline – which has solely come to gentle in the previous couple of weeks – places any confusion to mattress. The methodical Spanish midfielder adopted within the footsteps of Antonio Conte, Andros Townsend, and numerous others, and went in for a hair transplant. Fortunately, he did not get a referral from Wayne Rooney.

The Alisson Award for making pundits eat crow a couple of switch charge: Richarlison

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Many eyebrows had been raised when Everton splashed £40 million to pluck Brazilian ahead Richarlison from Watford, reuniting him with supervisor Marco Silva. These important of the transfer have certainly modified their tune now; the 21-year-old, who can play in quite a lot of attacking positions, leads the Toffees with 9 Premier League objectives on the season. His mixture of trickery on the ball and prowess within the air makes him probably the most distinctive gamers within the league, and he ought to solely proceed to develop right into a dominant drive.

The Jose Mourinho Award for tiresome managerial soundbites: Sean Dyche


Sean Dyche labored wonders with Burnley final season – thanks, in no small half, to a good bit of luck at each ends of the pitch – nevertheless it definitely seems to be as if his fortune has run out. Mired in a relegation scrap, the Clarets have already conceded extra objectives this season (41) than all of final 12 months (39). As outcomes have worsened, so too have the hoarse supervisor’s post-match excuses; a lecture about diving and the state of the game after a loss to Arsenal was his most tedious but.

The Adrien Silva Award for ready to get your likelihood: Fabinho

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Endurance is a advantage. It took an eternity for Jurgen Klopp to combine Fabinho into the facet after his big-money transfer from Monaco, however the versatile Brazilian is trying increasingly more snug because the midfield conductor all of us anticipated him to be upon his arrival from Ligue 1. He is been concerned in three objectives in as many Premier League matches during the last two weeks, with a commanding Man of the Match efficiency towards Manchester United his standout outing to date. If the Reds are literally going to tug this off and seize the title, Fabinho will play a pivotal position.


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