The Hard Tackle Awards for the 2018-19 Premier League season voted by the viewers have come to a close and it is time to reveal the results.
We presented polls for 10 different disciplines to gauge the best in each of them for the 2018-19 Premier League season. The polls ranged from positional to the Managers, Goals, Transfer and even Fixture of the season. There were a couple of surprise results in the poll, which will now be revealed.
It turned out to be largely a Manchester City, Liverpool affair. Without further ado, let us delve right into it, starting with the Goalkeepers.
Goalkeeper of the Season – Neil Etheridge [Cardiff City]
Cardiff City may have gone down to the Championship at the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season. But, Etheridge did not go down without a fight. Despite conceding a total of 69 goals in the league, Etheridge managed 10 clean sheets and competed against the creams of the crop for the coveted award.
Interestingly, Premier League winner Ederson Moraes ended up fourth among the five candidates, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Lukasz Fabianski finishing third and fifth respectively. It was a close battle between Alisson Becker and Etheridge for the award. But, towards the end, the Cardiff star ran away with it, with a difference of more than 14% between the two.
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Centre-Back of the Season – Virgil van Dijk [Liverpool]
One of the most one-sided results of our poll came in this discipline, with Virgil van Dijk receiving almost 83% of the total votes. The Liverpool superstar had a brilliant season at club level and capped it off well with the Champions League title. But, consistency was the mantra for van Dijk, who produced one dominating performance after another.
The rest of the four nominees received similar number of votes, with Michael Keane and Aymeric Laporte finishing joint second, just edging out the likes of Willy Boly and Harry Maguire. Van Dijk though, like his season, was class apart in the poll results.
Full-Back Pairing of the Season – Matt Doherty and Jonny [Wolves]
This was another surprise that sprung up in the poll results. While many would have thought the discipline was a foregone conclusion, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson being head and shoulders above the rest statistically, the readers chose to hand the award to Matt Doherty and Jonny.
The Wolves pairing played in an advanced position as the wing-backs and were valuable as Wolves finished record seventh in the Premier League, also creating a new record of their highest points tally in the top-flight.
Midfielder of the Season – Bernardo Silva [Manchester City]
Technically not a midfielder, Bernardo Silva was the creative impetus behind City’s indomitable performance despite the continuous absence of their key star Kevin De Bruyne. The Portuguese became a mainstay, largely for his ability to create and also be an option to stretch the play towards the edge of the pitch.
Bernardo Silva was run close by Christian Eriksen, with the Portuguese edging it by 4% of the votes. James Maddison managed to reach double figures after his breakout season, which was his first in the English top-flight.
Winger of the Season – Eden Hazard [Chelsea] and Mohamed Salah [Liverpool]
The most fascinating discipline that saw all five nominees crossing double figures in terms of voting percentage. Eden Hazard and Mohamed Salah though, edged others with a lion’s share of the votes, precisely 25.7% each. While Hazard ended the season as Chelsea’s top scorer and creator, Mohamed Salah proved he is not a one-season wonder with an equally impressive season.
Ryan Fraser, who had the second highest number of assists in the Premier League, came fifth with just over 11% votes while Raheem Sterling fell short by around 9%.
Striker of the Season – Sergio Aguero [Manchester City]
Sergio Aguero may not have bagged the Golden Boot in the Premier League up until now. But, the Manchester City striker is one of the most consistent and prolific forwards in world football and once again, it was Aguero who came up trumps as Gabriel Jesus fizzled out after a strong 2017-18 campaign.
Aguero bagged the award with more than 40% of the votes, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who shared the Golden Boot, finishing second with close to 33%. His strike partner, Alexandre Lacazette only managed 4.21% of the votes.
Manager of the Season – Jurgen Klopp [Liverpool]
This was an interesting discipline and it did spark a debate within our team as well as to who deserved it more. While Manchester City won the league with 98 points, it was Jurgen Klopp who finished a close second with his Liverpool team managing a record 97 points for an also ran in the English top-flight.
There were other able candidates as well. Nuno Espirito Santo propelled Wolves to their highest points tally and best finish in the top-flight while Mauricio Pochettino managed a top-four finish without any spending in the two transfer windows. Javi Gracia rounded out the options.
But, it seems Klopp has won the race, at least in our awards, with the Liverpool manager earning nearly 7% more than Pep Guardiola. It was great to see Espirito Santo receive more than 26% votes, more than Mauricio Pochettino and Javi Gracia combined.
Transfer of the Season – Alisson [Liverpool from AS Roma]
Interesting options again for the readers to choose from, with players ranging from goalkeepers to forwards; from mega signings to loan deals. Merseyside ruled the poll results in this discipline, with Alisson emerging the winner with a mammoth tally of almost 63% of the votes.
Lucas Digne had an equally impressive year at Everton after being somewhat frozen out at Barcelona. The Frenchman ended the poll second with close to 20%. Raul Jimenez was the only other nominee to reach double figures.
Goal of the Season – Eden Hazard [Chelsea vs West Ham United]
A category that included not five but 10 nominations saw Eden Hazard run away with the award, with his solo effort against West Ham United in the second half of the season. Vincent Kompany’s winner against Leicester City had a huge impact on City’s road to the title and the effort saw him finish second.
Andros Townsend’s wonder volley against the eventual champions earned him third place while Daniel Sturridge’s effort against Chelsea was the only other nomination to reach double digits. Hazard though, was the clear winner as his solo run bagged 48% of the votes, 30% more than any other option.
Fixture of the Season – Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool [4 January, 2019]
This was a particularly challenging discipline, with readers likely to vote on varied metrics. But, the ultimate winner was perhaps the one that reflected the entire season the best. Manchester City edged Liverpool at the turn of the year, which was symbolic of City winning the title and Liverpool running them close.
Coming on the back of two defeats in their last three games, Pep Guardiola showed just why he is renowned as one of the best managers of the current era. Considering the fact that the gap would have reached double figures had City not defeated Liverpool, this was one of the games that saw the Reds give up their immense lead and finish second, despite going into Christmas as the leaders.
The 0-0 result between Everton and Liverpool in March earned the second highest voting percentage, with the fixture also an important one in the grand scheme of things.