The 2017/18 Premier League season will live long in the memory for unprecedented campaigns at both ends of the table. The relegation battle proved to be one of the most competitive the Premier League has ever seen, while champions Manchester City set new records for points, goals scored and biggest title-winning margin en route to the English crown.
But away from the teams, there are plenty of individual campaign-long performances to remember fondly as well. A whopping 33 different Premier League players were nominated for PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans’ Player of the Month and Player of the Season awards last season, in nationwide polls carried out by fan engagement experts Snack Media.
So, with the new Premier League season now just a matter of weeks away, here’s a quick look back at which stars from the English top flight picked up awards last season.
The shared August and September award was all about goalscorers, and Romelu Lukaku quite rightly claimed it after an explosive start to his Manchester United career. During the first two months of the campaign, the Belgian netted seven times from just 15 shots on target, leaving fellow nominees Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata trailing in his wake with six apiece. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne also received nominations as Manchester City won six of their first seven Premier League fixtures.
The only defender to win an award last season, Nacho Monreal’s sudden burst of goals – bagging two in four appearances – and impressive form as the left-sided member of Arsenal’s back three saw him claim the October prize. The Spaniard fended off some impressive competition too; Leroy Sane bagged three goals and three assists while Burnley’s stand-in goalkeeper Nick Pope made an incredible 21 saves in the space of a month.
Mohamed Salah’s November award would prove to be the first of many for the Liverpool sensation, who quite incredibly hadn’t even been nominated for the two honours prior prior. But November truly marked the Egyptian international’s rise to talismanic status at Anfield, scoring seven times to finish the month with at least two more goals than any other Premier League player and become the first in the division to hit double figures. That included back-to-back braces against West Ham and Southampton.
Suddenly Salah had begun to monopolise the award, becoming the first player of the season to lift it in consecutive months, in no small part due to a return of five goals and three assists in December alone. Kane, though, actually outscored the Liverpool star with eight goals from 38 shots, bagging hat-tricks against both Burnley and Southampton, while Everton and England man Jordan Pickford earned a nomination for his shot-stopping heroics despite conceding four times.
Breaking up Salah’s almighty hold on the monthly accolade, Heung-min Son beat the Reds forward to January’s award. The Tottenham man earned it more for the quality than quantity of his output, inspiring a win over Everton with one goal and one assist after scoring a stunner against West Ham. But Aguero, with five goals from just 14 shots, has a right to feel aggrieved that his pure potency wasn’t acknowledged by the voters, while Salah didn’t even receive a nomination for his performances during the opening weeks of 2018.
With four goals and two assists, Salah’s form once again proved irresistible as far as the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans’ Player of the Month award was concerned, picking up his third of the season in February. In the process, he saw off competition from attacking accomplice Roberto Firmino, who combined two goals with an impressive ten tackles, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Pascal Gross – the Brighton man notching up a division-best eleven key passes in February.
Salah’s second award brace of the season came in March, Son’s January honour breaking up what would have otherwise been an incredible run of four consecutive accolades for Liverpool’s latest hero. That month saw Salah take his Premier League tally for the season to an impressive 29 with a further six strikes, as well as an assist, including an unforgettable four-goal performance in a demolition of Watford at Anfield.
A surprise winner in April perhaps, but Wilfried Zaha’s award seemed to be as much recognition for how important his season-long performances had been in pushing Crystal Palace clear of relegation as a prize for his displays in the final full month of the campaign alone. Then again, four goals in four games is nothing to be sniffed at, even if it was matched by Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette and only slightly greater than Paul Pogba’s return of three goals, including two in a thrilling Manchester derby comeback. The Gunners striker and United star were both nominated for the April honour as well, but Zaha edged clear of both to claim it.
No prizes for guessing this one. Having won precisely half of the monthly awards and set a new record for goals scored in a 38-game Premier League campaign along the way, crowning Salah the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans’ Player of the Season always felt like a mere formality, even if an outpouring of votes were needed to make it official. Salah finished the season as the only player to win the award in more than one month, let alone in consecutive months, the only Liverpool player to win the award and the only player to win the award who wasn’t playing in the Premier League in 2016/17. An explosive start to his career on Merseyside – but can Liverpool’s new sensation keep it up in the coming campaign?