PFA Premier League Team of the Year Announced: Paul Pogba In, No Eden Hazard

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on April 24, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images )
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

The PFA Premier League Team of the Year has been announced, with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba making the cut, while Chelsea's Eden Hazard is a surprise omission. 

The team was announced on Thursday:

PFA | Professional Footballers' Association @PFA

The PFA Premier League Team of the Year! #PFAawards | #TOTY https://t.co/YBWOhoJsQI

Pogba is the only player outside of Manchester City or Liverpool to be included.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

0 – This is the first time that no London club has a player in the PFA #TOTY since the 1987-88 campaign. Omitted. #PFAawards https://t.co/uES7bw3BCt

League leaders City have the most representatives with six players: Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Ederson.

Liverpool, who trail the Sky Blues by one point with three matches remaining, have Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in the team.

Given the Reds have shipped just 20 goals in 35 matches this season, the best record in the division, it comes as little surprise they make up three of the back four.

Pogba's inclusion raised more than a few eyebrows, however:

Sam Inkersole @Sam_InkersoleTM

Here is the hottest take of today that no-one else will have - Paul Pogba should be nowhere near this team. https://t.co/PuWyDDfUfG

Adam Jones @Adam_Jones94

A bit mad that Pogba gets into this team when someone like Ruben Neves, who is widely considered to have played even above his high expectations this season, misses out https://t.co/cZcj2Azh84

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

Paul Pogba 🧐 https://t.co/jywvCrN3qX

The Frenchman had a poor start to the campaign under Jose Mourinho and his performances have dropped off in recent weeks, too.

Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe suggested some alternatives who would have been more deserving of a place:

Sam Tighe @stighefootball

PFA Team of the Year is largely fine for me, 2 objections: Ederson - Good, but Alisson + Fabianski even better Pogba - D. Silva, Wijnaldum, Kante, Rice and Moutinho have all had more consistent seasons. Fabinho better but played less so wouldn’t group him in there.

As former footballer Adrian Clarke noted, Pogba hit form at the right time:

Adrian Clarke @adrianjclarke

Here’s why Pogba is in PFA Team of the Year. His purple patch will have coincided with when the votes were cast. Was a fantastic run in an overall bad season… https://t.co/ROT7ybfyE4

That he has made it into the team this season is a reminder of the inherent flaws in having the votes cast for such awards well before the end of the campaign.

As for Hazard, he can consider himself unfortunate to miss out having enjoyed an excellent season with Chelsea.

Although Mane has also had a fine campaign, Hazard has arguably been stronger throughout:

bet365 @bet365

Eden Hazard vs Sadio Mane this season: Goals: 16-18 Assists: 13-1 Pass success: 84%-79% Key passes: 89-40 MOTM: 13-5 Dribbles: 182-97 Successful dribbles: 122-49 👀 https://t.co/Eq9wPiUlYu

Metro's Oliver Young-Myles felt the Belgian or Tottenham Hotspur's Heung-Min Son should have been present:

Oliver Young-Myles @OMyles90

Hazard has 16G & 13A in an average Chelsea team, while Son has been the standout player for a side 3rd in the league & in a CL Semi Final. Baffling.

Son has 20 goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season, with 12 and seven coming in the Premier League, respectively. The Korean has stepped up for Spurs in periods where Harry Kane has been injured, establishing himself as a key payer in the team in his own right.

However, the competition for the limited places in the Team of the Year's front three would have been particularly fierce.

Sterling and Aguero have been so good they would have almost had their places wrapped up—they've bagged 36 goals and 19 assists between them for the best team in the leaguewhile Mane has been the top-performing attacker for the team that has spent much of the season top of the table.

Hazard might especially feel aggrieved, but Mane's inclusion is understandable.


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