The alternative winners of the PFA Player of the Year award if statistics were used

Liverpool FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Mohamed Salah ended his debut season at Liverpool with the PFA Player of the Year award.

Despite Kevin De Bruyne looking the massive favourite halfway through the season, voters just couldn't ignore the remarkable goalscoring exploits of the Egyptian and named him their winner.

When you consider Salah scored more goals in a Premier League campaign then anyone before him, he was the obvious choice to take the biggest individual prize in the competition.

He joined an illustrious list of winners that includes Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and many esteemed others.

What makes the prize so meaningful is the fact that fellow Premier League players vote for the winner, thus representing a unique nod from those in the same profession.

PFA Player of the Year

As a result, it's often pretty hard to argue with the winner because, after all, nobody knows better than the players themselves.

But there are many alternative ways that the PFA award could be decided and it poses an interesting question: would the results have been any different?

Well, one way to answer that question is to look at statistics and see if the winners would change if we took all free thought out the equation, simply looking at the numbers. 

Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool FC - Premier League

What if stats picked the winner?

Producing the best set of data doesn't necessarily make you the best player in the league but it's still fascinating to see who was 'technically' the best player that season.

And thanks for the huge bank of statistics crunched by, we can see who the last 10 PFA Player of the Year award winners would be based on numbers alone.

The deciding factor is the highest average match rating across the season, a number decided by over 30 different statistical determinators across each game.

All that said, here are the list of hypothetical winners:

2017/18: Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne (7.8)
2016/17: Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard (7.8)
2015/16: Riyad Mahrez (7.8)
2014/15: Eden Hazard (8.0)
2013/14: Luis Suarez (8.4)
2012/13: Santi Cazorla, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez (7.9)
2011/12: Robin van Persie (7.8)
2010/11: Nani (7.7)
2009/10: Didier Drogba and Cesc Fabregas (8.3)
2008/09: Nicolas Anelka (7.6)

We know what you're thinking - Nani?

There's certainly some bizarre results in the mix but Nani taking home the PFA award in 2011 is definitely the strangest, but you simply can't argue with the numbers.

It turns out that players picked the same player as the statistics on four occasions with Mahrez, Hazard, Suarez and Van Persie winning on the votes and data. 

Liverpool v Newcastle United - Premier League

It's also interesting to note that Suarez is technically the best player the Premier League has since over the last 10 years, intriguingly followed by Drogba and Fabregas.

At the end of the day, though, it comes down to player votes and Nani will have to live with fact he never won the award he, strangely, might have deserved.

Who do you think is the Premier League's best since 2009? Have your say in the comments section below.

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