Rashford, Salah, De Bruyne, Fernandes: Who are the Premier League's best players of 2020?

  • Kobe Tong
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The Premier League has faced so many challenges across 2020.

As Christmas and the New Year creep over the horizon, football fans have been able to reflect on the utter chaos that the year's problems have inflicted upon the beautiful game.

Not a single ball was kicked in England's top-flight between March and June, only for the fixtures to roll in quicker than ever when the competition returned in a scramble to finish the season.

2020 Premier League

Liverpool hoovered up the column inches with their first league title in 30 years, while the division kissed goodbye to Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich City as the 2019/20 campaign concluded.

Now, we're knee-deep into the following season, which has already seen hectic games such as Liverpool losing 7-2 to Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur winning 6-1 at Manchester United.

In other words, there's been plenty to talk about and few topics of conversation can be more interesting than debating who the division's best players have been throughout all the madness.

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The year's best players

Jordan Henderson and Kevin De Bruyne shared the honours as far as 2019/20 was concerned, but the Mirror have devised a plan to reward the top performers across the last 12 months in general.

They've launched the inaugural Fans’ Footballer of the Year with a combination of supporters and more than 100 journalists eventually deciding upon a ranking of 2020's finest 15 players.

The full list has now been released, so check out how the best of the best compares with the best of the rest down below:

15. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Sterling might have struggled for form so far this season, but lest we forget that he established himself as the world's most prolific winger during 2019/20 with an astonishing record of 31 strikes.

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14. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Again, a vote that you have to imagine has more to do with last season than the current campaign with Aubameyang notching 22 league strikes from 36 appearances despite Arsenal's struggles.

13. Danny Ings (Southampton)

Ings has been the key protagonist in the Saints' resurrection since the 9-0 defeat to Leicester City, challenging for the Premier League Golden Boot and already boasting six goals this season.

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12. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

This actually seems quite harsh when you consider Kane has only been a Robert Lewandowski short of being the world's best number in 2020/21, producing 10 goals and 13 assists to boot.

11. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Again, this seems a little low bearing in mind Fernandes has almost single-handedly turned around United's fortunes, inspiring them to a third-place finish and winning three Player of the Month gongs.

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10. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

It's remarkable to think that Alexander-Arnold bagged a place in the FIFA FIFPro World XI at just 22 years old on the back of a Premier League-winning season where he chipped in with 13 assists.

9. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Logic would dictate that Vardy should be slowing down at 33 years old, but that couldn't be further from the truth, bagging the Premier League Golden Boot and already surpassing double figures in 2020/21.

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8. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

Fresh from winning the FIFA Puskas Award for his wonder goal against Burnley, Son has taken the Premier League by storm under Jose Mourinho and has already found the net 14 times in 2020/21.

7. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

The best defender in the world. It speaks volumes that Van Dijk played every minute of Liverpool's romp to the Premier League title on 99 points and it's a huge shame he's been ruled out for so long.

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6. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Arguably Liverpool's best player last season, Mane has transformed himself from one of the Premier League's top performers to one of the world's finest, notching 18 strikes from out wide in 2019/20.

5. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

You only have to look at how much Liverpool's results dripped whenever Henderson wasn't available last season to acknowledge his importance, captaining the Reds to their first league title in 30 years.

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4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Regardless of City's slow start in 2020/21, De Bruyne has proved himself as the Premier League's best player with a record-equalling 20 assists and PFA Player of the Year award last season.

3. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Does this have more to do with Rashford's work off the pitch than his performances on it? More than likely, but we don't care one bit because the United striker has been an inspiration to us all in 2020.

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2. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

What Grealish has achieved in a team that struggled for Premier League survival for most of the year has been simply astonishing, but even his biggest fans will admit that a silver medal is too much.

1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Hmmm... we think Salah is as underrated as much as the next fan, but despite challenging for a third Golden Boot and already boasting 13 league goals in as many games this season, first place seems a little ham-fisted.

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Salah takes top spot?

You can't help feeling as though the 15 players chosen are roughly correct, but the order isn't.

For all of Salah's quality, surpassing Eden Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo's Premier League goal tallies at a rapid pace, his inclusion on the back of such amazing form suggests a little recency bias.

Considering the 2019/20 season crept deep into the summer and autumn, you'd expect it to carry more weight than usual, so it's bizarre seeing De Bruyne and Henderson as low as 4th and 5th.

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That being said, when you remember how infrequently Salah gets the credit he deservers, perhaps we should all bite our tongues and be happy that the Liverpool man has been given the nod.

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