Hazard, Salah, Kane: Every PFA award winner since 2010 if it was decided by stats


Kevin De Bruyne is the latest recipient of the PFA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year award.

The Manchester City midfielder has joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry as the only players to have won the gong back-to-back and just the sixth footballer to have won it multiple times.

However, the decision of Premier League players wasn’t without controversy with many fans thinking that Ruben Dias and Harry Kane were more worthy recipients of the prize.

De Bruyne wins PFA Award

Dias bagged the Premier League Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year plaques earlier in the awards season, leading many to suggest that he would complete the hat-trick.

Whereas Kane made history by bagging both the Premier League Golden Boot and Playmaker award with a staggering record of 23 goals and 14 assists across the 2020/21 campaign.

Throw in the world-class displays of nominees Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan to boot and it’s easy to see why De Bruyne’s triumph has sparked debate amongst supporters.

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Was KDB the worthy winner?

Ultimately, there isn’t a truly objective way to answer the question of who should have won, but the rich banks of data at WhoScored.com bring us as close as humanly possible.

They award match ratings to Premier League players across every single game, which is informed by several key datasets and is averaged across the entire season for a total figure out of 10.

And with their statistical model dating back to the 2009/10 campaign, we can ascertain the ‘true’ PFA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year award winners of the last 11 years if it was decided by data.


PFA Awards winner by statistics

Intrigued? Well, you should be because there are no less than six occasions where the statistical winner differed from the actual champion, so check out the revised recipients down below:

2009/10: Didier Drogba (Chelsea) – 8.32

Actual winner: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

2010/11: Nani (Manchester United) – 7.71

Actual winner: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)


2011/12: Robin van Persie (Arsenal) – 7.80

Actual winner: Robin van Persie (Arsenal)

2012/13: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur) – 7.92

Actual winner: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

2013/14: Luis Suarez (Liverpool) – 8.43

Actual winner: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)


2014/15: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 7.96

Actual winner: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

2015/16: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) – 7.84

Actual winner: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

2016/17: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 7.81

Actual winner: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

2017/18: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 7.81

Actual winner: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)


2018/19: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 7.81

Actual winner: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

2019/20: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 7.97

Actual winner: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

2020/21: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 7.79

Actual winner: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)


Three victories for Hazard

Well, it’s fair to say that Premier League players were pretty tuned in to the statistics between Van Persie’s 2011/12 triumph and Mahrez’s 2015/16 victory, weren’t they?

However, aside from that sizeable chunk of harmony between opinions and stats, De Bruyne’s pretty obvious victory last season stands alone as the only time that the data has married up.

And a certain Mr. Hazard can feel pretty aggrieved by the situation because the stats suggest that he should stand alone as the only player in history to win the PFA’s top male prize three times over.


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But on the flip side, Liverpool fans should probably look away because Van Dijk and Salah have been brutally stripped of their respective prizes in what seems like a rather harsh revision.

However, you know what they say: ‘the stats don’t lie’, so clearly there are more than a few Premier League legends who need to touch wood that the data was never used to decide the winner.

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