Ruben Dias has been one of the major award winners of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
While Kevin De Bruyne might have upset the applecart by taking home the PFA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year prize, City’s defensive rock swept home the key awards decided by fans and journalists.
Dias celebrated a fantastic debut season at the Etihad Stadium by way of being garlanded with the Premier League Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year plaques.
Dias sweeps up awards
Now, there’s no denying that Dias was amongst the league’s top-performing players last season with 15 clean sheets and just 21 goals conceded across 32 appearances in England’s top-flight.
However, there were many fans who thought that Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane was the more befitting winner on the back of amassing a staggering 37 Premier League goal contributions.
And the fact that De Bruyne took home the prize decided by Premier League players themselves suggests Dias was by no means viewed as the clear number one in the division itself.
Jack Grealish to Man City (Football Terrace)
Dias’ 2020/21 stats
Ultimately, we could go round and round in circles debating whether or not Dias deserves to have been decorated as much as he has because the conversation is inherently a subjective one.
But there is reason to suggest that the objective arm of the argument – otherwise known as, well, statistics – isn’t one that shines brightly on Dias in the slightest.
That’s because Dias was only ranked as the 74th best player in the Premier League last season by the average match ratings collated by data gurus WhoScored.com.
Dias only 74th in 2020/21
Stats are by no means perfect, that much is true, but it’s certainly eye-opening to see Dias finish quite so low when the ratings are informed by so many data-sets collected in every single game.
Besides, his surprisingly low ranking sees him placed below everyone from Ben Mee, Fred, Solly March, Christian Benteke, James Tarkowski and countless other unexpected names.
No doubt you’re as taken aback as we first were when we discovered Dias’ statistical standing, so be sure to check out the 80 highest-rated players in the division last season:
So, what do the stats mean?
Right, so, I know what you’re thinking: the statistics are a load of nonsense, ultimately weighted against centre-backs and by no means a fair measure of the Premier League’s best players.
And while we’ll be the first people to admit that footballing data should always be taken with a pinch of salt, trust us when we say that Dias’ surprise 74th-place finish isn’t without credence.
Besides, although centre-backs do indeed have a tougher time with WhoScored statistics, it’s worth noting that Dias still only winds up in 18th place when we focus on centre-halves alone.
And it’s also important to point out that WhoScored statistics have often aligned far more with award winners than you’d expect.
In fact, Robin van Persie, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez all won the PFA prize between 2012 and 2016 while also being the league’s highest-rated player by statistics.
So, sure, claiming that Dias was only the 74th best player in the Premier League last season would be absolute lunacy, but suggestions that he shouldn’t have taken many of the top prizes aren’t without substance.