David de Gea
Without question, Manchester United’s best performing player of the 2017-18 season was David de Gea. He finished the season without any medals but claimed a couple of personal accolades. De Gea won the Golden Glove after picking up 18 clean sheets over the course of the season. He was also voted in the PFA Team of the Year and was named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season by the fans for a record-breaking fourth time.
He made 115 saves over the course of the season with an 80% success rate with the shots he faced. He made zero errors that lead to goals, compared to the 24 made by Petr Cech, 15 by Hugo Loris and three by Thibaut Courtois.
There are a few games that stand out, with his excellent saves winning United games and enabling them to finish second in the league, but none more so than the 3-1 over Arsenal at the Emirates.
De Gea doesn’t make it in to the top five using Twelve Football’s scoring system though, limited by his position in goal making it unlikely for him to gain any points for off ball action or shots. But he was head and shoulders above every player at the club this season.
The Belgian striker ended his first season at United as the club’s top scorer with 27 goals in all competitions.
When you consider that United created 70 fewer chances than any other top six team, Lukaku’s goal return is pretty impressive.
The striker wasn’t just a scorer though, but a creator of goals too, with Paul Pogba the only United player to assist more than him. Lukaku claimed more assists than the likes of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard.
Having been criticised for failing to impress against the teams at the top, Lukaku was in fine form as United beat his former club Chelsea at Old Trafford. Having gone a goal down, Lukaku scored the equaliser before assisting Jesse Lingard’s winner. United will be left to rue his absence from the starting line-up in the FA Cup final against the same team through injury.
Lukaku is ranked the third best player by Twelve Football with over half his points coming from his contribution with shots, which should come as no surprise, given he’s largely been the only player Mourinho has used as a centre-forward this season.
The Frenchman has been strongly criticised this season, from pundits, the media and his own manager alike. That likely has more to do with how short of his potential he is currently performing, rather than his general contribution. For the most part, he did OK for United this season, with the odd poor performance.
When he plays well, United tend to follow suit, such is his influence on the team. Despite going off the boil for chunks of the season, only four players have more assists than him in the league this season, and all four of them had more playing time than him.
When played on the left of a midfield three against Everton at Goodison Park he stole the show. His stand out performance was against Manchester City at the Etihad, when he denied United’s hated rivals from being the team to win the Premier League after the fewest number of games.
After a disappointing first half, he came back in the second looking like a totally different player, scoring twice to draw the game level before Chris Smalling bagged the winner.
Per minute, Pogba is ranked the best player of the season by Twelve Football, with his influence on the attack his greatest strength. But he is still a long way from playing the way on a consistent basis the supporters believe he is capable of.
Having joined the club as a seven-year-old, Lingard has plenty of United supporters who have been willing for him to do well. Before this season, he had claimed crucial goals in two Wembley cup finals, but had failed to play consistently well over the course of a season.
Under Jose Mourinho, Lingard has performed well, with the manager a clear fan of the forward. He claimed 13 goals and 5 assists in all competitions, a return of a goal or assist every 119 minutes he was on the pitch.
However, his most memorable performance of the season was in the aforementioned game against Arsenal when he scored two goals in United’s 3-1 win and Milly Rocked in celebration.
Lingard is ranked the 12th best player for United, with his attacking scores his best asset. Yet what comes as a surprise is how low his score is for off the ball action, given this is widely regarded as one of his greatest strengths. His pace and ability to run behind the defence drags players out of position and creates space for his teammates but this isn’t recognised by his off the ball score, where he is deemed less effective than the likes of Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones.
The Serbian midfielder was reunited with his former manager Mourinho at United this season, after Chelsea made the mistake of letting him leave with the hopeless Tiémoué Bakayoko his replacement.
Matic started the season exceptionally well but went through periods where his lack of mobility was exposed and he failed to have the impact he made at the start of the season.
His campaign will be best remembered for his 91st minute winner against Crystal Palace after United had gone 2-0 down, where he blasted the ball in to the net from outside the box.
The best performance of the season from him came against Chelsea though when he totally bossed the midfield.
The midfielder was ranked United’s best player of the season by Twelve Football, with, surprisingly, his contribution to the attack his biggest strength.
Some United fans can hardly believe that Ashley Young is still at the club but he can owe his lengthier stay to his ability to reinvent himself as a full-back, having played most of his career on the wing.
While his defensive game does have flaws, with pacey and tricky wingers his downfall, he is always ready to put in a crunching tackle and crosses the ball better than anyone at the club (which, admittedly, doesn’t mean an awful lot).
Young claimed four assists this season, which is as many as Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Alexandre Lacazette, and more than Gabriel Jesus, Marcos Alonso and Harry Kane.
His best performance came against former club Watford when he scored two brilliant goals in United’s 4-2 win.
Young’s greatest strength, according to Twelve Football, is his work in attack, which paints an accurate picture. He is ranked third behind Matic and Paul Pogba.