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Bernardo v Ederson v Sterling: 18/19's best player

STAR MEN: City's most impressive performers in 2018/19.

STAR MEN: City's most impressive performers in 2018/19.

It was a season of twists and turns and there was no shortage of star performers in what proved to be another hugely impressive and successful campaign for Manchester City.

Here, our Club Journalists take on the unenviable task of picking just one player who impressed them the most in 2018/19...

Robert Pollard: Raheem Sterling

The numbers tell their own story: 25 goals and 18 assists in 51 matches across all competitions is simply remarkable.

But Raheem Sterling has become so much more than a threat in the final third. He’s a huge presence, leads by example and has emerged as one of the most complete footballers in the world game.

Off the field, he’s had a huge impact, speaking eloquently about the racism that exists in our game. He is now a role model to young people everywhere, and his legacy will live on long after he hangs up his boots.

He’s an inspiration and a fine footballer.

STERLING GESTURE: Raheem Sterling invited students from his old school to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final

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David Clayton: Bernardo Silva

We were spoiled for choice for potential players of the year this season.

Ederson came close for me – he is absolutely pivotal to everything this City team does and he projects a calmness that gives his defenders confidence to do whatever they want.

Fernandinho was also outstanding and perhaps had his best season yet in a City shirt.

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COMPLETE: Ilkay Gundogan finishes off a 44-pass move against Manchester United.

Everyone contributed massively, but for me, Bernardo was the beating heart of this team.

If David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne set the tempo, he is the bass that cranks up the volume.

Bernardo is a magical footballer – he has a heart as big as Lisbon and has the skill of a magician.

Nobody celebrates a goal harder and if ever the team need somebody to lift the crowd or lead by example, he has become the player that will do it.

Moreover, a nicer guy you’d be hard pressed to meet.

Caroline Oatway: Bernardo Silva

We had already witnessed glimpses of his brilliance before he even donned the sky blue shirt, but it was not until the second half of the 2017/18 campaign that we were truly treated to Bernardo’s Silva’s sensational armoury.

The Portuguese playmaker ignited City’s record-smashing storm to the Centurions title, quickly becoming a fans’ favourite in the process with his tantalising trickery, staggering stamina and scintillating control.

Inspired, he continued where he left off for the 2018/19 campaign, cutting his summer break early to attend pre-season training and relishing the benefits with instant results.

He scored on the opening day triumph at Arsenal and has proved a pivotal figure in City’s unprecedented success, clocking 51 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and creating 14 in the process – in addition to breaking record for the biggest distance covered in a Premier League match twice!

While many worried how City would fare in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence this year, Bernardo rubbed his hands together and took the chance to step into the spotlight, showcasing his very best and becoming an irreplaceable figure in Guardiola’s starting XI.

As likeable off the pitch as he is on it, Bernardo has all the makings of a City legend. Although aged just 24, he is already being tipped as a Premier League great and so how exciting the prospect is of what he could go on to achieve in his career…

To say he’s been key is an understatement. Long may it continue.

Neil Leigh: Ederson

After a season when City set a new, mind-boggling benchmark for the highest number of goals scored in a season – 169 in case you needed reminding – it may seem a tad perverse to name-check our goalkeeper for player of the year plaudits.

However, our Brazilian’s formidable presence and key impact between the sticks cannot be overstated.

The 23-year-old may have been pipped to the prestigious Golden Glove award, but his tally of 20 Premier League clean sheets proved a vital and often overlooked component in City’s march to a second successive League crown.

Not least his stellar displays in a number of tight encounters during the defining title run-in where City secured several nerve-jangling but priceless 1-0 wins.

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Head tennis challenge: Ederson v Bernardo

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And never was his impact felt more than in a tension-filled single goal triumph over Tottenham at a sun-drenched Etihad in late April.

Seeking to shake off the agony of our Champions League exit at the hands of the Londoners just three days earlier, City made the perfect start thanks to Phil Foden’s early header.

However, what followed was a fraught, edgy encounter with Spurs carving out several excellent opportunities – only to find Ederson an immovable object in the City goal as he made a string of superb saves to deny the visitors and so seal a priceless three points.

Add to that similar bravura displays in tight, hard-fought 1-0 victories over West Ham, Burnley and Leicester over the last two months of the season and the big man’s importance to the collective cause becomes even more apparent.

Furthermore, it’s not bad having a goalkeeper who also provided a Premier League assist to boot (for Sergio Aguero’s strike at home to Huddersfield).

So, for me, hand it to Ederson!

John Edwards: Sergio Aguero

Simply, brilliant. Again.

This was the fifth season in succession that Sergio Aguero hit 20 Premier League goals.

That Thierry Henry is the only other player to do so is testament to the Argentine’s enduring quality.

Hitting the back of the net is the hardest job in football and Sergio continues to make it look easy.

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City’s top scorer with 32 goals, he gets my vote, not only for the regularity with which he found the back of the net, but also for the importance of some of his goals and performances.

The week that followed our 2-1 defeat to Newcastle in January is a prime example.

City needed a response.

We certainly got one, an emphatic one and it was Aguero who very much sent the message that Pep Guardiola’s side were going nowhere in the title race.

A treble against Arsenal was followed by another three goals in a superb performance against Chelsea, which saw him equal the Premier League record for hat-tricks.

There was a crucial match-winner at Burnley during the end of season run in and it was Aguero who hit back instantly when City fell behind to Brighton on the final day.

Still our biggest goal threat and still the man who produces when it matters most.

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An early title showdown, two pivotal strikes, a sensational last-ditch clearance and FA Cup elation are all recalled as our Club journalists pick out their most incredible City moment from the 2018/19 season...

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