In Focus: Five Premier League stars of the season
A sensational Premier League season had a fitting conclusion as Manchester City were crowned champions on a dramatic final day.
Pep Guardiola’s men emerged victorious in their thrilling title race with Liverpool, who also had a superb campaign.
But which individuals shone the brightest throughout the 2021-22 season? Read on as we pick five of the highest-performing stars in England’s top flight.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
There can be only one place to start as Player of the Year winner Kevin De Bruyne capped another fine season by scooping his fourth Premier League title.
The Belgian maestro, 30, has been in typically sublime form this term, registering 15 goals and eight assists.
Remarkably, 17 of those 23 goals involvements have come since the turn of the year to help the Citizens stave off title challengers Liverpool in impressive style.
That includes a stunning display in City’s 5-1 win at Wolves this month, where he remarkably netted four times from an expected goals total of only 0.78 over the 90 minutes at Molineux.
It was just one of many performances that have cemented De Bruyne's reputation as one of the best in the business.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Despite being pipped to the title, it was another incredible season for the Reds — with Mohamed Salah the standout star.
The Egyptian looked simply unplayable at times as he claimed his third Premier League Golden Boot with 23 league goals for the campaign.
That includes a particularly purple patch during the first half of the season where he scored 15 goals in his first 17 games, including two almost identical solo efforts against Manchester City and Watford.
That form led team-mate Sadio Mane to declare his strike partner as one of the best players in the world.
The Senegal international said: "I think he [Salah] is the best right now. Every single week he shows it on the pitch.
"Obviously Mo can't disagree with it, he is the best player. He is always scoring for us and deciding games. We're just lucky to have him in our squad."
Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
Salah had looked for a long time as the runaway winner for the Golden Boot, but a prolific end to the campaign for Heung-Min Son saw the accolade shared on the final day.
The South Korean was at his clinical best as he helped Tottenham seal a return to the Champions League after two seasons away.
Benefitting from partner in crime Harry Kane’s switch to more of a creative role, Son took on the mantle of Spurs’ goal-getter by registering his best-ever scoring season in the Premier League.
And with a stunning double against Norwich seeing him draw level with Salah for the award, the 29-year-old admitted it was a dream come true.
He said: "It's incredible to have this award. I can't believe it. I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it's in my hands. I can't believe it."
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)
It is hard to find a player who has performed more consistently throughout the season than West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen.
The 25-year-old was regularly the man to make the difference for David Moyes’ men, helping his side reach the Europa Conference League next term alongside their stunning exploits in this season’s Europa League.
Hitting double figures in the league for strikes and assists, he ranks among the very best in the division for goal involvements.
And it looks like an excellent season for the former Hull man could be about to get even better, with an England debut on the horizon after inclusion in Gareth Southgate's latest squad.
Alan Shearer has been just one of a host of former players, pundits and fans calling for exactly that to happen.
The ex-Three Lions captain recently said: "Jarrod Bowen has to be in the England squad. He’s had a fantastic season. [He] can’t do more. He’s got 10 assists too which is impressive."
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
While many of the other stars were grabbing headlines at the top of the division, James Ward-Prowse's Southampton could only muster a modest 15th-placed finish.
But take nothing away from the exploits of the Saints skipper, who enjoyed another excellent season on the South Coast.
Ward-Prowse is simply the heartbeat of his boyhood team, contributing with goals, creativity and defensive work in equal measure.
Of course, his free-kicks are his standout attribute — his four scored from dead-ball situations is double anyone else's tally in the league.
The 27-year-old's total of 10 goals and five assists has helped the England international end the season as his team’s top scorer despite featuring in midfield.