Ok peeps – can you remember what you were doing on November 14th. To be honest it’s a bit hazy for me too, but one thing I definitely did was post my star performers of the Premier League season so far. Now we are at the stage where the trophies are going to be handed out and one of them will be for Player of the Year. There are actually two awards – the PFA (Players Player of the Year) and the FWA (Football Writers Player of the Year) but who is in the running well for me there are only three contenders and two were mentioned in my November 14th blog. So in alphabetical order
Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
The boy (now man from his performances) from Wales has been a revelation this season. He has lit up the football at White Hart Lane and various away grounds with his pace, lung bursting runs and more so than ever this season his goals. 17 league goals, 27 in total. Bale has been fantastic for the last few seasons, but the extra dimension of goals and basically winning games on his own, on a consistent basis, has propelled him into potentially one of the best players in the world let alone the Premier League. He won the PFA award for the 2010-11 season and he is undoubtedly a better player now, much stronger, seemingly pacier and his game intelligence has improved markedly. Spurs have a strong team, but Bale is the one who has driven them on this season under their new manager and have got themselves into a position to challenge for a top four place again and this time guarantee a Champions League place (no English club will be in the European Cup final this year). I do not think there would be much arguement if one, or maybes both awards went to the Welsh Wizard.
Juan Mata – Chelsea
Three words – WHAT A PLAYER – Chelsea’s season has been one of up and downs, an extremely talented but inconsistent squad except for this player. Anyone who has seen his performances this season surely cannot disagree. A ‘Rolls Royce’ of a footballer who creates goals for fun as well as having a handy knack of putting them in the net when required. Sadly for me I remember watching him in the FA Cup quarter final replay against Manchester United thinking he had not had his greatest game – literally seconds later he produced a magnificent ball to Demba Ba and the rest is history. It is amazing for me that he shines so brightly in a team full of stars and in my opinion is the best midfielder in the Premier League this season and he would get into virtually any side in the world except probably for the one he can’t get into, his national side, Spain – but their personnel is without doubt outstanding. I’d be shocked if he did not win Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the second season running and is definitely in the mix for the PFA and FWA awards as well as a guarantee for the PFA team.
Luis Suarez – Liverpool
Who would have thought that this man would be a runner for Player of the Year? He is a controversial figure, but in terms of football there can be NO arguement. 29 goals in total (22 in the Premier league and the current top scorer), he has consistently driven a Liverpool side throughout the season. As I have mentioned in a previous blog (The Three Faces of Luis Suarez – posted Jan 21st) Mr Suarez is the archetypal pest who just never goes away and inevitably comes out on top. He still has a streak in his game that may be less than savoury but a lot of players do and he deserves to be judged on his football and as said you can’t complain seeing his performances through the season. I for one won’t be surprised if he gets his name on at least one of the Player of the Year awards and it would be well deserved.
So what do you reckon peeps – for me it has to be one of these three, but you might have other names – let me know. If I had a personal choice I’d give it to Mata, but my head says it will be between Suarez and Bale and I fancy they will walk off with one each, which one I don’t know, especially as players and football writers don’t always agree. All comments gratefully received.