The greatest league to watch, although maybe not the greatest in skill anymore, the English Premier League (EPL), is winding down to an inevitable Chelsea win, Arsenal top four finish and obscurity for Newcastle. The biggest excitement is arguably the relegation battle, but in truth its only exciting because there are more than 3 crap teams. In fact, with an incredible Championship run-in it might be better off if we relegated five teams from the EPL. Anyway, after much digressing, we are at the stage of the season that players are voting for the player of the year and of course we will present our 5 nominees for the EPL player of the year and maybe see how it compares. The only caveat, that does not exist in the actual awards, is that we will not select more than one player from a team. Here they are in reverse order, the ATJ EPL Player of the Year Nominees.
Although we only chose one player from a team, there are fifteen teams that are then not represented. The players who narrowly miss out on my list, with a whoscored.com rating in brackets are – Phillipe Coutinho – Liverpool (7.37), James Tonkins – West Ham (7.46), Sergio Aguero – Man City (7.58) and Mile Jedinak – Crystal Palace (7.65)
5. Jose Fonte (Southampton)
In all honesty, he wont even get a look in, but Southampton are in a season defying sixth place in the league and have the best defensive record. The reason for that is a fantastic defense that is marshaled by Fonte. Stats don’t measure the true impact of a captain, but their league performance most definitely does. The chance at making the Champions League has diminished, it has been a season of joy for the south coast side. Fonte himself averages 2.2 tackles a game and 3.2 intercepts, which have often led to breakaways creating goals for the team. Whoscored.com. rating – 7.25.
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspurs)
I do not drink the same Harry Kane flavoured wine that the English have been smashing this year and personally am not the biggest fan. This could be because he is overrated and a one hit wonder, or it could be that I am a Gooner and he plays for Spurs (After playing youth football for Arsenal), but you can’t deny the impact he has had. In 35 appearances this season he has put away 27 goals at an incredible rate and coupled it with 3 assists. He also scored on his debut for England which of course makes him the newest David Bentley. Spurs will probably struggle to hang on to their talisman if they miss out on champions league again next season. Whoscored.com rating 7.33. Other Spurs players not considered due to Kane – none, they are pretty useless.
3. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Arguably, alongside Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, the signing of the season. The fact that Sanchez came into the Arsenal side and immediately settled in quicker than the Springboks to a beer, speaks of his quality. For the first half of the season, after getting kicked in nearly every game, he had almost singlehandedly dragged the Gunners into contention. His game has faded a bit since the turn of the year, but with others pulling their weight it hasn’t hurt, while he is still able to deliver sublime quality, like his cracker against Liverpool and his work rate is, in my mind, the best I have seen in the EPL. Whoscored.com rating 7.91. Other Arsenal players not considered due to Sanchez – Giroud and Cazorla.
2. David de Gea (Manchester United)
David de Gea wont have the highest rating, as he is a goalkeeper and other stats count more, but there are few that can challenge the quality of the Spaniard in the EPL. In the opening half of the season, De Gea, like Sanchez, carried his team with shot stopping that was simply epic. United have now come good and look like a much improved unit, but the fact that they are in the Champions League spots is largely down to their brick wall at the back. As a commentator said in one game, a keeper has never walked a player of the year at a club this easily! Whoscored.com rating 6.70. Other Man Utd players not considered due to De Gea – Phil Jones.
1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Probably the most talented footballer in the EPL, which means he will probably be one of the more talented players in La Liga pretty soon, Hazard is a machine. Hazard has an incredible dribbling ability and the ability to beat a defender with ease. He wins penalties regularly and with the kind of class that Costa cant spell. In a season where he has contributed to 27 goals (17 goals, 10 assists) in a season that will finish with two team trophies and more likely than not, at least one individual trophy. Whoscored.com rating 8.07. Other Chelsea players not considered due to Hazard – Fabregas and Costa.
Who is your player of the season?