PFA Player of the Year
As a Spurs fan, obviously I am biased when it comes to who I think deserves Player of the Year. I’m as biased as a parent on sports day, or a member of the FIFA committee deciding which country to give a World Cup to who’s just been handed a suitcase by a member of the Qatari delegation that suspiciously feels like it has hundreds of thousands of dollars in it.
But this season, after watching one man consistently pull off heroics, having a Doctor Who like penchant for digging his team out of bigger and bigger scrapes, there’s only one man for me. For consistency of performance, for his ability to grab games by the scruff of the neck, for having a portfolio of goals sufficiently high in quality to make Matt Le Tissier or Tony Yeboah blush, I’m voting for Gareth Bale.
In seasons past, while Bale was an excellent player, he still had a tendency to be bullied out of games and was perhaps too reliant on his pace. When Spurs beat Inter Milan in the Champions League and Bale had given Maicon the sort of roasting you usually see sausages get on barbecues, I was still at school and in the 6th form common room heard someone say about his display “He wasn’t very good. All he did was kick the ball past the defender then run past everybody.” While this was obviously ludicrously simplistic, there was perhaps an element of truth to it.
This season though, that’s not the case. He has shown genuine skill in the way he goes past people, being a real twinkle toes at times. He has been helped by Andre Villas-Boas playing him in different positions, keeping the opposition off guard, though many times this season, you knew what Bale was going to do – and the opposition still couldn’t stop him. That’s how good he’s been. His pace, dynamism and athleticism has been such that teams have just not been able to keep up with him.
The variety of goals he’s scored has also been mesmerising. There have been fantastic dribbles, tap ins, headers, free kicks, thirty yard screamers, dinks, the lot. All that, and he isn’t even a forward, playing for a side sorely lacking goals in other positions. He truly has carried Spurs at times this season, and while Luis Suarez has done the same for Liverpool, Bale comes with the advantages of not being found guilty of racist abuse and not being a possible cannibal.
For those reasons, Gareth Bale is my PFA Player of the Year
I’ve always had a soft spot for Michael Carrick and would like to see him win but can’t say he has been the best footballer in the league this season. That is a three-way battle between van Persie, Suarez and Bale.
For all his many sins, Suarez has dragged Liverpool along this season – unlike van Persie he isn’t surrounded by world-class players but he has scored a huge amount of goals. He’s a dynamo and, in my view, has played the best football in the league this season. I think Michu can feel a little hard done-by not being nominated
Juan Mata in my opinion is the best footballer and my favourite footballer in the premiership at this very second and it was always going to take something special for me to consider anyone else for the Player of the Year award, unfortunately, to the detriment of my emotional health, I’m going to say this… Robin Van Persie managed that something special and he done in it with a Manchester United team, that has won the league in spectacular fashion. I was skeptical about his move to Manchester United, not that I didn’t think he would do well but I wasn’t sure what he would offer a team that already had so much threat going forward. Well, 24 goals later and I think he’s proved me wrong. Of course the game is not just about the stats but they are pretty conclusive when you look at them. Question marks over whether he could replicate last season’s form, whether he could last a season, was he even worth the £24million they forked out on a player in the last year of his contract? They’ve all been answered with a resounding yes. They obviously aren’t a one man team but they owe a lot of this league’s success, which just happens to be their #20th, down to Van Persie’s goals and the quality of some his strikes have been simply brilliant. There is an air of inevitability when he scores and even with that baron spell he endured, I don’t think anyone doubted it would last much longer and even by then the damage had been done to the rest of the challengers. Goals against Chelsea, Arsenal, City He’s been the standout player for the runaway leaders, so with that in mind Van Persie gets my vote, just, ahead of Mata. I love you Juan.
I know his form has tailed off slightly in recent weeks, but I genuinely feel he has been the difference for United this season, and has therefore been the key component in United winning the title. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if City had signed him, we’d have won the league. He’s that good.
Robin van Persie should be awarded PFA Player of the Year. Despite Manchester City’s dwindling efforts this season that have left United with a remarkable lead, RvP won the title for the Reds. The former Arsenal man grew weary of fruitless campaigns at the Emirates and was hungry to win. Simply put, van Persie brought the 20th League title to Old Trafford just like he said he would.
PFA Young Player of the Year
Yes, I have voted for Gareth Bale as PFA Player of the Year and he is also nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year, so using simple logic he should win that award too.
But frankly it’s silly that Bale’s nominated for Young Player of the Year – he’s an experienced player now with close to 200 first team appearances in his career, who is a known commodity. This award should surely be those for who are a surprise package, who in football years if not actual human years are still youthful. As such, I disqualify Bale and vote for the guy who I think genuinely deserves it, Christian Benteke.
This may be a surprise choice, as he’s not the household name his fellow nominees are. But this season he has been an absolute powerhouse, carrying a shit heap of a team virtually on his back at times with remarkable renown. He has had little service, arrived in a country he’s never played in before to play for one of the worst teams in the league, and instead of faltering like almost anyone else would, he’s shown star quality to score goal after goal, many of them beauties. The man is dynamite at times with the ball at his feet.
And though he’s been criticised for being inconsistent – he’s playing for Aston Villa for god’s sake. He’s spent the season feeding off scraps, with next to no help. Try scoring goals when you’re being battered 8-0 by Chelsea, 4-0 by Spurs, 5-0 by Man City, with all of your teammates in your own half, trying and failing to stop the opposition scoring even more. It’s impossible, whether your Lionel Messi or the best kid in the playground at school.
Benteke has been magic, not only scoring goals but coming up with some sublime assists too, creating 10 more chances than any other Villa player this season. He has been their talisman, the fulcrum of their side. For the manner in which he’s done this, considering his lack of experience and the dismally low quality of the team he’s playing for, he gets my vote for PFA Young Player of the Year.
I think Bale will win but I don’t think he should win. He’s nearly 24! Lukaku has shone for an unfashionable team and has, at his best, been unplayable. I think Nastasic at City should have been nominated as should Rafael.
The Young Player of the Year happens to be eerily similar to the main award. I wanted to pick Hazard, I really did he’s been phenomenal in his first season here in England, sadly he also finishes a close second. I’ve omitted Gareth Bale because there is no way he should be considered as a young player anymore despite whatever the FA guidelines might be. If you’re turning 24 before the next season, you aren’t “Young” unless your name is Ashley or Luke of course. Back to the award, I’ve picked one Belgian who had his first season in the league, over another. Christian Benteke signed for Villa with no real fanfare, if I remember correctly he hoped to score “7” goals for Villa this season. He’s amassed 15 so far, for a club that quite frankly at times has looked incapable of scoring 15 goals all season and he’s done it with a relative lack of fuss. He’s strong, athletic and has generally been a nuisance to defenders trying to mark him. He’s even keeping fellow Belgian starlet, Lukaku out the national side. He has been a revelation and a bargain buy for the club that desperately needed someone to step up with Darren Bent becoming anonymous. If Aston Villa do survive they can thank Benteke, if they go down I can guarantee they will be saying “bye bye” to him.
He’s carried Spurs during much of the second half of the season. His goals have been brilliant to watch, and he’s a constant threat. Sandro’s injury was a huge blow to Spurs, but Bale’s form has meant they have managed to keep pace in the race for top four.
Christian Benteke should win Young Player of the Year after a hugely valuable impact in his first season at Aston Villa. The powerful Belgian has scored the highest % of a club’s goals in the Premier League this season. Villa were threatened with relegation, but Benteke has saved Paul Lambert’s side and the striker is now highly-sought among Europe’s top sides. Big things to come.