PFA Winner, Team of the Year and recent games!

So over the weekend the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year was announced with Gareth Bale winning both. Am I the only one who thinks this is some kind of joke? Fair enough on Young Player of the Year, the only person really in touch with Bale was Benteke and I couldn’t see him winning it due to the club he’s playing for being in a kind of relegation scrap. Did you know only two players in the top European leagues have scored more goals than Benteke in 2013? Those two players are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

For Player of the Year I thought it would easily be between Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez, and with Van Persie recently winning the league title and leaping to top of the goalscoring charts I expected him to win his second gong in successive seasons. But no, the PFA had other ideas.

I also heard whispers that Luis Suarez was booed at the PFA awards, now I know he bit Ivanovic but come on people, a bit of class and dignity please?

Moving swiftly on to PFA Team of the Year:

Goalkeeper: David De Gea – purely there on his form since Christmas of 10 clean sheets in 16 games. Before that, a bit shakey and definitely not the best keeper in the league.

Right back: Pablo Zabaleta – Consistent and reliable at the back for City, probably the only player in their team to perform consistently well all season. Special mention to Ivanovic who has also played well at right back this year, until shuffling into the centre.

Centre backs: Jan Vertonghen – If Swansea hadn’t signed Michu, Vertonghen would have been my signing of the season, adding stability and steel to the Spurs backline and forming an excellent partnership with Michael Dawson.

Rio Ferdinand – Not so sure on this one, maybe because of his late season form too and a title-winning year for the veteran centre back.

Left back: Leighton Baines – Another brilliant season from the Toffees’ left back.

Right midfield: Eden Hazard – Slotted into the Premiership well, high number of goals and assists coming with his high price tag. Excellent partnership with Juan Mata and Oscar in Chelsea midfield.

Centre midfield: Juan Mata – The most effective player in the Premiership

Michael Carrick – The fulcrum through which Manchester United based their attacks

Left midfield: Gareth Bale – PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, scintillating season for Tottenham

Strikers: Robin Van Persie – Top scorer in the league and Premiership trophy winner, giving Man United another dimension up front.

Luis Suarez – Carrying an average Liverpool team all season, having his best scoring season for Liverpool so far.

Now onto the weekends action.

I’m pretty sure that Reading and QPR both assumed each other would survive the drop this season. Oh, they didn’t? Well neither team played like they were battling relegation on Sunday and it showed as they both played out one of the most boring 0 – 0 draws I’ve ever witnessed and were subsequently relegated. Rumour has it that Arsenal’s chief scout was in town to watch Loic Remy play as well.. Good audition ay Loic?

And onto the big one of many Arsenal fan’s season, the game against Manchester United. Although many Man United fans don’t see Arsenal as a threat anymore you can guarantee they still look forward to games against the Gunners due to the long standing rilvary from years gone by.

And here’s a question for my fellow Gooners: what would you rather have happened, Van Persie win the league at the Emirates, or have to do a guard of honour for him? I would rather what actually happened so we wouldn’t have had an even bigger blow to our team’s spirit. Now that the guard of honour happened maybe it will signal big change at Arsenal and spur on the club, or I might be getting ahead of myself.

Anyways, we are no closer to finding out who will join the Manchester clubs in next seasons Champions League as both North London clubs drew and Chelsea beat Swansea, but with Tottenham and Chelsea’s run of games, Arsenal could have a sniff, with the Blues and Spurs coming head-to-head next week it could come down to that as to who finishes where in terms of the Champions League race.

Here’s a nice picture for you all, my personal guard of honour to Manchester United and Van Persie:

Guard of Honour

Well done Robin

 

Top five left backs in the world

Felipe – Atletico Madrid

A surprise inclusion maybe but Felipe’s progress has been quiet but effective at Atletico Madrid as the club look to be playing Champions League football next season and he has also done terrifically to come back so well from a horrific leg injury he sustained in 2010.

Felipe’s ability in going forward goes hand-in-hand with his defensive stability which can be rare for a defender nowadays (believe it or not) and this is shown in his versatility down the left, being able to play either at left back or left wing.

He has amassed 256 career club appearances for Deportivo and Atletico Madrid, scoring 12 goals and he has four trophies to his name; one UEFA Intertoto Cup, one UEFA Europa League and two UEFA Supercups.

He has also made three appearances for the Brazilian national team.

Marcelo – Real Madrid

Marcelo has been compared to his legendary Brazilian compatriot Roberto Carlos in many quarters due to his impressive defensive ability, overlapping runs, composure, vision and his left foot strike isn’t too shabby either.

It was feared that Marcelo’s spot at left back may have become usurped by Fabio Coentrao when Real Madrid signed the young Portuguese left back but Marcelo (when fit) has been able to hang on to his spot in the team, even moving Coentrao over to a defensive midfield role for a portion of his Madrid career.

Marcelo has amassed 256 career club appearances, scoring 23 goals and winning three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and two Supercopa de Espana titles. He has also made 18 appearances for the Brazilian national team, scoring four goals and winning two Olympic medals (one bronze and one silver).

Leighton Baines – Everton

Baines is the man who everyone believes will be Ashley Cole’s successor for the England left back spot, and it’s hard not to see why.

He has been in fantastic form for Everton over the past few seasons and is one of the hottest properties in England due to his defending abilities as well as his terrific delivery from open play and set pieces, with suitors including Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.

In 2011-11 the Toffees left back played every minute of every game that season, a run which ended after 99 games. During the 2010-11 season he racked up 11 assists, making him the highest assisting defender in the league, 5th highest assister overall. His partnership down the Everton left with Steven Pienaar this season was widely seen, for a while, as the most effective in the Premiership.

He has made 405 club career appearances to date, scoring 26 goals, a great deal of those 26 goals coming from either penalties or free-kicks which Baines is a master of. He has also won a Football League Second Division title. He has made 15 appearances for England, scoring one goal.

Marcel Schmelzer – Borussia Dortmund

Firstly, Dortmund have been a breath of fresh air in European football and Germany over the past couple of season; secondly, what an under-rated player they have at left back!

Schmelzer’s ability in the tackle and reading the game has helped not just him, but it has helped his team’s meteoric rise to one of the biggest forces in European football. His left side partnership with Marco Reus is also one of the most solid in Europe.

He has made 153 career club appearances, scoring three goals; winning two Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal. He has also made 11 appearances for the German first team.

Jordi Alba – Barcelona

The Barcelona youth product returned to his boyhood club after a seven-year absence and he has quickly established himself as the team’s first choice left back, as well as the Spanish national team left back.

The world started taking notice of Alba after he switched positions from winger to a more defensive role and was proving key to former club Valencia and their Champions League ambitions. A transition which has ultimately proved fruitful for Alba. His performances at Euro 2012 for the successful Spanish side saw Barcelona come back to swoop for their former youth product.

Since re-signing for Barcelona, Alba has been widely regarded as the best left back in the world, not just for his defending, but again like most of the left backs on this list, his ability to get forward and be a menace to other teams. His pace, vision and delivery have been a key part of Barcelona’s play this year while they try and take their La Liga crown back from Real Madrid.

Alba has made 183 career club appearances so far, scoring 15 goals, he has also made 17 appearances for the Spanish national team, scoring two goals. One of those goals came in the Euro 2012 final against Italy which saw Spain retain their European crown.

Best goalkeepers in the world

“Yay another top five series!” I hear you scream in delight. And yes, I am now doing a top five series but instead of saying my top five positional ever, I’m going to do them as a current selection, just one rule though, if there is a player in the top five ever, I can’t use them in the top five current series, simple! Again, just like the top five ever it will be based on my own personal opinion, backed by evidence.

Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus

To be honest, Buffon was unlucky to not get into my top five players ever, he was just pipped to the post by Spain and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas. But he was the first name I thought of for greatest in the world.

He has been named IFFHS goalkeeper of the year four times and was also named the best goalkeeper of the 21st century by the same organization. He has made 661 career club appearances to date and became the most expensive goalkeeper ever in 2001 when Juventus forked out £32million for the stopper’s transfer from Parma.

Buffon is Italy’s highest capped Goalkeeper with 126 caps, only being behind Paolo Maldini and Fabio Cannavaro in overall stakes.

He has won a UEFA Cup, one Coppa Italia, four Supercoppa Italia, three Serie A titles and one Serie B title as well as the 2006 World Cup.

Petr Cech – Chelsea

Petr Cech’s form since his transfer to Chelsea in 2004 has meant that the London club have never had to worry about getting a replacement for the Czech international due to his consistent reliance between the sticks.

Cech’s impact on Chelsea was seen straight away in his first season where he set a Premier League record of 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal (which has since been broken by Edwin Van Der Sar). He was also given the Golden Glove award for keeping 21 clean sheets in his first season.

The Czech giant’s form dropped after a severe head injury suffered in a league match against Reading in 2006 after a challenge from Stephen Hunt but since his return Cech has been instrumental in helping Chelsea to a further eight trophies including a much craved Champions League trophy last year, a run in which Cech saved two penalties en route to the final.

Cech has made 561 career club appearances to date and has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cup titles, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy so far in his career.

Internationally he has made 100 appearances for Czech Republic so far.

David De Gea – Manchester United

After a hugely critical start to his Manchester United career, De Gea has since flourished into an excellent shot stopper. Signed in 2011 as a replacement for the retired Edwin Van Der Sar, De Gea was thrust into criticism after a few mistakes.

Since then De Gea has proved vital in helping Man United to this year’s league title as well as putting in an amazing performance in a 1 – 1 draw at the Bernabeu. Before Boxing Day, De Gea had kept nine clean sheets in 40 games, but since he has kept 10 clean sheets in 15 games. An excellent improvement by any standards.

De Gea has so far made 153 appearances in his short career and looks to be a promising ‘keeper in the future, not just for Man United but for the Spanish national team as well where he is regarded as the long-term successor to Spanish legend Iker Casillas. De Gea’s short career to date has also seen him win a UEFA Europa League, a UEFA Super Cup, one Premier League title and an FA Community Shield.

Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich

The big German keeper has made a big name for himself after his transfer to Bayern Munich for £20million in 2011, making him the second most expensive goalkeeper ever. But it was easy to see why Bayern would pay so much for Neuer as his reflexes, shot stopping abilities and commanding nature have helped see them back to the summit of German football.

During his first few weeks at Bayern he already went on to break a club record of most clean sheets held in a row, going 1000 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal, a record which was previously held by Munich’s legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

So far he has made 295 career club appearances, winning a German League Cup, one German Cup, one Bundesliga and a German Supercup in the process. Also establishing himself as the German national team’s first-choice goalkeeper, already accumulating 38 caps for his national team.

Hugo Lloris – Tottenham

Is this a controversial decision? Oh well, I don’t care. I love Lloris as a goalkeeper and think his reflexes, shot stopping skills and effectiveness in one-on-one situations are incredible.

Despite a difficult first couple of months at Tottenham after his transfer from Lyon, Lloris has gone on to establish himself as first-choice goalkeeper over veteran Brad Friedel. His first league start for Tottenham spelled the end of Friedel’s 310 consecutive league game run, not in vain though as Lloris kept a clean sheet in a 3 – 0 win over Aston Villa.

Lloris’ career so far has seen him amass 318 career club appearances, as well as two trophies – one Coupe de France and a Trophee des Champions. He has also established himself as the French national team’s number one, making 45 appearances and being made team captain in February 2012.

There’s my top five goalkeepers in the world at the moment, what do you think? Also a big mention goes to Guillermo Ochoa who plays for Ajaccio in France. Youtube him if you can, incredible agility!

Champions League Semis – Spain vs. Germany

So after the first leg of the semi-finals in the Champions League we have learnt that German football has started taking Europe by the scruff of the neck. After Munich’s 4 – 0 destroying of Barcelona last night it was thought that Real Madrid could have salvaged some Spanish pride in Dortmund, but no, the well-oiled German machine juggernauted it’s way to yet another victory over Spanish opposition, this time a 4 – 1 lead.

Last night, Bayern’s defensive solidity was a key part in their dismantling of Lionel Messi and co. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez in front of the back four were the perfect shields and didn’t allow the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi space in the places they would need it to make a telling impact on the match. It was like watching industry against flair, and industry well and truly came out on top; you know a team is in an industrial mood when Arjen Robben is running his socks off in both an attacking sense and defensively.

On we come to Lionel Messi, it became horribly clear that the Balon d’Or holder is not 100% fit, judging on last night, it doesn’t even seem as if he’s 50% fit. But when you’re at the top it almost becomes second nature that you must perform game after game, and if I hear one more person say that Messi has lost it, or won’t be the same player I’ll scream.

So here we are, to tonight’s match. And what a match it was. Robert Lewandowski staked his claim as one of the hottest properties in the world with suitors including Man United and Bayern Munich lurking by scoring four goals, the pick of the bunch being his third. The place where I went to watch the match just stood and applauded, apart from one poor soul who had a bet on Madrid to win.

It all looked to be going in Madrid’s favour once, despite not playing well, they equalized through Cristiano Ronaldo (who else) and Dortmund had a penalty shout not given by the ref, who was promptly mobbed by three or four players resembling bees who just had their honey stolen.

Then the Lewandowski show continued after half-time and he rounded off a stunning night for Dortmund by scoring four goals and inflicting a defeat on Jose Mourinho’s men which makes it seem as if London is going to be bombarded with Germans come May (no jokes please).

The current Dortmund team looks to have no weaknesses in it, there’s pace, strength and hard-work throughout the team. Defensively they’re all sound, work for each other and going forward they have an excellent amount of flair as well as incisive play.

So, all German final at Wembley then? It looks to be that way, unless the Spaniards can upset all the odds and perform one of the greatest European comebacks of all-time.

I would also like to give a shoutout to Marco Reus who scored possibly the best disallowed goal ever earlier with a sublime chip over a stranded Diego Lopez.

Hannibal Suarez

So, at the weekend, Luis Suarez decided to bite an opponent, but not for the first time in his career. What on earth is the man thinking?!

Firstly I would like to say that I love Luis Suarez as a footballer, incredible skill and talent, he has been one of the main reason’s for Liverpool’s current league standing and he has had an outstanding goalscoring season, but the man can really baffle me with his behaviour.

He received a ban in 2010 for biting PSV’s Otman Bakkal, surely a fine and a suspension later and the man would have learned his lesson, but oh no, not Luis. With millions of people watching him, on hundreds of cameras around a packed Anfield he proceeds to bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic…

WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT LUIS?

WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT LUIS?

At first, I wondered what the hell Ivanovic was going on about, in all honesty I thought the incident was fairly innocuous, then replays were shown and the more I saw it, the more it got worse.. I understand the passion on a football pitch, but biting?! REALLY?!

ArcSoft_Image2

REALLY?!

Now, the PFA have asked for Suarez to go into anger management, and I think this is a good idea as he clearly has a bit of an anger problem. Past controversies with Suarez (Hannibal style nibbling aside) have included punching team-mates and opposition players.

Close sources to the Liverpool frontman say he is an amazing person off the football pitch, it just shows what passion in sport can do to people if what is described as a jokey character turns into something completely different, Jekyll and Hyde without the medication maybe?

At least he has said sorry and all of the money he is fined is going to the charity set-up to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster, but let’s just hope that another sour incident doesn’t fall into the path of someone who has the potential to be a Liverpool legend.

PFA Young Player of the Year

So along with the PFA Player of the Year nominees, out came the Young Player nominees too. There’s a couple more I don’t agree with, Danny Welbeck for instance who so far has less league goals this season than Per Mertesacker. Jack Wilshere has also proved how important he is to Arsenal since his return but I don’t think he’s done enough to be nominated for this award, but anyway, let’s get started.

Christian Benteke – Aston Villa

Since his £8million move in the summer, Benteke has become an integral part to Villa’s survival hopes and it’s hard to see him staying at the Villains whether they stay up or not.

Scoring 19 goals in 36 appearances so far this season has seen Benteke become somewhat of a hot property in the Premiership, especially mixing his goalscoring exploits with his phenomenal physical attributes.

He has been a problem for defences since he joined the Premiership and has courted interest from European football chasing clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.

BEST MOMENT: Being instrumental in Villa’s 3 – 1 win at Anfield over Liverpool, scoring two goals and assisting another.

Romelu Lukaku – West Brom

The giant Belgian striker joined Chelsea last season and was dubbed ‘the new Drogba’ which is quite a billing to live up to, but you can see why Lukaku has drawn comparisons to the Chelsea hero as his physical attributes are similar to that of the Ivorian.

He has spent this season on loan at West Brom and has proved to be an astute loan acquisition by Steve Clark, leading the Baggies’ front line admireably for a player of such a young age.

Lukaku has scored 13 goals in 45 appearances this season and is hotly tipped to have a bright future at Chelsea when he returns. The date of his return has not been set however, as he has revealed he would like to spend another season away from Stamford Bridge for more experience.

BEST MOMENT: Coming on as a 70th minute substitute, scoring a goal and assisting Marc-Antoine Fortune in West Brom’s 4 – 2 win over Sunderland in November.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

This list of nominees just seems full of the Belgian team doesn’t it? Not for bad reason though as all of their young players seem to have taken the Premiership by storm this season.

Chelsea winger Hazard has been put up for both Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards and it seems he stands a better chance of winning the Young Player gong as the speedster looks to build on his impressive first season in English football.

In his first season, Hazard has scored 13 goals and notched up 18 assists in 57 games so far this season for Chelsea, as well as striking up an impressive trio alongside Chelsea’s other midfield stars Oscar and Juan Mata.

(SECOND) BEST MOMENT: Putting on a man of the match performance as Chelsea beat West Ham 2 – 0 at Stamford Bridge, scoring an impressive solo goal as well as assisting a Frank Lampard goal as well.

Gareth Bale – Tottenham

Another Young Player nominee who has been put up for the Player of the Year gong is Tottenham’s Welsh wizard Gareth Bale. His importance to Spurs has been highlighted this season as whenever he isn’t in the team, Tottenham don’t appear to flow as well as they do with him.

The Welshman has had to shoulder a lot more pressure this season with the departures of creative outlets in Rafael Van Der Vaart and Luka Modric, mixed with Spurs inability to sign a striker should have made it tough for them this year, but Bale has taken the pressure well and become one of the hottest properties in world football, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United reportedly interested.

Bale has scored 23 goals in 39 appearances so far this season and has shown his improvement as a player dramatically offensively after reverting to a more attacking position last season.

(SECOND) BEST MOMENT: Scoring Tottenham’s second goal in their 3 – 2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, their first win at Old Trafford since 1989.

Danny Welbeck – Manchester United

I’m not really sure I can justify this one, but I can certainly have a go.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like Welbeck as a footballer. But being a striker and only scoring one goal in the league, and two goals altogether all season is not nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year material.

Welbeck has proved to be a good back-up choice for Manchester United this season behind Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and whenever he has played he has always given 100% and never moaned about his role at the club so his commitment can’t be questioned.

BEST MOMENT: Opening the scoring at the Bernabeu in Man United’s 1 – 1 draw with Real Madrid, becoming the first Englishman playing for an English team to score there since Alan Smith in 2001.

Jack Wilshere Arsenal

Again, I’m not sure why Wilshere has been nominated, he was injured until late October and was recently out for another six weeks, but his importance to Arsenal’s midfield has been highlighted, especially when they have seemed to lack any drive.

It is clear to everyone that Wilshere will become an Arsenal legend and potentially a future England captain as his desire and passion mixed with his technical ability and composure make him a joy to watch when he’s pulling the strings in midfield.

BEST MOMENT: Scoring the only goal of the game and putting in a man of the match performance to beat Swansea 1 – 0 in the FA Cup.

PFA Player of the Year nominations

The Player of the Year nominations have come from the PFA and I have one problem. Why is Hazard in there and not Michu? Don’t even get me started on the Young Player of the Year nominations. A post on the Young Player nominations will be coming soon but let’s get started on this first round:

  • Robin Van Persie – Manchester United

Now, I don’t do this without a lot of hatred and quite frankly, jealousy. Van Persie left Arsenal in the summer with a lot of pressure on his shoulders, not just jumping ship to Arsenal’s rivals but with a £24million price tag on his head. But RvP was able to take the challenge in his stride and he picked up where he left off from last season, getting his second PFA nomination in the process.

He won this award last year and gave a good shout of winning it again, despite going on a recent purple patch in front of goal he was still able to be a key component in grinding out results for United in their march towards a 20th league title.

Van Persie has scored 27 goals in 43 appearances so far this season, and when United guaranteed him a £1.5 million contract bonus if they won a title in the next four years, I think he may have seen it as a bit of an added incentive maybe? But Van Persie has led United from the front and looks to have been the catalyst in their latest title charge, imagine how different the title race had been if he had opted to join City instead of the red half of Manchester.

BEST MOMENT: Scoring the hat-trick against Aston Villa which ensured Man United’s 20th league title. As if it had been in doubt lately.

  • Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur

Another one I’m jealous of, but for different reasons, I’m jealous that Arsenal don’t have him on the left wing causing havoc. Bale has proved to be Spurs main man seeing as when he’s not playing they seem to be a different team, he just seems to make them flow.

He has yet again been Tottenham’s main man but the pressure was cranked on Bale last summer when Spurs sold Rafael Van Der Vaart and Luka Modric who were the club’s other creative outlets. But Bale has shouldered the burden well, even when Spurs didn’t strengthen their striking ranks in the summer or January he has still been the main man at White Hart Lane in their chase for a Champions League spot.

Bale has scored 23 goals in 39 games so far this season, also adding assists to his tally as well making him one of the most effective players in the Premiership. His importance to Tottenham was highlighted in their 3 – 1 home win over Manchester City when on his return from injury he provided and assist for Clint Dempsey as well as getting on the scoresheet himself.

BEST MOMENT: Scoring two goals in Tottenham’s 3 – 2 win over West Ham United, his second was a candidate for goal of the season as he hammered the ball in the top corner from 30 yards.

  • Luis Suarez – Liverpool

Luis Suarez’s class has never been doubted since his move to L,iverpool and that has been highlighted even further this season as he has added a midas touch to his overall incisive play. At one point without his goal’s this season, Liverpool would have been bottom and battling relegation, isn’t it lucky they just so happened to have him around then?

Suarez’s tally of 30 goals in 45 games so far this season has been his greatest goalscoring return since joining Liverpool but I fear that his tally will not grow anymore after his nibbling of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm in Liverpool’s recent 2 – 2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield.

But we can’t let that overshadow what has been an outstanding season for the Uruguayan frontman who has come to the fore as one of the most lethal players in the Premiership this season.

BEST MOMENT: Becoming only the third ever Liverpool player to score 20 league goals in a season after scoring a hat-trick against Wigan in a 4 – 0 victory at the DW Stadium.

  • Juan Mata – Chelsea

Juan Mata has really stepped up this season for Chelsea and has become a part of one of the most fluid attacking midfield trios in the Premiership alongside Eden Hazard and Oscar.

Mata’s contribution to Chelsea has been the biggest in terms of how many goals he has had a direct part in, with 18 goals and 34 assists in 56 games so far this season, making him the most effective player playing for a Premiership team.

Mata’s impact for Chelsea has improved no end since his switch in position since the days of Roberto Di Matteo, his latest role which has been more central has encouraged him to have more freedom on the pitch, allowing him to interchange with his midfield partners to devastating effect.

BEST MOMENT:  Scoring twice and providing an assist in Chelsea’s 4 – 2 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

  • Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Eden Hazard’s Chelsea career started off with a flourish and it looked as if he could have been a signing of the season as Chelsea were touted as early title contenders. Hazard got six assists and two goals in his first three games for Chelsea which signalled that he could have an amazing impact in the Premiership.

Hazard’s impact on the Premiership has wavered somewhat but he still has a good return nonetheless with 13 goals and 18 assists in 57 appearances so far this season, which isn’t a bad return for his first season in English football, although his price-tag came with a certain expectation for Chelsea fans, along with the rest of the Premiership’s fan base.

The Belgian winger’s early season form is probably why everyone’s seen Hazard’s latest form as a bit of a drop but he hasn’t done too badly as it is, lighting up the Premiership with some great interplay as well as some great individual moments.

BEST MOMENT: Grabbing three assists in Chelsea’s early season 4 – 2 win over Reading at Stamford Bridge.

  • Michael Carrick – Manchester United

While Van Persie and Wayne Rooney have been lighting up the Premiership with their new found partnership up front for United, it would have been easy for Michael Carrick to be overlooked in his defensive midfield role.

Carrick has been the fulcrum for which Man United have based their attacking fluidity on and has been just as important for them as their devastating strikeforce. Carrick has also shown his versatility after having to move to centre-back during the early games of the season while Man United went through a defensive crisis of sorts.

Carrick’s nomination is justified as he has kept the Manchester United title challenge ticking over in midfield with an 88% pass completion rate which is one of the highest not just in the Premiership but in the top European leagues.

BEST MOMENT: His actual nomination amongst the flair players and goal scorers which fill the rest of the shortlist show just how good of a season Carrick has had.

Who do you think should get PFA Player of the Year? Cast your vote below!