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

 

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What did we learn from this weekend’s football?

This weekend’s football basically showed us that Man United’s strike force is potentially the best Man United has ever seen, even eclipsing the great 1999 treble winning side. Although their defending hasn’t quite been up to title winning standards this year, neither has the rest of their contenders. Speaking of contenders, Man City’s title defence looks to be going out with a whimper – after their 3 – 1 defeat to Southampton at St. Mary’s they are now 12 points off top after Man United’s 2 – 0 victory over Everton earlier on today. But City can’t just blame Man United firing from all cylinders on them seemingly having to relinquish their short-lived crown, City’s team has lacked spirit and the quality which it boasted last year. A summer of lavish spending was expected and they only brought in a right-back at the twilight of his career in Maicon, a promising English youngster in Jack Rodwell who has shown he isn’t up to title-winning standards, a winger in Scott Sinclair who was a pivotal part in Swansea’s excellent showing last season – but it almost reeked of panic buying on Roberto Mancini’s part. The only decent purchase from City’s summer was Javi Garcia who has filled in well when needed in defensive midfield and could prove to be a key player in seasons to come.

Another problem at the Etihad is the under-performing of last terms key players – where Man United’s have stepped up, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have not. It also begs the question, if Mancini had pulled out all the stops in the summer to sign Robin Van Persie like Sir Alex Ferguson did, would City be at the pinnacle and reaping the benefits of the Dutchman’s prowess?

Speaking of Van Persie, his former club Arsenal aren’t bearing too well without his services. Yes the scoring burden isn’t on one player with all of their regular front three reaching double figures this season but none of them quite reaching the heights which Van Persie has this season for United – it shows the gulf in class which has developed between Arsenal and Man United in recent years that with Van Persie, Arsenal managed to scrape a third place spot, but with Man United it seems that the Dutchman will be firing United to a record 20th league title.

Onto another topic of spending, QPR’s acquisitions this season could have seen them field another team but it seems that their players haven’t gelled like fans, staff and members had hoped. The spending continued in January with Chris Samba replacing the departing Ryan Nelsen and Loic Remy bolstering the front-line along with Peter Odemwing-…. oh no wait sorry that didn’t happen. But QPR’s season seems destined to rely on beating others around them and ‘Arry needing to work his much publicized magic that they signed him up for.

The Champions League returns this week with Cristiano Ronaldo welcoming Man United to his Bernabeu domain with open arms in a mouthwatering tie being the major talking point and Jose Mourinho calling it ‘the game the world has been waiting for’, we sure hope you’re right Jose!

Also a massive congratulations to any Nigerians out there after your team just won the African Cup of Nations, well done!

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