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!

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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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