Race For Player Of The Year
As the premier league season draws to a close; Chelsea look set to win the title and Liverpool seem to be out of the race for the top four. The only thing left to decide, is who had been the best player of the season. Although the race for the title has been more a slow walk to the championship, the race for the best player has been anything but boring. In deciding this there are two things you have to look at; consistency and the ability to influence a game on your own. In my opinion there are 5 candidates for player of the year: Hazard, Kane, De Gea, Sanchez and Costa.
Diego Costa is the joint highest goal scorer in the league with 19 goals (same as Harry Kane). He has added a different aspect to Chelsea’s game. He is a clinical finisher and makes sure his defender never gets an easy ride. He fights with the defenders, at times almost to a fault. As of late his form has dipped slightly and now his much talked about hamstring has finally gone. When all’s said and done whatever you may think of Costa, he has been integral to Chelsea’s success. Some criticise him for going over the top, but that’s what Mourinho wants him to do- and he does it very well. He seems to have adapted to the premier league’s physicality and seems perfect for England. Harry Kane on the other hand, has arguably been the form player of 2015, such is his form that it has seen him called into the England squad. Wherever Spurs finish it will largely be down to him- scoring against Arsenal also helps. What I would say against Kane is he has not proved himself over the whole season; in fact he didn’t start in the league until 9th November against Stoke. Now, have either of these two been consistent? Yes, in patches. Can they change influence the game on their own? Scoring a goal obviously helps, however Kane has won more games for Tottenham on his own than Costa has for Chelsea.
Alexis Sanchez is in the same position as Kane; he’s carried his teams at times, he can win games on his own, though he been unable to do it over the whole season. Sanchez has probably been the best signing this year and surely should be in the team of the year. At the beginning of the season Sanchez was winning games for Arsenal. Moreover, considering how many injuries Arsenal get, the fact that Sanchez has only missed 3 games; an impressive stat considering his high tempo style of play. However, his formed has dipped over the last few weeks as it seems the effect of the premier League seems to have taken its toll. With return of Giroud, Ozil and Cazorla to top form, the spotlight is off Sanchez, but none the less 14 goals and 8 assists is a top first season. Although many will disagree, Hazard is in the same boat; a superb player, who also happens to be Chelsea’s best player. Although he does have 12 goals and 10 assists, his plays suggest he should have more. He has incredible ball control and seems to be able to change his pace like an on off switch. Hazard can hurt you from anywhere and seems to have put together a great season without gaining as much publicity as the Costa, Sanchez and Kane. His performances have been at such a high level that Jose Mourinho regards him as “by far the best player this season” concluding that “there should not even be a debate”.
The one player standing between Hazard and the award is David De Gea. If Man U do (as it seems they will) get a top four spot- De Gea is a major part of that. Man U have been a struggling club, playing boring football and struggling to adapt to a new manager. With the lack of a solid defence, De Gea has been constantly called into question and he has constantly answered. Such is his influence that Man U cannot afford to lose him; even if they do get Bale. Although he only has 10 clean sheets, De Gea has twice recorded the most saves in a game, 8 (against Arsenal and Liverpool). I have not seen a goalkeeper put in so many ‘man of the match performances with such a bad defence in front of him. We often see wingers win games and Hazard is one the best. However, I’ve only seen two goalkeepers do the same- Neuer and De Gea.
So who wins between De Gea and Hazard? Both have shown a consistent level of performance and both have had huge influences on games. Personally I’d pick De Gea on the fact that he has kept Man U in a number of games. Whereas Hazard has been supported with a rock solid defence, Costa, Fabregas and Matic; De Gea has maybe only had Rooney. Hazard’s influence is more visible in a game and will likely get the award. Picking between either player is hard, both are in the top 3 in their respective positions, but De Gea’s performances have kept Man U in a very competitive race for a top four spot. Considering the competition for both respective positions, I know who I’m going for- De Gea.
Written by Bill McLoughlin @
This article was provided by The Footy Site