David de Gea: This has been a good season for Premier League keepers. Joe Hart had a bad run in the first half of the season and as the season has progressed, he and his peers have been very consistent without being extra ordinary. David de Gea has been one of two positives from Manchester United this season (the other being Adnan Januzaj). In the wake of Victor Valdes sustaining a major injury, a place in the squad of the World defending champions awaits the doughnut and taco loving Spaniard.
Seamus Coleman: Signing Seamus Coleman for £60,000 is the type of bargain that allowed David Moyes to find himself ascending Fergie’s throne. Under Roberto Martinez’s tutelage, Coleman has become one of the most sought after right backs in the country. With 6 goals this season, a decent haul for a defender, it could be said that he is now at a par with Leighton Baines (5 goals) who has been the subject of universal adulation over the last 18 months.
Per Mertesacker and John Terry: This is a strange one, in that both the players I pick have been less distinct on their own but functioned well in their respective partnerships. Until Arsenal capitulated in the big games, Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny’s partnership had been hugely impressive and makes me feel it’s somewhat unfair to have to separate them. Ditto John Terry and Gary Cahill who have conceded the least goals. Terry, one of the more polarizing figures around has been quietly impressive and returned to his best form. Calls for him as a Player of the Year candidate are a step too far though. Both are the more experienced, calmer heads. What they lack in pace, they make up for in intelligence, organization and leadership.
Luke Shaw: In Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole, England might have a competition at left back that would make most green with envy. As if that was not enough, Luke Shaw has risen to prominence. It’s rumoured that he would be sold in the summer for as much as 30 million. That tells you how great his breakthrough season has been. Ending up at either Chelsea or Manchester United as a replacement for Cole or Patrice Evra would suggest that all things being equal, he could make the position his for the next decade.
Yaya Toure and Aaron Ramsey: Declaration of bias: Aaron Ramsey is the GOAT. Alongside, Jordan Henderson, the most improved player in the league. Of the Welshman, I wrote after watching him last weekend
“Aaron Ramsey. The complete midfielder. It’s been Steven Gerard love in season of late and I’ve had cause to consider the progression of his career. Gerrard’s reputation is largely built around two games: The Champions League final comeback against Milan and the 2006 FA Cup Final. Jack Wilshere is often viewed as Arsenal’s lynchpin but I am wont to argue that Ramsey is their most important player. If anyone is going to replicate Gerrard’s career and impact in North London, it would be Ramsey. He leads the team in the way he plays and had a hand in everything good Arsenal did. A master of universality and surely on the cusp of being one of the best in the world in his position.
Yaya Toure is the other god box to box midfielder of the league. Dietmar Hamann’s claims that he could be a “liability” whilst clumsily worded does hold some merit. But when you can score goals and assist like he does, you can stroll around the pitch as you like. 18 goals and 5 assists are stats that put 90% of forwards in the league to shame.
Eden Hazard: For a manager like Jose Mourinho, destroying is more fun than creating. His teams tend to be more cautious than cavalier. More industrious, less swash buckling. It explains why Manuel Pellegrini mischievously suggested that Chelsea would not be worthy winners of the league compared to the likes of Liverpool and Man City who have blown teams away with pace and power. Watching Eden Hazard this season can be used as evidence to contradict that argument. The skilful Belgian has been the source of flair and creativity of Mourinho’s juggernaut and is gradually proving worthy of the histrionics displayed when selecting the club he would leave Lille for. Reminiscent of a miniature Ronaldo, his future might just lie at a certain Madrid club.
Adam Lallana: If I were a scout and tasked with compiling a report on Southampton’s talisman, I would keep it simultaneously simple and somewhat inflatory: Andres Iniesta type. A player like Lallana, is what happens when the English and Spanish football cultures meet. Criminally underrated last season, he has gotten his due this term and is surely the finest English player this term. A definite to make Brazil and if selection were meritocratic (i.e not playing Wayne Rooney because he’s Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard ‘cos he scored a goal that took a deflection 4 years ago) a sure starter.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge: Liverpool fans can be an easily impressionable bunch. It’s because of this, there was a refusal to buy into the SAS hype that blew in the first half of the season. A year ago, when Daniel Sturridge made his move to Liverpool, there was a feeling that he was in last chance saloon. Having been at both City and Chelsea and not convincing, it was argued that failing at Liverpool would guarantee a slide down to lower league sides. He has taken the challenge on and passed in flying colours. In fairness to him, when played through the centre during a loan spell at Bolton his goal scoring record was decent. His success this season should fill those at Stamford Bridge with some regret in the wake of their misfiring forward line.
Not much needs to be said here. Luis Suarez is top of both the goal and assists charts. He doesn’t take penalties. He was banned for the first five games of the season. He scores better goals than everyone else. Undoubtedly the player of the season.
Substitutes: Hugo Lloris, Gary Cahill, Mile Jedinak, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Jay Rodriguez
U23 Player of the Year: Eden Hazard
Player of the Year: Luis Suarez
Most Improved Player(s): Aaron Ramsey & Jordan Henderson
Manager(s) of the Year: Brendan Rodgers & Tony Pulis
Performance(s) of the Season: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 5, Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0