It’s that time of the season where footballers around the country sit scratching their heads wondering who to vote for in the race for this season’s ‘PFA Players’ Player of the Year award’. Not only is it an ambiguous award because it is a ‘Player of the Year award’ rather than a ‘Player of the Season’ award, PFA members are expected to submit their vote in March. Who isn’t confused about this? It is widely considered that votes are cast on season performance rather than yearly, so just to help any Premier League players who are undecided we have taken a look at this season’s top performers, looking at their WhoScored.com ratings as picking a winner this March won’t be as easy as Sunday morning…
(1) Robin van Persie – Arsenal
Is anyone genuinely surprised by this? The flying Dutchman has been Arsenal’s knight in shining armour all season long. The Gunners have struggled since the departure of perennial figures Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and have had to rely on van Persie’s unbelievable form in the main to keep them going. Robin van Persie has turned in world-class performances leading the club, and his Premier League counterparts, in goal scoring with 23 league goals.
His consistent impressive individual effort may even decide whether Arsenal qualify for the Champions League next season or not. There’s still a lot of football to be played, but even if the Gunners fall just short, rest assured that van Persie’s efforts will not go unnoticed. He is definitely a leading candidate for this award.
WhoScored.com rating: 7.85 (out-of-10).
(2) Wayne Rooney — Manchester United
Wayne Rooney started the 2011/12 season like a seasoned thoroughbred racehorse coming out of the traps having scored two consecutive hat-tricks by early September. As usual, controversy surrounded Wayne Rooney in one form or another and his performances dipped as he went on an 8 game goal drought towards the end of last year. In true Rooney fashion he came back strong and remains second in the Premier League scoring charts this season.
Statistically, he is the second best player in the league just behind Robin van Persie, Rooney is not chipping in with quite as many assists this season compared to last, but is on track for his highest scoring Premier League season, but has he impressed enough to take back the accolade that he lost to Gareth Bale last season?
WhoScored.com rating: 7.79
(3) David Silva — Manchester City
Who dare leave out this diminutive playmaker from this seasons running? Silva has become the linchpin for Manchester City since flying over from Valencia in the summer of 2010. He makes Manchester City tick and the fact that he leads the league in assists (12) gives testimony to this. He has also weighed in with 5 goals and is the third current best performing player in the Premier League and this should come as no surprise.
Silva has been in devastating form both domestically and in Europe and with City’s exposure and reputation growing, it would be no surprise to see this midfield magician take the 2011/12 award. Silva looks set to lead his club’s charge for what would be their first top tier league title in 44 years, if they win it, Roberto Mancini, together with City players and fans, would know who has been the clubs consistent inspirational figure.
WhoScored.com rating: 7.69
(4) Luka Modric — Tottenham Hotspur
Luka Modric is one of only a few midfielders who have set the league alight this season. It’s hard to believe that he nearly left the club last summer in acrimonious circumstances after his displays have spearheaded Spurs assault on the Premier League hierarchy this season. Modric should be commended not only for his performances, but for his attitude and professionalism since finding out Spurs were unwilling to sell him.
Luka Modric is the reason why Spurs are in hanging on in the title race and are virtually a shoo-in for next season’s Champions League. His guile, grace on the ball, and crisp passing have been a cut above and show why Redknapp, Levy and Spurs were desperate to keep him. Modric is currently the fourth best performing player in the whoscored.com index despite having only weighed in with 3 goals and 4 assists in the league this season. It is not the headlines that make Modric the player he is, but those that have played against him know his quality and I wouldn’t be surprised that he at least makes the shortlist for this award.
WhoScored.com rating: 7.63
(5) Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
It’s really hard to believe that over a period of 20-odd games in his early days at Spurs, Gareth Bale was not on the winning side. It is even harder to believe that he couldn’t even get a game at Spurs at one point and the club considered letting him go. Now after another effective season so far, he is rated as one of Spurs’ and the world’s best. Bale has proved his consistency with 9 goals and 7 assists so far this season, not a bad return from a left-winger.
Gareth Bale was last season’s debatable winner of this award after periods of inconsistency mixed with the ambiguity over whether this award is based on a calendar year’s performance or a seasonal one as many felt the award was given based on Bale’s performances towards the end of the 2009/10 season, coupled with his Champions League exploits last season. This season Bale does not have this luxury and will have to perform big in the next few weeks if he is to retain his title.
WhoScored.com rating: 7.59
(6) Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
A lot of players seemingly take a while to settle in to Premier League life, it is widely considered only true world-class players have the ability to hit the ground running in the Premier League…step forward Sergio Aguero. It is no surprise City were happy to splash a whopping £38million (reportedly) on the diminutive Argentine in the summer as Aguero has performed to devastating effect in both the Premier League and European competition.
Aguero currently has 16 Premier League goals and 5 assists which is a great return for a debut season. Aguero has formed a great understanding with fellow contender David Silva and some will argue he has done as much as Silva to help bring the Premier League title to the blue half of Manchester. Aguero a serious contender for this season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year award? You better believe it.
WhoScored.com rating: 7.45
Demba Ba – Newcastle United – WhoScored.com rating: 7.02
Michael Carrick – Manchester United – WhoScored.com rating: 7.43
Mikel Arteta – Arsenal – WhoScored.com rating: 7.49
Yaya Toure – Manchester City – WhoScored.com rating: 7.36
Clint Dempsey – Fulham – WhoScored.com rating: 7.07
Juan Mata (Chelsea), Nani (Manchester United), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Yakubu (Blackburn Rovers), Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur).
As can be seen, there have been a lot of standout performers this season. The decision of who deserves the coveted award will not be an easy one to make. Regardless of who wins the accolade, there can be no doubts in anyone’s mind about the level of talent this league possesses.
*- Stats & ratings courtesy of whoscored.com – great website, check it out.
You can follow the author of this post, Joel Ramey, at his blog flixandtrix.com and on Twitter @FlixandTrix – don’t forget to follow Football Rascal on Twitter @FootballRascal and ‘Like’ our Facebook page…make sure you tell us who you feel will be a worthy winner!
Thanks for stopping by.