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Friday, 17 April 2015

Who deserves PFA Player of the year?

The nominations were released for PFA player of the year as we near the end of yet another Premier League season, here I look at who is most deserving of that prize.

6. Philippe Coutinho

The Liverpool man is sure to be delighted to get a nomination for such an award but in all reality a nomination is the best he can hope for. Its been a great season for the “Little Magician” who was Liverpool’s standout player of the year by a distance.

While its been a good season for him he has registered just 4 goal and 4 assists, these figures don't come near to some of the other attacking midfielders in the Premier League and for that reason he will have to be content with a nomination.

In the defence of the Brazilian he has not had much around him to assist and it has not been a good season for Liverpool as a team so to get a nomination is a real achievement. If he continues his form into next season who knows he could be a lead contender for the award but not this year.

5. Diego Costa

After his expensive move from Atletico in the summer Costa has been a real success and is fully deserving of his place on the list. With 19 goals this season he is the joint top scorer in the league.

His goals at the start of the season got the Chelsea train rolling towards the league title they are bang on track for. Having had such a great start to the season Costa will have expected to get his scoring figures into the high twenties but injuries have hampered that in the second half of the season.

This injured spell is ultimately what cost him a real chance of winning the Player of the Year but for his first campaign in England a nomination is nothing to be frowned upon.

4. David De Gea

Spanish keeper De Gea has been the star performer in an inconsistent Manchester United team this season and is a genuine contender to win the award.

With 10 clean sheets thus far its been a great season for the Spaniard who in the early parts of the season was United’s only source of optimism, his terrific performance against Liverpool at Old Trafford was a particular highlight.

Interest from Real Madrid is reportedly high in the shot stopper so if this is to be his last season, what a last season it has been.

3. Harry Kane

Kane is the only Englishman on the list after a remarkable rise to the top for Spurs. The joint top scorer in the Premier League on 19 goals Kane has led Spurs’ charge for the top four places, a charge that ultimately failed.

Kane was not as prolific in the first half of the season and because of this probably won't win the award, his second half of the season however really has been sensational and deserving of being considered for the award.

2. Alexis Sanchez

The second man brought in from La Liga last summer to make the list, Sanchez has been in great form for Arsenal and has been a key part in Arsenal’s recent run of form that has seen them surge into 2nd place.

Individually Sanchez has been marvellous, his goal against Liverpool recently was just one example of what he can offer and has offered for Wenger’s side this season. With 14 goals and 8 assists his stats have backed up his performances and put him well in contention for the prestigious award.

There was a spell where Sanchez went a bit quiet and thats why he is only 2nd in this list.

1. Eden Hazard

Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has been the Premier League’s most consistent player this season and is the key reason why Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are top of the league right now. The Belgian has scored 12 goals and registered 8 assists this season so far.

Hazard has been a thorn in the side of defences throughout the country, his illusive running style is a joy to watch and warrants the recognition of the PFA Player of the Year award this season.

Worryingly for Chelsea the last three winners of this award have left their clubs the summer after so should Hazard win it will be interesting to see if Europe’s top clubs come in for the Belgian international.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Barcelona ready to dominate again

A 3-1 away win at PSG was the biggest indicator yet that Barcelona are once again ready to be Europe's elite team. Barca proved too strong for PSG and have all but guaranteed themselves a semi-final place and put themselves as favourites for the Champions League amongst bookies.

It was not so long ago Luis Enrique’s side lost at the Parc De Princes to PSG 3-2 in the group stages this season but a few months on and things have changed. Enrique looks to have gelled his side together very well and they are peaking just at the right time.

The PSG result was not the only sign that Barcelona were to be considered a real threat, their 2-1 win in El Clasico was of stark contrast to the performance that saw them lose 3-1 in the Santiago Bernabeu in October.

The way they brushed Manchester City aside in the round of 16 was yet another sign that this Barcelona team is ruthless and ready to challenge for top honours, keep in mind they made PSG, the side who knocked out Premier League runaway leaders Chelsea, look very poor.

While Guardiola continues to struggle to get his Bayern side to the remarkable level his former Barca side were at, the current Catalan side is beginning to believe they can once again reach that level. Of course at this moment in time they are nowhere near that level of dominance but indications are there that they can get there.

In Guardiola’s best seasons he played with a front three of Eto’o, Henry and Messi. This was the best strikeforce in Europe and Luis Enrique looks to have recreated a similarly prolific force. Neymar and Suarez who were both on the scoresheet against PSG now accompany Messi and are at this moment the most feared attack in Europe.

Naturally expectations were high for Enrique this season as they are every season with Barcelona but after taking over from Tato Martino who finished trophiless last season the fans want instant success and Enrique looks set to deliver it.

Barcelona currently lead La Liga which they last won under Tito Vilanova in the 2012/13 season and are strong favourites to win the Copa Del Rey with main rivals Real and Atletico out of the equation.

Champions League glory is top of most wish lists and on current form they look best placed to do it, 2010/11 was the last season Barcelona were crowned champions of Europe, far too long ago for a club of their stature and they will be looking to eradicate that this season.

photo credit: LFS_13335 via photopin (license)