Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Player of the year nominees thin on the ground

A week or so ago, Paul Hayward from the Guardian tweeted the first set of odds for the PFA Player of the Year awards. Taking a look on Oddschecker, one thing really stands out here, there isn't a stand out candidate.

At the moment Victor Chandler has Gareth Bale a 3/1 favourite. Now whilst Bale is clearly a fantastic footballer who was deserving of his new deal at Spurs, I can’t help but feel that he has been made favourite here on the back of two performances that were a) in Europe and b) against a team managed by Rafael Benitez. Stats don’t necessarily mean everything; however I would suggest that a winger who has just one assist this season hasn’t actually been as effective as people may think. The seven goals from the wide area are impressive and whilst it can be argued that Bale scares the hell out of most defences which means teams double up on him creating more space for other players, there are other players who have had bigger impact on their team this season.

One of Bale’s teammates for example falls into that category. Rafael Van Der Vaart’s signing in late August is the signing of the season for me, and still haunts me. Bebe £7.5m, Van Der Vaart £8m. Urgh!!!! The ex Real Madrid player had ten goals and seven assists arrived before injury struck and derailed his campaign. He was in the type of form that would have seen him run away with the award, before his dodgy hamstring went.

Other candidates on Oddschecker’s current list include Arsenal’s Sami Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. I can certainly understand the value of Nasri to the Gunners this season, chipping in with nine goals, and being their most consistent threat throughout the season in terms of creating chances for his team, however I can’t see how Fabregas should be considered. Just three goals from midfield are not good enough return for someone who is allegedly worth £40m. It’s been clear all season that Fabregas has not been all there with his head clearly turned by a return home to Cataluña. Jack Wilshere (seen below with a meerkat who can pick his own nose) would have a bigger claim to the award than Fabregas this year.

Carlos Tevez is currently priced at 5/1 and may not be a bad shout. If you look at the impact he has had on a City side full of mercenaries, only him, David Silva and Vincent Kompany have come out of this season so far with any real credit. Tevez has 18 goals this season but offers much more to them. His technique is not the best you will see around (far from it actually) but his bulldog like approach (copyright Martin Tyler, FIFA 11) and willingness to chase down anything gives City fans something to get excited about as Mancini seeks to park the bus in every single big game that they play in. (David Silva if he continues the way he his playing should be in the running for this award next year, he has been far and away Mancini’s best signing.

I mentioned earlier that stats aren’t everything but its hard not to be impressed with Nani’s form at United this year. It’s not Ronaldo-esque, however if you had asked any United fan this time last season if they saw this coming, their answer would have been a categorical no. Despite his impressive stats, Nani does continue to frustrate and should actually have more assists than he currently has to his name, mostly due to the fact most of his crosses struggle to beat the first man. Players also probably won’t vote for a man (I’m using the term loosely here) who cries on the pitch during your team’s biggest game of the season. Awful tackle no doubt but if you’re gonna cry about it, at least put your head in the ground until you've stopped.

United have two other players at the top of the list. Berbatov is quoted at the same price as Tevez, and whilst it’s not unreasonable to find the league’s top scorer in the list, the fact that 11 of his 20 goals have come in just three games probably doesn’t help his cause. The Bulgarian is an amazing talent who is having his best season at Old Trafford but he has failed to start a game since the Liverpool game three weeks ago and it is looking increasingly likely that Hernandez and Rooney will be the partnership Fergie looks to reach title Number 19.

One of the main reasons United look on the verge of that historic 19th title is their captain Nemanja Vidic. United have lost just three games all season and in all honesty it may have been more if it wasn’t for some of the performances of their Serbian warrior who has marshalled a battered and bruised defence all season long with ease. The captain of the team that could win the league seems like an obvious choice to win the award but in a season where there hasn’t been a standout candidate it would certainly make the most sense.

Finally a quick nod has to go to Charlie Adam here who is by no means the best player in the league, however he has been a huge reason why Blackpool still have a chance to stay up this season. Where would they be without his nine goals and seven assists? Bottom is the answer you are looking for. If the award was given out based on impact of a player on one club, he would surely be in with a shout. Can’t see it though somehow, can you?

1 comment:

  1. My candidates are:
    Owen Hargreaves - the way he shook hands in that one pre-match bollox line up simply oozed class. Earns every penny that lad.
    Jamie Carragher - for that old school 'tackle' on Nanny, let's be honest, we've all been waiting for her to get well and truly banjaxed!

    BSP Bound