As we approach the business end of the Premier League season, talk is beginning to turn to end of season awards and which players are most deserving of them.
Normally, by this point in the season, there’s a clear cut favourite for most awards, but with the Premier League title race being so tight between Manchester City and Liverpool, with both teams having several standout performers, nothing is certain this year.
Last year Mohamed Salah ran away with the POTY prize for his free scoring exploits with Liverpool, while N’Golo Kante received the gong the year before for another dominant league title winning campaign, this time with Chelsea rather than Leicester City.
1One of the frontrunners for this season’s award is Liverpool’s Dutch centre-half, Virgil van Dijk…
Virgil van Dijk’s February:
✅ 2 goals
✅ 3 clean sheets
✅ 1 goal conceded
PFA Player of the Month 👏pic.twitter.com/6gGDonTRvc
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 4, 2019
🏆We make Virgil van Dijk 4/9 to win the PFA Player of the Year award pic.twitter.com/2lF1dh1mg9
— Coral (@Coral) March 4, 2019
🔴 Carragher on Virgil van Dijk:
🗣 “He looks like a man playing in a kids game. He’s playing against some of the top players in European Football and everything is so easy for him.”
Player of the year? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/QEMSOh7Pf0
— Black Type (@blacktypebet) March 4, 2019
Virgil Van Dijk has won the PFA Player of the Month for February. We have misfired up front but if it wasn’t for him we’d have lost a lot of the games we’ve drawn. He’s been absolutely immense.
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) March 4, 2019
🏆 Virgil van Dijk has been named PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for February.
It’s his second time winning the award this season. 💪 pic.twitter.com/Sl0Jk50f9I
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) March 4, 2019
Virgil Van Dijk is the best player in the Premier League. There is not one player, at any club, in any position, who is consistently as good as he is.
— Ben Kelly (@bkelly776) March 3, 2019
The Dutchman has been immense for Liverpool ever since arriving from Southampton in a £75 million deal last January and has been a key part of their Premier League title challenge, this term.
The Reds currently have the best defensive record in the league, having conceded only 15 goals in 29 games, with van Dijk and goalkeeper Allison providing much needed stability at the back.
Although not everyone is in agreement with just how impressive the Dutchman has been…
Agree with Carragher and Souness, Van Dijk was absolutely majestic against a strikeforce of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) March 3, 2019
2There are also calls for the likes of Heung-Min Son and Sergio Aguero to receive the award for their goal scoring exploits, this season…
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 1, 2019
Heung Min Son has won the Player of the Year at the London Football Awards this evening. 😎
— Tottenham Funnies (@SpursFunnies) February 28, 2019
Yet Arsenal legend Robert Pires has made a rather surprising choice that doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense given the player’s form this season.
3Pires has opted against van Dijk, Aguero or Son and instead opted for Eden Hazard as his Player Of The Year…
Robert Pires on who should win Player of the Year: “I’ve seen talk about maybe [Virgil] Van Dijk winning Premier League Player of the Year, but there should only be one winner and his name is Eden Hazard. I watch Chelsea matches just because I want to watch Hazard play.” pic.twitter.com/S24ChgBIrH
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 4, 2019
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 3, 2019
Eden Hazard is now on 11 assists in the Premier League this season, the only player to reach double figures for assists.
Making him the first and currently the only player to reach double figures for goals (12) and assists (11) in the league. pic.twitter.com/fA7wJ0cmuz
— TweetChelseaUK (@TweetChelseaUK) March 4, 2019
Pires said during a recent interview with BWin, “I’ve seen talk about maybe Van Dijk winning Premier League Player of the Year, but there should only be one winner and his name is Eden Hazard. ‘I watch Chelsea matches just because I want to watch Hazard play.
“Chelsea are very lucky to have Hazard and he can do things that no other player in the world can do. ‘You look at his penalty in the Carabao Cup and who else would even try that against Ederson in that situation?
“The problem is that Hazard isn’t able to win the trophies his talent deserves at Chelsea so Real Madrid are a very attractive proposition.”
While Hazard’s assist stats this season are impressive, the Belgian has hardly set the league on fire, either, with Chelsea currently languishing in sixth place after a wretched run of results over the past few months.
Hazard, a previous winner of the award, is undoubtedly one of the most talented players to ever grace the Premier League but has been far from his imperious best during the 2018/19 campaign, despite an impressive first couple of months.
In comparison to the aforementioned players as well as the likes of Raheem Sterling, Roberto Firmino and Bernardo Silva, who are all spearheading title challenges, Hazard’s contributions this season don’t really appear to stack up anywhere near as much.
What do you make of Pires’ choice? Well deserved for Hazard or not?
Sound off in the comments below.