The Premier League season is drawing to close meaning clubs are hosting their annual award ceremonies reflecting on a long, hard year of work.
The title race is yet to reach a conclusion with Chelsea and Tottenham battling it out to be crowned champions while Sunderland have already been relegated to the Championship. With the season almost over, Marcus Banks give us his picks for our end of season Premier League awards!
Want to get involved? You can cast your vote here – https://goo.gl/forms/XKOEzUtUuv0VcuWi2
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Unsurprisingly, N’Golo Kante scooped the PFA Player of the Year award at this year’s award ceremony. The French midfielder was signed by Chelsea for £32m after helping Leicester win their first ever Premier League title. He slotted seamlessly into Chelsea’s midfield and helped implement Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system perfectly. Alongside Nemanja Matic, his effort in the engine room is tremendous. If Chelsea go on to secure the title, Kante could go down as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever midfielders.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Dele Alli (Tottenham)
The title is Chelsea’s to lose, but Tottenham have taken the title race to the wire. There has been no-one more impressive in their title challenge than Dele Alli. Remarkably, the 21-year-old has scored 17 goals from midfield as well as registering five assists. Alli was named PFA Young Player of the Year, but in my opinion, he should have been nominated for the main PFA award as his performances this year have been nothing short of exceptional.
BEST GOALKEEPER OF THE SEASON
Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Burnley look to set to secure survival in the Premier League for another season and have goalkeeper Tom Heaton to thank for some spectacular performances this year. The Clarets captain has pulled off stunning saves which earned his side points this campaign, including a magnificent performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford to earn his side a point against his former employers.
BEST DEFENDER OF THE SEASON
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Few would have expected Marcos Alonso to hit the ground running following a £20m move from Fiorentina to Chelsea after miserable spells in the Premier League with Bolton and Sunderland. However, the Spaniard was transformed under Conte into the perfect left wing-back. He has chipped in with five goals this season meaning he is the highest scoring left-back in the league barring James Milner’s penalty goals.
BEST MIDFIELDER OF THE SEASON
Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
As I have already handed awards to Kante and Alli, I’m going to leave them out of contention for the midfielder of the season award. My pick is Manchester United’s Ander Herrera, who has been a shining light in a dull campaign for the Red Devils. While Paul Pogba has failed to live up to his £90m price tag, Herrera has flourished under Jose Mourinho. The former Athletic Bilbao midfielder took a while to adjust to life in England, but United are now reaping the rewards of bringing him to England. His influence in the United midfield now makes him one of their most important players.
BEST STRIKER OF THE SEASON
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
It’s hard to see how Everton can keep Romelu Lukaku this summer after another astonishing goal-scoring campaign. The Belgian forward leads the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with 24, averaging a goal every 125 minutes. Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus and PSG have all been linked with a move for the striker, but Everton will hold out for a huge transfer fee to let their star man leave Goodison Park.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
Marco Silva (Hull City)
Hull replaced Mike Phelan with Marco Silva as the Tigers were stuck in the relegation zone deep into the Premier League season. The former Olympiacos boss was written off by many as another managerial appointment who lacks the experience to keep a side in the top division. However, Silva defied his critics and turned Hull’s season around. Even if the Tigers succumb to relegation, his effort hasn’t gone unnoticed with plenty of Premier League clubs keeping tabs on his situation.
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Emre Can (Liverpool) vs. Watford
We have seen some truly special goals this season, but none compare to the recent goal scored by Liverpool’s Emre Can against Watford. Lucas Leiva clipped a ball over the top to the German who slowed his run before unleashing a perfectly timed overhead kick into the top corner. The technique was exquisite meaning he gets my goal of the season award.
GAME OF THE SEASON
Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal
Bournemouth have been involved in some excellent games this year, completing a remarkable comeback to record a 4-3 victory against Liverpool early in the season. However, they were on the receiving end of a fightback in January against Arsenal. The Cherries threw away a three-goal lead with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Lucas Perez and an injury time equaliser from Olivier Giroud giving Arsene Wenger a point.
SIGNING OF THE SEASON
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Liverpool mounted an early season title challenge and were right in the race at Christmas. However, their form curtailed in 2017 after losing Sadio Mane to the African Cup of Nations. Signed for £34m from Southampton, Mane has added a new dimension to the Liverpool attack. He has formed an instant connection with Philippe Coutinho, and Roberto Firmino and Liverpool look like a different team without Mane in the side.
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY SIGNING OF THE SEASON
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Even at 35, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still scoring for fun and is doing so at the highest level of English football. He signed for Manchester United on a free after leaving PSG and instantly became the main man under Mourinho. At times he has dragged United to victory – scoring 17 Premier League goals this season. United lifted the EFL Cup due to Ibrahimovic’s heroics, but injury has cut his season short.
WORST SIGNING OF THE SEASON
Claudio Bravo (Manchester City)
Signed from Barcelona to replace Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo has had a torrid time in England. The Chilean keeper was signed for his ability with the ball at his feet, but unfortunately for Pep Guardiola, it meant he wasn’t as good with his hands. After a shaky debut against Manchester United, his woeful form continued and he was eventually dropped for Willy Caballero following a string of errors.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
Under Brendan Rodgers, Adam Lallana’s career stalled following a £25m move from Southampton. While his footballing ability was evident, he didn’t influence games and was an inconsistent performer in the side. However, under Jurgen Klopp in a deeper midfield role, Lallana has been one of Liverpool’s best players. The English international has stepped up his game, chipping in with seven goals and seven assists in the league and is part of a blossoming partnership with Georginio Wijnaldum.
FLOP OF THE SEASON
Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)
There was a lot of expectation on Granit Xhaka’s shoulders following a £33m to Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach. For years, fans and pundits screamed that Arsenal had been crying out for a tough tackling midfield and it seemed Xhaka would be the answer. However, the Swiss international has been poor in his first season in North London and has created more problems than he has solved in the Arsenal midfield.
BREAKTHROUGH STAR OF THE SEASON
Tom Davies (Everton)
Everton have an abundance of youth talent coming through their ranks but none more impressive than an 18-year-old midfielder, Tom Davies. He made his first start of the season in January, picking up an assist the 3-0 win over Southampton. Davies starred in Everton’s 4-0 win over Manchester City, picking up an assist and scoring fantastic solo goal which was recently named goal of the season by the Everton Supporters Club. He also netted the joint fastest goal of the Premier League season against Leicester capping off a magnificent breakthrough campaign for the youngster.
Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments below and cast your vote!