And sorry to you Nasri, VdS, Vidic, Kompany and Adam fans
In just a couple of weeks it will be time again for the nominations for Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year awards to be announced.
In a season where few have stood out above the rest in a campaign disappointingly tinged with mediocrity, OTP attempts to (put its tin hat on and) choose our nominations for the award. These are a mixture of what we think will happen, and what we think should. And with just four nominations in each category, we are prepared to be chastised by you all.
There are a couple of guidelines to our choices:
• Although Rooney and Fabregas were nominated for both awards last season, we are only allowing one nomination per player
• To qualify for YPOTY, you must be 24 or younger. Seems a ludicrously high age, but rules is rules (Rooney and Milner were 24 last year)
NB – As Vincent Kompany turns 25 on the 15th April he has been excluded. Otherwise he would undoubtedly be in.
Player of the Year
It is a compliment to the Portuguese winger that despite being able to make things a lot easier for ourselves by nominating him for the second award, Nani gets the nod for the top drawer. At the time of writing has sixteen assists in the Premier League, five more than any other player, and has added to this with goals.
The last time a Portuguese attacker enhanced his reputation at Manchester United above that of a show pony it all turned out fairly well. Just a shame that like his compatriot, Nani is a whining, diving, faking, bleating, snidey little c……….
Rafael Van der Vaart
Whilst a large proportion of the English media have been inserting their column inches into the backside of a certain Welsh winger, much of the credit must go to ‘him of the extraordinary missus’ fame.
Although many fans will tell you that Luka Modric has been the real success story for Spurs, Van der Vaart’s seamless adaption to the pace of the Premier League has been incredible, and gives him the edge. 12 clubs in the Premier League have attackers that have scored more goals than Spurs’ top scoring striker.
Harry Redknapp will be grateful that these striking cracks (Defoe, Crouch, Keane, Pavlyuchenko) have been papered over by Van der Vaart: the master of all trades, and jack of none.
The statistics make for astonishing reading for Tevez, but damning for Mancini. Despite spending £143 million since the Summer, Manchester City rely on one player and one player only.
Tevez has scored 18 and set up 6 goals this season in the Premier League. That is over 53% of City’s goals. It is an easy statement, but just without his goals they would be 12th in the League.
But hasn’t Berbatov scored more goals? Yes, and Carlos Tevez is a Dimitar Berbatov. And he is a Scott Parker. And he is a John Terry.
And he is one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League.
A horrible final decision to make:
Nasri – slightly gone off the boil, one league goal since early December
Vidic – immense, but just not likeable enough (that clouds my judgement!)
Van der Sar – see above
In the end we went for the romantic choice. It is unlikely that Scotty P will be nominated, but it would be a fillip for the rest of us if he did. Because there is a little bit of Parker in all of us (not in a Gray/Keys way): The tenacity, the balls, and the passion for what looks a lost cause. Scott Parker makes Sunday League Premier League.
Eventually in reaching this choice, two things swung it for me:
1) He played against Spurs on Saturday lunchtime after his died on Friday night, and was again immovable
2) He makes me actually quite want West Ham to stay up. Jesus.
Young Player of the Year
Has any other young player made such an unexpected impact on the Premier League? When Hernandez was signed for a fee in the region of £7million, many fans saw him as ‘one for the future’. Instead, in only ten starts and the same number of substitute appearances the Mexican has scored ten goals.
But it isn’t just the goals. Since the days of Robbie Fowler and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer the Premier League has been crying out for a poacher, a player that just seems to turn up when the ball is delivered into the box. Chicarito’s goals look like simple finishes, but they are born out of intelligent off the ball running and a true football brain.
Yes, he had to be on this list, and I don’t have anything against Gareth Bale (other than the fact that I thought he was joining Forest last January). But the way in which there seems to be a Balemania, a hysteria to accompany Spurs’ Champions League run is getting tiresome. Let me just give a reality check.
His performances in the Premier League were impressive, and he has seven Premier League goals to his name, but as a winger perhaps this should be expected. And his record of one Premier League assist this season is slightly disappointing. I know Spurs’ strikers miss chances but seven of his team mates have created more goals.
And he is certainly not in the top three players in the world (certain journalists take note).
What we must say is that for a 21 year old the kid does possess impressive pace and guile, and thankfully a seemingly level head. And we are genuinely looking forward to seeing him at the Olympics!
We have an obsession in Britain of over-lauding our protégés. Nani is 31 months older than Bale. He has two more goals and 15 more assists in the Premier League alone. He can get there, but there is far to go. So rather than screaming about the new Lionel Messi or the new Ryan Giggs, let’s just watch the young Gareth Bale for a bit.
England’s brightest talent has progressed beyond all expectations this term, thanks in no small part to being the only player at Arsenal that can stay fit regularly, and only Song, Sagna and Clichy have started more games than Wilshere.
The fact that he only turned 19 earlier this year is often overlooked. That’s actually mental. At 18 he had played in The Premier League, Carling Cup, The Champions League, England U21s and the England senior side. And in the course of this season, a boy has become a man.
Would still like to add more goals in a side that scores plenty, but Wilshere has acted as the stable force is an oft-changing Arsenal midfield. Taking on that task and succeeding is frightening for someone so young. In terms of his progression, see the recommended treatment of Bale above.
Finally, if you thought that Wilshere’s season had been eventful, think again. Before this season, Andy Carroll had scored just three Premier League goals.
Since August he has scored 11 league goals, is the joint top English scorer, was forced to live with Kevin Nolan as part of a court case, had his car set on fire, became Liverpool’s record transfer buy and took on the number nine shirt and made his international debut.
A meteoric rise for someone who turned 22 in January, Carroll now has the chance to write his name in Liverpool folklore.