Just when you thought it wasn’t coming…it comes! Yes the anticipation was so high, so many players and fans with sore arses for sitting too far on the edge of their seat, because once again it is the Premier League Half Season Awards!!! A bit like a half pint or a half milky way, it isn’t as good as the full season awards, but by golly it is still pretty fucking great! So let’s get a kicking!
It could really only be one team, and that team is Leicester City. To get to the top of the table at any point in the season is quite a feat in itself, however to be top of the table at Christmas is really some feat for a team which was bottom of said table only a year prior. It really has been an incredible year for Leicester who were odds on for the Championship and ended up at the top echelons of the Premier League, I certainly didn’t see it coming.
Although another Leicester player has been getting all the headlines, the real best player this half season for Leicester and the Premier League has been Riyad Mahrez. From midfield Mahrez has bagged 13 goals and 7 assists, which puts him in 4th and 3rd position respectively in each category. He won the quarter season award for best player and he has continued that great form into the second quarter, really quite a remarkable season.
Could it really be anyone other than Claudio Ranieri? Again he managed to have Leicester City 2nd in the league after 19 games, and even had them top at Christmas. It says everything to me about how well Leicester have done that Man City went to Leicester and played for a 0-0 draw, that’s pure respect for a team which has done fabulously this season.
I struggled to decided who the best goalkeeper had been, because there have been many good performances from keepers this season. Cech, Lloris, Butland and De Gea have all been on top form; however I’ve just given the edge to De Gea (sorry Cech) because of the sheer number of shots he saves when he really has no right to. One of the biggest compliments a goalkeeper can get is when a player goes through one on one with them, that you expect them to come out on top, and that is exactly what you think with De Gea. He is an incredibly imposing figure between the sticks, and is a major reason for Utd’s second best defence in the league.
David De Gea
It’s one of three for this award, with Smalling, Alderweireld and Koscielney being the three main candidates. I’ve given it to Smalling because he has been pretty dominant this season, after many years of mediocrity. With all the criticisms which you can give Utd this year, they have been fairly solid at the back, which in itself is quite impressive when you consider that the two centre backs have often been left isolated on their own as the other eight outfield players pass the ball about outside the oppositions box before losing it and not getting back quickly enough. Smalling has defended a number of top strikers out of games this season and is a big part of Utd having the second best defence in the league.
I mean…it’s Mahrez…obviously…
It could be so many different players, and the one which everyone is probably expecting it to be is Jamie Vardy, however despite grabbing all the headlines it actually isn’t him. In fact the best striker this half season has been Odion Ighalo. Ighalo has bagged a very impressive 14 goals for Watford this season and has added an extra two assists to that. If you’re wondering, that means that Ighalo’s goals have been 58.3% of Watford’s total so far, and he’s been involved in 66.7% (in comparison Vardy’s numbers are 40.5% and 48.6%). Ighalo has been vital to Watford’s success this season and has been outstanding in his first year in the Premier League.
There have been many players who have made a big impact in their first season in their new club, Cech, Payet, Fuchs, Huth, Ayew, Alderweireld, Evans but the man who takes the crown has to be N’Golo Kante (yes more Leicester). He only cost about £5m and has been an absolute tank in the middle of Leicester’s midfield. Without an engine room style player like Kante in the middle, Leicester can’t do that high pressing game which they have utilised so well this season. It’s hard to measure a player like Kante with statistics, but he’s number one in the league in interceptions and third in the league in tackles, which for a guy who’s in the team to break up play, is pretty damn good.
Best Young Player
The two outstanding young players of this season have been Ross Barkley and Hector Bellerin, what makes me put Bellerin over Barkley however, is that Barkley has flashes of brilliance but can still have the off game; in contrast Bellerin is Mr. consistent. Really good going forward and a pretty good defender as well, he is the perfect full back. Arsenal’s title challenge is for the first time in a long while built upon their defensive toughness, and Bellerin is a massive part of that and is having another really good year.
At the quarter season awards my biggest surprise was Chelsea, and at the half season awards it is of course Chelsea as well, but with the added extra of Jose Mourinho. I said in that post that I couldn’t see Mourinho making the end of the season, and so it turned out. The thing is, that if you had said at the start of the season that Mourinho wouldn’t make it to the half way mark, you would have been laughed out of the building. The simple fact is that 20 points from 19 games is a pitiful return for the defending champions, and you can blame the manager all you want for that, but it is the players who are going out on the pitch, and if they can’t be arsed playing for the club and the fans, which is clearly the case here, then they should be ashamed of themselves. Yes Mourinho is an arse, but this isn’t his fault.
Jose Mourinho and Chelsea
GK- De Gea
Some people will be hitting the bars to celebrate, others will be wallowing at their lack of awards, Jamie Vardy will be racially abusing Japanese people and the wine and mince pies are on Van Gaal! Sadly not everyone can be winners, and those people are losers, big silly losers…yes…indeed.
Anyway why not leave a comment about the Premier League half season awards because you’ve made it this far and you probably thought it was super awesome. Why not also check out the Facebook and Twitter pages, where all the latest updates will be delivered with little to no fuss.