It’s been a tumultuous time of year; fixtures are flying left, right and centre, where can the time be found? Well no need to worry about that as it’s the Premier League half season awards!!! Sit back enjoy and discover which players have been the standouts for the season so far.
Previous Winner- Liverpool
Not a very difficult selection, it has to be Chelsea. After 6 games it looked like Chelsea would be struggling to make top 4, after 19 they’re hot favourites and almost running away with the league. 13 wins in a row is some feat, only one behind the Premier League record. Since switching to 3-5-2 Conte has got Chelsea playing some lovely stuff whilst also being stoic at the back, you keep thinking it won’t last yet they keep churning the results out. Definitive team of the half season.
Previous Winner- Diego Costa
The man who has epitomised Chelsea’s form this season is Diego Costa and he’s unsurprisingly been the league’s best player. He’s the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 14 and he’s chipped in with 5 assists also. Costa’s goals have been critical in at least nine games this season and his constant presence up front has made him Chelsea’s most important player. Possibly the most impressive thing Costa has shown this year is his control of his discipline, only five yellow cards and a run of eleven games without a booking, he’s a changed man.
Previous Winner- Klopp
There’s not much more which can be said about Conte which I didn’t say about Chelsea, he’s done an incredible job turning a struggling Chelsea team around after a shaky start. Conte’s switch to 3-5-2 has rejuvenated the team and garnered praise from pundits (the same pundits who claimed 3-5-2 would never work in England only two years prior) and rightly so they’ve been fantastic.
Previous Winner- Heaton
It’s a tough choice because I’m not sure that there has really been a truly outstanding candidate, other keepers such as Courtois or Heaton could easily have been chosen, however the award goes to Jordan Pickford. Pickford has been a surprise standout for Sunderland this season and although his team has struggled with performances, he has not. Pickford has made a number of top quality saves, often keeping scores more respectable than they deserved to be. At only 22 he won’t be at Sunderland for very long.
Previous Winner- van Dijk
A major part of the best defence in the league, the right back turned left back turned centre back, it’s Azpilicueta! Azpi really is a fantastic talent, he seems to be able to play anywhere the team needs and play there to a high level. Switching sides for a full back isn’t easy; however for a natural full back to switch to playing inside (even in a 3-5-2) it is much trickier. Azpilicueta may not be the flashiest of players but he is as solid as you could hope and there is nothing more important for a defender. A real talent.
Previous Winner- Walcott
I wouldn’t say that Liverpool have one outstanding player, rather that it is a team effort with everyone chipping in, however the player who has edged has team mates is Adam Lallana. Lallana has added 7 goals and 7 assists to his teams totals, continually popping up with big time contributions when Liverpool really need it. Lallana is finally producing the potential he showed at Southampton on the bigger stage, impacting games and dictating play. When you consider that Liverpool lack a true forward presence, it makes what Lallana and his fellow attacking midfield partners have done all the more impressive.
Previous Winner- Diego Costa
Easy choice, the guy won Best Player!
Previous Winner- Allen
I was sceptical over Utd’s signing of Ibrahimovic, a 35 year old striker who had never played successfully at the very top, who had plied his trade at a second rate league for the last number of years, however on a free it was worth the minimal risk and it’s turned out I was wrong. Ibra is the league’s second top scorer and has often led by example, playing every game he has been eligible for. The fact that Utd got him for a free and he has made such a massive contribution means that Ibra is turning in to the steal of the season.
Best Young Player
Previous Winner- Sterling
It doesn’t feel like there have been too many outstanding young players in the league this season, so naturally you have to go back to old favourites like Dele Alli. Alli has had a really solid season after what was by his standards a quiet start to the season. 8 goals, 1 assists and a few controversial penalty wins have seen Alli produce a better season so far than he managed last year. At only 20 he looks like he will develop into one of the world’s best and is putting in another fantastic season for his age.
Previous Winner- Big Sam
After winning his first six games of the season the media were stroking his ego, the greatest manager to ever walk the earth, the man who changed football, a god amongst men! Well…it turns out that playing (at the time) five of the worst teams in the league and getting incredibly favourable refereeing decisions in the other match in your first six games isn’t a true reflection of how good a manager you are.
Since those six games City’s league record is 6 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses, a record which if any other manager had achieved they would have been crucified by the media. It’s crazy to think that the initial conqueror of the unbeatable City was little old Celtic and since then City and Guardiola have looked incredibly shaken.
I was of the opinion that Guardiola would struggle this season because this is the first time he has went into a team which isn’t the best but also because this team doesn’t contain the difference makers which Bayern and Barca had. It isn’t City not running away with the league which I find such a surprise, rather I find it surprising how lacklustre and poor this team look. I don’t know if Guardiola has been reading his press clippings too often that he’s forgotten how to adapt a style or if it’s just that people are too far up his arse to tell his he’s not doing a good job, but it looks like he’s forgot to win.
I struggle to think of a single City player who has actually improved under Guardiola this season and despite outspending everyone in the league, City look worse than they did last year. There is still time for improvement, after all we are only half way through the season, however Guardiola has so far shown no ability to adapt to his new league, instead he has decided to be so arrogant with the belief that his way is the best, even if it would appear that he has been found out.
What has made Conte so successful this season is his ability to adapt and accept that he can make mistakes, the same thing could be said of Mourinho and Pochettino, unless Guardiola changes his mentality he is going to find his team on the outside looking in when it comes to the end of the season as teams want the scalp and aren’t willing to roll over like they do in other leagues. The biggest question will be when his cheerleading group (aka the British press) stop gushing over him and start calling him out for being an underachiever and a prick, the grumblings have started but when they fully turn it could get ugly.
The Fall of Pep Guardiola
In this time of giving, these players have just received the best gift imaginable…a place on the half season awards list! Sadly Santa only delivers to those who really deserve it and there will be many footballers crying into their massive pay cheques, poor them.
So leave a comment about what you thought of the Premier League Half Season Awards! Who’s been snubbed, where’s the injustice and how fun is it to see Guardiola’s arrogant smile fade as the season has progressed? Leave a comment and share those thoughts.