As the English league season enters its final throes, thoughts will turn to the PFA Player of the Year award, and the various other personal accolades that are handed out at the end of every campaign. Last year, it was no surprise that Kevin De Bruyne scooped the award for his sensational performances for Manchester City, and competition is rife for the accolade this time around, with plenty of players in with a shout of earning the votes of their fellow players.
With the season drawing to a close, let’s take a look at the top five contenders for the award, and analyse their chances of scooping the top prize.
It goes without saying that Bruno Fernandes has made a massive impact at Manchester United since arriving in January 2020. The Portuguese international has provided a much-needed spark of creativity in the number 10 position for United, and has helped the team become much better fancied in the Premier League betting with Betfair.
Fernandes has notched 16 Premier League goals this season, and although many of those were penalties, his consistency means he is the frontrunner for the PFA Player of the Year award.
In a bleak season for Tottenham Hotspur, the continued excellence of Harry Kane has been one of the brighter aspects. Despite injury struggles at times, the England captain has bagged 21 goals in the Premier League so far this season, and that’s the kind of form that can land you with a personal accolade at the end of the season.
It’s a critical summer ahead for Spurs, as they seek to hold onto their best players. You feel that Champions League qualification will be essential to keep their star men at the club, and they’ll be relying on the goals of Kane to help them clamber into the top four.
With Manchester City looking excellent value to win their third Premier League title in four years, the impact of Rúben Dias in terms of their defensive capabilities cannot be understated. The Portuguese defender has been a revelation since arriving from Benfica last summer, forming a strong partnership with John Stones at the back, and helping to make City a lot more solid defensively.
Virgil van Dijk won the PFA Player of the Year award two years ago, which suggests that the league’s top pros appreciate the contributions of defenders just as much as those who grab the goals. With that in mind, Dias could be in with a chance, especially if City see out the title.
After narrowly avoiding relegation on the final day of last season, Aston Villa were among the teams tipped to go down in this campaign. However, manager Dean Smith has surprised everyone, and Villa have enjoyed a solid season in the middle reaches of the Premier League table. Jack Grealish has been at the heart of their good form, weaving his magic in attacking areas and helping Villa become a dangerous attacking threat.
It’s clear that Grealish is a player hugely respected among his fellow pros, and that could give him a chance of bagging the award.
While Dias has given Manchester City a strong foundation at the back, the sudden emergence of İlkay Gündoğan as a goal-scoring attacking midfielder has been a major factor in their success. In the past, Gündoğan was primarily used as a solid number-six type of midfielder by Guardiola, but this season the shackles have been released, and the result is that the 30-year-old has notched 12 Premier League goals.
Gündoğan’s good form means he can’t be discounted in terms of the PFA Player of the Year award, though it’s fair to say that there are other players who have perhaps done more to warrant the accolade.