Last week when the nominees were announced for the PFA Player of the Year, I could not help but wonder where Manchester United’s Nani was on the list.
The Portuguese winger has shown a fine level of consistency amongst his talent this season. Nani has 9 goals in the Premier League this season and a league high 18 assists (7 ahead of the chasing pack).
Gareth Bale is the bookmakers odds-on favourite despite slowing down in the new year. The Spurs winger has delighted crowds, especially Tottenham this season, and scored the most-memorable hat trick in a 4-3 defeat to Inter Milan. But that was in the Champions League. Domestically, Bale has 7 goals and 3 assists to his name; fewer than Nani in both categories.
I also recall Gareth Bale being kept quiet by Kieran Richardson, Paulo Ferreira and Phil Neville this season. I’m sure other full backs in games I have not seen have done the same to the Welsh full back-come winger. Yes, he’s a fine talent and deserved to be amongst the nominees, but the odds-on favourite doesn’t do it for me.
The other candidates are Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic, Arsenal’s Samir Nasri, Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam and West Ham’s Scott Parker.
Some consider Carlos Tevez as a one man team for Manchester City. I wouldn’t quite agree with that given the number of goals Mario Balotelli is starting to score, the playmaking ability of David Silva and the rock of a centre back that is Vincent Kompany. Although he’s not been on top form since a hat trick versus West Brom at the start of February, Tevez has had another good season in the Premier League.
Nemanja Vidic has been solid at the back again this season that has only missed games due to a two game suspension amongst an injury-plagued Manchester United defence this season. Lifting the Premier League trophy will be helpful in his bid to be this year’s PFA player of the year.
Samir Nasri had a great start to the season, but hasn’t hit the top since Christmas to be honest. Sometimes it feels like he’s better without Cesc Fabregas. The young French man is a talented passer of the ball, has deceptive pace and has an eye for goal (9 Premier League goals this season), but failing to hit top form in 2011 should rule him out of this award.
Charlie Adam’s form at Blackpool has seen him earn praise from pundits and managers galore. Seemingly close to a Liverpool move in January, Manchester United are currently the bookmakers favourites to sign him in the summer. A good piece of business from Ian Holloway, with his great left-footed passing ability and set piece taking. His discipline hasn’t been so good; 10 yellow cards. But we all like a midfielder that gets stuck in, don’t we?
And finally, West Ham and England’s Scott Parker. I’m surprised the bookmakers have had him at 8/1. Pulling the strings at West Ham, he has been the pundits favourite praise in everything West Ham have done good this season (well, prior to Thomas Hitzlsperger’s return from injury at least). Whether he deserves to be linked to a top 6 club remains questionable given his failed spell at Chelsea, but otherwise Parker is a deserving and genuine shot for this year’s award.
Gareth Bale is looking to become the fourth winner of this award, following in the footsteps of Ian Rush (1984), Mark Hughes 1989 and ’91) and Ryan Giggs (2009). Leeds United’s Norman Hunter was the first winner of the award back in 1974, while Aston Villa’s Paul McGrath won the award at the end of the inaugural Premier League season of 1992/93. Wayne Rooney won the award last season.