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Picking every club's Player of the Season

Posted: Feb 6, 2021
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The Premier League season is more than halfway through, and it may just be slightly premature to pick every club's player of the season right now. I suppose the answer will vary from fan to fan and critic to critic. And will probably be different from our own choices come the end of the season. But what's the harm in trying?


Arsenal - Bukayo Saka


Arsenal have had an utterly inconsistent and underwhelming season. For a time, it seemed as if they would be embroiled in a relegation battle, but there's been a mini-revival since then.

Through the bad times and the good, however, Bukayo Saka has been a constant presence for the Gunners. Full of energy, filling in as a full-back, wing-back or winger, he has always seemed Arsenal's most potent threat. Saka has created chances and scored a few, cementing himself as Hale End's brightest talent.

Honourable mention: Kieran Tierney


Aston Villa - Jack Grealish


Was it ever going to be someone else? Jack Grealish has mesmerised audiences in the Premier League with his trickery and a penchant for winning fouls. His goals and assists have elevated Aston Villa from just about surviving to challenging for European spots.

His performances meant fans clamoured for his inclusion into the England side. When the chance came, he didn't disappoint. The new contract he signed last year might just be the single most important piece of business Villa have done in recent times.

Honourable mention: Emiliano Martinez


Brighton - Yves Bissouma


Brighton have had a basic problem this season: finishing chances. Defensively good, creating sufficient chances, yet just not able to find the back of the net. But that said, they have still been impressive at times this season. Yves Bissouma has been at the heart of all that.

A strong midfield operator, Bissouma has improved his game a lot this season, adding some stunning goals to his repertoire. His links to Liverpool are the clearest signs of how well-regarded he is, and Brighton have reaped the benefits of his form.

Honourable mention: Ben White


Burnley - Nick Pope


Burnley began the season horribly, but there is a sense now that normal service has resumed. A hard-fought win over Liverpool and a thriller against Crystal Palace have put them back in mid-table consideration. Nick Pope, who almost won the golden glove last season, has been their best player and a source of inspiration.

When they were bereft of form and confidence, Pope's brilliance earned them some points. They have built on that since, and consequently, Nick Pope has proved he belongs in the elite echelon of Premier League goalkeepers.

Honourable mention: Chris Wood


Chelsea - Mason Mount


A season of two-halves. Once their 17-game unbeaten run ended, Chelsea fell quite hard. It ended in the eventual sacking of Frank Lampard and the arrival of Thomas Tuchel. Despite the results not going their way, Mason Mount has been their best and most consistent player.

Playing in a deeper role this season, he has created chances from deep and done his fair share of defensive work. His set-piece  deliveries are impeccable and he has turned himself into an all-round midfielder that any manager would be delighted with.

Honourable mention: Thiago Silva


Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha


Crystal Palace without Wilfried Zaha is not a side anyone would like to watch. When the talismanic Ivorian is not on the pitch, they're bereft of ideas and confidence. Far too often their attacks are snuffed out and there's no sight of victory. But when Zaha is there, anything is possible. Speed, footwork, vision and finishing - Zaha has it all.

His energetic runs and eye for goal are central to Palace's gameplan, and without him, they're like a deer caught in the headlights. For Palace's sake, let's hope he never leaves Selhurst Park.

Honourable mention: Vicente Guaita


Everton - Dominic Calvert-Lewin


He has had a lean patch recently, but that was partly due to a lack of service with James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne injured. Calvert-Lewin's form at the start of the season was impressive. One of the most improved players of the season, he was scoring for fun and keeping Everton at the top.

His aerial ability and hold-up play were just as well-appreciated, and having quality players like James beside him was certainly an impetus. He'll be back to form soon, and both Everton and England will rejoice.

Honourable mention: James Rodriguez


Fulham - Alphonse Areola


Alphonse Areola won the La Liga last season as Thibaut Courtois' understudy at Real Madrid. This season, he's the number one at a newly promoted Premier League club fighting relegation. Sometimes, the saves he has pulled off have been startling, seemingly implausible.

Time and again he has saved the blushes for an overworked defence. If Fulham end up going down, he probably won't stay. But if they do survive relegation, it's Areola they'll have to thank.

Honourable mention: Ademola Lookman


Leeds United - Patrick Bamford


27-year old Patrick Bamford was on Chelsea's books for 5 years, and 6 loans. Almost 30 Premier League appearances and just one goal meant he was written off as a flop, and even his goal-scoring record in the Championship last season wouldn't help him keep his spot this season.

Well, Bamford took that conception and threw it out of the window. He has 11 goals this season, some sumptuous goals, and his all-round play and assists have put him in England reckoning. Not bad for a player who's supposedly unfit for the top flight, eh?

Honourable mention: Kalvin Phillips


Leicester City - James Justin


This might just be my most left-field choice yet. Ben Chilwell left for Chelsea in the summer, while Ricardo Pereira was out with a long-term injury. James Justin stepped up, combining with fellow new signing Timothy Castagne to provide a solid full-back pairing for Leicester.

Even as there's been a rotating cast of full-backs at the other end, Justin has consistently put in noteworthy performances. Whether on the left or the right, in defence or attack, Justin has been a dependable presence. One of the best full-backs this season.

Honourable mention: Jamie Vardy


Liverpool - Jordan Henderson


I'll admit I was among those who didn't agree with Henderson being declared as the Player of the Season last year, but even I can't deny how good he has been this year. Sure, their forwards have banged in the goals, but Henderson has had a far more important role. With Van Dijk injured, he has had a bigger leadership role to navigate.

He has even stepped into a centre-back role where he has been exceptional. Dependable and a figure to look up to, Liverpool's captain has been fantastic this season. Give him all the awards.

Honourable mention: Mo Salah


Manchester City - Ruben Dias


Sure, Kevin de Bruyne has produced some sublime moments, while Ilkay Gundogan has hit a purple patch of form. But Ruben Dias is the real deal. Signed in the summer to reinforce a defence that had faltered in the absence of a key defender, Dias has helped City find their defensive solidity again. He has developed a formidable partnership with a reinvigorated John Stones.

Ruben Dias is the Vincent Kompany replacement that Guardiola wanted, a catalyst for City turning their season around.

Honourable mention: Kevin de Bruyne

 

Manchester United - Bruno Fernandes


Who else? The Portuguese attacking midfielder has been Manchester United's talisman since joining just over a year ago. He won their Player of the Season last year despite only joining midway, and there's no reason why he shouldn't win it again.

Fernandes has goals, assists, and creates chance after chance. He took United into the top four last season, and has led them to the top of the league. They need him at the top of his game if they are to continue their title charge.

Honourable mention: Marcus Rashford


Newcastle United - Callum Wilson


That the frontline striker of a relegated Bournemouth team was Newcastle's marquee summer signing didn't bode too well, but one-time England international Callum Wilson has dispelled any doubts. Wilson belongs in the Premier League, and he wasted no time reminding audiences that. He scored one, assisted one on debut.

Despite Newcastle's poor recent form, he has shouldered the attacking responsibilities and done his best in Saint-Maximin's absence. He, in fact, scored his 50th Premier League goal this week.

Honourable mention: Karl Darlow


Sheffield United - David McGoldrick


Sheffield United have won three games all season, and one of them was against Manchester United. It has been a fairly terrible second season after a fantastic return to the top-flight last season. David McGoldrick is a workhorse striker who would've spent an entire season goalless had he not scored that double against Chelsea.

He has carried that knack with goals against Chelsea, United, Arsenal this season. He has been a major source of chances for Sheffield and they'll hope to make better use of that going forward

Honourable mention: John Egan


Southampton - James Ward-Prowse


Yes, Southampton lost 9-0 for a second season in a row, but make no mistake, they are a fantastic side. It was a depleted, two-man down side that finished on the wrong end of nine goals. James Ward-Prowse has by far been Southampton's best player.

Beautiful free-kicks, perfectly weighted set-piece deliveries, and an industrious presence in midfield. No wonder he has earned a place in Gareth Southgate's England squad. Southampton must continue to build around him to recover and keep up their good word this season.

Honourable mention: Jannik Vestergaard

 

Tottenham Hotspur - Harry Kane


It wasn't an easy decision. In my mind, I could've picked any one of Kane, Son, and Højbjerg, and it would've been all the same. I've chosen the 2018 World Cup's Golden Boot winner, however. Kane does everything for his club. He scores goals, creates goals.

Kane drops deep to disrupt opponents and win the ball, looking up to find Son. He has built an almost telepathic partnership with the Korean that has seen Spurs hang near the top of the table.

Honourable mention: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg


West Brom - Sam Johnstone


There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sam Johnstone deserves West Brom's player of the season award, and I'm confident there is little chance of this changing by the time the season ends. West Brom may very well end up going down, but Johnstone has made a clear impression.

Yet to make a single error leading to goal, Johnstone has pulled off save after save, keeping his side in the game. A 1-1 draw against Manchester City is his best display yet, pulling off an array of saves that kept City's devastating attackers at bay.

Honourable mention: Matheus Pereira


West Ham - Jarrod Bowen


David Moyes has turned West Ham around, taking them into the top half of the table. A lot of players have improved. Soucek complements Rice in midfield, Fornals has found his role, Ogbonna is solid at the back, and Cresswell has been brilliant.

But Jarrod Bowen's inventiveness has made the difference. Said Benrahma has his footwork too, but Bowen's contributions go further than just the goals. He keeps going, finding the chinks in opponents' armours, and his teammates benefit from the spaces he creates.

Honourable mention: Declan Rice


Wolves - Pedro Neto


Raul Jimenez's unfortunate injury has skewed Wolves' season, and a 2-1 win over nine-man Arsenal will hardly placate the worried faces. But if there's one player that provides hope with every touch of the ball, it's Pedro Neto. The Portuguese winger has been fantastic for Wolves this season.

He runs at defenders, dribbles past opponents, and keeps pinging balls into the box. Adept with both feet, Neto has been a major source of goalscoring chances for Wolves this season. He has stepped up, and Wolves must utilise that.

Honourable mention: Daniel Podence