Tottenham’s ‘Player of the Season’ – the nominations are…

Ok, there may still be four games left in this Premier League season of seasons for Tottenham Hotspur, but it’s not too early perhaps to decide who’s been the star of the show to date? For the first time in a long time, the list of potential candidates is fairly long. Tottenham have had their strongest campaign since the heady days enjoyed under Dutch master Martin Jol in 2005/06, and Harry Redknapp deserves the utmost praise for the way he taken certain underperforming players, and got them playing at their optimum level.

Here is a list of five potential candidates for Spurs player of the season.

Name: Heurelho Gomes

Appearances/Goals: 39/0

After a string of fine saves against Arsenal at White Hart Lane, many Tottenham fans have suggested (through song) that they would allow the Brazilian shot stopper to make love to their wives, such is the affection supporters have for Heurelho Gomes.

This term, Gomes struggled to overcome a groin strain in the early stages, but once fit, soon took over from Carlo Cudicini as Tottenham’s number one. Gomes has saved Tottenham time and time again this season, with point blank or dramatic saves, and has looked far more confident this season in coming for crosses.

Redknapp pointed out that it has taken Gomes time to adapt to the English game after he joined the club from PSV Eindhoven, but in truth, Gomes’ form has been on the upturn since the second half of last season.

His kicking remains suspect (I’m sorry to be negative), but this season the 29 year old Brazilian has been immense, and has won Tottenham an innumerable number of points.

Name: Michael Dawson

Appearances/Goals: 36/2

What can you say about the form of Michael Dawson this season? Dawson started the season believing he was going to be third or fourth choice centre back, and yet he is now the first name on the team sheet if fit. He has marked countless forwards out of the game this season, and in the 25 Premier League performances the former Nottingham Forest defender has played for Spurs this season, the team have conceded just 15 goals.

Dawson is often the club captain these days, and has led by example, his bravery and enthusiasm obvious infectious throughout the team. It used to be asserted by some fans that Dawson could only perform alongside an experienced defender such as Ledley King or Jonathan Woodgate, but this season he could be playing next to Peggy Mitchell (I don’t know why I have chosen Barbara Windsor to make my point, but anyway) and he’d be solid as a rock.

He’s had an outstanding season, and if he continues to impress, and England call-up could be on the cards, and it’s nothing more than the player deserves.

Name: Gareth Bale

Appearances/Goals: 30/2

Upon typing Gareth Bale’s name into Google as I researched this piece, I found an article from November 2009 linking Gareth Bale with a £3m move to Birmingham City. These rumours were not particularly far-fetched, with Nottingham Forest even linked with a loan move for the Welshman before the start of the season. However, just months later, Bale-still just 20 years old-is now one of the first names on the Spurs team sheet, and is considered one of the brightest prospects in Europe.

You can put Bale in left midfield, or at left back, and he will scare the life out of the opposition with his pace, skill, and crossing ability. Further, pardon my somewhat colloquial use of the English language here, but Bale is stacked. He looks like he could run through a brick wall, and often, Bale relies just as much on his power as he does on pace.

Bale has three assists and two goals in the Premier League this term, but any Tottenham fan will tell you that since he began his run in the first team against Peterborough in the FA Cup on 2 January 2010, Bale has been at the heart of Tottenham’s best attacking play. Without Bale, Tottenham wouldn’t still be in with a shout of Champions League football, such is his importance to Tottenham attacking play owing to the injury sustained to Aaron Lennon.

He already has two goals against Arsenal during his Spurs career, and his goal against Chelsea has only endeared him further to the Tottenham faithful. He’ll only get better, and with Lennon and Bale on either wing next season, I feel sorry already for opposition defenders.

Name: Wilson Palacios

Appearances/Goals: 40/1

Perhaps not the most fashionable of choices. Both Tom Huddlestone and Luka Modric have, at times, been simply outstanding for Spurs this season, and against Arsenal and Chelsea especially, the aforementioned pair were awesome. Huddlestone in particular could have made this list, such has been his progress from a fringe player to a first team regular. However, nobody can question the influence Wilson Palacios has had at Tottenham. Often, Huddlestone can only play because Palacios does the work for him. This is not an indictment of Tom Huddlestone’s defensive capabilities, but more a demonstration of Palacios’ work rate.

Since the Honduran joined Spurs, Tottenham have been on an upward curve. Of the 41 Premier League games Palacios has played since joining the club for £12m in January 2009, Spurs have lost just 11, meaning Spurs have lost just 27% of the matches in which Wilson Palacios has played. Statistics aside, Palacios gives Spurs what they have scarcely had in the Premier League, a defensive midfielder full of power and pace, who stops the opposition playing. Tottenham have one of the best defensive records in the league this season, and the protection Palacios offers the defence is a major factor in the team’s success.

Wilson Palacios runs all day for Spurs and never shirks a tackle or a block. When opposition midfielders see Palacios hurtling towards them, they’re prone to give it away, and Tottenham regain possession. In short, Palacios is a breath of fresh air to a Tottenham midfield that has been too soft, for too long.

Name: Jermain Defoe

Appearances/Goals: 39/24

Jermain Defoe went away to Portsmouth, and came back a man in my opinion. He has matured significantly as a player, and after spending most of last season on the sidelines with a broken foot, this term he has shown the Tottenham fans why Redknapp wanted him back at White Hart Lane so badly.

Defoe had notably bulked up at the start of this season, and his hold up and approach play have improved as a result. Defoe is more likely to spot a pass than in years gone by, and the ball he slipped through to Gareth Bale against Arsenal is the most obvious example of his improving team play.

In essence, however, Defoe was bought by Spurs to score goals, and that’s what he’s done. Defoe has 18 league goals, 24 in all competitions, and has been sharp throughout the season. Goal scorers win teams matches, and Defoe is arguably Tottenham’s match winner. Considering Tottenham’s next highest goal scorer is Peter Crouch with 12 in all competitions, Defoe’s form has been imperative this term.

Well, there you have it, the candidates for Tottenham’s player of the season. It is difficult to leave out of the list who have performed so admirably this season, with Huddlestone, Modric and even Kranjcar (whose eight goals renders the Croatian Tottenham’s highest scoring midfielder) all helping Tottenham push for Champions League football. Further were it not for injuries, Lennon would almost certainly have made the list, whilst Pavlyuchenko was unfortunate to spend the first half of the season wasting away in the reserves.

We all have our favourites however, and if I have omitted your personal Tottenham hero (I am thinking of you JJ fans), then please leave a comment below, championing the cause of your forgotten warrior!

You can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mark0turner