The annual PFA Player of the Year nominees have been revealed and, as always, all the candidates are very capable footballers – but one name stands out more than the rest.
Without doubt Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has been the Premier League’s best player and wholly deserves to win the award. His team are getting ever closer to securing their first Premier League title in five years and this at times has only seemed possible due to Hazard’s unquestionable ability to impact a game. The Belgian has almost single-handedly kept Chelsea in matches that they deserved to lose with his 13 league goals, making him the club’s second highest scorer.
Hazard has many facets to his game; his pace, ability to create space and of course his eye for goal, whether scoring himself or assisting others. At 24-years-old Hazard hasn’t even reached his peak and, so under the right guidance, should continue improving year after year.
Unlike some other young players with the spotlight on them, the winger lacks an uncontrollable ego and instead focuses on his football and helping out his team mates. Blues supporters like and respect him and realise he gives his all every time he puts on the shirt.
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Team mate Diego Costa is also in contention for the honour but where Hazard has been exceptionally consistent, the Brazilian who started the season in explosive form has been unable to maintain the pace he set for himself. Costa is still getting to grips with the league and so next season he is likely to perform just as well if not better, as long as his body allows.
The same goes for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Totteham’s Harry Kane, who have both enjoyed a memorable season in the English top-flight. Kane is unlikely to experience another year as remarkable as this. The England international has scored 30 times in all competitions this season, whereas last year he only found the net on four occasions. Time will tell if this incredible feat was anything other than a fluke.
Sanchez, though, has been performing at a high level for years. His 14 league goals has lifted Arsenal to second and if Hazard isn’t crowned Player of the Year, then it should be the Chilean who walks away with the prize.
The final two to make the list are Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Manchester United’s David de Gea. Both have worked hard for their respective clubs, helping the their teams climb the table by retaining precious points. In particular De Gea’s 82 saves, which have helped United stay in step with the top teams for a Champions League finish when the Red Devils were struggling with injuries across the pitch.
Next season Hazard and Chelsea will once again be title contenders as manager Jose Mourinho continues improving his squad. More teams will begin to take notice of the young talent though, whether he honours his contract or not when some of the big European clubs come calling remains to be seen.
All that is missing for him perhaps is a Champions League medal but if Mourinho gets his way then it won’t be too long before he is bestowed that coveted honour also.