It came as no surprise to see Eden Hazard named PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night just hours after he helped Chelsea move within two wins of the Premier League title thanks to a goalless draw at Arsenal.
The Belgian was hotly tipped to take the crown after a brilliant season with the Blues and was a deserved winner after receiving the most votes from his fellow professionals.
But although the 24-year-old has proven a worthy winner, two other contenders for the award in the shape of Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane in particular can count themselves unlucky not to win the prize, with the pair also enjoying terrific seasons with their respective clubs and running Hazard extremely close for the trophy.
Chelsea hold a lead of 10 points at the top of the Premier League with just five games remaining and it’s just a matter of time before they secure their first title since 2010 and their first since Jose Mourinho returned to the club.
And despite strength throughout the whole team; particularly in defence, Hazard has been their stand-out man during a successful campaign where he continues to get better and better each week.
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Having added consistency to his world class performances, the 24-year-old has scored 13 goals and collected eight assists in 33 league appearances so far this season, and really has been the difference over recent weeks when the team’s performance levels have dipped slightly.
He proved the difference in Chelsea’s narrow one-nil win over Manchester United 10 days ago, and has also scored crucial goals in three of the five previous games; all of which were won by the odd goal, highlighting just how important he has been to the team.
But it could be argued that Arsenal’s Chilean star Alexis Sanchez and Tottenham’s new star Harry Kane, have had equal if not more impact on their side’s this season and were unfortunate to miss out on the award.
Sanchez has been a revelation since arriving at the Gunners and has taken no time to adapt to the English game after a superb first season at the Emirates. During a stuttering start to the campaign for Arsene Wenger’s side, the former Barcelona man was at times dragging his team to victory almost single-handedly.
Although having tailed off somewhat slightly towards the end of the season, he’s a big reason as to why Arsenal are now favourites to finish second in the table and lift a second successive FA Cup in May.
Fourteen goals and eight assists put him just ahead of Hazard, and so he can certainly feel hard-done by to finish fourth in the overall voting.
As well as Manchester United’s David de Gea, Harry Kane was the other man to finish ahead of Sanchez, and was also unfortunate to narrowly miss out on the top award.
The England star shot to fame this season by becoming the first Spurs player since Gary Linekar to score 30 or more goals, and despite only starting to feature regularly in the Premier League from November; he is still in contention to win the golden boot with 20 league goals to his name.
The 21-year-old has been crucial to Spurs this season, and although they look set to miss out on the top four once more, you’d have to wonder where they would be without Kane given the lack of goals from his fellow strike partners.
Thankfully for the Tottenham man, he wasn’t left empty handed as he scooped the Young Player of the Year award, just reward for a superb debut season as part of the first team.
Some, including Match of the Day pundit Robbie Savage, feel he warranted the award more than Eden Hazard, but that’s an opinion open to debate. While there were a number of outstanding candidates, Hazard’s success can’t really be argued, particularly when you take into account the achievements of the Chelsea team.
They look sure to add the Premier League to their earlier League Cup success, and for the Belgian it will cap a memorable campaign that will end with a hat-trick of titles.