West Ham, Spurs… a closer look at the six Premier League POTY nominees

From Alan Shearer to Gareth Bale, whoever wins this seasons player of the year award will be joining one impressive list of previous winners.

In one of the least predictable Premier League seasons you could ever imagine, the nominees list contains some players that were more likely to get relegated that make this list along with a world-class addition or two that would walk in to almost any team in European football.

Leicester City are on their way to the most shocking English league title of all time, whilst Tottenham will be ecstatic with their campaign, even if they don’t manage to catch the Foxes.

The continued underachievement of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City has created a plethora of upsets, disgruntled fans and under-pressure managers leaving last years winner, Eden Hazard, as far from being a player of the year contender as is physically possible.

Where Leicester have succeeded is teamwork, industry, organisation and lethal counter-attacking, but they are still healthily represented in the nominees list..

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez

From his humble beginnings in the lower leagues, Riyad Mahrez is now one of the most sought after players in Europe after his twinkling runs and drilled passes have helped to carry Leicester City to within touching distance of the Premier League title.

Some may be surprised by his 1.3 key passes per game, but his 16 goals and 11 assists make him one of the most productive players in the top five European leagues.

Leicester have profited from the quality of Mahrez to complement the industry of Albrighton on the opposite flank.

N’golo Kante

N'Golo Kante

Danny Drinkwater has earned himself his first England cap and his midfield partner has also managed to make his international debut this season. Kante has the most tackles per game of any Premier League player (3.6) and has been the tireless engine that has kept the Leicester side going.

Particularly when in attacking transition, Kante has been crucial. With Morgan and Huth sitting deep, the Frenchman has had to bridge the gap between the deep defensive line and the enterprising runs of Jamie Vardy with his own dribbling often creating the extra space through midfield for Mahrez to operate at his best.

Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet

West Ham still have the slightest of hopes of finishing in a Champions League place this season and that is almost entirely down to Dimitri Payet.

Despite a long injury lay-off in the middle of the campaign, Payet has still been one of the best midfield players in Europe as his clever flicks and pinpoint shooting have taken Slaven Bilic’s side to the next level.

Only Mesut Ozil has managed to produce key passes on a more regular basis than Payet and West Ham fans must be dreaming of signing a consistent high quality striker to feed off Payet’s brilliance.

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy

His goal scoring exploits may have quietened since his 11 game streak, but Vardy is still absolutely integral to the way that Claudio Ranieri’s side play.

Vardy stretches the game off of the last defender, just as he did to provoke the diving incident against West Ham, whilst Shinji Okazaki drops off into a slightly deeper role to link the play. The former Fleetwood man is an uncomplicated footballer, he runs, he shoots, he scores, but defenders are yet to find a way to completely restrict his electric pace and powerful shot.

The fairytale has been tinted by the latest controversy around Vardy, but you’d be a brave man to bet against him taking the player of the year award.

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

Arsenal’s insistence on choking any title challenge has been perfectly reflected in the form of Mesut Ozil. Although he may well still break the all-time Premier League assist record, the silky German playmaker has looked a shadow of his 2015 self since the turn of the year and Arsenal’s form has suffered as a result.

Around Christmas Ozil looked nailed on to win the player of year award, but it would be quite a shock if he even came close to winning the trophy after the second half of the season he has had.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane

Nominated for both the senior and ‘young player’ awards, Harry Kane must be feeling pretty optimistic about his chances of winning one of them.

The current league top scorer has had to shoulder the responsibility of being the only recognised striker in the Spurs squad and has maintained his level of world class performance throughout a long campaign.

Shooting more than four times per game, Kane has benefited from the improved form of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, whilst the goal scoring pressure has been eased by the regular contributions of Dele Alli.