We’ve come to that time of the season in the Premier League when thoughts start turning to who might be crowned the division’s best player and, in the process, be awarded the PFA Player of the Year.
As the 2020-21 Premier League season draws to a close, it’s time for fans and players to turn their attention to the year-end individual awards. This year we have witnessed some brilliant individual performances from a host of players across the Premier League.
It’s been quite a season so far with one-star name leading the way in the betting, a few surprises making an appearance and the usual suspects also being touted. We’ve profiled the runners and riders below.
The PFA Player of the Year (Men’s) is an annual award given to the player who has had the best year in English Football. Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City was awarded the prestigious trophy in the 2019-20 season.
THE FIVE FRONTRUNNERS FOR THE PFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2020/21
Manchester City has almost certainly bagged this year’s Premier League title, but when it comes to grading individual performances, things have been a lot more competitive this year.
We take a look at the five frontrunners to clinch the 2020-21 PFA Player of the Year award.
Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Not many would have expected to see Gundogan in such wonderful form and in a position to win the PFA player of the year award. While he has always been of importance to Manchester City, Gundogan has typically played a more understated role.
Not this season, where a City injury crisis up top has seen him play in a more advanced role and bag 12 league goals in the process. His form has been instrumental to City’s likely march to the title.
The year 2021 has been a fantastic year for Gundogan, since the turn of the year he has been on an amazing goal-scoring streak. Particularly scoring against Tottenham and Liverpool to extend Man City’s lead at the top of the table. The German midfielder was awarded the Premier League Player of the Month twice, January and February respectively.
The player himself has put behind him his injury woes, taking control of City’s midfield and leading the pack when the chips were down.
He has also taken young lad Phil Foden under his wings showing leadership in the squad.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Although not many will consider Salah in their top 5 list for this year’s award, his performance this season swings the argument in his favor.
Salah has reached the 20-goal landmark in three of his four seasons at Liverpool. And while the team has underperformed this time compared to previous years, Salah has delivered yet again.
The Pharaoh has been directly involved in 24 goals this Premier League season (including 4 assists) and his 0.61 goals-per-match ratio is currently higher than his previous two stellar seasons. Salah has also created 10 big goalscoring chances. With 104 shots fired at goal, it shows his ability to unlock opposition defenses and get into goalscoring positions.
But due to Liverpool’s dismal performance this season, the 2018-19 PFA Player of the Year may miss out on this year’s award.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Harry Kane has again shown his quality this season as a goal-scoring machine in a Tottenham Hotspur side that has been inconsistent all year.
The Englishman has enjoyed a superb season for Spurs. Kane’s 17 league goals so far see him sit joint-top on the top scorer list and it would take a brave man to bet against him topping that table by the end of the campaign.
But what has been just as impressive is his tally of 13 assists on top of that of – a league-high – meaning no player has registered more Premier League goal contributions this term than Kane’s stunning 30.
With 21 goals (35% of Spurs total goals scored in the league this season) and 13 assists in 32 league appearances, Kane is within touching distance of clinching another Golden Boot award, a third to his name. He has a staggering goals-per-match ratio of 0.66 and has created 14 big goalscoring chances.
While the Manchester City players grabbed all the attention and headlines, Harry Kane has gone about his business yet again and has carried a Tottenham side shy of grit and steel to make a strong case for the PFA Player of the Year award.
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
If this award was given to the signing of the season then there would only be one winner: Ruben Dias. What a superb bit of business Dias has been since joining Manchester City from Benfica last year, taking no time at all to adapt to the Premier League’s demanding conditions, while providing an assuredness at the back City had been missing.
Dias has been pivotal to the runaway league leaders City having the meanest defense in the division this term, with just 21 goals conceded and 16 clean sheets kept.
Much was being said about Manchester City’s defensive woes over the past couple of seasons and how they never looked secure at the back even after spending millions of pounds on different players.
Ruben Dias has quickly stamped his authority on the team and is certainly in the running for this season’s PFA Player of the Year award.
The 23-year-old Portuguese center-back has started all but two of City’s league games this season and has excelled alongside both Aymeric Laporte and a resurgent John Stones.
Dias has built the foundation upon which City has thrived this season. Last year, they struggled to keep up with runaway champions Liverpool after failing to find a replacement for Vincent Kompany.
Even Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher has heaped praise on the Portuguese defender, “Good center-backs can make everyone around them look better,” wrote Carragher.
“Just as there was a period when it did not seem to matter who Jurgen Klopp played alongside [Virgil] Van Dijk, Guardiola now has the same luxury with Dias.”
Carragher also likened Dias to himself, saying that he has been impressed by the defender’s vocal presence in the City defense this term.”Every defense needs a vocal presence like Dias,” added Carragher.
The 23-year-old has played a vital role in City keeping 14 clean sheets in his 29 appearances. He tops the charts with a staggering 2,496 passes and his stellar work has meant City has conceded just 16 goals so far this season.
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
It’s no surprise to see that Bruno Fernandes is the player heading up the betting for the 2021 PFA Player of the Year award.
The Manchester United maestro is the favorite, and it’s hard to argue against his case for the gong.
At times he has almost single-handedly inspired United to what has been a pretty impressive season to date, and with 17 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this term, only Harry Kane can better his goal contributions tally of 26. The man to beat.
If there is one player who truly deserves an award for his individual brilliance and performance this campaign, it’s Bruno Fernandes. Ever since joining Manchester United in the January transfer window in 2020, the Portuguese have been on fire.
In just 14 appearances in the 2019-20 Premier League season, Fernandes racked up 8 goals and 7 assists and has carried that form into this year.
With 17 goals so far this season, Bruno Fernandes sits third on the scoring charts along with Son Heung-Min, and second on the assists list with 11 to his name. With his ability to unlock any defense, Fernandes has created 19 big goal scoring chances and has taken 104 shots on goal.
His tally of 2,577 touches exemplifies his involvement and importance at Manchester United and his dexterity in the art of running a midfield.
Hence Bruno Fernandes is the top frontrunner in the chase to win the 2020-21 PFA Player of the Year award.