IT’S that time of the year again, to give praise and recognition to those players, managers, goals and matches that made us smile and made the 2016/17 Premier League season another one to remember.
In the AFEFootballNews awards, if a player is up for the player of the season award then he can not also be up for the young player of the season award (As I think that’s only fair and how it should be done in real life) and the young player of the year candidates have to be under 23.
Player of the season nominees:
Harry Kane (Tottenham), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) and Eden Hazard (Chelsea).
Winner: Harry Kane (Tottenham).
Very tough call between Kane, Alli and Kante but I think it simply has to be Spurs striker Kane as he’s been very consistent throughout the season.
Scoring 19 goals in 23 matches, the 23-year-old England international keeps on proving to his doubters that he is not just a one season wonder.
Taking Spurs up to what looks like being a record high finish of second in the Premier League for the club and also into the semi-finals of the FA Cup, it looks like he can count this one as a very successful campaign.
Don’t be surprised to see him linked with a move in the summer!
Young player of the season nominees:
Jordan Pickford (Sunderland), Michael Keane (Burnley), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Alfie Mawson (Swansea) and Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
Winner: Leroy Sane (Manchester City).
The young German scoops this award for having a fine debut season in the world’s best league.
Winger Sane has lit up Guardiola’s side at times this season and has been chosen ahead of the likes of Jesus Navas and Nolito for a starting place on several occasions. 8 goals in all competitions is a healthy tally for a first season at such a young age.
The 21-year-old German international has been dubbed “The future of Germany” by Deutschland legend and former Chelsea midfielder, Michael Ballack and on first glance of watching the youngster this season it is almost impossible to disagree with that.
More to come from Leroy I think!
Unsung hero award nominees:
Tom Heaton (Burnley), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Josh King (Bournemouth), Idrissa Gueye (Everton) and Ben Mee (Burnley).
Winner: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City).
This award is for the player who deserves more recognition than he is currently receiving (or would be receiving if he was at Chelsea or Spurs!). For me the winner has to be Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Despite Swansea’s abysmal campaign, the Icelandic midfielder has tried to do everything he can to keep them up in the big time.
He is joint top of the assists table (With City’s De Bruyne and Spurs’ Eriksen), has played more crosses in than anyone else (245, which is 20 more than second placed Milner of Liverpool) and has grabbed himself eight goals. He has been one of the most dangerous players creative wise throughout EUROPE.
It would surprise me, even if the Swans do stay up, to see him still playing at the Liberty Stadium next season.
Here’s to you Gylfi, you may be in the shadow of others, but you are one sensational player regardless.
Manager of the season: Antonio Conte (Chelsea).
Undoubtedly. The Italian has transformed Chelsea from the shaky, nervous looking individuals that they were last season, into arguably an even better team than they were in their 2014/15 title winning season.
Turning Moses into a wing back has resurrected his career and the arrival of Marcos Alonso on the other flank was also highly beneficial to the side. They have a perfect blend of strength and speed in that defence and that has turned them into the very best in the league.
N’Golo Kante has covered ground like no other Premier League player this season and has been a joy to watch, winning the ball back every chance he gets. Shades of Makelele in the Frenchman.
Pedro has been great to watch at times and Eden Hazard has found form once again, dribbling past players effortlessly. Diego Costa was scoring goals for fun up until a couple of weeks ago too and proved that he’s one of the best strikers in the league.
They’ve looked unbeatable at times this year and I have no doubt that that is mainly down to Conte’s new and refreshing tactics.
Team of the season:
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Michael Keane (Burnley), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) and Harry Kane (Tottenham).
Goal of the season contenders:
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) – Scorpion kick vs Crystal Palace
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) – Scorpion kick vs Sunderland
Andy Carroll (West Ham) – Overhead kick vs Crystal Palace
Dimitri Payet (West Ham) – Solo run and goal vs Middlesbrough
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Solo run and goal vs Arsenal
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Long range strike vs Chelsea
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) – Cheeky back heel vs West Brom
Troy Deeney (Watford) – Chip over the goalkeeper and defence vs West Ham
Winner: Andy Carroll vs Crystal Palace (January 14, 2017).
Really tough one as they’re all so good, but purely for the unstoppable power in the shot and for the fact that it came out of absolutely nowhere, I’ll go for Carroll’s magnificent overhead kick. Absolute beauty!
Match of the season contenders:
Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool (August 14, 2016)
West Ham 2-4 Watford (September 10, 2016)
Chelsea 5-0 Everton (November 5, 2016)
Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace (November 26, 2016)
West Ham 1-5 Arsenal (December 3, 2016)
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool (December 4, 2016)
Leicester 4-2 Manchester City (December 10, 2016)
Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal (January 3, 2017)
Everton 4-0 Manchester City (January 15, 2017)
Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City (January 21, 2017)
Everton 6-3 Bournemouth (February 4, 2017)
Watford 3-4 Southampton (March 4, 2017)
Winner: Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace (November 26, 2016).
Swansea City: Sigurdsson 36′, Fer, 66′, 68′, Llorente 90+1, 90+3
Crystal Palace: Zaha 19′, Tomkins 75′, Cork 82′ (og). Benteke 84′
Without a doubt the most incredible, unbelievable and thrilling game of the season between two teams that are, even now, still fighting to stay up in the Premier League. The defending was atrocious though, it has to be said.
Rather than try to explain the madness (because I don’t think even I have the words to do so!) just take a look at this rather long but nonetheless enjoyable video below, which features all the goals. If you have 13 minutes to spare, you won’t be disappointed!
Another incredible season of drama draws to a close and I for one can not wait for next season’s madness to unfold.
That’s it for 2016/17 awards folks, agree with my decisions? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!