I don’t want to give the wrong impression here, because as a supporter of a team who still very much have it all to play for, I am fully aware that the season is not over yet. But with that being said we are heading into March now. The league table is starting to take shape and we are seeing a number of players already making a serious mark on the season.
The various player of the year awards won’t be decided for some time yet, but of the 550 or so players that will feature in the Premier League before all’s said and done a few are leading the pack.
The man of the moment right now. A tremendous run of form has seen Bale fire Spurs into 3rd place in the league, with his most recent strikes helping the North London side to a hard fought 3-2 win away at rivals West Ham.
Spurs have been labelled as a one man team, such is the impact of Bale in recent weeks. Comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may be a little premature but Bale has proved himself to be one of the most dangerous attacking players in the country. Should he keep his current form up until the end of the season he’s the undoubted front runner for the individual accolades.
Robin van Persie
It’s easy to forget that Robin van Persie is still in his debut season at Old Trafford, such is the ease he has adapted to his new surroundings. The former Arsenal man and last season’s PFA Player of the Year has truly hit the ground running with Manchester United and his impact on the team is clear for all to see.
United have gone from last season’s runners-up to being 12 points clear at the top of the league this time out. No one man can be responsible for a championship winning team but if United do take the title back from City this season it’ll largely be down to the contribution (and most importantly, the goals) of RVP.
Suárez hasn’t made himself one of the most popular players in the league during his (just over) two years in England. His critics labelled him as a good footballer but a poor finisher, but with his goals tally improving so too have Liverpool’s prospects this season.
Suarez on his day can terrorise the best of the Premier League's defenders and his blossoming partnership with Daniel Sturridge has been a big plus for Liverpool in recent weeks. Liverpool can mount a challenge for European places if this continues.
The player of the year award may still be up for grabs but if there was an award for bargain of the year there is no doubt that it would already be sewn up. Uncapped Spaniard Michu cost just £2million when he moved from Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City with little fanfare outside of south Wales.
He has since gone on to score 19 goals in all competitions for Swansea this season, most notably in last weekend’s Capital One Cup triumph. They say that a natural goal scorer is hard to find but Michael Laudrup has found one of the most natural finishers in the game and he got him for next to nothing. It’s been reported that it could take around £30million to prise Michu away from the Liberty Stadium. I’m not an investment banker but a value increase of 1,500% over 7 months can’t be bad.
Arsenal are often harshly treated by our press but even though the current squad are not quite title challengers they will still be in the hunt for Champions League places at the end of the season. A club that can often be criticised for their transfer policy should receive universal praise for the capture of Santi Cazorla.
The Spanish international has settled quickly in the Premier League (a league that it is notoriously difficult for some to adapt to) since his move from Malaga, and has quickly established himself as one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers.
Last summer when Chelsea boosted their already busy midfield ranks with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses it was possible that Juan Mata could have seen his playing time reduced. As it turns out Mata, the third Spanish player on this list, had nothing to worry about.
Just as vital as ever this season, almost everything good about Chelsea has come from Mata. A fantasy football player's dream, Mata has consistently scored and assisted goals this season. During his second campaign with Chelsea he is somehow managing to improve on his impressive debut season.
It would be very easy to dismiss Frank Lampard. After all, Roman Abramovich seems to have. But then you wouldn’t have expected Ryan Giggs to win player of the year in 2009 at the age of 35. Lampard, just 34, has seen a resurgence at Chelsea in the last few months that has seen him take his always impressive goal tally to 13 for the season. Not bad for someone who has been a bit part player at times this year.
Surprisingly, Lampard has never won the PFA player of the year award. Nor has he been able to win himself a contract extension at Chelsea beyond the end of the season. But, as he chases down Chelsea’s all time goal scoring record, Lampard is in scintillating form. After forcing his way back into Chelsea’s team you could be foolish to discount one of the best midfielders the league has ever seen.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, there’s a still a lot to play for this season. Still time for any of the above, or maybe one or two others, to cement their place as the league’s best. This is a team sport and I appreciate that individual accolades aren’t the be all end all.
But to be the best player of the best league in the world has to mean something. I’m sure it would be a welcome addition to trophy cabinet of any of these Premier League stars.