Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and more recently Riyad Mahrez. Just some of the names to win the PFA Player of the Year award in recent seasons. The question is… who’ll win it this time out?
The six-man shortlist has been announced this morning, and as far as our traders are concerned the award already has one man’s name on it.
Here’s how we rate each nominee’s chances…
N’Golo Kante – 1/9
For the second year running, the Frenchman has made the shortlist. Only this time, it really is his to lose. Former Leicester City teammate Mahrez rightly won last year’s gong, but the Algeria international has struggled to maintain such levels of performances this time around.
Kante, meanwhile, has taken things up a gear since moving to Chelsea back in the summer. And in truth, the Blues boast undoubtedly the best holding midfielder in the division – arguably in world football.
The Frenchman is pulling all the strings in the Chelsea midfield, and has covered almost every blade of grass in the Prem this season.
A worthy winner in our eyes.
Eden Hazard – 6/1
Next in the betting comes Kante’s teammate and quite possibly the most influential forward in the top-flight this year.
After a horrid 2015-16 campaign, Hazard has flourished at Stamford Bridge under new boss Antonio Conte.
It’s not just his 14 goals and five assists in the Prem that have impressed us – it’s his all-round game. He’s well and truly back to his best – taunting and teasing the league’s top defenders.
While we reckon this award already has Kante’s name on it, there’d be no eyebrows raised in the Ladbrokes News office if Hazard pipped him to the post.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 20/1
This is a strange one, because although the award recognises individual talent, you’d have to say that Manchester United’s overall performances as a team may hinder Ibrahimovic’s chances of winning Player of the Year.
Were they nearer to the top of the table, his odds would no doubt be much shorter. But the fact of the matter is that they aren’t, and thus the former Paris Saint-Germain ace is out at 20/1.
On the flipside, it’s worrying to think where United would be without him. A quick look at Ibra’s numbers tell us the Red Devils would find themselves some 12 points worse off if we took away the 35-year-old’s goals.
A solid debut season in the division, but not solid enough to deserve the award.
Alexis Sanchez – 33/1
The Chilean has impressed in patches this campaign, but hasn’t been consistent enough. And as far as we’re concerned, being the standout player in a side who’d have been gunning for the title but find themselves 21 points off top spot simply isn’t good enough.
As with Ibrahimovic, perhaps if Arsenal were higher up the table and Sanchez was performing week-in, week-out, there’d be much more a case to be made for him becoming just the second South American to win the award.
Romelu Lukaku – 40/1
Similarly to Ibrahimovic, we reckon there’s still more to come from Lukaku. Granted, this has been his most successful campaign in front of goal, and he’ll no doubt find himself on this shortlist for years to come. But his influence on the bigger games is almost non-existent.
To win PFA Player of the Year you have to do something huge. Not just once, but all season. You have to take your game to the next level, and become almost unplayable.
When things are going wrong for the Belgian, they really go wrong – his recent performance against Liverpool being a prime example (Lukaku didn’t register a single shot).
Harry Kane – 50/1
We’re a little surprised that Kane is the Tottenham Hotspur player who made this list – especially when he’s been out for 25.8% of their games this season through injury.
OK, he has scored 19 goals in the 23 games in which he’s played. But by our reckoning, Dele Alli has by far been Spurs’ standout player of the season, and deserves to be in this shortlist.
That’s what the odds are saying, but who do you think should win PFA Player of the Year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing