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Sportsmail Predicts: Premier League Player Of The Season So Far

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As the Premier League season enters it’s final stages, Sportsmail’s team of reporters have given their review of the campaign so far.

Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne are neck-and-neck in the race to win Premier League Player of the Year while Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been ranked as a massive disappointment.

Here is a round-up from our reporters as they also have their say on their goal of the 2017-18 campaign and their wishes for the remainder of the season.

ROB DRAPER
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah probably shades it but Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne push him close. The best player in the best team should always be a contender and that’s De Bruyne.

Salah’s contribution perhaps feels greater than Kane only because it’s more surprising. Kane is damned by his own sheer consistency. And, yes, I am aghast at myself for not mentioning Sergio Aguero. What was I thinking?

Biggest disappointment?

West Brom. Genuinely thought that they had recruited well, was looking forward to seeing Grigorz Krchoywiak, who had been excellent at Sevilla.

But it’s the year of Tony Pulis’ revenge. Lose Pulis and you go down: fact. West Brom and Stoke know it. Maybe Crystal Palace as well. He has special powers that extend to cursing his former clubs.

Best goal so far?

Mo Salah’s last-minute dribble against Tottenham which has Spurs defenders looking at each other as if to say: ‘What just happened there?’ The pure joy of a Ricky Villa slalom always does it for me.


One wish for the rest of the season?

For Mauricio Pochettino to win his first trophy. Jose Mourinho has enough and Antonio Conte’s victory in the FA Cup would merely be a delightful swansong. Tottenham deserve something. But then, the real joy of sport, is that winners are never determined by worthiness. You need more than that.

Also, for Arsene Wenger to be treated with dignity and receive the send-off he deserves.

CHRIS WHEELER
Player of the season so far?

Kevin De Bruyne. Quite simply, the best player in the best team. There have been some wonderful performers at Manchester City this season, but De Bruyne’s vision, ability and sheer work-rate has elevated him above the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane. The gifted Belgian has produced a highlight reel all of his own and gets the vote ahead of Mo Salah and Harry Kane.

Biggest disappointment?

Alexis Sanchez. He’s only been at Manchester United for five minutes but the Premier League’s highest-paid player has been staggeringly underwhelming. When he pitched up at Old Trafford playing a piano in January, we thought he would be conducting the orchestra at United. Instead, we’ve been left with a bunch of bum notes.

Best goal so far?

Raheem Sterling vs Southampton back in November when Manchester City weren’t such certainties for the title. Sterling’s exquisite curling finish deep into injury-time, sparking scenes of unbridled joy around the Etihad and Pep Guardiola’s curious chat with Nathan Redmond. There have been more spectacular goals this season, but none better in terms of quality and impact.

One wish for the rest of the season?

FIFA have a rethink over using VAR at the World Cup in Russia. Haven’t we suffered enough with it for one season? I’m not sure I can face the prospect of Egypt vs Saudi Arabia going into a third hour because a video referee – presumably not in a studio near Heathrow this time – is deliberating over another borderline decision.

CRAIG HOPE
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah. There is very little between him and Kevin De Bruyne, but there is an anticipation about watching the Liverpool forward which I have not experienced for a long time, an excitement at knowing he is involved and witnessing his next piece of wizardry. He has been sensational and taken his game to a level only the likes of Messi and Ronaldo have scaled.

Biggest disappointment?

Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho – let’s make this a joint award. It has got very boring very quickly at United and I am tired of an under-performing Pogba and an underwhelming Mourinho, whose approach is outdated, he still thinks he’s managing in 2005.

Best goal so far?

Just because I was there to see it, Kenedy’s first goal for Newcastle in the recent 3-0 win over Southampton. How he used his chest to lift a dropping ball back in the air and spin away from his marker before finishing I don’t know. It was a brilliant piece of audacious skill and made all the better by it arriving after just 63 seconds.

One wish for the rest of the season?

A proper Survival Sunday come May 13, at least six teams still in danger of joining West Brom (they’re gone) in the Championship next season.

OLIVER TODD
Player of the season so far?

Kevin De Bruyne. Mo Salah might have shocked everyone with his goalscoring form but De Bruyne kicked City on to the title. The Belgian has even shouldered additional responsibility during David Silva’s personal troubles and has been outstanding throughout.

Biggest disappointment?

Antonio Conte. The Italian revolutionised the Premier League last season, launching a change of formation that became widespread – but he has been left behind this campaign. His incessant moans on transfer dealings have been tiresome for fans, as well as his club.

Best goal so far?

Mo Salah vs Tottenham. The goal that really showed you just how good Salah’s acceleration and control is. The Egyptian stopped, appealed for a penalty, restarted and still kept the ball before poking in a finish having beaten three men, notably embarrassing Jan Vertonghen.

One wish for the rest of the season?

Burnley to qualify for Europe. They deserve it for a largely brilliant campaign and, if a Big Six side wins the FA Cup, Sean Dyche’s men could be on their travels with a seventh-place finish.

DOMINIC KING
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah. He has been in a groove since early autumn that has catapulted him into the echelon of Europe’s top performers and his numbers are remarkable. You don’t have to be in a title-winning team to be the division’s star man. Luis Suarez and David Ginola prove that.

Biggest disappointment?

Arsenal. The hounding of Arsene Wenger over the past couple of years has left a horrible taste – how can three FA Cups in four years not be good enough for some fans? – but this season the camel’s back has been broken.

They should be getting results so much better than they have been. They can’t continue like this.

Best goal so far?

Wayne Rooney vs West Ham. Rare are the days when something happens in a Premier League match to get you out of your seat but that first time strike from 60 yards – to complete his hat-trick – was absolutely remarkable. He isn’t the player of old but he is still capable of moments that take the breath away.


One wish for the rest of the season?

That we have some kind of excitement in the closing weeks. Unfortunately, though, that looks a forlorn wish as the title has been decided, the relegation picture looks pretty much clear and if Tottenham beat Chelsea on April 1, the race for the top four will be as good as over too.

MIKE KEEGAN
Player of the season so far?

Kevin De Bruyne. I remember thinking City had overpaid to bring him back to England. What an idiot. A brilliant player who plays the tune in arguably the finest team the Premier League has seen.

Biggest disappointment?

Paul Pogba. Expected much, much more from the Frenchman. When you pay that amount, you either get goals, a captain or, as in the man above, an unlocker of doors. Pogba so far has been none of those.

Best goal so far?

Wayne Rooney vs West Ham. Moments of joy have been few and far between for Everton fans this season but Rooney’s strike from inside his own half not only provided one of those but also completed a memorable hat-trick for the Prodigal Son.

One wish for the rest of the season?

That one of City or Liverpool wins the Champions League. Both have been absolutely brilliant to watch this season and it would be a boost for the Premier League should whoever emerges victorious from next month’s showdown go on to win the thing. Other than that, Harry Kane to get fit. Quickly.

IAN HERBERT
Player of the season so far?

Kevin De Bruyne. For his all-round contribution – creating, defending, finishing – which makes him the stand-out player for the champions-elect. There’s no preening or monumental ego, either. De Bruyne has a large entourage – just ask the City staff who settled him in when he arrived – but he just gets on with the matter in hand.

Biggest disappointment?

Gylfi Sigurdsson. He was supposed to have been the focal point of the exciting Everton team yet has been anything but. In part, that’s because of the balance of a side which has no effective centre forward. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the £45m transfer fee was ridiculous.


Best goal so far?

Wayne Rooney. For the 60-yard strike from his own half against West Ham at Goodison on November 27. It was no fluke: just pure, Rooneyesque off-the-cuff genius. There was just enough elevation in that strike to clear the defence yet he still hit relatively low, maximising the odds of scoring. Sublime.

One wish for the rest of the season?

That when City win the title that Jose Mourinho will have grace to acknowledge them and Pep Guardiola, demonstrating to those young fans who are influenced by him what sportsmanship looks like. Another stream of consciousness about injustice and his inadequate squad is the more likely outcome.

LAURIE WHITWELL
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah. Perhaps this award should go to a player who will win the title, notably Kevin De Bruyne. But Salah’s joyous displays have lifted Liverpool to heights beyond expectation and his goals haul is simply astonishing. His has been a season combining beauty and brutality.

Who has been the biggest disappointment?

Tiemoue Bakayoko. Signed by Chelsea to bring some of the dynamism of Monaco’s European adventure, Bakayoko has provided nothing of the sort in a series of technically poor performances. The sale of Nemanja Matic has made the Frenchman’s underwhelming contributions all the more stark.

Best goal so far?

Jamie Vardy vs West Brom. Perhaps being present at The Hawthorns to witness this goal firsthand makes it a biased choice but Vardy’s volley stands up to all measures. The pass from Riyad Mahrez was pristine and Vardy’s skill to watch the ball over his shoulder and strike with his weaker foot before it touched the ground was sublime.

One wish for the rest of the season?

Another biased call, but hopefully Aston Villa can seal a Premier League return. Talk about size of clubs is always a little crass but Villa have supporters and a stadium that would be a welcome addition to the top flight.


JOE BERNSTEIN
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah. Not an original choice but impossible to think anyone else has been better. Besides the incredible stats and 36 goals, he has that x-factor the Premier League requires. I’ve had the privilege of watching him live and he’s up there with Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo as the most exciting players we’ve seen here.

Biggest disappointment?

To be disappointed, you have to expect in the first place, so on that basis I’m ruling out Paul Pogba. Having written in August that Everton and West Brom had enjoyed the best transfer windows, those two clubs have been appalling flops; epitomised by Gylfi Sigurdsson and Grzegorz Krychowiak.


Best goal so far?

Admittedly you tend to remember the more recent goals better, but Jamie Vardy’s volley against West Brom this month was stupendous. To have the confidence to strike a ball dropping over your shoulder is remarkable enough, but to also convert the shot with power and precision deserves an award

One wish for the rest of the season?

As the pressure intensifies, I don’t want to hear pundits shouting for players to shield the ball in the corner. Danny Murphy, who otherwise seems quite sensible, blasted Olivier Giroud on Sunday and Chelsea’s game wasn’t even into injury-time.

I was at Old Trafford last week and Sevilla didn’t need that nonsense in the Champions League. They closed the game out by passing to each other and getting men forward when they could.

JACK GAUGHAN
Player of the season?

Kevin De Bruyne. He’s been playing a completely different game to the rest of the division all season. Eyes in the back of his head and a few stunning goals to go with the mounds of assists. De Bruyne’s been on another planet from the off and proven what a fine investment City made.


Who has been the biggest disappointment?

Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez effectively phoned it in during his final few months at Arsenal in readiness for a move away. And then when he got his switch, the Chilean’s performances have been way below par. No wonder some at United are asking whether he was worth the fuss.

Best goal so far?

David Silva’s first vs Stoke. Not Manchester City’s most eye-catching goal of the season by any stretch but one that goes to show just how far ahead they are. Gabriel Jesus wonderfully split the left back and centre half, Raheem Sterling raced onto it and squared perfectly for the rushing Silva. Perfection.


One wish for the rest of the season?

That Burnley don’t tail off after having such a terrific campaign. It’d be a shame if results slipped and ended up with Sean Dyche’s side slipping a couple of places because they deserve to be in that top seven.

RIATH AL-SAMARRAI
Player of the season so far?

Mo Salah. Predictably, it was a shootout between him and Kevin De Bruyne and I initially veered towards the Belgian because his work has led Manchester City to the brink of the title.

But Salah’s numbers are just absurd – 28 goals, nine assists in the Premier League (just five fewer assists than De Bruyne). To get those figures in an inferior side to City is all the more impressive.


Biggest disappointment?

Jose Mourinho. He’s not fun anymore, just bitter and boring (tactics and personality).

Best goal so far?

Jermain Defoe’s half volley against Crystal Palace. Bonkers angle to even try a shot, let alone pull it off. Not a Van Basten, granted, but the same part of the area and the same part of the net. Exceptional.


One wish for the rest of the season?

That the relegation race goes to the wire. It has been thrilling to watch Manchester City slap all comers to the boundary rope, but the title has been a foregone conclusion for months so hopefully there are plenty of twists and turns in determining the bottom three (or rather 18th and 19th, because West Brom look doomed).

MATT BARLOW
Player of the season so far?

Harry Kane. His 39 goals in 43 games for club and country, his attitude, his relentless determination to improve and his leadership on and off the pitch; all of which has led Spurs into a position where they are well placed for the top four despite not playing at home.


Biggest disappointment?

Alexis Sanchez pips Tiemoue Bakayoko and several other big-money disappointments by virtue of the fact he has been a disappointment at two different clubs; a disappointment at Arsenal for the first half of the season and then a disappointment at Manchester United ever since.

Best goal so far?

Sofiane Boufal’s solo effort for Southampton, dribbling from deep in his own half with a cool finish, five minutes from time, the only goal of the game, in October, long before West Brom had hailed their taxi to the Championship.

One wish for the rest of the season?

Burnley are rewarded for a brilliant season by qualifying for Europe.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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