The PFA Player of the Year award celebrates an outstanding individual contribution throughout a Premier League campaign, as voted for by the professionals themselves.
There can be no arguments about the nominees this year, with six players all vying to be handed the coveted trophy on Sunday to join a list of elite Premier League stars.
There are three Liverpool players in the running for the 2014 trophy, with three more exceptional talents alongside them. Below, we analyse the seasons of every nominee and take a look back at the previous winners.
|2012/13||Gareth Bale||Tottenham Hotspur|
|2011/12||Robin van Persie||Arsenal|
|2010/11||Gareth Bale||Tottenham Hotspur|
|2009/10||Wayne Rooney||Manchester United|
|2008/09||Ryan Giggs||Manchester United|
|2007/08||Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United|
|2006/07||Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United|
Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Summing up Liverpool hitman Luis Suarez in a word is easy: unplayable. It may not be a word that many fans would choose, but it’s certainly the view of the Uruguayan’s Premier League peers.
The 27-year-old missed Liverpool’s opening five Premier League fixtures through suspension but has more than made up for lost time—scoring 30 goals in as many games since returning to action.
In doing so, he became only the seventh player in the league’s history to reach the 30-goal landmark, joining the likes of Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo on the list of greats.
7 - Luis Suarez is only the 7th player to hit 30+ goals in a single Premier League season (Shearer did it three times). Bounty.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2014
Suarez has quite simply been outstanding all campaign, and former Red Jamie Redknapp recently sang his praises while talking with Sky Sports, reported via the Mirror:
If anyone doesn't vote for him [for the PFA award], I'd have to question who they've been watching because it's been a brilliant individual performance from him this season. I couldn't say he'd never do anything rash again because he plays more on the edge than anyone I've ever seen but this year his performances and conduct have been exemplary.
With three matches still to come for Suarez, who’s to say how prolific a season he’ll end up having? The destiny of the Premier League title is in Liverpool’s hands, and they owe much of their brilliance throughout the campaign to their fantastic striker.
Yaya Toure, Manchester City
Man-mountain Yaya Toure is everything that a midfielder should be: strong, fast and composed.
Who will win the PFA Player of the Year award?
He’s been a revelation since joining Manchester City, not just for being part of the catchiest song in world football but also for his performances in the famous sky-blue shirt.
Per WhoScored.com, the Ivorian has scored 18 Premier League goals this season and assisted a further five, but his contribution goes beyond that.
When Toure gets going, so does his team, and Manchester City have desperately needed big performances from their big midfielder throughout the campaign—luckily for them, he always delivers.
The 30-year-old recently said that he doesn’t get the worldwide recognition that his football deserves—per the Telegraph—but winning the PFA Player of the Year award would certainly be a step in the right direction towards being a global sensation.
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
No matter who you are, there’s a part of you that wants to see Steven Gerrard lift the Premier League trophy come May 11. Okay, maybe not everyone, but if anyone deserves to hold the famous trophy aloft, then it’s the Liverpool skipper.
The 33-year-old has been an integral cog in the Liverpool machine ever since breaking into the first team back in the late 1990s, and finally now he has the chance to hold the trophy that has so far eluded him.
Per LFCSTATS.co.uk, Gerrard has won the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Community Shield—he just needs one last piece to complete his silverware puzzle.
It’s great to see how desperate he is to do just that, with his floods of tears at the end of Liverpool’s vital victory over Manchester City on April 13 epitomising how much steering his club to glory means to him.
PHOTO: Steven Gerrard cries tears of joy at the final whistle after an emotional day at Anfield pic.twitter.com/JTSwXPoOVB— LFC USA (@LFCUSA) April 13, 2014
Gerrard has chipped in with 13 goals and 10 assists this season, a record total by his very high standards according to Opta Joe:
23 - 2013-14 is the first season that Steven Gerrard has managed double figures for both goals (13) and assists (10) in the PL. Captain.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
The England captain scooped the 2005/06 PFA Player of the Year award after guiding Liverpool to the FA Cup, and how he’d love the 2013/14 prize with another piece of major silverware in his possession.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Chelsea have been criticised heavily by fans and pundits for not having a world-class striker at their disposal; but while they have Eden Hazard in their ranks, it appears they don’t need one.
The Belgian has performed magnificently for the Blues all season across Jose Mourinho’s midfield with his trickery, pace, awareness and ability in front of goal.
Per WhoScored.com, Hazard has notched up 14 goals for Chelsea this year with seven assists to boot, and he remains one of the hottest properties in the European game.
During a recent interview with Sport, Hazard compared himself to Lionel Messi in terms of playing style when choosing between the Argentinian and Cristiano Ronaldo:
If I had to choose, I’d say by my body type and style of playing means I’m closer to Messi. Ronaldo is more of an athlete – he’s good at everything. He runs fast, he’s strong. So I would say I’m closer to Messi. But obviously I don’t score as many goals as he does.
He’s not far off, though, and if he continues to flaunt his gracious and elegant style on the football pitch, then one day he will be uttered in the same breath as the game’s greats.
At just 23 years of age, Hazard has a long and fruitful career in front of him and, who knows, maybe he’ll be receiving quite a few of these awards during his time in England.
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Part three of Liverpool’s additions to the PFA Player of the Year award nominees list is Englishman Daniel Sturridge, who has formed a formidable partnership with Suarez up front for the Reds this season.
Sturridge has scored 20 Premier League goals during the current campaign, taking the pair’s tally to 50 in the league in a remarkable season for the club.
The 24-year-old’s quick feet, finishing prowess and telepathy with Suarez have seen him widely recognised as one of the best strikers in the world, even though he adopts one of the strangest celebrations in the modern game.
Though he’s certainly doing something right, as he’s deservedly danced his way into the PFA Player of the Year nominee list.
According to SoccerWay, the highest goal haul that Sturridge had managed before this campaign was 11 during the 2011/12 season with Chelsea, showing just how far he’s come as a player since joining Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool.
With the World Cup with England on the horizon, the sky appears to be the limit for young Sturridge, who can look forward to tormenting defences with Suarez in the Champions League next season.
Adam Lallana, Southampton
England manager Roy Hodgson would have been rubbing his hands together when he saw the list of PFA Player of the Year nominees, with three of his current stars all in the running for the prize.
Lallana, though a relative newcomer to the international scene, has demonstrated his right to wear the famous white shirt with endless strong performances for Southampton.
The Saints are closing in on an impressive top-eight finish this season, and it’s largely thanks to their 25-year-old captain.
Lallana has scored nine goals and provided six assists for his teammates this season—per WhoScored.com—cementing his place in Hodgson’s plans throughout the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
Though not the fastest of players, Lallana’s mental speed and awareness put his several steps ahead of his opposition, and he’s profited from such credentials no end during the current campaign.
With six fantastic players all chasing the PFA Player of the Year award, it’s anyone’s guess who will emerge with the coveted prize come Sunday evening.
To have these remarkable talents in the Premier League is truly a blessing for the division, and long may their class continue to shine in England’s top flight.