World Football

PFA 2014: Predictions for Player of the Year and Team of the Year Awards

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 22:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates after scoring hihs third and his team's sixth goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool at Cardiff City Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

This Sunday will see the winners of this year's Professional Footballers' Association awards being announced, with a raft of this season's biggest stars in the running for the association's highest honours.

The six-man shortlist of Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard, Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge will tussle for the Player of the Year award, while a host of other stars are looking to weave their way into the Team of the Year.

Here, we'll consider who's most likely to come out on top in both regards, with one man in particular giving Liverpool the edge they've needed in the race to becoming heavy Premier League title favourites.

 

Player of the Year: Luis Suarez

NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool kisses his hand as he walks out during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on April 20, 2014 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

One of three Liverpool figures who has had a particular impact on their rise back to league contention this season, Suarez sits alongside Gerrard and Sturridge as a hero to the Anfield cause.

Though captain Gerrard would be the choice for many on Merseyside as the name to be put forth for Player of the Year as he edges closer to picking up the trophy that has eluded him thus far in his 16-year career, sentiment counts for nothing in this reckoning.

Without Suarez's 30 goals this term, per Transfermarkt, the Reds would be 15 points worse off—not accounting for what scoring would have been picked up by his replacement—showing just what a telling factor he's been.

Not only that, Squawka show that Brendan Rodgers' South American superstar has been unfortunate not to have increased that tally:

Despite the 10-match ban with which he began the campaign, the Uruguayan's input has told the tale of Liverpool's resurgent form, and it's only natural that those closest to the summit of the table garner more recognition.

With a new long-term deal at Anfield penned late last year, Suarez has not only filled the void in Liverpool's attack, he's also collected 12 assists, per Squawka.

Other than being the league's leading scorer, Suarez has shown himself to be a renovated soul, far from the figure who has previously drawn the ire of the Premier League masses.

This year's Player of the Year award would stand as recognition of the efforts made in rehabilitating himself into a force that Liverpool couldn't have got by without.

 

Team of the Year (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Petr Cech of Chelsea points during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain FC at Stamford Bridge on April 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Imag
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Keeping the on-loan Thibaut Courtois off his back hasn't been easy work, but Petr Cech has managed the feat with aplomb in recent seasons, and it's for no indecipherable reason that Chelsea continue to place faith in their No. 1 incumbent.

OptaFranz tell us just how long the Czech international has been keeping such a lofty pedigree to his name:

With 16 clean sheets this season, the Blues' stopper beats the likes of David Marshall and Joe Hart to the post, thriving once again across multiple campaigns on the way to delivering his side the best defensive record in the land, with just 26 goals conceded thus far.

 

Defence

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal competes with Leighton Baines of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on April 6, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by A
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Leighton Baines gets the nomination as left-back after a tug of war that's likely to continue in the England camp this summer with Southampton's Luke Shaw.

On the right side of defence, it's Baines' team-mate Seamus Coleman, who is fully deserving of the plaudits coming his way. Like Baines, the Irishman has marauded in a system that Roberto Martinez has fitted at Everton to utilise the flanks with supreme efficiency.

As well as being a very threatening weapon in attack, WhoScored.com can attest to Coleman also being a rare talent in his defensive duties, too:

It's difficult to look past the statistics in John Terry's case. The Chelsea captain has once again helped his side claim a tremendous defensive record that's been the backbone of their cause in the absence of less reliable options at the other end of the pitch this season.

Partnering Terry in central defence is Martin Skrtel, the most consistent piece in what's been an injury-affected portion of Brendan Rodgers' squad this season. Despite some slip-ups along the way, Skrtel has coped well with an ever-changing rotation of Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure and Daniel Agger beside him, giving Simon Mignolet a reliable wall in defence.

 

Midfield

Two of those key to the Liverpool fight over the past nine months have been Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson—master and disciple commandeering a squad that many felt wasn't capable of such glossy standards at the start of the campaign. 

Henderson's coming of age has been a tremendous thing to watch for those at Anfield, giving many hope that there might be someone ready to fill Gerrard's boots when the Liverpool skipper retires, but the veteran's 13 goals scored and 56 chances created, per Squawka, shows that he's not ready to bow out just yet.

Though his season has been curtailed by injury, Yaya Toure is the man sitting just ahead of that anchoring pair in our line-up, with 101GreatGoals showing just why that is:

Squawka also show that the Ivorian has a knack for the set pieces, as opposed to just being a force from open play. Without their midfield hero, Manchester City may not have been so involved in the ongoing title race.

 

Attack

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Eden Hazard of Chelsea scores their third goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on March 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Get
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Eden Hazard is pushed into an inside forward role for our line-up, so while he may miss out on Player of the Year, there's some comfort for the Belgian to take from his versatility.

WhoScored.com show just what company Hazard's been keeping when playing deep behind enemy lines this season:

Accompanying the attacker in a similar supporting role is Wayne Rooney. His massive bump up to wages of £300,000 a week has inevitably turned some to asking if the striker does as much for his team as do the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi do for theirs.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  A dejected Wayne Rooney of Manchester United after defeat during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on April 20, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/G
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

However, there's no combating the fact that, without his input throughout the this gloomy season at Old Trafford, Manchester United would have been even further off the pace.

And it's no surprise that our Team of the Year is fronted by Player of the Year Luis Suarez, for his goal count paved the path for Liverpool's revival in regaining Premier League front-runner status. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices