English Premier League's 5 Most Improved Players of the Season

Max TowleAnalyst IApril 9, 2012

English Premier League's 5 Most Improved Players of the Season

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    First things first—this is not a list of the best players of the season.

    The likes of Vincent Kompany, Robin van Persie and Clint Dempsey will be nowhere to be found around here.

    This is a list of the most improved players of the season.

    Some have been written off by their own fans as dead weight; all doubted at one point or another, these five guys have all stormed back to prove the doubters wrong.

    Just don't call it a comeback.

Jonny Evans (Manchester United)

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    I'm sure every Manchester United fan has taken a pop at the young Northern Irishman at some point during the past couple of the seasons, bemoaning Ferguson's stubborn refusal to let the error-prone defender call time on his Old Trafford career.

    Perhaps his lowest point may have come at the beginning of this current season, with his horrific display in the Manchester derby.

    A 6-1 home defeat never looks good on the CV for a defender.

    But his partnership with Rio Ferdinand has formed the foundation for a United assault on a title that seemed to be heading to the other side of Manchester.

    He has stepped up to the plate in the absence of the talismanic Nemanja Vidic, helping his team keep clean sheet after clean sheet in the league.

    Long gone are the days when any striker over 6'1" could easily beat him in the air.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Blackburn Rovers)

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    If Blackburn Rovers end up being relegated this season, it certainly wouldn't be this man's fault.

    Let the facts speak for themselves.

    From 2008 to 2011: 10 goals in 53 Premier League appearances.

    From 2011 to 2012: 14 goals in 22 Premier League appearances.

    The big Yak may not be the most fashionable player in England, but his excellent form this season is undeniable.

    As well as being exceptionally powerful in the air, the Nigerian striker has also shown a quickness and agility that have surprised many this season.

    If Blackburn do find themselves playing Championship football next season, Yakubu will certainly not be joining them.

Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)

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    It remains to be see whether or not Kyle Walker can earn a place in England's starting lineup at the upcoming European Championships; he'll have to battle Micah Richards for that right.

    But this season has certainly been a landmark one for the young Englishman.

    His attacking runs down the right-hand side of midfield in support of Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart have become a signature of Tottenham's impressive football.

    His defensive work rate has also drastically improved, with he and left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto guarding against opposition wingers excellently.

    If he ends up getting his first taste of Champions League football next season, it will be well-deserved.

Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic)

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    If I had drafted this list a couple of weeks ago, I doubt that Victor Moses would have made an appearance.

    After managing to catch the full 90 minutes of each of Wigan's last three games...boy, has this young man impressed me.

    Long periods of running up and down the wing seemed to characterize his early season form, resulting in huffing and puffing without much production.

    In front of goal he was profligate, his passing at times horribly wasteful.

    But if Wigan are to have any chance of staying up this season, then Moses is the man to lead the late charge.

    Just look to his man-of-the-match performance in a recent defeat to Chelsea for evidence.

Stephane Sessegnon (Sunderland)

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    Forget Martin O'Neill's invigorating introduction to the fold midway through the season—Stephane Sessegnon has looked terrific since day one.

    It is no accident that he's now being linked with a move to a top club, with the Daily Mail reporting Arsenal reportedly lead the chase.

    Last year he showed only glimpses of his talent. All too often his threatening runs through the middle of the park would come to nothing.

    This year his statistics tell a different story: seven goals and nine assists in 27 appearances.

    Sessegnon has adapted to the English style of football rapidly, using his quickness and agility to glide past defenders with ease.

    If he does stay, perhaps his signing will be the best legacy that Steve Bruce could have left at the club.

Honourable Mentions

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    Nicklas Bendtner (Sunderland): For proving he isn't completely worthless

    Micah Richards (Manchester City): For distinguishing himself as the best right-back in the league

    Alex Song (Arsenal): For becoming the most reliable player in Arsenal's midfield

    Grant Holt (Norwich): For proving himself a top goal scorer in his first season in the big leagues

    Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea): For earning himself a regular place in the Chelsea lineup

    Fernando Torres (Chelsea): For doubling his goal tally with Chelsea

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