Premier League 17/18 End of Season Awards
With the 2017/2018 Premier League season coming to a close this Sunday, and with all the major places essentially settled following Huddersfield’s draw with Chelsea midweek, it’s high time we offered up our obligatory season recap; including our Player of the Season, Game of the Season, and Team of the Season. So without further ado, here are our Premier League 17/18 End of Season Awards!
Player of the Season
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Though Kevin De Bruyne has been instrumental in City’s record-breaking title win, it couldn’t really be anyone else but Mo Salah. With 31 league goals to his name (and 11 assists), the Egyptian has had one of the most astonishing seasons in Premier League history and has already more than repaid Liverpool’s heavy investment in the summer. Nobody doubted Salah’s pace and the threat he could pose in a fast and furious Liverpool attack following his move from Roma, but following his less than sparkling Chelsea appearances in 2014, there were serious doubts about his pure ability on the ball.
Those doubts couldn’t have been answered any more emphatically with consistency and quality shining throughout the season week in, week out. It’s not only the amount of goals he’s scored; it’s the nature of the goals, it’s the magnitude of the goals. We don’t think it’s a stretch to say Salah is already an icon – especially given his background and route to the top. And no matter what happens at the Champions League Final in Kiev, Liverpool fans have their new King.
Young Player of the Season
Leroy Sané (Manchester City)
One of the most hotly contested awards of the season, we’ve gone for Man City’s Leroy Sané as our Young Player of the Season. The City winger has come on leaps and bounds under Guardiola and has pushed on again following a stellar season last year. Despite having only been in the Prem for two seasons, he’s already racked up 15 goals and 22 assists for City.
He has the perfect wide-man mixture of balance, pace and quality, and there’s every reason to think Sané will cement his place among Europe’s elite during the World Cup. Raheem Sterling would have been well within a shout but, while the PFA don’t, we like to keep the Young Player of the Season Award strictly for under 21s.
Breakthrough Player of the Season
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Speaking of Sterling, we thought it only fair to give him a breakthrough season award. Yes, he’s had decent seasons before – the Liverpool title challenge season of 13/14 comes to mind – but Guardiola’s effect on the winger has been staggering. We’re especially pleased for Sterling given the criminal coverage he gets from certain sections of the media following his perfectly logically move away from Anfield in 2015.
He still needs to find more consistency – in his finishing especially. But he has knocked up some seriously impressive numbers this year with 18 goals and 17 assists, many of which in the early months of the season were late winners in tight games. If Sterling could go up one more level – something he’s undoubtedly capable of – City and England could have one of the world’s best on their hands.
Signing of the Season
Ederson (Manchester City)
While this award does obviously belong to Mo Salah, we thought we’d mix it up a bit and show someone else some love. The likes of Bernardo Silva and especially Kyle Walker have been crucial purchases when you consider how different a side City are to last season, but we’re not sure any signing has made a more fundamental difference to Pep’s side than their goalkeeper, Ederson.
In fairness, you can only really upgrade on Claudio Bravo but there were no guarantees of just how much of an upgrade Ederson would be when he signed for City for a staggering £40m from Benfica. But the 24-year-old Brazilian has been vital and proved his worth playing every league game for City. His distributed is extraordinary, but it’s calmness and shot stopping ability which has really impressed us. City have found their keeper for years to come.
Most Underrated Player of the Season
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Calling a player ‘underrated’ is always a little trivial but if anyone deserve the award this season we think it’s Roberto Firmino. Many didn’t think the Brazilian was ever going cut it as a No. 9, but in Klopp’s system, there’s nobody more suited to the roll. Much is made of Firmino’s work ethic and defensive capabilities, which are obviously both exceptional, but it almost does a disservice to the quality he brings to Liverpool’s front three.
With 15 goals this season and 8 assists, his numbers would be far more noted if there were in a side which didn’t have Mo Salah and weren’t as free flowing as Liverpool. Rarely, if ever, under 8/10, Firmino is the model professional and deserves recognition as one of the best centre forward in the Premier League.
Game of the Season
Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City
There have been plenty of great games to choose from this season, with Man City’s win at reigning champions Chelsea back in late September arguably the most significant, but we’ve gone for Liverpool’s win over City at Anfield in January.
Manchester City came into the game undefeated with many tipping them to repeat Arsenal’s Invisibles achievement. But Liverpool ran into a 4-1 thanks to an 8 minutes spell in the second half which saw the Reds score three from each of their front men in quick succession. City scored twice in the last six minutes to set up a tense finish but Liverpool held on to win the game 4-3. An omen of what was to come in the Champions League Quarter Final…
Goal of the Season
Jamie Vardy v West Brom (Leicester)
Probably the award to cause the most fierce debates in the office, we’re labelling Jamie Vardy’s over-the-shoulder volley against West Brom as our Goal of the Season. There were shouts for Charlie Daniels v Man City early on in the season and Jermain Defoe’s looping half-volley against Crystal Palace, but for technique and celebration in front of the home end alone, we’re going for Vardy.
Manager of the Season
Sean Dyche (Burnley)
While the likes of Chris Hughton, Rafa Benitez and David Wagner deserve huge mentions for keeping their respective sides in the Premier League, and Guardiola’s achievements shouldn’t be belittled, for us Sean Dyche is the obvious candidate.
Starting with the victory at Chelsea on the opening weekend, Dyche has masterminded European football for Burnley next season – a genuinely mind-blowing achievement given their squad and budget. This season has been no fluke either with Burnley improving year on year. And while it will be hard to top things next season, Dyche and the club deserve every accolade under the sun.
Team of the Season
And finally, our Team of the Season. Various players almost made the cut with the likes of Fernandinho, David De Gea, Leroy Sané, Pascal Groß, Roberto Firmino and even Jamie Vardy all having great seasons. But all in all, we think our 11 basically picks itself…
Who was your Player of the Season? Have we got any glaring omissions in our Team of the Year? Let us know in the comments below or join the debate over on Twitter!