Algerian playmaker Riyad Mahrez was crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night, which summed-up the Foxes fantastic campaign.
The 25-year-old fresh from helping the Foxes to a 4-0 win over Swansea on Sunday collected the much-deserved award.
Much like his team, Mahrez has taken the Premier League by storm this season. His goals and assists have made him one of the most exciting performers in the English top-flight.
The most improved player
Riyad Mahrez is arguably the most improved player in the Premier League this season, although there were a few signs of his skill last season. Teammate Jamie Vardy has also improved immensely, but the Algerian maybe just edges him in the improvement stakes this season.
Mahrez’s performances for the Foxes in the Championship were also decent. He showed flashes of his talent in the second tier, but was highly inconsistent.
That has all changed this season, as the winger has scored 17 times and also produced 11 assists this season in the top-flight. He has formed a fantastic understanding with the aforementioned Vardy and the pair are firing the Foxes to the most surprising Premier League title victory ever.
The likes of N’Golo Kante, Vardy, Mesut Ozil, Dimitri Payet and Harry Kane have all enjoyed fantastic campaigns, but no player has been more influential on his team’s performance in the top-flight than Mahrez.
Predictably unpredictable brilliance
Riyad Mahrez has always had skill, but he was never able to find consistency until the last 18 months. His unpredictability has made him incredibly difficult to stop. The winger’s talent was forged on the streets rather than in a high-profile academy.
Mahrez was not in a club academy until he was 19, which is probably why he retains his ability to do the unexpected. It seems nowadays that the unpredictable is trained out of players and a talent like dribbling is dying out.
However, football fans go to football games to see the likes of Mahrez bewildering defenders and producing outstanding pieces of skill. The Algerian is the silk to complement the grit of the likes Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante in the Foxes team.
It seems the Algerian international is now a consistent match-winner, as he aptly displayed in the Foxes 4-0 win over Swansea when he scored the opening goal, before setting up the second goal for Leonardo Ulloa.
Everybody is now aware of Mahrez’s talent, but knowing about his talent and stopping him is two very different things. His unpredictability is what has made him such a success this season.
A crazy season for Mahrez
Leicester are now within touching distance of winning the Premier League title and are favourites at odds of 2/11 to be crown champions next month. It has been an incredible season for the Foxes and Mahrez in particular.
Mahrez has come a long way in the last few years and it seems his performances have attracted interest from elsewhere, with Spanish giants Barcelona rumoured to be tracking the Algerian’s progress.
There has even been talk of a move to Arsenal, but the question would be why would he want to leave the Foxes? He is about to win the Premier League title and ply his trade in the Champions League with the Midlands side next season.
Bigger wages may be on offer elsewhere, but he has been involved in something truly magical at Leicester and he is much-loved at the King Power Stadium.
It would be a major blow if Mahrez leaves the Foxes in the summer. Mahrez is now regarded as one of the most exciting attacking midfielders in the English top-flight.
Winning the PFA Player of the Year award is just reward for the Algerian’s brilliance for the Foxes this season and his influence on a team that look set to be crowned as the most unexpected Premier League champions ever cannot be understated.
Was Riyad Mahrez a worthy winner of the PFA Player of the Year award?