Monday, June 21, 2021

Meet the leading contenders for the PFA Player of the Year award

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 19 Feb 2021

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With Manchester City only continuing to capitalize on the slip-ups around them, there is no doubt that the Sky Blues are sat in pole position to reclaim their Premier League title this season.

While Pep Guardiola’s side might be chasing a fifth domestic crown, there is a string of individual awards that are still up for grabs.

Along with Mohamed Salah leading the race for the Golden Boot, Kevin De Bruyne’s PFA Player of the Year award has a number of new challenges.

So, with a few Premier League stars really stealing the headlines this season, we have taken a look at the three bookmakers’ favourites to lift the prestigious award.

Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United

Bagging himself a brace away at Real Sociedad on Thursday evening, it won’t be a shock to many that Bruno Fernandes is a leading pick to lift this year’s award.

Already priced at 7/4 with 888sport to claim his first PFA Player of the Year accolade, the Portuguese playmaker has had nothing short of a stunning impact at Old Trafford.

Spearheading United’s 4-0 romp on Europa League duties earlier in the week, the former Sporting Lisbon ace has only continued to gain a string of plaudits so far this season.

Cementing his spot as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s talisman, the 26-year-old has already managed to record 21 goals across all competitions during this year’s campaign.

In fact, Fernandes has been directly involved in 38 Premier League goals in 38 appearances for Manchester United (22 goals, 16 assists) – in Premier League history, the only player with more goal involvements in his first 38 games is Andrew Cole (46 in 1993/94 for Newcastle).

İlkay Gündoğan – Manchester City

While İlkay Gündoğan might have missed Manchester City’s 3-1 win away at Goodison Park in midweek, the German international has only continued to shock almost everyone across the Premier League.

With Pep Guardiola’s side extending their buffer at the top of the table to double digits earlier in the week, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has played a vital role in City’s stunning purple patch.

Extending their winning run to 17 matchups on the bounce, a run that stems back to the middle of December, Gündoğan has enjoyed a remarkable record-breaking campaign at the Etihad.

Really managing to fill the void left by a frequently injured Sergio Aguero, the 30-year-old finds himself enjoying by far the best form of his career.

Last seen bagging a brace in City’s 3-0 romp against Tottenham last week, Gündoğan has scored more goals than any other player across Europe’s top five leagues since the turn of the calendar year, netting nine goals in nine Premier League games in 2021.

Expected to make his return from injury this weekend, Gündoğan is priced at 4/1 with Betfair to claim the PFA Player of the Year award this season.

Jack Grealish – Aston Villa

While Aston Villa might have only just hung onto their Premier League status last summer, Dean Smith’s side have continued to shock many this time around.

With many around Villa Park believing that their side could mount a genuine European charge this season, there is no doubt that Jack Grealish is spearheading their charge.

Enjoying what has been a standout campaign in the Midlands and firmly becoming a neutral’s fan favourite, Villa’s homegrown star is now a fully-fledged England international and is almost destined for a spot at this year’s European Championships.

Recording seven Premier League goals this season and notching a hugely impressive 10 assists, Villa keeper Emi Martinez went as far as to compare Grealish to six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi last week.

Once again linked with a potentially lucrative move to Manchester United in the summer, Grealish finds himself priced at 15/2 with Betfair to be crowned PFA Player of the Year this season.


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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