For a league which counts on unpredictability as one of its main draws, the 2014/15 Premier League season was surprisingly easy to predict. From armchair pundits to ones in the Sky Sports studio, almost everyone backed Chelsea to win the title and Jose Mourinho’s men duly delivered. Defending Champions Manchester City were perhaps the only viable contenders but an ageing squad was exposed with Manuel Pellegrini unable to recreate the magic of last season.
The race for Champions League football was touted to be an interesting one but even that has been decided. Arsenal have had an excellent 2015 thus far but were too far off the pace to be realistic contenders. A further step behind is Manchester United who sealed their return to the Champions League. At the other end, QPR’s return to the Premier League was a short one while Burnley impressed under Sean Dyche but were simply not good enough to beat the drop. Hull occupy the last relegation spot, 2 points behind a Newcastle side in simply woeful form and as such will be the only talking point of real note heading into the final weekend.
Leicester provided the annual great escape in a stunning run of form. The only criticism that can be leveled at their remarkable turnaround is the timing of it. Surely there’s an unwritten rule somewhere stating that every great escape must culminate in 3 points on the final day of the season to stave off relegation?
And, to end all the anticipation, we have the winners of the awards in all 7 categories. Winners that you, the readers, have picked!
Goalkeeper of the Year
The pick here was as close to unanimous as we’ll get in a voting system. With an astounding 75% of the votes, David De Gea has won this award by a few country miles. The young keeper has looked like winning his side matches single handedly at times. His performances, especially in the first half of the season, are probably the sole reason United are in the Champions League spot. He’s a fan favourite too, with his spectacular saves and incredible reflex stops endearing him to the United faithful. For the sake of all Premier League followers and United fans, let’s hope he isn’t off to Real Madrid in the summer. Courtois has finished a distant second here, despite the fact that his numbers aren’t very different from those of the winner.
Defender of the Year
This is a category dominated by the Champions. The tough backline and some brilliant rearguard action have won Chelsea a lot of points, and possibly the title this season. hey say that strikers win matches, and defenders win titles, and the saying has rung true. The top 2 here are both Chelsea players. The clear winner is John Terry. The captain has been ever present in a season that has been the last of several of his contemporaries. Being a constant presence is fine, but being a high performer is even better, and more inspiring. The next man on this list, Ivanovic has also been key. Tearing down the flank and contributing some priceless goals, the Serb is one of the few full backs in world football who defends as well as he attacks. An honourable mention for Fonte too, who has been the rock of Koeman’s superb Southampton side.
Midfielder of the Year
Again, a category that has seen a clear winner, and some dominance from the Champions. Hazard is the winner, but Matic in third just shows the importance of having a strong, skilled, and balanced midfield line up. The Belgian of course, has won several accolades this season already, and this is just another feather in a very feathery cap. His closest competitor was Alexis, and Arsenal fans have every right to be very excited about this part artist, part warrior. When you consider the fact that this was Alexis’ debut season, it makes him even scarier. Matic too, was a cut above most of his peers. His domineering performances at the base of the midfield helped Chelsea’s defenders to a great extent. In addition to his defensive work, his smooth passing served as the base for their attacks as well.
Forward of the Year
This was one of the close categories. There were a number of contenders for this award, with the likes of Austin, Ings and Berahino missing out on even the top 3. However, there cant be much debate about the result, as the 3 picked have possibly been the best 3 this season. Sergio Aguero just about edges of harry Kane here. The Premier league top scorer wasn’t in the running for the PFA Player of the Year, and didn’t even make it to the team of the year, which is a bit of a shame really. Thankfully our alert readership have gone some way to compensating those slights! The Harry Kane story needs no retelling of course, and Diego Costa is probably the right man to round up the top 3, having made the difference that took Chelsea to the title.
Manager of the Year
An award that was too close to call. So many contenders here too, with the likes of Monk and Pardew missing the cut. The fact that Koeman won by just 1% though is revealing of the respect and grudging admiration many have for Chelsea’s favourite Portugese provoker. Koeman is a deserving winner no doubt, after his efforts to take Southampton close to the European places. Mourinho too, has done very well to lose just 3 times (1 in a dead rubber) in a league that is considered one of the toughest in the world. performing under pressure has been his hallmark, and he’s done so. But Koeman rightly takes home the gong for turning a team that were touted as relegation candidates into one of the most exciting in the country.
Talent Radar Young Player of the Year
After the cutthroat competition in the manager category, this is a return to comfortable victory. There was only one man in the running really, and that is Spurs’ new hero, their 31 goal striker, Harry Kane. The fact that he’s breached the 20 goal barrier in the league despite starting only in November is amazing. We hope that this form doesn’t end, and we can enjoy this player for many more years to come. The two Liverpool youngsters round up the top 3. Individually, both can be fairly pleased with their contributions to a disappointing Liverpool season. Coutinho even made the Team of the Year, which is a fine achievement, considering that his side finished in 6th eventually. Despite what many people think of as a bad season, Sterling has made the top 3 for this award for the second year in a row, which is an impressive level of consistency.
Player of the Year
Just like all the others, our readers have also picked Eden Hazard for the big individual award. The Belgian has comfortably been the best player in an excellent Chelsea side. His strength, speed and skill make him a player that is hard to stop for any defence in the world. This season, he’s added an impressive defensive work rate too his repertoire too, making him one of the most complete players in the division. Sanchez and De Gea have finished second and third, and that reflects their performances over the year. Sanchez has been the only one who has consistently come close to matching the performances of Hazard, while De Gea has been a class apart, and the difference between United and the other contenders for the 4th spot.