If today’s PFA Player of the Year shortlist shows us anything, announcing the player of the year with almost 6 weeks of the season left looks a stupid decision. With only Steven Gerrard not from Manchester United on the six player shortlist, it just shows how quickly things in football can change. What if Frank Lampards goals fire Chelsea to a treble this season? What if Arsenal win the Champions League? Could Manchester United miss out on the Premiership, F.A. Cup and Champions League yet have a player win the PFA award?
Has Edwin Van Der Saar really been the best Premiership goalkeeper this season? Surely Mark Schwarzer’s contribution for Fulham has been more important between the sticks, as perhaps Shay Given at Newcastle and Manchester City this season can claim too. Manchester United could play a snowman in goal sometimes and no-one would notice.
Liverpool have now only got one chance of silverware after Wednesdays classic Champions League Quarter Final say Chelsea edge them out, with Lampard once again dragging the Blues through. Lampard has now scored 19 goals in all competitions, 2 less than Gerrard and Ronaldo but has set up more goals for his team mates than those two put together.Ferdinand has been superb all season, Vidic has seen his form drift away since February.
I don’t understand why the PFA awards have to be announced so soon and the voting to be concluded before all the major trophies are handed out. Last season, it was obvious that Ronaldo was head and shoulders ahead of anyone else, won all the domestic player awards and then failed to deliver once again for Portugal, spent all Summer flirting with Real Madrid and then missed the beginning of the season through injury and still won the World Player of The Year Award.
This year, there is no stand out candidate, but for Lampard to be omitted is beyond a joke. During the final weeks of Scolari’s reign at Stamford Bridge, Lampard carried them single handed it seemed to try and keep them in as many competitions as possible, showing guts and determination throughout the chaos that seemed to be going on all around him. Are professional players that daft that they couldn’t see that?
The Young Player of the Year award seems even more ludicrous, only 3 of the candidates have truly played well all season. Ireland, Rafael and Lennon have been head and shoulders above the other 3 candidates, with Ireland being the stand out nomination. Of the other 3, Agbonlahor has scored 3 goals since Christmas, has Jonny Evans been that good all season and Ashley Young has been so inconsistent as to be almost laughable to be included in the final six.
How two Aston Villa players could be included when they’ve won 3 games out of their last 15 matches makes me think that the nominations must have been done on New Years Eve because Villa have fallen away so far and are in danger of finishing 6th when they had a good chance of finishing 3rd. Are there so few young players kicking around? Where’s Jack Rodwell? Mark Noble and Jack Collinson from West Ham have both had excellent seasons yet don’t feature at all.
Hopefully Ferdinand and Ireland will win the awards, but the nominations themselves just don’t make any sense at all. It’s time to move them to the end of the season when it actually matters.