It’s awards season in the world of football and while the outstanding efforts of the likes of Luis Suarez, Yaya Toure and Adam Lallana are being duly recognized, some players are being somewhat forgotten. Here we take a look at those players who can count themselves unlucky not to have received more accolades after a great season.
1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
It might be tough to argue that someone who scooped the PFA Young Player of the Year award hasn’t got the praise he deserves but you have to comprehend where Chelsea would be this season without Hazard. In a side struggling to score goals the Belgian has not only come up with a few useful ones himself but he has also created more than anyone else in a Blues shirt this term. His seven assists in the league is not a fair reflection on just how good Hazard has been having created 88 chances in total. Compare that with Steven Gerrard (65) and Yaya Toure (35) and you start to see how important he has been.
Hazard’s end to the season has been somewhat overshadowed by his spat with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea’s failure to win any silverware but that doesn’t mean he can’t head to the World Cup with his head held high. Expect him to also pull the strings for a highly-talented Belgium side in Brazil this summer as well, with many pundits tipping Belgium to progress to the latter stages of the World Cup.
2. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
The 2013/14 season will be one to forget for those associated with Tottenham. The club have been slated for spending over £100million on players and having nothing to show for it. While that might be true in the cases of Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue, Eriksen has been the one shining light for Spurs. The Dane leads the way for Tottenham in assists in the league with eight, as many as Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Yaya Toure but in fewer games, just 24.
Much like Hazard, Eriksen would probably have more assists to his name if he had better strikers around him. He has also chipped in with seven goals and whoever replaces Tim Sherwood as Spurs boss in the summer would be wise to build their team round Eriksen for next season.
3. David Marshall (Cardiff)
It can be easy at times to over hype how good a goalkeeper at a relegated team is. As their team is struggling they are bound to be busy and therefore catch the eye on a regular basis. Some might argue this is the case with Marshall and the stats would suggest those people are right. The Scot is ranked as the 12th best keeper this season in the Premier League but had it not been for him Cardiff may well have been relegated by February.
The pitiful Bluebirds defence has allowed more shots on goal than any other team this season, with Marshall having to face 210. Considering he has stopped 139 of those you have to fancy that in a better team he would be much higher on the list of top keepers this term.
4. Wilfried Bony (Swansea)
Spending £12million on a player who only has a proven track record in the Eredivisie can be a bit of a risk (step forward Alfonso Alves) and for a while it looked like Swansea had bought a dud. Bony struggled during the first part of the season and often found himself on the bench. Fast forward five months and 15 league goals, and he is reportedly being courted, according to the Paddy Power transfer betting odds, by the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
The 25-year-old has averaged a goal every 149 minutes, a stat only bettered by Manchester City and Liverpool players to have featured on a regular basis. If Swansea can keep hold of Bony this summer expect him to go close to 30 next season.
5. Jose Fonte (Southampton)
The English lads have taken all the glory at St Mary’s this season but it’s a team game and without the solid backline that Saints pose there might not be so many of them in the World Cup squad. Fonte struggled in his first season in the Premier League last term but partnered up with Dejan Lovern has looked a totally different player. Southampton have kept 15 clean sheets thanks to Fonte’s efforts, with only Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea recording more shut outs. They have also conceded the sixth fewest amount of goals and Fonte deserves plenty of credit for that.
Whether the 30-year-old will do as well next season remains to be seen as this Southampton squad looks set to be broken up. But for this summer at least he can hold his head very high.