The Professional Football Association’s Player of the Year Award goes to the top player of the season in English football. It remains a prestigious accomplishment and though it’s an award that is voted upon by their peers of the league, there still remains value in trying to isolate who has a legitimate shot, and who does not.
Last season, Mohamed Salah was the clear runaway victor of the trophy. His 32 goals allowed him to cruise to the honor, though this year with so many promising transfers – there remain a lot of intriguing betting opportunities.
Continue reading on below as we wrap-up our English Premier League previews with the predictions for the PFA Player of the Year, and with the season beginning on Friday afternoon, be sure to get all of your Futures bets in before then!
Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City (8.00)
The dynamic Belgian midfielder should again be in the mix for the PFA Player of the Year. He enters as the favorite, and many do feel like it was de Bruyne who should have won the trophy last season, opposed to Liverpool’s Mo Salah. de Bruyne is the main creator for the Citizens, and is such an important cog in the center of Man City’s midfield. He wins balls, works relentlessly, and can both score and distribute when needed.
The one main knock that typically works against a player like de Bruyne, is that he is so well-insulated by the plethora of stars that surround him at Manchester City. He doesn’t need to always be at his best, because the talent in which he plays with is at an elite level. This year, City has added another midfield maestro in Riyad Mahrez, so him not being the main man might just work against him. De Bruyne is the rightful favorite and will attract a lot of betting attention, but for a second-straight year it seems as if there is better value elsewhere.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea (13.00)
While de Bruyne will surely be in the mix, it could be his Belgian teammate that steals the award away from him. Say what you will about the supremely talented Hazard, but he remains one of the top players in the Premier League. New manager Maurizio Sarri has come in, and though there have been some rumors of Hazard departing for Spain – you can bet Sarri has grand plans for Hazard and is hoping he stays.
The speedy attacker looks set to stay in London on the eve of the 2018/19 kickoff, and if the World Cup is any indication – Hazard is ready for another big season. One factor that works in his favor, is unlike players on Liverpool or Manchester City, Chelsea isn’t exactly surrounded by stars right now. Eden Hazard is the unquestioned MVP of the Blues side and his success is directly linked to the rest of the team’s success. Additionally, the aggressive style in which Sarri will look to play should also be conducive to success for Hazard. Sarri loves to press, create turnovers, and attack with pace at almost every instance. If he can fit in right away, this Chelsea squad will surely be built around Hazard – and some team success could put Hazard in the driver’s seat for this prestigious award.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool (9.00)
It would seem wrong to put together a preview on the upcoming season’s Player of the Year and not include Mohamed Salah. The talented Egyptian striker plays on the league’s most attack-minded squad and the Reds have only gotten better this year. They’re my prediction to win the league title, and though I’d say Salah has no chance of matching his 32 goals from 2017/2018, he will again be counted upon to lead the line for this talented group.
Salah will benefit from added support by way of Naby Keita in the midfield, and Xherdan Shaqiri also featuring just behind him. That duo should provide great ball-winning ability from the midfield and excellent distribution as well.
Only two players – Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo, have won the PFA Player of the Year title two years in a row, and while Salah will again put up an impressive season, his chances of equaling what was done last season might be his downfall this time around.
Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur (11.00)
The rangy English striker is often forgotten about when you consider overall Player of the Year consideration, but he really shouldn’t be. When you talk about value to your team, Kane has to be right up there with what he does for the Spurs. He still leads the line and scores the vast majority of goals, and always has managed to come through for Tottenham.
Kane has won the Young Player of the Year Award three years ago, and twice won the Golden Boot for the EPL, but has yet to win the PFA’s Player of the Year award. Can he complete the collection? We think he’s certainly got a good shot.
The Spurs didn’t do much of anything this summer in the transfer market, and for individual awards betting, that could work to Kane’s advantage. He is very familiar with his team’s structure and style, as well as all of the surrounding pieces. There will be no awkward feeling-out phase that some of his competitors will require, and as a result, I think Kane should get out to a roaring start.
Four dynamic talents, all of whom have great shorts. With the likes of Salah, and de Bruyne – at times I feel the strength of their teams prevents these elite talents from winning individual awards consistently. It will be especially tough for Mo Salah to duplicate last year’s showing, while in Chelsea – there remains uncertainty about the morale and place in the team for Eden Hazard. If he plays, he’d be great in Sarri’s system, but who knows as of this writing. For me, the main contender is the Spurs’ top target man and captain, Harry Kane. He is not just an elite scorer, he is a game controller and has better distribution skills than many seem to realize. Kane should again eclipse the 30-goal mark and a top-three or four finish for Tottenham, makes him some good value at the current price of 11.00 to win the PFA Player of the Year award. Enjoy the season!
Player of the Year
Harry Kane 11.00