The first half of the 2014/15 Premier League season has been predictably thrilling and filled with moments of magic, but which players have stood out most?
It is fantastic to see a young English player setting the league alight, especially one that has come through the youth system and into the first-team. However, it has not been a smooth transition into Tottenham’s first-team, as he has endured loan spells at Leyton Orient, Milwall, Norwich and Leicester. He also spent the first few months of the season twiddling his thumbs on the bench, watching Adebayor and Soldado fluff many an opportunity to impress the manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
The 21-year-old has fired home 16 goals in all competitions and has established himself as Pochettino’s number one striker. Following his recent man of the match performance in the victory over Chelsea, the Blues captain, John Terry described Harry Kane as one of the toughest strikers that he has faced this season – high praise for the young Englishman indeed.
This selection comes as no surprise to anyone that has watched Match of the Day at least once this season. To say that Arsenal have relied on the Chilean international would be a massive understatement, as his 15 goals in all competitions have almost single-handedly kept Arsenal within touching distance of a Champions League spot.
The Chilean dazzled at the World Cup in Brazil and for the second summer running Arsene Wenger splashed the cash on a proven, world-class footballer. The way in which he has adapted to English Football has made the £35 million that Arsenal handed to Spanish giants, Barcelona, look an absolute bargain. He looks set to be amongst the favourites to claim the PFA Player of the Year award come the end of the season, and if Arsenal do finish in the top four then much of it will be owed to the thrilling performances of Alexis Sanchez.
David de Gea
He has come a long way since joining Manchester United as a skinny kid in the summer of 2011, set with the daunting responsibility of replacing Dutch legend, Edwin van der Sar.
His league debut, away to West Brom, was a nightmare for the Spaniard as he looked anything but comfortable with the intensity and physical nature of the Premier League. He was at fault for the winning goal scored by Irishman, Shane Long, allowing the ball to slide under his outstretched hand and into the net.
However, since then he has established himself as arguably the finest goalkeeper in the Premier League and is seen by many as second only to Manuel Neuer on the world stage. Last season he won Manchester United’s players’ player of the year award, as well as the fans player of the year accolade. This year he has also claimed United’s player of the month for October and November, which is quite the achievement considering the array of global stars that ply their trade at Old Trafford.
There has to be a player from Chelsea on the list due to their fantastic first half of the season. However, the difficult part is deciding who has been the stand-out performer of Jose Mourinho’s men.
I decided to go for Cesc Fabregas. Yes, Eden Hazard is the most gifted and exciting attacking talent amongst the Chelsea squad and yes, Diego Costa is the striker Chelsea have been yearning for since Didier Drogba first departed back in 2012. But, the added craft and ability that Cesc Fabregas has added to the centre of Chelsea’s midfield is something that they haven’t had during the Abramovich era.
His link-up play with Eden Hazard is a sight to behold and would create problems for any team in world football, and the partnership he has with Serbian midfielder, Nemanja Matic, at the heart of the Chelsea midfield, is the perfect blend of creativity and solidity.
Fabregas has 17 assists to his name so far this season, 14 of them coming in the Premier League, which is 6 more than second placed Glyfi Sigurdsson. This figure is quite remarkable, even for the high standards of the former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder, and I am over the moon that such a wonderful player is now back and starring in English football.
As a Manchester United fan I have no problem in proclaiming that Sergio Aguero is without doubt the best striker in the Premier League.
Whenever he is on the pitch Manchester City have a fantastic chance of winning the game, regardless of the opposition. Just look at the Champions League game against Bayern Munich back in Novemeber. Aguero single-handedly turned the game around, scoring a hat-trick with two goals coming in the final five minutes to secure a 3-2 victory.
He is currently one goal behind Chelsea’s Diego Costa in the race for the league’s Golden Boot award, with 14 goals to his name. However, Aguero has achieved this amount in just 13 starts.
Unsurprisingly, Aguero has suffered another injury setback this year, but fortunately for City he is in contention to return to action over the coming weeks. A fully fit Aguero may just give City a slight edge over Chelsea in the second half of the season, as it looks a certainty to go down to the wire between the two clubs.