Epigram Sport’s Alternative 2018/19 Premier League Awards

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By Henry Edwards, Sport Editor and third year History student

With Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling both bizarrely nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, the whole validity of such a ceremony well before the season has finished has been called into question.

There is still plenty yet to be decided this season: Manchester City and Liverpool continue to swat aside whomever they face; two of Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United will be awarded Champions League football, despite the dreary form of each of them; Watford, Wolves, Everton and Leicester are still battling over the Iron Throne of Best-of-the-Resteros; and the gods have yet to conclusively decide whether to back forgettable Brighton or forgettable Cardiff.

Epigram Sport imagines which players would win these alternative awards, in an attempt to spruce up this largely pointless and premature end-of–season awards obsession.

The ‘Papiss Cisse’ award for Best Purple Patch

Lucas Moura was superb at the dawn of this new season, turning in a star performance as Spurs embarrassed Mourinho’s United at Old Trafford.

Wolves winger Diogo Jota didn’t score before December, but his first Premier League goal over Chelsea spurred him on around the time of the New Year, culminating in a hat-trick against Leicester in January.

But the award has to go to Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu, a player who is building a career based on a series of intermittent purple patches. The former Barcelona forward recently grabbed two goals at Huddersfield, after guiding his side to a memorable comeback against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final.

With summer nearly upon us, perhaps the Spaniard is craftily putting himself in the shop market?

The ‘Michu’ award for Best Signing

Only players who were truly value for money are considered here. Alisson has more clean sheets than any keeper this season, but then again he was signed as the most expensive shot-stopper of all time.

Credit should go to veterans Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) and Joao Moutinho (Wolves), who were both signed for fees well under £10m and yet have been integral cogs within their respective sides.

In another season, young playmakers David Brooks (Bournemouth) and James Maddison (Leicester) may be walking away with this award. But because of his importance to his new team, and that team’s lack of power within the market, Newcastle’s on-loan striker Salomon Rondon gets the nod.

The ‘Alexis Sanchez’ award for Worst Signing

Fred has been a big let down at United, but has at least showed signs of improvement in recent weeks.

Manchester City haven’t made many errors with regard to transfers recently, but Mahrez does little for the team other than seemingly confuse Guardiola and slow their attacks.

However, the award is a toss-up between two players who arrived for huge sums and with big reputations. Fulham’s Jean Michael Seri did score a belter earlier in the season, but has done nothing as his side slipped back to the Championship.

Meanwhile, Brighton broke their transfer record to sign Iranian forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Judging by the fact that most people are unlikely to have heard of him, the Brighton man gets it.

The ‘Eder’ award for Unlikeliest Hero

A few players have rescued their careers from the brink. Watford left-back Jose Holebas has had one of his best seasons at the age of 34, while Michael Keane has thankfully put a rotten 2017/18 behind him to earn himself Gareth Southgate’s favour.

Chelsea’s Ross Barkley has shown promising glimpses in the limited opportunities he’s been handed this season, and recently starred in England’s victory in Montenegro. But there is really only one contender for this award.

For transforming his reputation from a bumbling bulldozer who does nothing to a bumbling bulldozer who does something, it has to be the machine that is Moussa Sissoko.

The ‘Adel Taarabt’ award for Player Going From Hero to Zero

But what of the players that have gone from hero to zero this campaign? Old age has not been kind to Leicester captain Wes Morgan, while Chelsea’s switch to a back four has exposed the weaknesses of both Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Let us not forget the naughty Marko Arnautovic, who has lost the love of the West Ham faithful. Then there is also Wayne Hennessey; he may not have been a hero in the first place, but at least the world didn’t think he was a total buffoon this time last year.

But the award must go to Kieran Trippier, who has gone from World Cup titan to a fragile weak link reportedly attracting the interest of teams like Manchester United. How the mighty can fall.

The ‘Rob Green’ award for Most Error Prone Player

Hugo Lloris has not been the same player since his drink-driving arrest, which is a coincidently positive lesson to all of us.

I remember Asmir Begovic as a safe pair of hands while at Stoke many moons ago, but he is now a bit of a joke at Bournemouth. But the award can’t not go to Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.

It has been a cruel twist of fate that while just about every other Arsenal defender has endured a period out injured, the clumsy German has escaped unscathed throughout.

The ‘David Nugent’ award for Golden Oldie

It is always lovely to see an old-timer do well in the top-flight. Glenn Murray was particularly good before Brighton forgot how to play football around the start of 2019.

Fernandinho isn’t really that old, but is arguably Manchester City’s most vital player nevertheless

Watford’s Ben Foster should claim this award, though. I remember when he was a snotty-nosed youngster sometimes seen quaking in the United goal; now he’s an aged acrobatic archetype of awesomeness.

The ‘So Long, Farewell’ award for Person That Shall Be Missed

This was the season where I most enjoyed watching Aaron Ramsey, and I hope that he finds success in Italy.

The cheeky and scintillatingly good Eden Hazard will surely be on the move this summer – hopefully we saw him at his best.

However, this award belongs to those we truly lost this season: legendary England goalkeeper Gordon Banks; Argentine striker Emiliano Sala; and the victims of the Leicester City helicopter crash, including owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Their deaths this season taught us to remember those who play a part in the drama we love, and reminded us that some things transcend what is only a sport.

The ‘Alternative Team of the Season’, starring only one representative from any club:

GK) Ben Foster, Watford
RB) Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace
CB) Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool
CB) Fabian Schar, Newcastle
LB) Ben Chilwell, Leicester
CM) Declan Rice, West Ham
CM) Bernardo Silva, Manchester City
CM) Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton
FW) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal
FW) Eden Hazard, Chelsea
FW) Son Heung-Min, Spurs

Featured image by Flickr / Ronnie Macdonald


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