As the Premier League enters its final stages, the winner of the PFA Player of the Year award will soon be announced.
Let’s take a look at five candidates in with a chance of scooping the prestigious accolade.
Robin van Persie | Manchester United
Since arriving from Arsenal in a £24m transfer last summer, Robin van Persie has put Manchester United on course to lift title number 20. With 19 league goals and eight assists to his name so far the Dutchman has been instrumental in wrestling the crown from their cross-town rivals.
The current PFA Player of the Year has so often won games for his team this season. An incredible hat-trick away at Southampton in the early weeks saw United come from behind to grab three precious points in the dying moments of the game.
While his goal return has been exceptional it is his eight assists that shine the most, showing he has the ability to be the provider for his team as well as find the back of the net on a regular basis.
Juan Mata | Chelsea
When the season kicked off Juan Mata was the forgotten man at Stamford Bridge after the big-money arrivals of Eden Hazard and Oscar. Many thought Mata would be outshone by his new team-mates, but the Spanish superstar has excelled this campaign.
There has been no sign of the so-called ‘second-season syndrome’ from the diminutive playmaker, who has weighed in with 10 goals and nine assists in the Premier League.
The former Valencia man was valuable to Chelsea’s early-season form under Roberto Di Matteo and has continued to keep the blues in the hunt for a top-four finish.
Gareth Bale | Tottenham Hotspur
The Premier League’s answer to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? Such comparisons are a little premature perhaps but Gareth Bale certainly knows where the goal is.
Scoring an incredible 16 league goals so far, this young man from Wales has propelled Tottenham into a Champions League place vacated by their fierce rivals Arsenal.
His technique when dribbling and striking a ball have been likened to Ronaldo recently, and if he is able to keep up his phenomenal scoring rate in recent times there is no reason why the Spurs No. 11 cannot reach the same heights as the Portuguese.
Michu | Swansea City
Without doubt the bargain buy of the season by far. Michael Laudrup paid Rayo Vallecano a very modest £2m to bring the Spaniard to the Liberty Stadium, and he has contributed 15 Premier League goals to date.
Deployed as an attacking midfield player or striker, Michu has been inspirational in Swansea City’s push to the top-half of the table and helped the club lift the Capital One Cup trophy last month.
Originally brought in to fill the void left by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s departure to White Hart Lane, Michu has delivered performances beyond all expectations of Swans' fans. Performances that have quite rightly put him in the thoughts of Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.
Luis Suarez | Liverpool
After all the negative headlines last season Luis Suarez seems to have put past troubles to one side and focussed firmly on his football. The Merseyside magician has powered to the top of the Premier League’s scoring charts with a remarkable 22 goals, three clear of his closest rival Robin van Persie.
Already a hero in the eyes of the Anfield faithful, Reds' fans would love to see their top man pip Van Persie to the Golden Boot award - a prize the controversial striker certainly has in his sights.
After a tough start Liverpool have benefitted greatly from the South American’s displays, having climbed the table in pursuit of European football and giving themselves an outside chance of clinching a top-four finish.
I would give the award to one of either Robin van Persie or Luis Suarez simply for their goal and assist returns this term.
The Uruguayan seems to have found a new lease of life late on in the season which could be so important in Liverpool’s hunt for a European place.
The United hitman, however, has scored an incredible amount of vital goals this season which have turned draws into wins for the Red Devils, late goals at Southampton and Manchester City being most memorable.
As Van Persie has proved the difference in the title race so far - and with United looking set to add another championship to their collection - the Dutchman just about edges it.
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