It’s hard to think of many players who, until this season, split opinion as much as Gareth Bale did.
Those against him cited his diving and one-footedness as big let downs while Tottenham fans as well as many others claimed his pace and shooting hugely outweighed his problems.
However it seems that his peers have collectively decided that he has been the best player in the league this season by voting him their Players Player of the Year and that says a lot.
The main asset he has added to his game this season is goals. He has scored 19 in the league this year so far, 10 more than last year and 12 more than the year before that. What’s been so amazing though is the quality of his goals. Aside from the lucky one against Wigan, it’s hard to think of one which hasn’t either been a good run or a great finish.
The winner against West Ham and the one against Swansea both spring to mind as some of his best strikes. Adding this to his game has really made a huge difference because you have to close him down but equally you can’t get to close or else he’ll skin you for pace.
He won the award in 2010/11 and many people then too thought it wasn’t deserved because he really only performed in the Champions League (we all remember him destroying Maicon, a quality right-Back in his own right) and his League showings left something to be desired. This year too I think there were perhaps more deserving candidates.
If it’s been awarded to Bale for his ability to carry a somewhat worse team higher up the table then surely Luis Suarez who was top scorer with 23 goals until he bit Branislav Ivanovic should have won. He has led and inspired a poor Liverpool team to a top half finish while exciting and infuriating fans in equal measure.
Similarly had it come down to his goals then the top scorer, Robin van Persie was surely the worthy winner. His 25 goals have been the difference between Manchester United and their city rivals and without him leading the line, we would certainly not be in the position of knowing who the champions are at this point in the season.
Also Juan Mata has been the orchestrator behind both Chelsea’s league position and their European and FA cup runs and he has made the Blues tick much more effectively than Bale has Spurs. His 10 goals and 12 assists (a league high) have rightfully earned him the respect of pundits and fans alike. Bale meanwhile has managed a meagre four assists putting him behind the likes of the much-mocked Stewart Downing.
Finally the Welsh Wizard was awarded Young Player of the Year becoming only the third man after Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Gray to do the double.
I feel Christian Benteke, who has been the glimmer of hope in a dismal season at Villa Park, deserved to be recognised as one of the top young stars in the league, however on this occasion Bale has hogged the awards.
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