Earlier this week, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) announced the nominees for the prestigious Player of the Year award.
Six outstanding players made the shortlist which includes the likes of last years winner Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale. Below is scrutinised analysis of why these players were nominated:
At the tender age of just 23, Bale has enjoyed an excellent season with Tottenham scoring a remarkable 17 goals this term. Having been rejuvenated into an attacking winger from a reserved defensive role, Bale has tormented defences on numerous occasions often being the match-winner for his club.
Tottenham winning all nine of the previous games Bale has scored in proves how vital he could be in the running for Champions League qualification. Bale's ability to drive past players so elegantly with pace, power and intelligence are just a few reasons why some of Europe's giants are knocking on the door to sign him. Arguably, Bale has no obvious weakness.
His technical ability to score all types of goals has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, in the way that he is able to make the ball do special, unimaginable things. Having being converted from a defender, he certainly does not lack defensive qualities and understands the importance of tracking back when called upon.
At 6ft, Bale is exceptional in the air, scoring a plausible amount of headed goals this season. Bale is the clear favourite for the award, with the future potential of labelled as one of the world's best.
Robin van Persie:
After his controversial switch to Manchester United in the summer, goals are a quality Van Persie certainly does not lack. Having netted an impressive 20 goals this term, Van Persie is hoping to win the award for the second time in a row to join Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only people to do so.
Sir Alex Ferguson's ploy to bring back the Premier League title to Old Trafford seems to have worked with the lethal acquisition of Van Persie, using his abundance of technical ability to unlock defences. Many times this season we've witnessed Van Persie change games from improbable positions for United, firmly staking his claim to be nominated.
However, in recent weeks the goals have dried up for Van Persie, a mere one goal in nine does not reflect the vast amount of quality he posses. Ultimately, this could deter the award going in the Dutchman's direction.
The ever controversial Luis Suarez has produced some sensational performances this season in the famous red shirt.
Being the Premier League's top goal scorer with 22 goals this term is an exceptional return for a Liverpool outfit who lack attacking options. Evidently, Suarez has an abundance of technical ability, charisma, flair and skill, in-fact he is everything you would want in a striker.
However, Suarez's inability to control his actions leaves him an almost impossible winner of this years award. An inexcusable act of biting Branislav Ivanovic this Sunday is a just the latest chapter in the crazy life of Luis Suarez.
The Belgian has grown immensely over the past few years and will continue to do so in the coming years. The meteoric rise of Eden Hazard has shown in his first season in England, showing us glimpses of his incredible turn of pace and the ability to shock defenders with his trickery and intelligence.
Being a small winger, Hazard has a great low centre of gravity, which makes him a defensive nightmare and gives him the ability to change games in a matter of seconds. Scoring a plausible nine goals with some spectacular solo efforts in tandem with nine assists, this is just a taster of what is to come of Hazard.
However, at the moment Hazard has been inconsistent for Chelsea, arguably still learning the game and with his whole career ahead of him, I'm sure this is not the last time we will see Eden Hazard on the shortlist.
Mata is a sublime footballer and has been integral in everything that has been successful for Chelsea this season. A remarkable 16 goals and 11 assists this term is a brilliant return for an attacking midfielder.
Mata's extraordinary vision has helped Chelsea establish some good victories in the league, along with his incredible ability to pick out teammates in seemingly impossible positions. Mata has arguably been the most consistent player in the league this season, continuously penetrating defensives with this inch-perfect through balls. Chelsea's playmaker has to be a front runner for this award, marginally behind Bale.
Carrick's phenomenal passing range is certainly one of the best in the league. Having the momentous job of shepherding one of the most famous clubs in the world's midfield is evidently one of the hardest jobs in world football.
However, Carrick's composure and reliability on the ball has made him a role-model for any aspiring young footballers and a key reason why United are the champions elect this season.
As incredible as Carrick has been this season, his lack of goals and assists could be the falling point in his bid to win the award. However, Carrick has solidified his position as one of the world best midfielders.
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