The Premier League is in the turn for home!
With 17 games in the books Soccer Surgery hands out the accolades based on the performances thus far.
If curious about our full Premier League predictions at the start of the season you can find them here.
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM AWARD: WEST HAM UNITED
Before fortunate wins in their last 2 fixtures the London outfit were amongst the relegation places despite an eye opening summer net spend of £43M. Only 4 teams had a larger net spend over the summer. The side has vastly underperformed and shown relegation side form by any measure. 31 goals conceded is 4th worse amongst all teams. On the other end Payet’s brilliance has been on display at times but sufficiently absent to turn games at the key moments. Whether the slump is due to the move to the gaudy Olympic stadium, the loss of Andre Ayew or the injuries at striker generally, Slaven Bilic has struggled to turn things around.
RUNNER-UP: CRYSTAL PALACE
MOST SURPRISING TEAM AWARD: LIVERPOOL
Perhaps some question our choice here given the pedigree of the club but their current place in the table far outweighs the pundits’ expectations. And expectations were justified. As rivals loaded up from a managerial or squad standpoint over the summer, Anfield counted every penny like a housewife at the local grocer ending with a net spend of £0.5M… yet no specialist leftback added. For context current leaders Chelsea had a net spend of £85M.
RUNNER-UP: WEST BROM
TRANSFER “POO POO” AWARD: YANNICK BOLASSIE
One of our preseason favourites for the title lived up to the billing. The fact he was lost for the season to a knee injury aside; there is a reason his absence was cheered on social media within sections of the Everton faithful. In the timeframe of his last 4 matches started he contributed just 4 chances created which was bettered by 35 players; with even teammates Kevin Mirallas and Gerrard Delefeou creating more(5). Bolassie’s funds could have been better spent without a doubt. For £21M Southampton snapped up Sofiane Boufal who created 8 chances in the period we examined and is arguably also twice the talent.
SPECIAL MENTION: JOHN STONES
TRANSFER GEM AWARD: SADIO MANE
Indications of a £30m fee before add ons surprised many including us.. but that fee now looks a potential bargain in light of Mane‘s game winning exploits. There now is concern Liverpool may fail to cope without their speedy wing star which shows his immediate relevance to a team making an unexpected title push.
RUNNER-UP: ANTONIO CONTE (what a transformation of the same players who flirted with relegation last season)
TOP GOAL AWARD: DIMITRI PAYET
Multiple take ons, a few audacious shot fakes and a precision finish. Brilliant!
RUNNER-UP: EDEN HAZARD GOAL VS. EVERTON (which you can view here).
Now to the position awards:
TOP DEFENDER AWARD: CESAR AZPILICUETA
Given the club’s incredible clean sheet run and status as the stingiest defense so far(7 goals conceded), only a player in blue could take the award. So the award goes to the imperial Emperor Cesar who sits in the top 10 for tackles won and recoveries of possession.
RUNNER UP: KYLE WALKER
TOP MIDFIELDER AWARD : NGOLO KANTE
Kante sits 7th for tackles won(31), tied for 1st for ball interceptions (46) and 2nd for possession recoveries (142) which tells us what all should already know – He is a wall worthy of the US/Mexican border!. Kante’s battling play ahead of the back 3 provides the platform for the fullbacks to get forward and balance play in Conte’s 3-4-3 system.
RUNNER UP – JORDAN HENDERSON
TOP ATTACKER: DIEGO COSTA
Obvious choice here. As Hazard blows hot and cold, with now just a goal in his last 5 starts, Costa has been the constant drive for the attack. Their 11 game win streak is built on clean sheets but also the Spaniard making goals out of nothing. He deserves to top the scoring charts. Speaking of goals out of nothing how did he score this goal amongst 5 defenders?
SPECIAL MENTION: SADIO MANE
LEAST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD: RIYAD MAHREZ
Whereas Vardy‘s decline could be excused on service, Mahrez always has the football as the team’s main offensive outlet. Production has been abysmal with just 3 goals and 3 assists from 17 games and poor overall body language in games.
- 2015/16 through 17 games: 32 chances created, 47 shots on goal, 59 successful take ons (1st overall)
- 2065/167through 17 games: 25 chances created, 36 shots on goal, 42 successful take ons (8th overall)
SPECIAL MENTION: ODION IGHALO
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD: DIEGO COSTA
Who else could fit the bill here? Only the top goal scorer playing on the team at the top of the table.
RUNNER-UP: NGOLO KANTE
Notice: All votes by the Surgeons were tabulated by Ernst&Young for validity of the awards……..not really.
We return with more articles and match predictions in the New Year – Season Greetings from SoccerSurgery!