Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PFA Player Of The Year Shortlist Disgrace: No Lampard? No Alonso?

The nominees for this season's PFA award were announced today and, much to my surprise, there is only one non-Manchester United player on the list: Steven Gerrard.

No doubt about it, he has had a great season and is deservedly there, but his fellow nominees leave a lot to be desired, to be honest.

I mean, who compiles these lists?

Nemanja Vidic. Yes, he deserves his nomination. So far so good.

Rio Ferdinand? Come on, you must be joking.

Van der Sar? Okay, he has been good this year. But has he been as good as others like Mark Schwarzer or Shay Given?

Not a chance.

Let's move on because if you think the list is farcical now, it's about to enter the realms of taking the mickey.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs complete the Man Yoo love fest.

Now a blind man can tell you that Ronaldo has not been at his best this year.

Hell, even Alex Ferguson can tell you that. The fact that Ronaldo has been placed on this list is one of the biggest insults that players like Frank Lampard and Xabi Alonso could get.

Both midfielders have been in brilliant form all season. Lampard has carried his team throughout and Alonso has been a revelation since Rafael Benitez tried to sell him.

Both teams, who played out a classic 4-4 draw tonight in the Champions League, have had their good form built on the two midfielders' performances this season.

Not a week goes by where Lampard does not contribute with either a goal or an assist, and with him in the team this season, Chelsea have only conceded 17 league goals.

His goal-scoring record has reached its highest tally in years, as he has weighed in with 19 goals during his club's challenge for the league, Champions League, and FA Cup.

In short, this has been Lampard's best season in recent years, if not his finest ever.

His consistency over the last 32 games has been incredible and it is rare for the player not to be mentioned as a man of the match candidate.

Not only has he been consistently good this season, he has also added another dimension to his game.

He's one of the few players to benefit from Luiz Felipe Scolari's short reign at the club and now dictates the tempo of the game more than he has ever done.

Alonso's season has been equally impressive. Taking the mantle of senior player, Alonso has been instrumental in orchestrating Liverpool's challenge for the title.

His midfield play has been an example to all those who value the pivotal position. The way he judges the ebb and flow of games is also a joy to watch.

Both of these players have been vastly superior to Ronaldo and Giggs.

Though the Welshman will deservedly go down as one of the game's legends, his performances this season have not even come close to matching his best in a red shirt.

The very fact that he is nominated is something that will not sit right with the model pro. It ranks with giving someone an award for his years in the game rather than his performances.

Rio Ferdinand getting the nod is amazing. I'm truly baffled.

He is not even the best defender in his own team. That is Vidic. Ferdinand has missed around 10 games through injury and when he has been on the pitch, he has hardly set the world alight.

If the people who choose the nominees wanted to keep the Man Yoo love fest going, they should at least have been fair about it. Both John O'Shea and Patrice Evra have had vastly superior seasons to good 'ol Rio.

How this list was compiled is lost on anyone who actually loves the game. Some of the nominee's do not deserve their place on the stage—nevermind the fact that they might even end up on the podium.

The real list should read like this:

1) Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)

2) Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

3) Edwin Van Der Sar (Manchester United)

4) Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

5) Xabi Alonso (Liverpool)

6) Mark Schwarzer (Fulham)

Personally, I think Lampard has been the league's best player this year. His performances have been brilliant. But as he is not on the original list, I'd have to go for Vidic despite his poor performances over the last month.

The Young Player of the Year list is a little less controversial.

Johnny Evans and Rafael (both Manchester United players) are joined by Aston Villa pair Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young. Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Manchester City's Stephen Ireland complete the list.

Evans has been brilliant for United this year so his place is well deserved. Actually, all of the nominees deserve their place on the list.

If I had to choose a winner, it would be Stephen Ireland. He has been consistently good all season, despite playing in a poor team, and unless City improve rapidly, they will find it hard to hold on to the Irishman.

Who compiles these lists? Do they actually watch football?

twitter / WillieGannon