Premier League Season's End Awards Predictions
Written by: Jack Noveck Holmes
The wait is over: after a Manchester City defeat at Stamford Bridge, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have been crowned champions of the Premier League. While the biggest storyline of the season has come to an end, fans still have time to dispute the league’s end of season awards. Here are my picks for each prize:
This one is fairly obvious. With 16 assists, four more than Trent Alexander-Arnold who sits at second place, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne seems to have the PL assists award comfortably in his grasp. Barring any injuries or change in the City midfielder’s form, it will be tough for Alexander-Arnold to surpass De Bruyne. And with seven matches left to play, the Belgian has a serious shot at breaking Tierry Henry’s PL assist record of 20 in one season.
As of Sunday, Burnley’s Nick Pope and Liverpool’s Alisson both have the most clean sheets in the PL, with both keepers notching 12 for their respective clubs. Alisson may be the better goalkeeper, but I have Nick Pope taking this award home at the season’s end. Burnley’s final seven matches are far less daunting than Liverpool’s. The Reds are to face Manchester City, who no doubt will try to get some vengeance after losing their title defence, Arsenal, who have been lackluster but still boast an intimidating front three of Nicolas Pepe, Alex Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Abaumayeng, and Chelsea, while Burnley’s biggest challenges will be Liverpool themselves and Wolves. The Reds have also already won the league, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some changes in their starting 11, which could lead to some out of character performances.
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy currently sits atop the PL golden boot race with 19 goals, and I expect him to remain in that top spot. Southampton’s Danny Ings has slowly crept up to Vardy, most recently having a brace against Watford on Sunday to bring his total to 18 goals. Then again, Watford have been poor all season, and Ings shouldn’t expect the Saints to help him reach golden boot glory when they perform like they did against Arsenal this week.
Manager of the Season
This award is Jurgen Klopp’s for the taking. How could it not be? Sure he has a competitor -- Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder has brought a team from the Championship to a top tier Premier League squad in the short span of one season -- but that shouldn’t overshadow Klopp’s greatness. Arguably the best manager on the planet, Klopp has led one of the strongest English squads of all time to their first ever Premier League title. Currently on pace for 105 points, Klopp deserves a large chunk of credit for Liverpool’s success.
Goal of the Season
There have been plenty of showstopping goals this season -- from Rúben Neves’ bar-down screamer against Manchester United, to Rodrigo’s rocket half volley into the top shelf against Burnley, to Scott McTominay’s one timer from midfield in the Manchester derby. But one goal stands tall above the rest. Son Heung-min’s solo effort in December against Burnley is one of the most electrifying goals in recent years of Premier League play. Son brings the ball from the edge of his own 18 yard box all the way to Burnley’s goal, where he calmly slots it past Burnley keeper Nick Pope. At one point, Son was surrounded by 5 Burnley players, but still managed to swiftly slice through the pack and score.
Player of the Season
Manchester Evening News
This award was most difficult to find a winner for. Both of its top contenders -- Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne -- are equally deserving of the prize. Henderson, who was the commander and center of a historic Liverpool campaign, displayed invaluable leadership en route to a Premier League title. De Bruyne, on the other hand, has continued his reign as the assist king of the PL, and has been the clear cut best individual player in the league. Henderson has the edge thanks to the achievements of his fantastic Liverpool squad, but if De Bruyne excels in his final seven matches, and perhaps breaks the PL assist record, the award is sure to be his.