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Liverpool and Arsenal Stars Should Battle for Player of the Year

Premier League Player of the Year: The Candidates

As the 2023/24 season enters the final straight, speculation has started to rise around the conversation of the end-of-season Premier League awards. With top performances up and down the league, there’s plenty of names being thrown into the conversation.

Phil Foden’s brilliant performance in Manchester City’s 3-1 win in the Manchester Derby on Sunday, where he scored twice, has only sparked the debate even further. Therefore, today we’re going to be looking at a few worthy candidates for the award.

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Foden has arguably been City’s most exciting player over the course of the season, with 11 goals and seven assists in the Premier League this season. The 23-year-old’s claim for the award has certainly been helped by the absence of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, but the young forward has still been a special, special player this season.

If Pep Guardiola’s side go on to lift the Premier League title for the fourth year on the bounce, it’ll be hard to look past Foden for this award.

Rodri (Manchester City)

Perhaps the only player from City that could prevent Foden from winning Player of the Season, would be Rodri. The Spaniard is undoubtedly City’s most important player, which is proven by the fact that Guardiola’s side are yet to lose a Premier League game this season with Rodri in the starting lineup.

Although he may not have the numbers of a Foden, De Bruyne or Haaland, Rodri’s consistency and ability to dictate games puts him amongst Europe’s elite. That being said, he has still managed to chip in with six goals and five assists, which is really impressive for a defensive midfielder.

Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

Liverpool’s resurgence this season has been nothing short of incredible and their new captain, Virgil Van Dijk, has been at the heart of that progression. Despite long-term injuries to Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas, Van Dijk has been the glue to Liverpool’s defence and has managed to guide them to a long-run of impressive performances.

The leadership and quality he has shown to guide this young Liverpool side to such brilliance cannot be understated. If Liverpool go on to lift the trophy, then it would be hard to argue against the claim for Van Dijk to win this award. The likes of Mo Salah, Alisson and Alexander-Arnold all deserve honourable mentions, but Van Dijk’s consistency and availability just edges him in front.

Declan Rice (Arsenal)

It could certainly be argued that Arsenal rely less on individual brilliance than both City and Liverpool, but Declan Rice has been absolutely sensational since joining the Gunners in the summer. The Englishman has added a level of control to games that Arsenal had previously been lacking with the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka in their midfield.

Rice has also chipped in with five goals and five assists from midfield, including crucial late winners against Manchester United and Luton Town. Again, it would be hard to look past Rice as the difference maker should Arsenal be triumphant in this Premier League title race.

Who Wins It?

It may seem like a cop-out, but I really think it relies on who wins the trophy in May. If City win it then my money would be on Foden, but Van Dijk and Rice have impressed me the most.

I would personally lean towards Van Dijk due to the mentality behind his performances after such a serious long-term injury and after Liverpool missed out on Champions League football last year. The Reds’ turn around has been remarkable and the Dutchman has been at the centre of all of that success so far.

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