Following yesterday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over arguably the Premier League’s in form team Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez should beat Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale to the award of Premier League player of the year. Suarez opened the scoring in Liverpool’s victory yesterday taking his Premier League tally for the season to twenty two for the current campaign leading Gerrard to claim that Suarez:
[quote]…would be the best player ever not to win an award.[/quote]
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas stated before the match that Suarez’s goals were carrying Liverpool with the Portuguese coach knowing full well that his side would have to stop Suarez to capitalise on Manchester City and Chelsea not playing a league fixture this weekend. Suarez was yet again the standout figure in Liverpool’s game plan yesterday with the January signings of Coutinho and Sturridge having given Suarez a newfound sense of freedom to concentrate on his own game in terms of goal scoring and not look to lead the sides attacks on his own which was happening all too often for Brendan Rodgers’ liking in the first half of the season.
With his recent form leaving much of the footballing world aghast with comparisons with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo appearing rife within media outlets, Gareth Bale appears to be the frontrunner for the player of the year award with Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez being his two most formidable opponents for the award. Both Suarez and Bale have been accused of carrying their teams at different stages this season with Gareth Bale’s goals really guiding Spurs through their post-Christmas period with Adebayor away at the African Cup of Nations and Jermain Defoe out through injury after the club’s decisions not to pursue a striker in the January transfer window. Luis Suarez on the other hand kept the Merseysiders competitive in the first half of the season with Fabio Borini missing much of the campaign through injury and Raheem Sterling providing much more in terms of creativity and not goals scored.
With Robin Van Persie sitting in between Suarez and Bale in the goal scoring charts with nineteen goals for United this season it is also important not to rule the Dutchman out of the running for the player of the year award.
Luis Suarez in terms of creativity for Liverpool this season has been hugely effective having created sixty-nine chances for open play with eleven of them being clear-cut chances for a teammate, Gareth Bale on the other hand has created forty chances with only eight of them being clear-cut chances.
When you consider that Suarez has played as a forward all season long whereas Bale started deeper in midfield before Andre Villas-Boas recognized his ability to play further up the pitch in a central role you would expect Bale to have created far more for his team than Suarez has for Liverpool. It also illustrates just how unselfish Suarez had to be in the first half of the season with such great pressure put on the Uruguayan with no alternative forwards to choose from for Rodgers.
Now onto the stats that the award in truth focuses on, the goal attempts stats, the effectiveness of each player in the final third for his team. Luis Suarez as previously mentioned has twenty-two goals with Gareth Bale on sixteen. Luis Suarez has registered a goal ever one hundred and fourteen minutes with Bale slightly worse with a goal every one hundred and thirty eight minutes whilst Bale has a shooting accuracy of fifty-six per cent, seven higher than Luis Suarez’s forty-nine per cent shooting accuracy.
With both players’ importance to their team being huge it will be incredibly interesting to see if they are both still at their respective clubs next season with a lot depending on whether Liverpool and Spurs reach their European qualification aspirations and we will find out whether Steven Gerrard’s prediction that Suarez is the player of the year comes true later in April.
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