The PFA have released their Players' Player Of The Year shortlist and the candidates are unsurprising:
Two top scores in the league in Vardy and Kane, three of the best attacking midfielders in Mahrez, Özil and Payet and probably the best defensive mid this season in Kante. If you had that on your paper, congratulations, please turn it in after class for your gold star. Everyone else, extra assignment to write a 300-word essay on "why I was wrong".
Özil opened the first half of the season in brilliant form, quite literally driving every Arsenal attack and amassing an incredible 16 assists. While a recent drop off has erased expectations of utterly smashing Henry's assist record of 20, he still has every chance to match or break it with the remaining games left to him. Add to that a better pass completion and total passes than others on the shortlist, it confirms his place on the list as well has his value to Arsenal this season.
Unless you value goals, and then your vote slides over to the English attack of Vardy or Kane. With only a goal between them, there is very little to choose. Which likely leaves Mahrez as the award favourite, with 16 goals, 11 assists, excellent passing and defensive stats, as the heart of the Leicester team in it's push towards a title. With all due respect to Payet, who has had an excellent first campaign for West Ham and a force going forward, and Kante, who has been steely in defense, this really is Mahrez's award to lose.
Given the drop off and the League standings, one would reasonably expect Özil to finish 4th in voting behind Mahrez, Vardy and Kane, unless there is some vote splitting with three Leicester players in the running, bumping him up to third. It was a very good season for Özil, just not for Arsenal and that matters.
Also released was the youth player of the year award:
No Arsenal players largely because Iwobi wasn't unleashed nearly soon enough. Thanks, Wenger.
Winners will be announced April 24th.