Player of the Month
Did you know that no one has won the Premier League Player of the Month award more times than Steven Gerrard? The former Liverpool captain claimed the prize on six occasions, once more than Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and Robin van Persie.
Yet a glance at the list of previous winners shows that not every Premier League great has been appropriately recognised. Indeed, the following eight players have all starred in the division without ever being named Player of the Month…
8. David de Gea
Since moving to Old Trafford in 2011, De Gea has won the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, three consecutive Manchester United player of the season awards (a record). But he’s apparently never been the best player in a Premier League calendar month. Not many goalkeepers have: of the 217 monthly awards up to November 2017, glove-wearers have only won nine.
The Spaniard has also won Match of the Day’s ‘Save of the Season’ for three successive years and earlier this month pulled off a record-equalling 14 saves against Arsenal. Premier League Player of the Month for December 2017, perhaps?
7. Patrick Vieira
A leader on and off the field, the dynamic midfielder won the 2000/01 Premier League Player of the Season and captained the club from 2002 onwards, leading the Gunners to their unprecedented ‘Invincible’ campaign back in 2003/04.
He departed north London as a club legend, holding the FA Cup victoriously aloft in his final game after cementing his demi-god status among the Highbury faithful. All that, yet no POTM award for the Frenchman. Baffling.
6. Vincent Kompany
Looking back on Manchester City’s 2012 top-flight title – their first since 1968 – it’s easy to get lost in the euphoric Aguerooooo moment and forget just how good Vincent Kompany was that season. Playing as the Citizens’ resident man-mountain, the big Belgian scored three times, most crucially in the Manchester derby, as the club took a major step toward their historic triumph.
It was Kompany, not Aguero, who won the Premier League’s Player of the Season for 2011/12. But among those who trumped him to the monthly prizes were Demba Ba, Peter Odemwingie and Nikica Jelavic. Go figure.
5. Peter Schmeichel
For Fergie’s 1999 Treble-winners, Schmeichel was a huge figure – literally. Commanding his penalty area like few others, the five-time Premier League champion won United’s Player of the Season for his contribution during the 1995/96 campaign, during which the Red Devils famously pipped Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle to the league title.
It was after he left United when representing Aston Villa that Schmeichel was perhaps most deserving of a POTM award. In October 2001, Villa won three of their four matches, keeping two clean sheets. What really stands out, however, was a 3-2 defeat to Everton where Schmeichel became the first keeper to score in a Premier League game.
4. Riyad Mahrez
Can there have been a better value-for-money signing that the £400,000 Algerian? In 2015/16 the winger helped elevate Leicester to become the most unlikely Premier League champions of all time, scoring 17 goals and assisting a further 11.
He was named PFA Player of the Year, but never Premier League Player of the Month. His biggest injustice was in December 2015: his six goals included a hat-trick against Swansea and an exquisite strike past Chelsea, but the gong went to Watford’s Odion Ighalo.
3. Alexis Sanchez
Summer 2014 signing Sanchez soon thrilled supporters at the Emirates, and was named Arsenal Fan’s Player of the Year for his debut campaign despite never getting the PL monthly medal. Among those who did were Graziano Pelle, Diafra Sakho and Charlie Austin.
As for Sanchez, his form has waned somewhat since his scintillating first two seasons at Arsenal as he glances towards the exit door. On a completely unrelated note, his team-mate Mesut Ozil has also never picked up a POTM award…
2. Yaya Toure
There’s an argument to be had that Yaya Toure is the best midfielder England has seen in the Premier League era. If not, he’s certainly in the top bracket alongside the likes of Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane.
The Ivorian was in the Premier League Team of the Year for both 2011/12 and 2013/14 – scoring 24 goals in all competitions in the latter. Among the players to be named POTM in the latter season were Tim Krul, Connor Wickham and Adam Johnson. Shall we move swiftly along?
1. Didier Drogba
Chelsea’s four-time Premier League winner and Champions League hero has won two Premier League Golden Boots (one for each foot?), was named in the PFA Team of the Year, FIFPro World XI, UEFA Team of the Year, and came fourth for the Ballon d’Or.
Few can match the striker’s CV and even fewer can carry a team through a big game like Drogba did. He’s the main reason anyone even remembers Roberto Di Matteo as a manager. And in 2009/10 he scored 29 goals in 32 league games, yet was beaten to the monthly awards by players like Jimmy Bullard, Mark Schwarzer and his team-mate Florent Malouda. How rude.
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