As the Premier League season ticks ever closer to its conclusion, Manchester City have released the first stage of voting for their annual Etihad Player of the Season award.
Last year, Ruben Dias swooped the prestigious award in his stellar debut season for the club. The Portuguese international joined in late September and completely revolutionized fighting a defensive unit. It was a transfer which ultimately helped guide City to yet another Premier League title, a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup and a club-first Champions League final appearance.
The prizes are yet to be handed out this season, but – despite a heartbreaking Champions League semi-final exit – the Blues are four Premier League victories away from retaining their domestic crown for the second time under Pep Guardiola. It was a typically slow start to the season, but City’s form over Christmas has given them a great chance to continue their dominance of England’s top flight.
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City recently released details about the annual Etihad Player of the Season award. So, who will join the likes of Sergio Agüero, Yaya Toure and David Silva on this illustrious list – we’ve taken a look at some of the favourites.
A winner of this award in 2019, Bernardo Silva is an obvious and clear favorite to receive it again in 2022.
Despite rumors of unhappiness towards the start of the season, Silva has put any niggling doubts to the back of his mind and – once again – produced the goods when City have needed him the most.
In what has become his best goalscoring season to date, Silva has scored eight Premier League goals and provided three assists in his 32 appearances. But the stats don’t tell the full story; the Portuguese midfielder has been imperious and energetic for City all season and is surely a prime candidate to take home this award.
From looking certain to exit the club, to becoming one of the best full-backs in Europe, Joao Cancelo’s rise this season has been outstanding.
Pep Guardiola had a huge headache at left-back at the beginning of the campaign, but Cancelo has slotted into the gap seamlessly and been sensational. He has six assists this season, but by far the most memorable was his outside the boot pass to set up Raheem Sterling in City’s clash against Everton at the Etihad Stadium – just sublime technique.
If Cancelo were to take home the award, he would become the first full-back since Pablo Zabaleta in 2013 to do so.
Fernandinho’s exit from City this summer will be bittersweet, but Blues supporters can rest easy in the knowledge that Rodri is here to stay for a lot longer.
Again, question marks surrounded the Spaniard at the start of this season, but he’s answered them all in emphatic style with colossal performance after colossal performance. There might be a few outgoings and incomings this season, but one thing is for sure, Rodri will be central to this City team under Guardiola next season and beyond.
It feels criminal to have a Player of the Year discussion and not include on of the best players on the planet.
Kevin De Bruyne has maintained his incredibly high standards this season and will surely be in the running for all the major individual prizes once more. Magical moments, big goals, incredible work-rate – the Belgian has delivered for City once again and will be looking to equal Richard Dunne’s record four Etihad Player of the Season award tally.
City’s prolific goal machine, Riyad Mahrez continues to turn up in the biggest moments. The Algerian has scored a stunning 24 goals and produced nine assists in all competitions this season and still somehow does not get the credit he deserves.
He’s also turned himself into a prolific penalty taker this year – an issue City have needed to solve since Yaya Toure’s departure.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.