With Boxing Day matches in the books, we’re at the midway point of the Premier League season.
Here’s an Americanized version of EPL awards. We’ll continue to do this at milestone markers throughout the season. Awards up for grabs include Most Valuable Player, Most Improved, Manager of the Year, and Executive Team of the Year. We’ve added a Best XI to this article as well.
For this iteration, the actual winner is listed first. The winner from the 1/3 article follows.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (1/3 winner, Kevin de Bruyne)
This is where the semantics of “MVP” come into play. If this was simply, “Who is the best player in the Premier League,” then KdB gets it. But it’s an impossibility to not give this award to somebody from Liverpool. They’re historically great. The collective effort of the team makes it increasingly difficult to zero in on just one contributor as their most valuable. At the start of the season, it was Roberto Firmino. Then it was Sadio Mane. Then it was Fabinho. As the festive period slogged on though, Virgil van Dijk rounded back into form. However, it’s Trent Alexander-Arnold who has really stood out of late.
The 21 year-old is playing with a palpable level of supreme confidence. He’s driving the offense. His 8 assists are the most by any defender (teammate Andy Robertson is second with 5). And his 52 chances created is second only to Kevin de Bruyne’s 69.
Did we mention he’s only 21?
Premier League Best XI
We didn’t do this at the 1/3 mark, but feel it’s a good snapshot for the season now.
The front three are all no-brainers. Raul Jimenez (8 goals, 6 assists) was the only forward who warranted serious consideration to replace any of those three.
Going with three midfielders means that about a half-dozen qualified candidates get left out. However, those three are statistically the best in the Premier League to date (per WhoScored). They also meet the eye ball test when you watch the matches. Their impact is immense.
The backline are all givens, although Ricardo Pereira absolutely deserves a nod. He’s just not getting it over TAA.
Between the sticks, Martin Dubravka is second in the Premier League in saves. He’s a major reason why Newcastle are outperforming all expectations. However, this recognition will almost certainly go to Alisson at seasons-end if he remains healthy.
Adama Traore (1/3 winner, Joel Matip)
Had Matip not been injured, he’d likely still have a stranglehold on this one. But Adama Traore’s recent form is absurd. The 23 year-old has not rated less than a 7.45 on WhoScored since November 10th. He capped off his recent good run with a perfect 10 rating against Man City. With 4 goals and 4 assists, Traore is finally living up the massive potential hoisted upon his enormous shoulders.
Christian Pulisic (1/3 winner, Christian Pulisic)
The 21 year-old American has cooled off some after a white-hot run of form, but he’s still the clear choice. With 5 goals and 2 assists, Pulisic has helped position Chelsea into Champions League contention. Speaking of, he’s been particularly effective in the Champions League with standout recent performances against Valencia and Lille.
Manager of the Year
Jurgen Klopp (1/3 winner, Jurgen Klopp)
It will take something historically unprecedented for this to change. Liverpool are the best team in the world. Klopp is currently the best manager in the world.
Executive Team of the Year
Team Liverpool (1/3 winner, Team Leicester)
The onslaught of injuries Liverpool has faced during the festive period has showcased how well this team is built. Liverpool haven’t skipped a beat. Their purchase of Takumi Minamino shows how they’re a step ahead of everyone else in England when it comes to players.