The Betfair Contrarian: Why Fabregas won't win PFA Player of the Year
A shoe-in in December doesn't mean a betting certainty come March...
After another summer in his basement laboratory, Professor Wenger has stumbled upon yet another successful formula (much to the disappointment of the experts who foresaw nothing but a season of fruitless experimentation for the nutty Frenchman). There have been a number of active ingredients in his latest version of Arsenal, but none more so than Cesc Fabregas.
Last year, Arsenal were often criticised for trying to walk the ball into the net - and failing, more often than not. This time round, Fabregas has been key to the Gunners' more effective attacking style, not least by scoring plenty of goals himself. Many consider him to be in such inspirational form as to make him the outstanding candidate for the Players' Player of the Year Award, but as recent history shows, it would be unwise to place your bets just yet.
1. Goal-getters get all the glory
Fabregas may be the heartbeat of the current Arsenal team, but he doesn't play in the most glamorous position. Nine of the 15 Players' Players since the Premiership began in 1992-1993 have been strikers and only two have been central midfielders, the last of which was Steven Gerrard in 2006.
2. Arsenal players tend to be over-looked
In the award's 34-year history, only three Arsenal players (Liam Brady, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry) have won it, which is fewer than both Liverpool (5) and Manchester United (8).
3. Title success doesn't improve award chances
It might seem fair to assume that Fabregas's hopes of winning the award are intertwined with Arsenal's quest for the Premier League title, but that isn't necessarily the case. Since its inception in 1974, only 16 times has the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award been given to a member of a title-winning side - less than half of the award's winners.
4. Early season form makes little difference
The award looks even less favourably upon early season pace-setters. Since 1990, only seven of the award's 18 winners have represented clubs that were top of the league on December 1st, as Arsenal were this year.
5. Geography plays a part
No Spanish player has ever won the award, and Cristiano Ronaldo last season became the first ever player from the Iberian Peninsula to win it. Only four foreign nationalities have won the award: France (four times), the Republic of Ireland (three times), Holland (twice) and Portugal (once).
6. A double nomination could dilute votes
At 20, Fabregas is also eligible to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award (for players aged 23 and under), which could dilute the number of votes he receives for the senior award, particularly if Arsenal are suffering a dip in form at the time the votes are cast in March. Wayne Rooney was nominated for both awards in 2006 and walked away with the Young Player award. Only two players have ever won both versions of the award (Andy Gray in 1977 and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this year).
(You can lay Cesc Fabregas to win Player of the Year at [2.24] on Betfair).
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