On Saturday, the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year shortlist was announced. Here, Ben McAleer runs through the nominees for the two categories, and the Manager of the Year award, to assess the favourites and the outsiders...
"As far as individual seasons go, Salah has arguably outshone De Bruyne, but the latter has been the driving force in City’s impending title win"
Player of the Year
With the six nominees announced, the two standout favourites are Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. Salah has enjoyed a phenomenal debut campaign with Liverpool, and on Saturday became just the seventh player to have scored 30 or more goals in a 38-game Premier League season. The punters are backing the Egyptian to earn the Player of the Year accolade and understandably so, with Salah backed as the favourite at [1.45] to win the award on the Exchange.
However, it's key not to discount De Bruyne in the running for the award. While his odds are a little more favourable at [2.40] to be named Player of the Year, the Belgian has been the controller in this dominant Manchester City side and again exhibited his attacking qualities in Saturday's 3-1 win over Tottenham. As far as individual seasons go, Salah has arguably outshone De Bruyne, but the latter has been the driving force in City's impending title win.
Of the six nominees, that also includes David De Gea, Harry Kane, David Silva and Leroy Sane, it's the latter who is the rank outsider at [55.0] on the Exchange to earn the award. De Gea, Kane and Silva, too, have each made solid arguments for their inclusion among the nominees, but it's Salah and De Bruyne who'll battle it out to earn the plaudits in this one.
Young Player of the Year
Sane is unlikely to win the Player of the Year gong, yet it seems a straight shootout between he and Manchester City teammate Raheem Sterling for the Young Player of the Year award. Sterling is the favourite at on the Exchange, but Sane quickly follows suit. Indeed, either would be worthy winners of the award, with the duo hugely impressive in City's rapid rise to the summit, but after Sterling's goal against Tottenham on Saturday, he's been backed as the favourite for the accolade.
That isn't to say Sane should be ruled out completely. His 12 Premier League assists this season is second only to De Bruyne (15) this term, but Sterling's incredible development under Pep Guardiola is a huge achievement that warrants recognition. Looking at the other four nominees, Ryan Sessegnon is the notable inclusion, with the Fulham star becoming the first player outside of the Premier League to make the final shortlist.
Ederson, Kane and Marcus Rashford make up the final three nominees, yet the trio, and Sessegnon, are unlikely to pose a serious threat to Sane and Sterling in their respective quests for individual acknowledgment. Backing any of the other four candidates for the award could be viewed as a waste of a bet, but with little to decide between Sane and Sterling, it's tough to determine who'll come away as the winner here.
Manager of the Year
It could well be a clean sweep for Manchester City in the three Premier League categories with Pep Guardiola the overwhelming favourite to be named Manager of the Year. The Spaniard's City side is considered one of the best in the competition's history and deservedly so considering the way they have blown teams away on occasion this term. There has been the odd hiccup - defeat at Liverpool ruined any hopes of an unbeaten season, while the manner in which they loss to Manchester United was far from ideal - yet Guardiola has assembled a fine squad that'll only improve.
Had it not been for Guardiola, though, it could have been so different for Burnley boss Sean Dyche. The Clarets finished six points above the relegation zone last season, yet with five games to play, are in with a shout of a top-6 finish, despite an 11-match winless run earlier in the campaign. Saturday's 2-1 win over Leicester leaves Burnley just two points behind Arsenal, who admittedly have a game in hand, with Dyche rightly the second favourite [13.00] to win the Manager of the Year award.
In any other season, Dyche would win the accolade, and to some he warrants the individual gong as Burnley exceed expectations. Guardiola's City side though have blitzed teams with consummate ease on occasion and he would be a deserving winner, of that there is no doubt. Still, as an outside bet, Dyche's odds are too good to turn down and he'll be worth backing should Burnley end the campaign strongly.