Monday, 18 April 2011

Bale Wins PFA Player of the Year

I'll throw in my opinion on Gareth Bale's PFA Player of the Year award as I've seen some lively debate in the comments section of a previous post.

I'm certainly surprised he won it, but it's the same fundamental problem every season. The PFA voting was conducted in the early part of 2011 and votes submitted by the end of February, so that always means the result is skewed towards the top performers in the first 4-5 months of the season rather than the "business end".

There is no doubt Bale was outstanding up to January, destroyed Inter Milan, scored 7 league goals & also had a misleading assists record. Up to January, Bale was 2nd in the "goalscoring chances created" Opta stats - it's not his fault Spurs' strikers aren't good enough to finish those chances!

However, he's been out with a long term injury since then & certainly hasn't been in the same form since returning, so while I congratulate him, I would not have voted for him as he simply isn't the footballer of the year. You could probably say the same about VDV, Nasri & Tevez since February - outstanding first 6 months of the season but tailed off in the past couple of months, so I would not have voted for them either.

An important thing to remember is that this is the PFA award, meaning it is voted for by the football league players & nobody else. Think about that when you ask why Nani wasn't even nominated.

Opposition players have to deal with his play-acting & generally poor sportsmanship each week and it's seen on TV by lower league players, so he's very unpopular outside Old Trafford. He's had a fantastic season, but can you understand why his fellow professionals across English football might choose not to vote for him? I can, because it's not just about the ability shown, it's the way you play the game & the way you conduct yourself amongst your fellow professionals. Unfortunately Nani "falls over" (pun intended) at this hurdle.

For the record my vote would've gone to either Vidic for being consistently excellent, or Scott Parker for single handedly keeping West Ham in with a chance of surviving relegation. I expect one of these two players will pick up the Football Writers Award at the end of the season, with Tevez also in with a chance. Who would your vote go to?

I'll be back tonight with The Blog Cup Final results!

Until then, please let me know how you're getting on in Week 33? I'm on 70 points with 10 Dgers to go, so I still have hope of a decent week... a Torres hat-trick & Chelsea clean sheet would do nicely!

AM (hope you all grabbed Suarez - he's now over £17m!)


capiTeno said...

i don't want to be 1st !

Jelly said...

100% agree with "it's not his fault Spurs' strikers aren't good enough to finish those chances!"

It's the players who vote, guys!

Anonymous said...

i slated bale in the comments last night but had not realised when the voting took place, or that it was players only who voted. it is more understandble and also appreicate your view on nani and why he was not voted for, as a a MUFC fan i am somtimes embarrassed by his antics so other players must feel even strongly!!!!

Marky said...

Great post, more opinion pieces like this please AM!


Anonymous said...

C.Adam !!!
Simply because .... he deprived all fantasy managers / trade pundits a chance to enjoy another Derby City.

Anonymous said...

Nik i'm surprised you said created chances, since when does shooting the ball into box 'to whom it may concern' count as creating chances?

madness said...

43 - Gareth Bale has created 43 goalscoring chances in the PL this season, 7 fewer than fellow Welshman Simon Davies at Fulham. Gong.

why didn't davies get nominated :p

paul mac said...

to me this is a disgrace.jack wilshire got the young player of the year award and totally deserves it as he has been brilliant from the first week of the season right up to today.gareth bale is an excellent player but all he had was an exceptional 4 weeks around the turn of the year with the high point being the inter milan game.but lets not forget they lost that game.where was he for his midfield defending duties when they left in 4 gaols.van der vaart has been every bit as impressive for spurs this seasonand although his form has dropped over the last 2 months was more consistent for the first 6 months of the season than me vidic should have walked this award.he has run that united defence on his own all season.united are going to win the league for the 19th time and its mainly down to his fantastic play and running of the games.he has taken young smalling under his wing and made his raw ability look top class and has scored vital goals at the other end for united.he totally deserves this award for being the best player in the league all season ,not just for a magnificent 4 weeks which is what bale had

Assistant Manager said...

Paul - I agree on Young Player award going to Wilshere (although Hernandez would've been a decent shout too) and I agree on Vidic (or Parker). Don't agree that it's a disgrace that Bale won it, it's just further proof that the system of voting in Jan/Feb is flawed & that the players who vote aren't the sharpest tools in the box.

Sometimes I think it's laziness - how was Ashley Cole ahead of Leighton Baines in team of the year? It's because Cole is the obvious choice so the players just name him without thinking.

Anonymous said...

i wonder will king kenny get done by the fa like rooney was for clearly telling wenger to piss off in front of the cameras yesterday

Anonymous said...

What about Luka Modric ???

Ken said...

Very informative Nik.I always look forward to you including topics like this one into your blog.

Looking at for next week:

Begovic..Looks good to me
Huth..may be expensive but will fit in if all possible.
Smalling..pending this weeks numbers (if any)
Luiz...Same as above as I little invested in either.
Drogba..pending results of second game may keep for this coming week.
Filler..yet to be determined. None needed if Drogba goes.

Any big mistakes???

LC said...

Im on 64.5 with potentially 9 DGers left.

Luiz, Carr, Cole, Benayoun, Fabs, Wilshere, Lamps, Torres, RVP.

BD team for next week

Sczezney (@ 5 and now a SK unless he gets injured)
Luiz, Huth, Stearman
Dempsey, O'Hara, Pennant, Duff
Sturridge, Zamora, Walters

What you think. Potentially 9 DGers.


Data Head said...

Where are you guys getting your opta stats info? Certainly not straight from the source for their hefty fee, I have to think. I've scoured the Internet, but these stats seem to be pretty closely guarded (again, without paying for them). Anyone?

Assistant Manager said...

I saw the Bale stat on Football365 in their "Stats & Geekery" feature, where they use Opta info. Also, follow OptaJoe on twitter, you can get some great stuff from him.

madness said...

funny how Bale is only 2nd best young player behind Wilshere, and overall player of the year at the same time..
how does that work ? :D

Thomas said...

Suarez at discount not essential with all the dgers in next few weeks

Anonymous said...

good counter point on the assists, which i partly accept. i did wonder, bearing in mind defoe's awful season, whether the strikers were getting chances from him, or whether they weren't putting them away. i still think 1 assist is ridiculously low, even 4 or 5 would be low for him ( & wouldn't put him in the list of top 20 assisters ). i agree that the players votes are just lazy. how daft is it that Bale doesn't win the young player award . makes no sense. either he's the best or he's not. IMO he probably should have won the young player. on the main award, i'm quite open minded. no-one really outstanding, i heard Andy Gray say he'd go for Tevez. i'd probably agree. goalscoring is the hardest thing to do, and he's done it better than most HOME & AWAY with some special goals mixed in amongst them & carried Citeh. tailed off a bit now but AFTER the voting period closed.


BTW tevez has 8 away from home. berba only 4, drogba 4, carroll 4, nani 2, nolan 2. 2 guys that do match him away like bent 9, and Chic 8 , don't do as well as him at home - tevez 11 , bent 5, Chic 3 ! . #whydidn'tirealisedthisearlierintheseason ! :)

madness said...

Suarez @7 is a keeper til the end! any player that gets 10+ pts a game even without scoring is.

Anonymous said...

Nik, I'm sorry but I can't accept your explanations for Bale winning the PFA award and Nani not being nominated. With all due respect, you are a Spurs fan and therefore biased.

Bale has won the award for scoring a hat-trick against an Inter Milan team which switched off after going 4-0 up in the first half. Yeah that was great, but it was just one game.

Bale is overhyped and overrated, Nani, Vidic or Tevez deserved this award, simple as.

Assistant Manager said...

How am I biased? I didn't vote for Bale, the players did & I even wrote he shouldn't have won it!

I explained the problem with the system of voting too early in the season, I explained why Nani wasn't nominated as players don't respect another player who dives and waves cards at his fellow pros, so didn't vote for him (this was revealed by the football writers taking part in the Sunday Supplement programme on Sky after the nominations were announced) & I said I'd have given it to Vidic or Parker.

I think you need to re-read the post!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Nik this article is too complex for your average armchair football fans to understand, so you'll always get accusations of bias.

Personally I enjoyed the read; it was well balanced and made a good point regarding Nani's lack of nomination. When you think about it, if the players are the only ones voting it's the only explanation, as like-him-or-not, he's been exceptional all season.

FWIW I'd have voted for Vidic or Tevez.


Martin said...

I would have voted for Ryan Giggs.

Viva la Cymru!

To still be contributing greatly to a top flight team at his age is commendable. However, didn't he win it last year?

Spanner said...

A measly 50.5 with 9DGers but with Zhirkov and Torres on the bench for the first leg, and Phillips getting a mind blowing 0.50 pts... I feel kinda lucky with what I got !

Here's what I picked up for next week, thoughts?

Luiz, Zhirkov (probably drop him), Huth
Lampard, Valencia, Dempsey, Whelan
RVP, Dembele, Walters

Anonymous said...

No keeper won such award before?? or it is only for outfield player?

Keeper shortlist anybody?
Foster, Hart, Green.............


Anonymous said...

Oops juz saw this....

PFA Team of the Year

Edwin van der Sar

Bacary Sagna
Vincent Kompany
Nemanja Vidic
Ashley Cole

Samir Nasri
Jack Wilshere
Gareth Bale

Carlos Tevez
Dimitar Berbatov


Assistant Manager said...

Giggs won it in 2008-09, but he didn't actually play many games that season. It's widely understood that many people in football thought Giggs was set to retire after the campaign in 2009, so the players voted for him to reward him for his lifetime of achievement (as he'd never won the award in his career). He then didn't retire, and actually ended up getting better aged 37!

Fully deserved IMHO. He's a remarkable player, I doubt we'll see another like him in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Wats ur BD lineup at the moment?

Martin said...

Ah, so he did! I'm glad a United player didn't win though, that would have been 4 years in a row for them!

Would anybody scold me for suggesting Carrol as a more 'worthy' choice? Considering the award tends towards the first half of the season when Carrol was at his peak I think he has been overlooked. You don't have a successful run with newly promoted Newcastle and then nab yourself a record transfer and an England call up every season!

Assistant Manager said...

Schwarzer, Shawcross, Knight, Luiz, O'Hara, Pennant, Petrov, Dempsey, Suarez, Zamora, Sturridge

9 DGers + Luiz & Suarez. It's a very early draft, I still hold Lampard behind the scenes & I'm still considering Etherington, Jarvis & a whole bunch of defenders. Strike-force will probably stay as it it though.

Assistant Manager said...

Great point Martin, Carroll should've been up for Young Player, definitely missed out there...good spot!

Eldwin said...

Hey Nik I agree with your point about Nani. But if you think about it Ronaldo was the same before yet he won it. I'm thinking it's also his selfish and Ronaldo-wannabe attitude that cost him too apart from what you mentioned. I think what's different between him and Cron is that Cron's actually got the stuff but Nani seems to be trying so hard. Also his denying of Cron's goal againt Spain, was that during voting period? I'm sure a lot of people (players included) hated him for ruining such an amzing goal. Lol

PS: Personally full season wise my vote goes to Vidic too. :)

Assistant Manager said...

Eldwin - Fair point on Ronaldo, he won it twice. I guess he was arguably the best player in the world at that point in time (when he won it in 2007 & 2008) so it's probably hard to ignore that as a player when voting. I also think Nani is on another level when it comes to cheating, and the majority of the United fans I know feel the same way. Mind you, VDV can have bad days when he dives all over the place, and I really hate it.

Anonymous said...

i had 86 points without lampard and last minute change from terry to torres.stil 8 dg to go.

Anonymous said...


Any consideration for Walters? Esp considering his brace in the FA cup semis...

Linesman said...

Really disappointing week for me so far. 53.5 with 7 DGs and Valencia to go.

For next week...

Kol Luiz Shawcross
Dempsey Pennant Petrov Guedioura
RvP Suarez Zamora

Want to try and fit Schwarzer but I pretty much have to get rid of RvP. After Bolton's horrific performance on the weekend I'm hesitant to drop him.

Anonymous said...

Early going

Not sure on a keeper but maybe Gilks or Mignolet! I don't like any DGs keeper. Wish Everton had a better match up, I'd stick with Howard.

Luiz Baird Salcido
Lee Petrov Pennant Dempsey
Suarez Sturridge Walters

80.5 so far. Moved up 36 places to 388th overall. Is top 250 possible?

Next year I'm joining "Fans of Promoted Side". If I was in Fans of Sunderland I'd be in second place in that race!


LC said...

Pennant and duff or etherington and Davies?
I did have begovic @ 7 on the be but quickly changed him when I found out szezney was back. Also the only game I can see thm losing is the one against man Utd.

Thanks LC

Boomgaarde said...

anon @11.11, Derby City? I think you mean Derby County, my friend. Although I agree with your point.

Assistant Manager said...

The Blog Cup Final results have been calculated and I now know who the winner is!!! Unfortunately I am having problems writing a new post on Blogger so I can't post the results up yet. I'll keep trying later tonight or tomorrow morning, so please keep checking back! Cheers.

matt said...

Hi all, just wondering how much damage it'll do to my team that I didn't get Suarez on the bd? Cheers, matt.

Anonymous said...

143% damage

Anonymous said...

how is this team?

luiz wilson shawcross
lampard pennant jarvis o'hara
sturridge walters bent

bent in good form so far. have RVP and Drogs behind the scenes


greginho said...

greg i noticed bent has turned into the new elmander and only getting away goals. he has only not scored a home goal in the league since january. all of his assists too have been away. he has only 5 of his 14 league goals at home.

Raconteur said...


Just a correction on your mention why nani wasn't nominated for players player of the year. The players player of the year (for which nani wasn't nominated) is voted for by players across the 92 clubs making up the premiership and football league. Interestingly, the premier league team of the year (which features Nani in the right midfield position) is voted for solely by premier league players, rendering your argument incorrect.

I personally have no taste for nani's play acting, diving, asking for cards and generally acting like a child, similar reasons why I dislike Barcelona despite them playing breath taking football at times.

On a fantasy note, great spot on the change from 7 to 8 week rule. Incredible price jump for Suarez. Still don't understand some of yahoo's logic and rules, but still my favourite fantasy football game available. For me it's the one that separates the wheat from the chaff, the skilled from the lucky. I'm edging towards the former, thanks mostly in part to yours, neals, jeremys, ffscout and the contributors on those blogs.

Anonymous said...

AM - you are killing me with the Blog Cup Final..... I have a feeling my 120 points will fall just short!


kwyjibo said...

76.5 with 9 potential DGers to go. I don't know if I'm brave enough yet to drop RvP, like others are doing, especially with how bad Bolton looked in the FA Cup semi.

Moved up only 38 places, so hoping for a good showing mid-week.

Currently looking at:

Oh, and, my choice for PFAs would be Vidic, Tevez and/or C. Adam. All three had such a big impact on their respective teams.

Vidic really drove the ManU defense, Tevez pretty much was the ManC offense, and, as others have said, Blackpool would have been the next Derby County without Charlie Adam. And yet, they may end up getting relegated anyway! He's surely to get traded to another club if they do.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Completely agree on Nani selfishness, which goes beyond that you expect from a goal scorer.- you can see it when United play too- "do I pass to Nani?" seems to go thru some minds out there

... I made the comment on Baines a few posts ago, I suppose he "just missed"-- but I don't understand Cole instead of him.

I know one thing- my team is stuck around 2600 and can not seem to move ahead-- wish Yahoo had more details on rankings- 76 with 10 to play.

My big decision will be on dropping RVP- but I am holding him at 18 anyway- so maybe upgrading two DGW player is much better.


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