At the start of the season, you would have but your money on the likes of Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez to win the PFA Player of the Year Award. No one would have predicted the incredible form of Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, whose incredible run of form should see him win the award at the end of the season.
In August, bookmakers weren’t even offering odds of Mahrez winning the award, and they wouldn’t even turn up on websites until late November. Now the Algerian has produced an extraordinary run which has seen Leicester become shock frontrunners in the Premier League, and near certainties for Champions League football next season.
Mahrez was the first man in England’s top-flight to make it to double figures in terms of both goals and assists, and then to make it to 25 of both in total. He has scored 15 goals this season, a career high, and provided 11 assists, another career high.
Jamie Vardy is currently favourite for the award having scored 19 Premier League goals this season, but it should be Mahrez who pips him to the post. The midfielder’s ability to have an influence on the game in terms of both providing and scoring goals has made him the most important player for the Foxes this season, and by the way he could be leading them to the title, the best player in the league.
Last season, Eden Hazard took home the award after scoring goals at crucial times. This time around Mahrez has produced at the big moments as much as Hazard last season, if not more. He scored goals in victories over both Chelsea and Manchester City, and then another crucial winner against Watford to send the Foxes five points clear.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Tottenham’s Harry Kane are also likely to be nominated for the award for their impressive records in the league this season, but Mahrez should come in ahead of them. Although the award ultimately goes to the player who performs best, the fact he seems to be leading the Foxes to their first ever top-flight title should come into consideration.
There is no doubting that the likes of Kane, Ozil and Vardy have had brilliant seasons in the league. However the influence that Mahrez has had over the season, and the title race in particular, means he must be the man to win the award.