When coming down the final stretch of the season in every American sports league, there is an omnipresent debate on who is the MVP. Typically speaking, the award goes to a player on a league leading team, an overachieving team, or to a player who leads the league in scoring. However, unlike Americans, Europeans typically pay little attention to the race, as there are so many heated battles for valued league position. With that said, there is a void to fill, as European journalists are not speculating and American fans are coveting an early answer.
Going from the criteria listed above, the player in the MVP race will come from a league leading team such as, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal or an overachieving team such as Everton, Liverpool, and Southampton or a league leader in scoring.
From Chelsea, the only viable option is Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard. He leads the team in scoring and is fifth in the league with 14 goals on the season. Adding to his impressive goal tallies are his seven assists on the year. It is obvious that Hazard has put tougher a noteworthy season and will go down as Chelsea’s MVP, but none of his stats stand out as extraordinary when compared to others. Hazard will be in the top five, but at the moment lacks the firepower to be named league wide MVP.
Manchester City has two candidates and unfortunately they will probably steal votes away from the other. Both Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have put together remarkable seasons. Aguero is sitting on 15 league goals, but will undoubtedly get a sore backside, as his recent run of injuries will prevent him from furthering his goal numbers and have essentially eliminated him from the MVP conversation.
That leaves us with Toure, who is leading City and third in the league in goals on a team that should win the Premier League. His goal tallies are noteworthy in that he is one of the few box-to-box midfielders left in the game. It has been a career year for Toure, as the midfielder has been the heart and sole of the team on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. As the season comes to a conclusion, it is safe to say that Toure will be in the final three for league MVP.
Arsenal’s depth, injuries and a lack of a “go to” player have left them out of the MVP conversation. The same can be said of the overachieving teams such as Everton and Southampton.
The constant in both these groups, Liverpool also claims the two highest scoring players in the league. Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are tearing their way through the EPL and making opposing goalies the witness. If Sturridge were on any other competitive squad and putting up the assist (seven)/goal (20) numbers, then the conversation would be neck-and-neck. However, when comparing apples to apples, it is evident that the troubled Uruguayan is ahead in this race. Suarez is currently leading the league in goals (28) and assists (11). We know he has had his issues with suspensions, but is showing what type of teammate he truly can be; he fights, literally, the full 90 on both sides of the ball, has no problem dishing the ball to off to the likes Sturridge, and is staying out of the media’s limelight. For the first time all season, it appears the award is his to take.
While Toure is in the conversation, it is almost a runaway. The only interesting thing left to see is if the voting population will let Suarez’s past demons effect his current form. If not, expect to see Suarez in the Champions League next year with a personal accolade beside his name.