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Do you agree with our six choices for Premier League Player of the Year?

Voting for the PFA awards closed earlier in the week, while the six nominations will be confirmed on 17 April.

John Terry

Soccer - John Terry File Photo Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

CHELSEA’S DEFENCE HAS been at the heart of their success this season. Of all the teams in the Premier League, only Southampton have conceded less. Their record at home is especially impressive — in 12 matches at Stamford Bridge, they have conceded just seven goals so far (and 26 in total). Ignore the anomaly that was the 5-3 loss against Tottenham (a game responsible for almost one-fifth of the goals they’ve let in) and their record is even better.

Not only has John Terry featured in all 30 of Chelsea’s games so far this season, but as captain, the 34-year-old has marshalled the defence superbly.

He may have seen better days physically, but Terry has mustered all of his experience and footballing intelligence to look as commanding now as he did at his peak.

His performances are a testament to Jose Mourinho’s man-management skills as much as anything else, while Terry unquestionably earned the contract extension he was given recently with a series of assured displays at the heart of the Blues’ defence.

Eden Hazard

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Stoke City - Stamford Bridge Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

If it can be assumed that players have a particular insight into their teammates’ talents, then John Terry’s praise of Eden Hazard after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Stoke yesterday was telling.

“He has been our best player by a long way this year and in those games when you are looking for a bit of extra, a bit of magic from someone he is the one who steps up and manages to create something,” he told Sky Sports.

“He is up there with the (Lionel) Messis and (Cristiano) Ronaldos and can still get better and better.”

Moreover, despite only being 24, Hazard, more often than not, has been the man to take responsibility in attack for Chelsea — a quality that a renowned leader such as Terry clearly recognises and admires. Whether it’s league goals (12) or assists (8), the Belgian international is up near the top of the charts.

Teammate and fellow creator Cesc Fabregas seems an equally viable PFA candidate in many ways, but while the two have been similarly magnificent, the Spaniard has gone off the boil slightly in the second half of the season, whereas Hazard has been maintaining his standards of excellence over a more consistent period.

Moreover, in addition to starting all 30 of Chelsea’s matches, Hazard has created more chances than any other player in the Premier League this season.

David De Gea

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Liverpool v Manchester United - Anfield Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Harry Kane’s goals have won more points than anyone else in the Premier League this season, but the influence of De Gea’s saves, while impossible to measure fully, may well have had an even bigger effect.

It seems doubtful that United would be closing in on a top-four spot were it not for his vital interventions occurring on a regular basis this season, and it’s consequently no surprise that he has played every minute of every Premier League game for United so far.

Always a hugely promising player, it is only this season that the 24-year-old has become truly world class — as Sky pundit Gary Neville expertly illustrated back in December — and it is no surprise to see him being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid as a result.

United have had an ever-changing backline this season, but the one constant has been De Gea, and therefore, the former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper is a key reason why the Red Devils currently have the joint-third best defensive record in the Premier League.

Alexis Sanchez

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: AP/Press Association Images

Some people suggested Alexis Sanchez had gone off the boil a little of late, but typically, he responded with a big performance, playing an integral role as Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 yesterday.

While Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have both been hugely impressive since joining Chelsea, Sanchez has arguably been the signing of the summer, elevating Arsenal to another level with his technical ability and ferocious work rate.

Despite seldom playing as the Gunners’ main attacker, he is now the joint fifth highest scorer in the league (along with teammate Giroud).

Meanwhile, he is also joint fourth in the highest assists list, creating eight goals this season.

So just as it’s impossible to imagine United doing so well without De Gea and Spurs thriving in the absence of Kane, such has been the impact of Sanchez in his first season that an Arsenal team minus the Chilean is already unthinkable, while it’s unlikely they would be looking so certain of a Champions League spot without the 11 points his goals have earned to date.

Harry Kane

Soccer - Harry Kane Filer Source: Dominic Lipinski

Diego Costa may have managed as many goals goals (19), but while the Spaniard has always been a regular when fit for Chelsea, it wasn’t until 9 November against Stoke that Harry Kane started his first Premier League match this season.

Ironically, the Stoke match was a big disappointment both for Spurs and Kane. The 21-year-old striker didn’t score for the hosts, who produced one of their worst performances of the season and were beaten 2-1.

Kane, however, started his second league game of the season against Hull on 23 November, scoring the equaliser in a 2-1 victory. He has hardly looked back since, boasting a goals-to-minutes ratio that far exceeds any other striker in the Premier League.

As a result, there can be few complaints if he does mirror the achievement of ex-Tottenham player Gareth Bale in 2012-13 and win the PFA Player and Young Player awards in the same season — a feat that only two others (Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo) have ever managed since the awards were first presented after the 1973-74 campaign.

Diego Costa

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Final - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Wembley Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Already widely regarded as the on-field incarnation of Jose Mourinho, like his boss, Costa is a serial winner who at times seems willing to do almost anything that’s likely to enhance his side’s chances of victory.

As a result of this mentality, Costa, again akin to Mourinho, appears to have gained as many enemies as he has admirers. In fact, right now, he would be a strong candidate for the Premier League’s most disliked player.

Yet though the 26-year-old’s methods may at times be dubious, there is no doubting his ability. Despite making the notoriously difficult transition from La Liga to English football where others — most notably Roberto Soldado — have floundered, Costa has taken little time to adapt.

The Spanish international’s 19 goals make him the Premier League’s joint top scorer with Kane, and if he can maintain his at times unreliable fitness, he has a very good chance of finishing as the league’s top scorer.

Honourable Mentions: Santi Cazorla, Christian Eriksen, Philippe Coutinho, Cesc Fabregas, Jose Fonte, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Nemanja Matic, Charlie Austin.

And who deserves to win? Eden Hazard. Runner-up: Harry Kane. Third: David De Gea.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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