This time of year is usually pretty hot for awards being dished out to players and managers for various achievements they’ve managed throughout the season.
We’ve already had Signing of the Season and Goal of the Season, although admittedly that was before Papiss Cisse rewrote the book of Physics with his goal against Chelsea the other night. Now is the biggie though, where I ask you who has been the Player of the Season.
In many ways the success of this season has hinged on the success of our fringe players. Players like Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Mike Williamson, Leon Best and Shola Ameobi have all done a job for us at some point during the season, which has helped out no end of course. However they aren’t, as Sir Bobby would say, our “blue chip” players.
That accolade should be given to the spine of our team, a spine that is arguably as strong as it’s ever been with the “magnificent seven” of Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba. Realistically our Player of the Season is going to be one of those so lets see what they’ve been up to.
Tim Krul – 40 appearances
Krul has established himself as number one goalkeeper on Tyneside, of that there is no question. He’s pulled off spectacular saves time and time again and has kept us in matches almost single-handedly on occasion. He’s the real deal and while he still has rough edges (mainly kicking) he still also has time on his side and can iron out those creases.
Fabricio Coloccini – 37 appearances, 1 goal
What can you say about Captain Colo that hasn’t already been said? Quite simply he is name number one on the teamsheet. He is easily our best defender and has shown that numerous times. A ball playing central defender is a rare sight these days, but Colo is one of them. A real class act.
Cheik Tiote – 22 appearances
Has had his appearances limited thanks to his participation at the ACoN and through a couple of minor injures. However he’s back in the swing of things now and whilst I don’t think he has a realistic shout of winning the vote, I do think he is vitally important to us and allows other elements of the team to do what they are best at.
Yohan Cabaye – 36 appearances, 5 goals
Quite possibly my favourite player of the current crop, a real class act. Has been pushed forward in recent weeks and has shown that he can chip in with both goals and assists. He’s also a born leader and has the respect of his colleagues which is always a bonus.
Hatem Ben Arfa 28 appearances, 6 goals
If you’re looking for a layer who can pull off the unexpected then here is your man. A truly fantastic talent who has learned to work for the team which has only elevated his performances higher still.
Demba Ba – 34 appearances, 16 goals
Demba has been immense for us this season. His goals in the first half of the season really gave us a platform to build on and even though they may have dried up now his importance to the team mustn’t be underestimated.
Papiss Cisse – 12 appearances, 13 goals
It’s not often a January signing would be considered as a Player of the Season, but then again it’s not often a January signing has such a startling impact. What can you say about him? He scores all kinds of goals and has picked up from where Demba Ba has left off. Brilliant.
I would say those are the realistic options for our Player of the Season although if you have any other suggestions then please feel free to shout them up.