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Premier League 21-22 Midseason Awards

Manchester City vs Liverpool
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We have reached the approximate halfway stage of the 2021/22 English Premier League season with each team playing a minimum of 19 games. Manchester City have continued their dominance over the league, extending their lead at the top of the table to ten points, while others such as Manchester United and Tottenham have struggled in the front end of the season.

There is still plenty to play for in the remaining half of the 2021/22 campaign, but here are our midseason awards, looking back at some of the top performers from the first 20 games of the year.

▶ Player of the Season – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)


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Mohamed Salah has been the best player in Europe in the first half of the 2021/22 season, hitting levels of performance and consistency that was previously only considered possible by a nimble Argentinian genius and a Portuguese forward. Salah leads the Premier League in goals (16) and assists (9) and has scored or assisted in all but two of Liverpool’s games this campaign. There is an heir of inevitability around the Egyptian this season, with Salah becoming virtually unstoppable after cutting in from the right wing on his left foot.

▶ Manager of the Season – Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)


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It’s difficult to give these honours to the same person season after season, but the fact of the matter is that Pep Guardiola has broken English football. He may have done it with a billion pounds worth of talent, but the Catalan manager continues to make a mockery of the supposed most competitive league in the world, achieving levels of dominance that was previously considered impossible on these shores.

Guardiola has turned Manchester City into a relentless winning machine, drowning the opposition with their possession and dominance of the ball and passing them into submission with the quick interplay between their countless diminutive technicians. 21 games into the season and City are already 10 points clear of Chelsea in second, winning their last 11 games in a row and turning another supposed three-horse race into a simple trot to the finish line. 

▶ Game of the Season – Liverpool vs Manchester City (2-2)

Liverpool and Manchester City have been the two best teams in Europe this season, and their meeting in early October was the perfect representation of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Manchester City dominated the opening periods of this Anfield encounter, but it was Liverpool who took the lead on the hour mark through Sadio Mane.

The electric Phil Foden equalised ten minutes later with a stinging finish into the bottom corner before the Reds hit the front once again as Mohamed Salah scored one of the goals of the season, dancing through the City defence before rifling the ball past Ederson. Kevin de Bruyne eventually drew City level for the second time in the 81st minute, capping off a breathless game littered with star quality and goals of the highest order. 

▶ Signing of the Season – Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)


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Massive questions were raised when Arsenal announced the signing of Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United over the summer for £30 million. However, four months later, the Gunners seemed to have got it spot on, with the English goalkeeper proving to be worth every penny. The 23-year-old displaced Bernd Leno in goal within the first four games of the season and has been a revelation between the sticks, keeping nine clean sheets in 17 league games to go along with his excellent save percentage of 80.6%.

However, what’s been even more impressive from the Englishman has been the leadership qualities he has shown in his short spell at the club, along with his distribution – which has been elite. Playing out from the back and beating the opposition press has been an important facet to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, and Ramsdale has looked exceedingly comfortable in possession, playing line-breaking passes regularly to kickstart the Gunners’ attacks.

▶ Biggest Surprise of the Season – Romelu Lukaku


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Given his years of experience in the Premier League and red-hot form in Italy for Inter, most people expected Romelu Lukaku to hit the ground running on his return to Stamford Bridge, leading Chelsea to a title challenge for the first time in four years. The conditions were set up perfectly for the Belgian to succeed, but the 28-year-old has struggled since switching Milan for London, scoring just five goals in the opening half of the Premier League season. 

Admittedly, injuries have limited the Belgian’s game time in his first six months at the club, but Lukaku’s form and impact on this Chelsea team has waned since his second debut against Arsenal, and the striker was even fined and dropped for voicing his displeasures about the club and the manager to the media.

▶ Disappointment of the Season – Manchester United


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Manchester United were supposed to kick on in the 21/22 season with the arrival of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and the prodigal son, Cristiano Ronaldo, and compete with Liverpool and Manchester City for the title. Instead, the club have regressed massively, undoing all the progress of the past few seasons while becoming a team of misfits on massive salaries. 

United finally chose to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a run of one win in seven league games, but the performances still haven’t seen an upturn under interim manager Ralf Rangnick. The Red Devils currently sit in seventh in the league table, and although they have enough star power to clinch that final Champions League spot, the noises emanating from Old Trafford indicate that the red half of Manchester isn’t a happy place to be at the moment.


[Featured Image Credit: Manchester City]