As the curtain closes on another season it’s only right we continue our annual tradition of alternative awards.
Raheem Sterling, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah’s brilliance is far too obvious for our taste.
This space is for the players who have devoted their 2018/19 Premier League campaign to the quirkier side of the game.
Without further ado…
THE JERMAIN DEFOE AWARD FOR SCORING A DECENT NUMBER OF GOALS FOR A BELOW AVERAGE TEAM…
WINNER: Callum Wilson
Bournemouth are a weird team.
Decent at home, terrible away, porous at the back, shaggers up top.
Callum Wilson has scored 14 league goals this season, more than Alexandre Lacazette, Roberto Firmino and Son Heung-min.
Jamie Vardy’s tally of 18 is massively impressive but he doesn’t qualify for the award because Leicester are not below average (despite Claude Puel’s best efforts).
NOMINEES: Luka Milivojevic, Glenn Murray, Ashley Barnes
THE PAUL SCHOLES AWARD FOR THE PLAYER WHO HAS BEEN LABELLED ‘UNDERRATED’ SO OFTEN HE IS NOW OFFICIALLY RATED
WINNER: Son Heung-min
Last season’s runner-up goes one better this year.
There isn’t a football fan in the country that doesn’t think Son is bloody good.
And yet people still say he is underrated after every good performance — underrated by who exactly?
NOMINEES: Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves, Jordan Henderson
THE DIEGO COSTA AWARD FOR BEING A COMPLETE BASTARD AND A NIGHTMARE TO DEFEND AGAINST
WINNER: Ashley Barnes
Burnley’s part-Austrian juggernaut retains his crown.
An expert rustler, Barnes peaked late in the season when he kissed Joe Bennett on the nose and laughed at Mateo Kovacic after the Croatian reacted to being flattened by the Clarets’ No10.
Long may his reign continue.
NOMINESS: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Troy Deeney
THE PIPPO INZAGHI AWARD FOR SPENDING ALL YOUR WAKING HOURS IN AN OFFSIDE POSITION
WINNER: Chris Wood
A landslide victory for the Burnley target man.
Wood has been caught offside 53 times in the league this season, 14 times more than his closest rival.
Woody mate, what are you doing?
NOMINEES: Glenn Murray, Jamie Vardy, Aleksandar Mitrovic
THE ROY KEANE AWARD FOR PUTTING A STRONG FOOT IN FOR FECK SAKE
WINNER: Wilfred Ndidi
Leicester’s battling midfielder has made more tackles than anyone else in the Premier League this season.
Ndidi has dispossessed opponents 144 times, six more than his table-topping tally from last year.
NOMINEES: Idrissa Gueye, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Ricardo Pereira
THE ROBIN VAN PERSIE AWARD FOR RATTLING THE WOODWORK
WINNER: Sergio Aguero
Man City’s top scorer has hit the frame eight times this season.
For comparison, Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah has only hit the woodwork twice this campaign — fine margins.
NOMINEES: Marcos Alonso, Salomon Rondon
THE ANDY COLE AWARD FOR MISSING LOADS OF CHANCES BUT ALSO SCORING LOADS OF GOALS
WINNER: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The Gunners’ Gabonese hitman shared the Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But Aubameyang has also missed more ‘big chances’ than any other player in the Prem (23).
To be fair, he was the same at Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal fans won’t mind on bit though, as his goal record is undeniably impressive.
NOMINEES: Callum Wilson, Jamie Vardy, Mohamed Salah
THE KEVIN DAVIES AWARD FOR BEING A WALKING FREE-KICK
WINNER: Glenn Murray
Referees put the whistle to their lips anytime the ball is within five metres of the Brighton target man.
Murray has committed 80 fouls this season, considerably more than anyone else.
There’s making a nuisance of yourself, and then there’s elbowing the s**t out of your opponent for 90 minutes straight.
NOMINEES: Aleksandar Mitrovic, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic
THE JORGINHO AWARD FOR RACKING UP THE PASSES WITHOUT PROVIDING A SINGLE ASSIST
Hardly a surprise here, the award is literally named after him.
Jorginho has completed more passes than any other player in the league but Chelsea’s metronome failed to directly inspire a goal with any of his 3,118 passes.
You’d think one of them would have accidentally sparked a goal.
NOMINEES: Antonio Rudiger, Toby Alderweireld, Wilfred Ndidi
THE DENNIS BERGKAMP & THIERRY HENRY AWARD FOR TELEPATHIC CONNECTION
WINNER: Ryan Fraser & Callum Wilson
No pair comes close to the Cherries’ compatible duo.
Fraser has assisted Wilson seven times this season and the Englishman has repaid the favour on five occasions.
That means 22.6% of Bournemouth’s league goals have been exclusively Fraser/Wilson combinations.
NOMINEES: Raul Jimenez & Diogo Jota, Salomon Rondon & Ayoze Perez, Leroy Sane & Raheem Sterling
THE DAVID UNSWORTH AWARD FOR SLAMMING HOME PENALTIES (BUT NOT MUCH ELSE)
WINNER: Luka Milivojevic
Crystal Palace’s captain converted ten penalties in 2018/19, equalling Alan Shearer’s Premier League record for a single season.
All but two of the Serbian’s goals have come from the spot.
A certain World Cup winning Frenchman in Man United’s midfield pushed Milivojevic close for this award.
You know who tip-toed his way to seven penalty goals, meaning spot-kick conversion accounted for more than half his goal tally.
NOMINEES: Paul Pogba
THE RUUD VAN NISTELROOY AWARD FOR SCORING BUCKET-LOADS OF GOALS WHILE FORGETTING ABOUT ASSISTS
WINNER: Sadio Mane
Something of a surprise winner here.
It’s easy to imagine the Senegal international squaring it for Firmino or Salah to tap home but apparently he’s only provided one league assist this season.
Mane has enjoyed his best goalscoring season, reaching 20 league goals for the first time in his career.
22 goals, one assist — that’s a ratio some of the finest poachers in history would be proud of.
NOMINEES: Richarlison, Romelu Lukaku
Congratulations to all our winners — the highlight of all their seasons, no doubt.