• Premier League

Suarez, Bale & RvP among Player of the Year nominees

ESPN staff
April 19, 2013

The Professional Footballers' Association has announced its six-man shortlist for the Player of the Year award, with Gareth Bale the odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to win the award for a second time.

Tottenham winger Bale is joined on the list by Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and midfielder Michael Carrick, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, plus Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.

Bale and Hazard are also nominated for the Young Player award, along with Jack Wilshere of Arsenal, West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku (on loan from Chelsea), Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Aston Villa hotshot Christian Benteke.

Andy Gray of Aston Villa (1976-77) and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (2006-07) are the only players to have won both the senior and junior awards in the same year.

Bale, winner in 2010-11, has had an outstanding season for Spurs, driving their challenge for a top-four finish as well as their Europa League campaign. The Wales international's performances have drawn admiration from across the globe, scoring 17 Premier League goals and 22 in all competitions.

Former Arsenal striker Van Persie - the current Player of the Year - makes the list after his stellar performances in the first half of the season effectively proved the difference in the title race and helped United open up the gap which will surely see the title head to Old Trafford for a 20th time. Wednesday's goal at West Ham was his 21st in the Premier League, with 25 in all competitions.

Carrick makes the list after his most consistent season for United since joining from Spurs in 2006. Carrick, along with Patrice Evra, has played the most games for the Red Devils this season, with 38 appearances.

Although Suarez is the Premier League's top scorer with five rounds of games to go, with 22 goals to his name, the Uruguay international is considered an outside chance to take the PFA award due to a lack of popularity among fellow professionals.

Mata has been one of the most exciting players in the Premier League over the past two seasons, with this campaign seeing the Spain international step up his performances even further. With 10 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League, coupled with another eight goals and 15 assists in other competitions, he has been Chelsea's most consistent and creative player.

Hazard, who moved to Chelsea from Lille in the summer, had an explosive start to his Stamford Bridge career with four goals and an assist in his first three matches. However, the Belgian struggled for consistency over the winter months, which may make him an outsider for the main award.

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