Top 3 Most Improved Players Of 2016/17: Chelsea & Man Utd Stars Feature

By on June 1, 2017

When discussing end of season awards, there are a few which the football writers and PFA both fail to recognise; ‘worst haircut’, ‘miss of the season’, and even ‘most confusing signing of the season’ (congratulations, Alvaro Arebeloa). Today though, we’re taking a trip down memory lane, to awards evenings in local town halls and the back room of the local pub, to determine who this season’s ‘Most Improved Player’ is. It may have been an award that no-one wanted to win as a kid, an award given to those who weren’t going to win any others, but at the highest level a vast improvement from a key player can be the difference between survival and relegation, or Champions League and Europa League.

Honourable Mentions:

Dele Alli came on leaps and bounds this year, but I’m putting that down to organic growth in his second full season in the division; Romelu Lukaku is being filed under a similar heading. Danny Rose is another Spurs player who’s improved no-end, and Manuel Lanzini has risen well to the challenge of taking on a bigger role following Dimitri P***t’s departure.

In 3rd Place… Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Ander Herrera Man Utd 2016

It’s fair to say that Ander Herrera isn’t the most likeable footballer; highlighted by his shameful display of play-acting in the Europa League final. However, the reasons that he isn’t universally loved are arguably why he’s come third in this make-believe award. To be a top centre midfielder, you’ve got to either score goals, make goals, or stop the other team doing both. Herrera’s 6 league assists this year often go unheralded because he has excelled on the other end of the field. Breaking up attacks, being a menace to play against, putting doubt into the minds of opposing players; Hererra has done it all. From being muddled in with Schneiderlein, Schweinsteiger, Fellaini and Carrick last year, he has shown himself to be indispensable to Mourinho this year, and will look to push on again next season.

In 2nd Place… Joshua King (Bournemouth)

It’s easy when dishing out these awards to focus on teams who end up near the top of the table but for a Bournemouth team still upsetting the odds, a 9th place finish represents more than a successful season. And Josh King played a huge part in pushing them up the table. Having never really fulfilled his potential previously, King was thrust into the team following another Callum Wilson injury, and even Eddie Howe must’ve been surprised at the results. 16 League goals in 35 appearances played a huge part in the success on the South Coast, and he may well have found a home under Eddie Howe’s wing.

And the Winner is… Victor Moses (Chelsea)

Too easy right? I was determined to pluck someone out of the air and provide food for thought, but when you analyse the effect that Victor Moses has had on Chelsea’s title winning season, it’s nigh on impossible to look elsewhere. When Conte came in, it appeared that the only thing stopping him implementing his favoured 5-2-3 system was the lack of a top quality Right Wing Back. Moses came in for an audition in the role and hasn’t looked back since. When picking Chelsea’s starting 11, his place was as cemented as Hazard or Costa, and he was well worth it. He improved defensively, harnessed his strength and pace to play a real role going forward, and impressed the fans with a tireless work rate. It’s easy to say that the system bought the best out of him, but Victor Moses has grabbed the opportunity and made a name for himself in the best league in the world. He is very good value for this award.

Follow George on Twitter: @George_W_Keaney

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