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Player of the Year 2012/13: The Top 5 Strikers
And so, I finish off my Players of the Year roundup the same way most teams end successful attacks, with the strikers. Exceptional to the last, the men on this list have risen to glory from a multitude of different starting points. Impressing on loan from mega parent-clubs, breaking the heart of a former club, dancing barefaced in the light of controversy, performing heroics for an underdog, and emerging from the shroud of lower league obscurity – each if these strikers has had a uniquely defining season.
Here is my top 5 strikers for the last premier league campaign:
5. Romelu Lukaku, West Brom
The giant Belgian, still only 19, has had a brilliant season on loan for the Baggies. With a distinctly Drogba-esque blend of power and pace, Lukaku has proved a revelation for Steve Clarke, and has led many to call for him to be given a chance at his parent-club, Chelsea.
Such are the pressures at the West London club, that it is not clear whether that chance will arise, considering owner Roman Abramovich’s penchant for signing the most extravagant, long-haired, ‘cool thing’ on the market at the time. But with Jose Mourinho arriving back at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku might find a change to impress the new boss may come very soon, such is the Portuguese support for youth and power in his line-ups.
4. Rickie Lambert, Southampton
When Southampton came up from the Championship at the end of the 2011/2012 season, it was unclear whether they would be remaining there come the close season. But the player who gave them more than a fighting chance was one Rickie lambert. Scoring for fun in the last few years in the lower divisions, this was his big chance to show the world what he could do. At 31, he may not have got another chance.
Lucky for him, and Southampton, he has certainly taken that chance! Netting 15 times in the 31 games he took part in, his goals went a long way to securing the Saints’ top flight status for another year.
3. Christian Benteke
It has been quite a year for the young, Belgian strikers in the Premier League. Not only has Romelu Lukaku had a barnstorming season at West Brom, but Christian Benteke has performed wonders at Aston Villa. Plundering a whopping 23 goals in just 39 games, the 22 year old certainly has had heads turning in his direction. Villa boss, Paul Lambert’s biggest job this transfer window will be to keep hold of his prized asset, who joined last year from Genk for only £7m. With his value at least doubled after such a magnificent season, the worry for Villa will be that the elite clubs won’t be put off by the new price tag.
2. Robin van Persie, Manchester United
Mr RVP continued his stunning goal-scoring form this year after his shocking move from Arsenal. Ripping the league apart to the tune of 26 goals in 38 games, Van Persie was in no mood to give defenders a break. Despite the growing uncertainty over the playing staff with a new regime coming to Old Trafford, you can be sure the Dutchman will remain a constant feature for the champions as they enter a new era.
1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
A hard fought victory for Liverpool’s little ‘goblin’, but Luis Suarez comes out on top of this list of strikers due to a combination of breath-taking goals and quite brilliant performances. He achieves this despite his obvious attitude problems on the field. His misdemeanours are worthy of their own debate, and this is a column of praise for his outstanding footballing displays this past year. With a sumptuous 30 goals from 44 games, his exploits in front of goal have been much improved from a debut season of fluffed chances and a poor goal-scoring ratio.
Suarez has become the new hero of the Liverpool fans and the envy of the rest of the league with an astounding season of brilliant goals and inspired displays. It has been an overwhelming performance from the striker this season, and is a worthy winner of this poll.
Quite the list! What do we all think? Anymore to be mentioned? Get involved, as usual, in the comments section below…
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