EPL Mid-term MVPs for each team
David de Gea – This one isn’t even close. The way United have been floundering almost all season, De Gea has kept them in games where they had absolutely no right to be in contention. Forget the overtures from Spain and pay whatever it takes to keep him. Just count the number of points he has earned for the club just this season. Heck, he has singlehandedly kept them in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
Daryl Janmaat – If nothing else, he gets the iron man award, having played every minute till he was substituted towards the end of the last game. He has been excellent at both ends of the field, with several long end to end runs, good crosses and timely interceptions. Honourable mention: Ayoze Perez, of whom nothing was expected from the experts, but who has shown he can play in the higher echelons.
Charlie Austin – Sometimes it is the top-scorer. In this case, it is Austin, because he is among the league’s top scoring leaders while playing on a team that is close to the bottom.
Graziano Pelle – He hasn’t scored in a while, but his size and hold up play enables Southampton to take the pressure off with long clearances. His passing off the hold up is outstanding.
Honourable mention: Elia, the Jan loan acquisition. In the last game, I saw him live up to his promise to “walk through fire” for Koeman. He picked up what looked like a groin injury, but somehow hobbled around to keep the Southampton formation. The oblivious commentator completely missed his condition and criticized him for passing the ball rather than taking a shot from 25 yards out.
Geoff Cameron – He graduated from one of my almas mater, University of Rhode Island, so all he has to do is not embarrass himself to be my MVP.
Haven't seen enough of their games to make a pick.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – All the attention has been on Wilfried Bony and his transfer to Manchester City, but Sigurdsson can set up chances for almost anyone.
Harry Kane – This kid has singlehandedly carried a team of underachieving acquisitions. For once, I had nothing bad to say about the Arsenal defence after the loss to Spurs – Kane’s goals were earned, not given. He can pass, defend, shoot, poach. They better renegotiate his contract real soon.
Honourable mentions: Hugo Lloris, the best sweeper keeper this side of Manuel Neuer, and Nabil Bentaleb, who has brought some steel to their midfield.
Tony Pulis – The Pulis magic isn’t really magic. It was clearer this time around than with Crystal Palace. He gets everyone playing defense the full 90 minutes. Once that message has taken hold, he lets the creative juices flow again.
If Wenger is the “Specialist in Failure”, Pulis is the “Specialist in Salvage”. Either that, or St Jude, the patron of lost causes. Honourable mention: Ideye Brown, who seems to have been reborn after the aborted deadline day trade.
Stewart Downing – He has moved to another level and taken West Ham with him after moving to the No 10 spot behind the strikers. Honourable mention: Sakho, who, like Ayoze Perez, was not expected to be able to play with the big boys.
I held Chelsea to the end, because my overall mid-tem MVP is from Chelsea. Nemanja Matic – With Matic in front of the already formidable Chelsea backline, they are almost impregnable. He leaves the creative players like Cesc Fabregas and Willian to sally forth, knowing the home front is well guarded.
Matic is blessed with the Serbian ability to mug an opponent without getting carded (his last red card was not during the run of play). If you see Ivanovic, Vidic, Nastasic and Subotic, you will see what I mean.