Who should be the Player of the Year?

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Players play for trophies and a by-product of winning silverware is individual awards. The two gongs that are most treasured by professionals in England are the Football Writers and Player’s Player awards.

The writer’s is awarded by members of the press while the players player is voted by their peers. It is rare that one player wins both awards.

The front-runners this year are Tottenham’s welsh wizard, Gareth Bale, Liverpool’s mercurial Luis Suarez and Manchester United’s goal machine, Robin van Persie.

The case for all three is compelling and there wouldn’t be a great deal of surprise if the awards were split or if one player made off with the lot.

If asked, RVP would probably say he deserved the award as he’s the one player guaranteed to win something. The Premiership title is all but locked up thanks to his 19 league goals.

The difference he has made to the United attack has been sensational and without him the Red Devils would not be 15 points clear. Three matching winning goals translates into nine extra points and the title race would be far different.

Liverpool won’t be winning anything this year however the fact that they remain in contention for a place in Europe next season is solely down to the Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.

Simply put, he has carried the Reds to the tune of 22 goals however it’s more than goals that have caught the eye. He is playing in a team that is a work in progress and barely functions unless Suarez is producing his usual box-of-tricks. At times he has been unplayable and a defenders nightmare.

A defenders nightmare perfectly sums up Gareth Bale who has been transformed from a left back, a left wing-back, a left winger to a marauding center forward capable of popping up anywhere.

His pace, dynamism, aerial ability and all-round game have made him one of Europe’s most sort-after targets in the summer transfer market.

I see Bale getting the Writers award and RVP the players.

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

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After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

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