EPL Betting: Rooney to get the Boot
...there's an outside chance that Wayne Rooney might pip him at the last minute and ironically the PFA's own awards roster showed why.
Wayne Rooney has been in terrific form for Manchester United this season, and despite Robin van Persie being the PFA's Player of the Year, Ralph Ellis thinks the Man U star is deserving of the highest praise.
Robin van Persie was crowned the PFA's Player of the Year.
I wonder whether, if the voting forms could have waited a few extra weeks, they may have changed their minds...
There's no doubt that Van Persie's season has been sensational, with 27 Premier League goals so far.
And until a month ago he was the name on the lips of all my Football Writers Association colleagues as they contemplated naming the Footballer of the Year.
But with voting closing last night, and the winner announced tomorrow, there's an outside chance that Wayne Rooney might pip him at the last minute and ironically the PFA's own awards roster showed why. The England striker was the only Manchester United player named in the Premier League Team of the Year, and that pretty much sums up how throughout the campaign he has been dragging the side along virtually single handed.
In a season when Sir Alex Ferguson has used 31 players in league games, only Patrice Evra has appeared in more than Rooney's 29 matches. After yesterday's brace against Everton he has got 26 goals in those games and is in the sort of form that makes him still superb value at 2.84 to overhaul Van Persie for the golden boot. More pertinently he's the one United star you'd guarantee to be on the top of his game in the Manchester Derby that could settle the title race at The Etihad Stadium on Monday.
United are still 1.6 favourites to retain their title despite the roller coaster 4-4 draw with Everton, and Rooney's influence is a big reason. City had four players in the PFA team - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Yaya Toure - and that sort of representation suggests they should have been far out of sight at the top by now. But the inconsistencies elsewhere have often let them down, and even if they were to win on Monday I could imagine them slipping up at Newcastle on May 6th.
Alan Pardew's team have now stitched together six wins in a row. Fabricio Coloccini made it into the PFA team, but it was the latest strike by Papiss Cisse in the 3-0 win over Stoke that has given them a grip on fourth place.
Two weeks ago I flagged up the value in backing Toon at 8.4 for a Top Four Finish, and they are now 2.98. That still looks worth taking - after a 1-0 defeat at QPR Spurs are a shorter price at 2.16 but while Cisse is red hot at the moment, their top players Gareth Bale and Luka Modric seem to have gone off the boil. Tottenham had two players in the PFA selection - Kyle Walker and Scott Parker - but neither seems able to help stop the rot.
It's a sign of Chelsea's season that not a soul from Stamford Bridge was included.
Wolves are now down - but in the relegation market it will be just as important to look at the influence of a few key players. Junior Hoilett got another goal for Blackburn in a 2-0 win at home to Norwich, but it's a big ask for such a young player to carry a side through the pressure of the last three games. And you would feel more confident about QPR's chances if it wasn't for their disciplinary record - Adel Taarabt's second yellow against Spurs made him the fourth player in the last ten games to get a red card.
It's one of the reasons you can't yet rule Aston Villa out of the equation. A 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland edged them to 36 points and closer to safety but tomorrow night's home game with Bolton is massive. Alex McLeish went down with Birmingham on 39 points last year and won't be sleeping easy. Injuries to James Collins and Gabby Agbonlahor leaves him with Shay Given as the only established senior player in the side, and with one win in 12, and without a leader on the pitch, Villa will be worth laying at 2.06.