Premier League mid-season awards 2020/21: best players, best signings, best games, and more

Manchester City want Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City want Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur

It’s been an enthralling season of Premier League football so far, with the title race shaping up to be one of the most open in decades.

And now we’re at the midway stage (well…most teams are, although Aston Villa still have about 94 games in hand), we have a rough idea of how each side will fare over the course of the campaign.

We’re still a few months away from awards season, but it’s always fun to have a look at where our standouts have come from. So, here are the Premier League mid-season awards.

Best Players

Third Place – Heung-min Son

Premier League mid-season awards 2020/21: best players, best signings, best games, and more
Son is playing brilliantly this season

The Korean has been one of the standouts at Tottenham Hotspur for a few years now, but this season he seems to have elevated his game to a new level. If he registers just three more goals in the next 20 games, Son will set a new personal best for a single Premier League season.

Second Place – Bruno Fernandes

bruno fernandes
Fernandes has elevated Man Utd to a new level

Where would Manchester United be without this man? Not top of the Premier League table, that’s for sure. Fernandes has often been the hero for the Red Devils, producing a match-winning goal or assist six times this term.

First Place – Harry Kane

Premier League mid-season awards 2020/21: best players, best signings, best games, and more
Kane’s all round game has been exceptional

The England captain has always been a world class goalscorer, but it’s his all round game which has wowed pundits and fans alike this season. Kane has recorded 11 assists – the most in the division – and can often be seen helping out with the defensive work, almost playing a box-to-box midfield role.

And his goal tally hasn’t suffered, either. The forward has netted 12 times this season, just one short of leader Mohamed Salah in the Golden Boot race.

Best Signings

Third Place – Emiliano Martinez

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Martinez has risen to prominence in 2020

This time last year, Emiliano Martinez was the backup option to Bernd Leno at Arsenal, having spent the best part of the last decade out on loan. Fast forward a few months, and the Argentine is now one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the division.

Martinez has kept eight clean sheets this campaign from 16 appearances, leaving him second in the Golden Glove race behind Ederson on ten.

Second Place – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

southampton v tottenham hotspur premier league
Hojbjerg has impressed at Spurs

He may not have been the marquee signing that Tottenham fans will have been looking for, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has proven to be a vital cog in Jose Mourinho’s machine.

The Dane, signed for just £15 million, has been rock-solid as a defensive midfielder this season, playing a crucial part in Spurs’ outside push for the title.

First Place – Ruben Dias

Dias has made a phenomenal start to life in England

Before Ruben Dias came into Manchester City’s starting XI, they had conceded six goals in two games, including five at home to Leicester City. Since then, they have conceded just seven goals in 16 outings, keeping ten clean sheets along the way.

That says all you need to know, really. The £60m man has been a massive hit at the Etihad, and will be crucial for Pep Guardiola’s title charge.

Best Managers

Third Place – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Man Utd haven’t looked this good in a while

There are still many question marks over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Is he actually the one responsible for their success this season? Or is it the quality of the players in his side?

While it’s difficult to give a straight answer right now, Man Utd haven’t looked this strong since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, and that’s something that Solskjaer deserves credit for.

Second Place – Pep Guardiola

Guardiola has re-found City’s best form

Yes, he has the most expensively assembled squad in the league. Maybe this is the level we should be expecting from Man City. However, football isn’t that simple.

In recent weeks, Guardiola has reignited their title charge with a string of impressive performances. They boast the division’s best defensive record by a distance, as well as sixth-most goals scored. Not bad considering they’ve played most of the season without a recognised striker.

First Place – Brendan Rodgers

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Rodgers has once again got Leicester in the European spots

Rodgers’ decision to leave Celtic was heavily criticised at the time, but it has proven to be the right one. The former Liverpool boss has got Leicester fully firing this season, bringing them well into the title race after 19 games.

However, Rodgers’ sides are renowned for falling away in the second half of the season – as the Foxes did last term. It remains to be seen whether the Northern Irishman can exorcise this demon.

Best Games

Third Place – Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United

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Fernandes’ late penalty wins it for the Red Devils

Following an opening day defeat to Crystal Palace, Man Utd needed three points at the AMEX. They got them, but it certainly wasn’t easy.

Neal Maupay gave Brighton the lead with a Panenka penalty, just three minutes before Lewis Dunk turned into his own net for an equaliser before half time.

The second half continued in fine fashion, with Marcus Rashford netting a fantastic solo goal to put the visitors in front.

Having hit the woodwork no fewer than FIVE times throughout the game, the hosts thought they had snatched a point when Solly March headed home unmarked from Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s cross.

The final whistle went with the scores at 2-2, but there was still time for more drama, as VAR had spotted a handball by Maupay prior to the referee’s whistle. Fernandes stepped up and annoyed literally every non-Man Utd fan on Earth by dispatching his penalty into the top corner.

Second Place – Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United

Premier League mid-season awards 2020/21: best players, best signings, best games, and more
Salah’s hat-trick sealed a narrow opening day victory for the champions

Champions Liverpool kick-started the season with a win, but it was nowhere near as comfortably as they’d have liked. Up against them was newly-promoted Leeds United, managed by the philosophical Marcelo Bielsa.

Mohamed Salah put the Reds ahead in the fourth minute from the penalty spot following Robin Koch’s handball, but were soon pegged back by Jack Harrison’s near post strike.

Virgil van Dijk put Jurgen Klopp’s men back ahead with a header from Andy Robertson’s corner, but the Dutchman made an error ten minutes later to allow Patrick Bamford to equalise.

A thunderous strike from Salah ensured the home side retook the lead going into half time, but Leeds still wouldn’t lie down. In the 66th minute, Mateusz Klich brought the scores level for the third time.

Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side, they were unable to hold on. A clumsy challenge by debut maker Rodrigo gave Liverpool a second penalty in the 88th minute, giving Salah the chance to wrap up an opening day hat-trick. The Egyptian duly converted.

On the surface, it may have seemed fairly ordinary. Salah scores, Liverpool win. However, this was perhaps our earliest indication that Klopp’s side wouldn’t be the powerhouse that they were last season.

First Place – Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 West Ham United

topshot fbl eng pr tottenham west ham
Lanzini’s screamer seals a memorable draw for West Ham

When it comes to comebacks, there aren’t many in Premier League history that compare to what we saw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 18, 2020.

After the opening quarter of an hour, West Ham seemed dead and buried, as Tottenham led 3-0. Heung-min Son opened the scoring after a minute following Harry Kane’s incredible pass, before Kane got two goals for himself.

The next hour of football continued to be just as one-sided, as Spurs looked to put the final nail in the coffin. Despite their dominance, the Lilywhites were unable to net a fourth.

The final ten minutes is where things really took off, however. Fabian Balbuena was the first to bag for West Ham, heading home what seemed like a consolation from Aaron Cresswell’s free-kick.

Then, when Davinson Sanchez headed into his own net three minutes later, the Hammers’ hopes of getting something from the game were suddenly brought back to life.

The game crept towards its conclusion, looking like Spurs were going to hold out for the three points. However, Manuel Lanzini had other ideas.

When a set-piece was half-cleared by the Tottenham defence, the ball fell to Lanzini, who unleashed a screamer into the top corner right at the death. Cue absolute mayhem among those in West Ham shirts.

Best Goals

Third Place – Eberechi Eze vs Sheffield United

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Eze celebrates his second Premier League goal

Since arriving from Queens Park Rangers in the summer, Eze has impressed at Crystal Palace, showing several flashes of quality.

The most notable of those flashes was this fine solo goal at home to Sheffield United. Picking the ball up roughly 70 yards from goal, the England youth international drove forward, skipped past two challenges, and calmly rolled the ball into the far corner from outside the box.

Second Place – Tanguy Ndombele vs Sheffield United

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Ndombele’s finish effectively sealed the points for the visitors

Sheffield United have shipped a lot of goals this season, so it’s no surprise that two of the goals on this list came against the Blades.

In Spurs’ most recent league outing, they went 3-1 ahead with a sublime finish from midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman lifted the ball over goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and into the far corner using the outside of his right foot to almost seal the three points for Mourinho’s side.

First Place – Sebastien Haller vs Crystal Palace

west ham united v crystal palace premier league
A shining light in a difficult spell for Haller

Haller’s Premier League career has not exactly gone to plan since his big-money move to West Ham United in 2019. However, one bright moment was his spectacular bicycle kick against Crystal Palace.

The Ivory Coast international drew the Hammers level with a stunning acrobatic effort from Vladimir Coufal. The strike won him the Goal of the Month award for December.


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