The curtain has been closed on one of the most unique and unrelenting Premier League seasons in history.
Titanic fixtures between giants were reduced to mere training ground exercises behind closed doors, and the absence of an atmosphere proved that fans truly are the lifeblood of the game.
Meanwhile, the knock-on effect of the pandemic created a seemingly interminable stream of fixtures, leaving players with little time for rest and recovery.
But despite the unfavourable circumstances, myriad players still produced some of their best seasons to date and there was plenty of entertainment on show throughout the campaign.
Now that the dust has settled on the season, and with attentions beginning to turn towards Euro 2020, the GIVEMESPORT Fans’ Player of the Season nominees for the 2020/21 Premier League season have been revealed.
There are six names on a star-studded list which also includes three players who’ve exceeded all reasonable expectation to stand on a playing field with some of the most coveted talents in English football.
With all stats provided courtesy of WhoScored, let’s take a look at the six nominees.
Nominees: Emiliano Martinez
Who saw this coming? Emiliano Martinez has been a revelation at Aston Villa since signing from Arsenal last summer.
Only Ederson and Edouard Mendy managed to keep more clean sheets than Martinez (15) across the course of the season, while the 141 saves he made was only bettered by Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale – two goalkeepers whom pertinently suffered relegation with West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United respectively.
The statistics tell one story, but it was Martinez’s commanding, bulky presence and ability to command Villa’s back-four that particularly impressed.
Villa completed a masterstroke signing at just £17m, one that raises fresh questions about the mechanics of Arsenal’s disjointed transfer policy.
Nominees: Stuart Dallas, Ruben Dias
Once again we have another dark horse to celebrate. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have deservedly scooped esteemed acclaim for their pulsating brand of football this season.
The likes of Raphinha, Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison and Rodrigo have made the Whites one of the most watchable teams in the division, but it’s one of Bielsa’s most understated, versatile and trusted lieutenants who has played himself into contention for the Player of the Season award.
Stuart Dallas is a right-back by trade but has been utilised by Bielsa as a left-back, winger, central midfielder and attacking midfielder during the Argentine’s three-year stint at Elland Road. The 2020/21 campaign was no different, and Dallas seemed to relish the step up in class.
The 55-cap Northern Ireland international started all 38 games in the league and scored eight goals – his best return since signing for the club – to help Leeds take huge scalps against Manchester City, Spurs and Leicester.
Meanwhile, a new star was born in Manchester in 2020/21. Man City’s decision to part with £65m for Ruben Dias was met with scepticism amongst his supporters and in the wider football media, but he ended the campaign with two trophies and an FWA Player of the Season award to boot.
The 24-year-old has marshalled City’s defensive unit with the authority of a player ten years his senior, while his influence on John Stones has no doubt facilitated his return to the England fold in time for Euro 2020.
City conceded just 32 goals in 38 league games and Dias’ presence was a major factor in shoring up a backline that had been ominously devoid of solidity in the season preceding his arrival.
Nominees: Bruno Fernandes, Mason Mount
Bruno Fernandes’ stunning opening to life at Manchester United in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign continued this season as he cemented his status as one of the best attacking midfielders on the planet.
The Portugal international has been branded a penalty merchant having scored nine of his 18 league goals from the spot, but he has offered the Red Devils much more than just his appetite for goal scoring.
His return of 12 assists, which was only bettered by Harry Kane, underlines his playmaking expertise and without his influence there’s no doubt United would have been embroiled in an intense battle for the top four.
Joining Martinez and Dallas as a dark horse contender is Mason Mount, a player who has dramatically altered perceptions this season.
Under the tutelage of both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel, Mount has blossomed into a supremely effective number ten and played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s fourth-place league finish and Champions League success.
Only Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish averaged more key passes per game throughout the season, and his return of six goals and six assists provided some decent output to put himself firmly in contention for an England starting berth at Euro 2020.
Nominees: Harry Kane
Finally, Harry Kane completes the list of nominees. Who else?
The insatiable machine has been up to his usual tricks during a tepid season for Spurs collectively, scoring a staggering 23 goals and providing 14 assists while forming a prolific bond with Heung-min Son.
It’s become abundantly clear that Kane is a level above where the north London side are at and his form has sparked heavy speculation linking him with a move to a number of Europe’s behemoth clubs.
If he can achieve such mind-blowing numbers at Spurs, then it’s impossible not to wonder what he would be capable of at the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
Cast your vote for the Player of the Season award now by clicking here.