The Premier League quarter-season awards
We hand out gongs for the best player, best manager, biggest surprise and more after the first 10 games of the 2019/20 campaign.
Player of the season
Nominees: Sadio Mane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jamie Vardy
Winner: Kevin de Bruyne
While Man City’s title defence is off to a sluggish start, De Bruyne has been the league’s best player.
The Belgian playmaker has only scored twice so far, but nine assists in nine appearances – five more than any other player – is an absurd record.
Mane, Aubameyang and Vardy are all having great individual campaigns, but no player makes their team tick like De Bruyne.
It’s no coincidence that City’s two defeats have come in the only two matches that he hasn’t started.
Young player of the season
Nominees: Mason Mount, Matteo Guendouzi, James Maddison
Winner: Tammy Abraham
Frank Lampard’s exciting young Chelsea side could have four or five nominees for this prize, but Abraham has been the pick of the bunch so far.
The England international was expected to share the load with Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi up front this season, but he’s established as first choice.
He’s netted eight goals in nine starts, including a hat-trick against Wolves, leading the Blues to fourth in the table and making it easy to forget about their summer transfer ban.
While Maddison and Guendouzi have both crucial in midfield for their teams so far, Abraham has made the biggest material impact on his side.
Manager of the season
Nominees: Brendan Rodgers, Graham Potter, Roy Hodgson
Winner: Chris Wilder
In what is a crowded category thanks to several sides overachieving, Wilder takes the gong.
His Sheffield United side were everyone’s pick to be relegated, but they’re nearly a third of the way to the 40-point mark after taking 13 from their first 10 games.
Wilder’s side have the joint-best defence in the league and have proven they can compete with the league’s best sides by drawing with Chelsea and beating Arsenal.
It’ll be difficult to deny Brendan Rodgers this award at the end of the season if he keeps Leicester in the top four, but Wilder deserves the top spot for now given what he’s achieved with this squad.
Signing of the season
Nominees: Sebastien Haller, Harry Maguire, Adrian
Winner: Daniel James
United’s 21-year-old sensation edges out Haller as the Premier League’s most impressive summer arrival.
While Haller has solved West Ham’s striker dilemma, thereby doing exactly what he was brought to the club to do, James has clearly surpassed all expectations in his three months at Old Trafford.
Bargains are rare in modern football, but James has scored three goals and become an integral part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, all for the price of £15m.
Surprise of the season
Nominees: Gary Cahill, Oliver Norwood, Fiyako Tomori
Winner: Caglar Soyuncu
Soyuncu deserves huge credit for aiding Leicester’s dramatic improvement this season.
The Turkish centre-half waited patiently behind Harry Maguire last term, playing just four times in the league, but has now stepped into the first team and been a fantastic replacement.
Like Maguire, Soyuncu’s proved himself both a capable defender and a classy footballer who can initiate attacks.
That a defender has received so much acclaim in a team featuring stars like Vardy, Maddison and Youri Tielemans shows the impact he’s made.
Promoted player of the season
Nominees: Jack Grealish, John Lundstram, Tyrone Mings
Winner: Teemu Pukki
He’s slowed down recently, but Pukki’s scoring spree over the first five games of the season earns him the nod.
The Norwich striker was prolific in the Championship last season and carried his form through to the top flight, most notably bagging a hat-trick against Newcastle in August.
Goals against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City prove he’s no flat-track bully, but he’ll need to score more regularly against Norwich’s rivals at the bottom of the table to hold off Sheffield United’s Lundstram and Grealish and Mings of Villa, all of whom have been superb so far.
Game of the season
Nominees: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham, Watford 2-2 Arsenal, Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace
Winner: Norwich 3-2 Man City
Arsenal fans might be sick and tired of Unai Emery, but his side have given us some cracking games this season.
This award, however, goes to Norwich’s improbable victory over the champions in September.
Daniel Farke’s side were 20/1 to win pre-match but surged two goals ahead inside half an hour and held on to secure the biggest-priced home win in Premier League history.
It’ll take a special match to knock this off the top spot for the rest of the season.
Ali Dia Award for biggest ‘fraud’ of the season
Nominee: Miguel Almiron, Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson
Winner: Nicolas Pepe
This is a strong set of nominees for the inaugural Ali Dia Award.
Almiron hasn’t scored or assisted a Premier League goal since joining Newcastle last January, Eriksen has been abysmal since his move away from Spurs failed to happen in the summer, and Sigurdsson’s screamer against West Ham last weekend masked the fact that he has been dropped by Marco Silva.
There’s a clear winner, though.
Pepe’s £72m price tag was always going to bring huge expectations, particularly at Arsenal, whose fans are more, erm, demanding than most.
It’s fair to say he hasn’t lived up to them.
One goal in the Premier League and two in the Europa League – all from set-pieces – is a disappointing haul for a player who has played 800 minutes in all competitions.
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