Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughPlayer of the year - The Contenders - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Player of the year - The Contenders - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Player of the year – The Contenders

As awards season draws to a close in the entertainment industry, the world of football prepares to begin handing out its annual honours.

With the shortlists for the PFA player and young player of the year due out soon, here are a few of the front runners for the main award for the 2012/13 season.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United) – Dutch striker van Persie has really made the difference for United since his summer transfer from Arsenal.  The leading marksman in last season’s Premier League, van Persie has defied those that said he could not continue to go un-injured following his first uninterrupted season with the Gunners last term.  The form of van Persie has meant that he currently leads the goal scoring charts again this season, hitting the net 19 times to date.  Many cite the signing of van Persie as the difference between United’s trophyless 2011/12 season and an almost certain title success this season, leading to the Dutchman being one of the favourites for the award.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool) – Love him or hate him, there can be no doubting the mercurial talent of the Uruguayan.  There has been a continuation of the skilful, tricky, tireless showings put in by Suarez last season which has delighted the Anfield faithful week in week out.  What Suarez has added to his game this season is a ruthlessness in front of goal.  Last term, Suarez was guilty of squandering glaring opportunities to score and this turned this on its head to become much more prolific in front of goal, often carrying his team at times.  Suarez has netted 18 times so far this season and is second only to Robin van Persie in the scoring charts.

Miguel Michu (Swansea City) – Without doubt the bargain signing of the summer at just £2m from Rayo Vallecano.  Swansea’s talismanic Spaniard has netted 15 times in the league in his debut season and has earned rave reviews from all quarters of the game.  Michu has offered more than the recent invasion of technically gifted Spanish players to the Premier League, he offers more of a physical presence and a different dimension to his game that allows him to operate as a front man.  Michu, already a firm favourite with the fans at the Liberty Stadium can also boast a goal at Wembley in his opening Premier League campaign, scoring the second of five in his teams recent demolition of League Two Bradford City.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur) – Following a quiet first half of the season, Welshman Bale has well and truly announced himself in the running for this award with a string of superb performances in the last couple of months.  Bale has scored 9 of Tottenham’s last 10 goals, outlining his importance to Andre Villas Boas’ Champions League chasers.  In recent weeks, Bale has spent much of his time coming in off the wing where he once so regularly resided, even filling in as a forward with Jermain Defoe out injured and Emmanuel Adebayor away on African Nations Cup duty.

Aaron Sharp