Premier League awards for 2021-22 season
The 2021-22 Premier League season was absolutely bonkers, pretty much from start to finish, and now it’s over it’s time to dish out our awards.
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Below you will find all of the awards we have dished out from one of the best (if not the best) PL seasons in history.
From honoring the top players and coaches to selecting our favorite moments, goals and more, this was a lot of fun for the whole ProSoccerTalk crew to discuss.
Player of the season
Joe Prince-Wright: Kevin de Bruyne. Drove City to the title and showed his class when it mattered most, especially down the stretch. His driving run and cross to set up Gundogan’s winner on the final day summed up everything great about KDB. He took this City team by the scruff of the neck and became its go-to guy.
Nick Mendola: Heung-min Son. Apologies to Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Mohamed Salah, but their teams were fine without them this year. Spurs were 2W-1D-6L in all comps when Son didn’t play, and the two wins were over Morecambe and Leicester City
Andy Edwards: I’m going to keep it simple, the correct answer is Mohamed Salah.
Young player of the season (21 or under on August 1, 2021)
Nick Mendola: Phil Foden. No one else is close.
Joe Prince-Wright: Phil Foden, the Stockport Iniesta. As Nick said, it wasn’t even close this year although a special shootout to Jacob Ramsey and Bukayo Saka.
Andy Edwards: Bukayo Saka. To do what he’s done consistently all season long, especially after what happened to him in the EURO 2020 final last summer is astounding. Had Arsenal finished in the top four plenty more people would be talking about Saka.
Coach of the season
Joe Prince-Wright: This is actually a really tough one. Of course, Klopp and Guardiola are on a totally different level to everyone else and should win it. I’d argue that Thomas Frank or Graham Potter deserve a very strong mention here. It was only half a season, but I’m going for Antonio Conte. The way he transformed Spurs from being all over the place to a solid unit and got the best out of their dangerous attackers was remarkable. Conte proved, once again, he is truly a world-class coach. Also, we’d usually be lauding Mikel Arteta too but the way Arsenal lost fourth to Tottenham late in the season just puts a real dampener on the obvious progress Arteta is making.
Nick Mendola: Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool - You could probably make an argument for, what, 7 managers? Pep, Klopp, Moyes, Arteta, Conte (~1/2 season), Vieira, Thomas Frank. Klopp has been sensational in every category this season... except excuse-making. Some of the most random inconsequential complaints came out of the normally-gregarious German.
Andy Edwards: Pep Guardiola. It was so close between him and Klopp but for City to win the title without a proper No. 9 (it wasn’t Pep’s fault they tried and failed to sign Kane) was sensational and took every ounce of his incredible ingenuity.
Best signing of the season
Nick Mendola: Marc Cucurella, Brighton - Sticking with permanent, summer deals... a team without much room for transfer budget error got a perfect player for their system. Honorable mention to Arsenal’s signing of Ben White and Burnley’s capture of Maxwel Cornet.
Joe Prince-Wright: Luis Diaz was very good after he arrived in January but I’m going to go for another January signing: Dejan Kulusevski. He seemed to spark Harry Kane and Heung-min Son into life as well as adding more steel to Tottenham. Plus, the song Spurs fans serenade him with is epic. Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale also proved to be money well spent by Arsenal.
Andy Edwards: I dub them ‘Bentsevski’ and their impact was massive. Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski arriving in January was the boost in quality and mentality Tottenham needed. They were both pivotal in securing a top four finish.
Most improved player of the season
Nick Mendola: Conor Gallagher, Crystal Palace. I don’t recall a single part of his loan to West Brom in 2020-21. I can’t pick just one terrific performance from his loan to Palace this season.
Joe Prince-Wright: Gallagher is a great shout. I also think James Ward-Prowse has taken his game to a whole new level but I’m going for Jarrod Bowen. HIs trickery, pace and precision was so important to West Ham and his surely on the cusp of an England call-up. I spoke to him earlier this season and he admitted a good run at the end of last season gave him the confidence he needed to impact games consistently this season. Also, Thiago Alcantara improved drastically in the second half of the season as he’s finally shaken off injuries.
Andy Edwards: Tyrick Mitchell.
Most underrated player of the season
Joe Prince-Wright: Rodri is the obvious choice here. A special mention for Joel Matip too. Somehow he never gets the credit he deserves.
Nick Mendola: Rodri. This year and every year.
Andy Edwards: Thiago Alcantara.
Biggest disappointment of the season
Joe Prince-Wright: Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea in general were underwhelming as their title bid never truly got going. I was very disappointed that Tuchel couldn’t get the right combination for these talented players to play in together.
Nick Mendola: Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s attack under Thomas Tuchel. A very good, possibly great, manager with a total blindspot for his how to work his front three likely cost him what could’ve been a title-race swinging striker transfer (not that Lukaku was anywhere near his best).
Andy Edwards: Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Tuchel failing to make it work.
Goal of the season
Nick Mendola: Mohamed Salah vs Man City, Oct. 3 - Shout out to Miguel Almiron vs Palace.
Joe Prince-Wright: James Ward-Prowse’s free kick against Wolves was unreal, so was Cristiano Ronaldo’s beauty against Tottenham and that insane strike from Mateo Kovacic against Liverpool. But I agree with Nick, I have to go for Mohamed Salah’s goal against Man City. To do that to world-class players in a game of that magnitude is something special.
Andy Edwards: From a pure emotional standpoint, it was Christian Eriksen scoring for Brentford vs Chelsea (April 2). To see him back scoring in the Premier League was just wonderful.
Best XI of the season
Joe Prince-Wright (4-3-3)
Alisson; Walker, Van Dijk, Rudiger, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rice, Rodri; Salah, Son, Mane
Nick Mendola (3-4-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rice, Rodri, Mount; Salah, Kane, Son
Andy Edwards (4-3-3) - I decided to do the American-style “2nd team” award rather than picking all the same Man City and Liverpool players
Jose Sa; Matty Cash, Thiago Silva, Cristian Romero, Reece James; Ruben Neves, Declan Rice, Conor Gallagher; Diogo Jota, Harry Kane, Jarrod Bowen
Your favorite moment of the season
Joe Prince-Wright: I don’t even think I can be accused of recency bias here because the final day of the season was epic. Being at the Etihad for that amazing City comeback with three goals in five minutes, my word, that is something I will never forget. The drama of a gripping title race (which went on over an entire season) going down to the final seconds of the final game of the season was unbeatable in terms of a moment. There were so many great moments this season but that City comeback was the moment.
Nick Mendola: West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko scoring against Villa off the bench in his first match since returning from special leave following Russia’s invasion of his native Ukraine. Seeing him in tears and the stadium and teammates saluting him is something that will stay in my memory for a long, long time.
Andy Edwards: Brentford 2-0 Arsenal - the first Premier League game with a full stadium again and Brentford’s first-ever PL game. The atmosphere, the result, the message the Bees sent to the world that Friday night in west London. Wow.