The Premier League season has reached the halfway stage, with the division pausing (sort of) for a winter break.
It’s been a memorable campaign in England’s top-flight to date, and we’ve decided to take stock of the opening months of action and hand out our Premier League mid-season awards.
Premier League mid-season awards 2023/24:
Player of the Season
It’s hard to look past Mohamed Salah as the Premier League’s Player of the Season so far. Liverpool (reloaded) are perhaps ahead of schedule as table-toppers as we enter the new year, with Salah’s performances having been crucial to the impressive results of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Egyptian is the joint-leading scorer (14) and assist provider (8) in the Premier League so far this season, leads the league for big chances created (17), has has proven Liverpool’s decision right to turn down big bids from the Saudi Pro League in the summer.
How Liverpool cope with the 31-year-old’s absence over the coming month will be crucial to their title chances, as Salah departs to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt.
Mohamed Salah has been at his brilliant best this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/h70QnOjmn3
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 9, 2024
On current form, Salah could become the first three-time winner of the PFA Player of the Year award.
Young Player of the Season
Chelsea’s campaign has been another of mediocre results and performances, with the breakthrough of Cole Palmer among the few positives in West London. The Blues’ purchase of Palmer caused a surprise in the summer, as Chelsea spent a fee of around £42m on a player with just three Premier League starts to his name.
Chelsea’s faith has been rewarded, however, with Palmer thriving amid exposure to regular Premier League football. The 21-year-old has scored eight goals and laid on four assists in 12 starts, form which earned the creative midfielder a full England debut in November.
His performances this season have made Palmer a late bolter to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for next summer’s European Championship.
Manager of the Season
Aston Villa have been one of the stories of the season with Unai Emery’s team flying high in the table. The Spaniard oversaw impressive improvement last term, but Villa have kicked on to a new level to emerge as an unlikely title contender.
Second in the table, as we enter the second week of January, Villa are aiming to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League for the first time since 1995/96. The Villans have not competed in the European Cup/Champions League since 1983, though a place at Europe’s top table is a realistic aim for Emery’s well-oiled machine.
John McGinn talks his relationship with Unai Emery 🤝💜 pic.twitter.com/zeHdUq3spY
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) January 5, 2024
Victories over Arsenal and Manchester City have proven Villa can compete with the best, while a first major trophy since 1996 is not beyond Emery’s side, who are through to the Europa Conference League’s Round of 16.
Goal of the Season
Sometimes, a goal is scored that leaves fans open-mouthed in amazement.
Alejandro Garnacho produced such a moment during Manchester United’s win at Everton in November, opening the scoring with an outrageous overhead kick at Goodison Park.
Simply stunning, and a likely Puskas Award winner.
Save of the Season
Time and time again in recent seasons, Alisson Becker has bailed out Liverpool.
The Brazilian produced a sensational save to deny Miguel Almiron at Newcastle back in August, a potential sliding-doors moment in Liverpool’s season. Jurgen Klopp’s side were down to ten men and trailing 1-0 at St James’ Park, before Alisson’s extraordinary reaction kept the Reds in the game.
At full-time, Darwin Nunez’s late double had rescued a result for Liverpool, who currently lead the table by three points.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 28, 2023
Newcomer of the Season
Ange Postecoglou has been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League this season.
There were concerns from some when Tottenham appointed the former Celtic coach in the summer, but the Australian has wasted little time in winning over the Spurs support.
The 58-year-old’s non-negotiable demands for expansive and brave football has been a welcome change from the turgid tactical approach of predecessors Mourinho, Nuno and Conte in North London, while a humble and humorous media personality has won admirers further afield than his own club.
Ange Postecoglou’s interviews are pure entertainment🍿
— Premier League India (@PLforIndia) January 9, 2024
Spurs, under his stewardship, are one of the most watchable teams in the division.
Signing of the Season
Spurs’ improvement this season has been built on a bold approach and shrewd signings, with Guglielmo Vicario perhaps the pick of the new boys in North London.
A relative unknown to most Premier League fans in the summer, the Italian has become an instant hit at Spurs for his lightning reflexes and composure on the ball.
Signed for a relative snip of £17.2m from Empoli in the summer, Vicario has emerged as an ideal long-term replacement for Hugo Lloris and as one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League this season.
Game of the Season
Chelsea and Manchester City produced an all-time classic at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, as eight goals were evenly shared in an end-to-end game in West London.
The momentum of the game ebbed and flowed and looked like ending with Manchester City claiming a precious win, as Rodri slammed home to put the champions 4-3 ahead late on. However, there was a late twist in the drama, as Cole Palmer stepped up to convert a stoppage-time spot-kick against the side he left last summer.
A draw was perhaps the right result in a true thriller.
Surprise of the Season
Dominic Solanke has long had talent, but it was a promise which had largely been unfulfilled on the Premier League stage.
Jose Mourinho once claimed he would blame himself should Solanke not become an England international, but a sole cap won in 2017 was perhaps not the end goal the ‘Special One’ had in mind for the former Chelsea academy graduate.
This season, Solanke has found the goals to complement his impressive all-round play. The intelligence in his combinations and industry off the ball has translated into tangible reward this season, with Solanke firing the resurgence of Bournemouth under Andoni Iraola.
Dominic Solanke’s last five games:
🆚 Aston Villa – ⚽️
🆚 Crystal Palace – ❌
🆚 Manchester United – ⚽️
🆚 Nottingham Forest – ⚽️⚽️⚽️
🆚 Fulham – ⚽️
On fire 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5oDy9Weh63
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) December 28, 2023
The 26-year-old has 12 goals in 19 league appearances this season, two goals more than he managed in his first 96 top-flight appearances. His form this season has placed Solanke in the conversation for an England place at Euro 2024 – and a big-money move.