In an ideal world, the club season would have paused at the halfway mark. No, scratch that, in an ideal world the club season doesn’t pause at all because this World Cup takes place under traditional circumstances.

But whatever, we’re here now.

The 2022/23 Premier League season has been a pretty hectic and surprising one so far – Arsenal will be top at Christmas, Newcastle are suddenly the best team in the world, Nottingham Forest haven’t imploded despite signing a new squad.

Here are our alternative season-so-far awards.

Disclaimer: From this point onwards, ‘season’ means ‘season so far’. It’s too much of a pain to type out two further words each time and it just looks more clunky.

Erling Braut Håland

Haaland’s the runaway winner / Visionhaus/GettyImages

1st – Erling Haaland
2nd – Granit Xhaka
3rd – William Saliba
4th – Miguel Almiron
5th – Kevin De Bruyne

At this rate, Erling Haaland is going to score roughly 135 goals this season. Factor in that he’s not even going to the World Cup and that total jumps to about 178. I will not show my workings out.

Erling Haaland

Another one / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

1st – Erling Haaland
2nd – William Saliba
3rd – Bukayo Saka
4th – Moises Caicedo
5th – Gabriel Martinelli

Could you bore off for one moment, Erling?

The freakish free-scoring Norwegian is eligible for the official PFA award by 20 days. Sorry, William Saliba.

Alisson Becker

‘Footy pictures that go hard’ / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

1st – Alisson
2nd – Nick Pope
3rd – Jordan Pickford
4th – David Raya
5th – Kepa Arrizabalaga

Liverpool have often gotten away with their haphazard defending because they have an imperious goalkeeper between the sticks. Alisson has been busier than usual this season and if he performed any better then he would be getting tested for PEDs every day.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Just the one Premier League goal this season / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

1st – Cristiano Ronaldo
2nd – Cristiano Ronaldo
3rd – Cristiano Ronaldo
4th – Cristiano Ronaldo
5th – Cristiano Ronaldo

Have you considered doing your job, Cristiano?

Granit Xhaka

Xhaka’s been better than ever / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

1st – Granit Xhaka
2nd – Miguel Almiron
3rd – Leandro Trossard
4th – Diogo Dalot
5th – Kepa Arrizabalaga

Granit Xhaka’s redemption arc has been a staggering watch, particularly for me as someone who was present (and laughing) on the day he went to war with Arsenal fans back in 2019.

Erling Braut Håland

Again? / Visionhaus/GettyImages

1. Erling Haaland
2. Gabriel Jesus
3. Lisandro Martinez
4. Casemiro
5. Pervis Estupinan

Erling, could you quit hogging the spotlight for one second?

Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal are top of the table / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

1st – Arsenal
2nd – Newcastle United
3rd – Fulham
4th – Brighton & Hove Albion
5th – Manchester United

Sorry Manchester City, but you simply don’t have that juice anymore. Arsenal play in a similar way but are a much more compelling watch.

I’m also retracting my apology. I’m not sorry at all. Football isn’t a simulation.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Off you pop / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

1st – Cristiano Ronaldo
2nd – Cristiano Ronaldo
3rd – Cristiano Ronaldo
4th – Cristiano Ronaldo
5th – Cristiano Ronaldo

Have you considered coming on the pitch when your manager asks, Cristiano?

Mikel Arteta

Arteta is excelling / Visionhaus/GettyImages

1st – Mikel Arteta
2nd – Eddie Howe
3rd – Marco Silva
4th – Gary O’Neil
5th – Thomas Frank

Well, it may have taken three seasons, but Mikel Arteta is proving exactly why Arsenal have been so keen to stand by him.

1st – Ivan Toney vs Leeds United
2nd – Miguel Almiron vs Fulham
3rd – Miguel Almiron vs Southampton
4th – Allan Saint-Maximin vs Wolves
5th – Youri Tielemans vs Everton

The free-kick was aesthetically pleasing, but I’m of course talking about Toney’s rounding of Illan Meslier and subsequent chip over the retreating Leeds defenders here. Phwoarrrrrr.

1st – Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel’s handshake
2nd – Aston Villa fans sing the Demba Ba chant at Steven Gerrard
3rd – Manchester United linked with Marko Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot after awful start
4th – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s BT Sport advert
5th – Joachim Andersen baits Darwin Nunez into a red card

I’m incredibly biased, but the laughter that erupted in a packed Brighton pub (largely from myself) was as loud and canned as when Del Boy fell through the wine bar. It’s also very hard to find footage of Villa fans singing that song.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Soccer Player

Stick that in the trophy cabinet / Visionhaus/GettyImages

1st – Cristiano Ronaldo vs Manchester United

There isn’t a top five for this award because a) nothing comes close to Ronaldo going toe-to-toe with his own football club and b) the ‘Ronaldo ranking five times out of five’ joke would lose all meaningful impact if I did it again.


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