The Last Word: We’ve many Hammer of the Year contenders after vintage season

Here are my contenders and eventual verdict - perhaps the most difficult I've made in several years

Tomas Soucek (WHU) at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

Has there ever been a more difficult season to even consider who should become Hammer of the Year?

It’s a long time since we have seen so many contenders for the most prized of awards within the club.

Indeed somebody suggested this year we should break with tradition entirely and give it to the manager or make it a team award.

That can’t and won’t happen, nor should it however, warranted handing it to Moyesie may be, Somethings are written in stone – Hammer of the Year is one of them.

So here are my contenders and eventual verdict – perhaps the most difficult I’ve made in several years.

Vladimir Coufal: Week in, week out the bloke has produced extraordinary performances against some of the best wingers in the game – Zaha and Rashford among them – and how can we forget the job he did on Jack Grealish. At £5.5 million the snip of this or any other season.

Angelo Ogbonna: Totally brilliant at the back all season until injury – an uncomplaining pro when left out a couple of seasons back. Has truly proved a point and is a serious front runner.

Craig Dawson: Superb season and a real shock to most people. The Watford loanee could easily become what I believe would be the first loan signing to get the award.

Declan Rice: Dec’s development over the last few years has been one of football’s extraordinary stories. He is now the complete player in my book and all that remains is to keep him at the club. He’s an eight or nine out 10 player every week it seems.

Tomas Soucek: Another extraordinary buy from the Czech Republic who has given the team a never-say-die enthusiasm and energy in midfield we haven’t seen for many moons. He runs miles, is entirely comfortable on the ball, scores goals and probably the winner of the trophy.

Jarrod Bowen: Hugely successful with us since moving from Hull for around £23 million. Boundless energy and a terrific out player who is also showing himself a handy centre forward when required. Top signing.

Michail Antonio: Obvious candidate but injury absences are set to play their part.

The Verdict: I’d like to declare this a tie but it’s always wrong to sit on the fence so in the tightest of photo finishes I just give it to Coufal at this moment from Tomas Soucek because unless things change over the next few games, he has never given anything other than top line performances every game.

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