Yesterday Aston Villa, in a rare smart PR move, announced the cancelation of their season's-end awards dinner. That doesn't mean that there were no awards to give out, though. Surprising nobody, Fabian Delph picked up the big awards, but Leandro Bacuna was also tabbed for two as well.
Delph of course won the fans and players player of the year award. I say "of course" because he had a fantastic season that saw him emerge as the teams most influential and skilled player. We saw Aston Villa struggle mightily to maintain and do anything with possession this season, and it's almost scary to think how much worse that problem would have been without Delph.
He also contributed some fantastic goals, including his back-heel effort against Chelsea, which won the goal of the year award from the club. In case you've forgotten what it looked like (or, like me, you just want any excuse to watch it over and over):
Aw yeah, that's the good stuff. Fully deserving of the award. Christian Benteke's overhead kick against Norwich came in second and was close followed by Delph's screamer against Norwich.
In a slightly larger surprise, Leandro Bacuna was hailed for his strong work this season and won both the players and fans young player of the year award. I'll qualify this by saying it's a surprise in that Bacuna was solid but had plenty of problems. That said, if you think about the crop of young players, no one else stands out, so it sort of had to go to Bacuna.
But that shouldn't take anything away from him. A few growing pains aside, Bacuna demonstrated a lot of skills that could make him a valuable addition to the club moving forward. His creativity and sense of where he should be in the attacking part of the game were excellent at times. His defense began as horrid, but slowly improved as the season went on. It would be interesting to see Bacuna used more as a midfielder next year, but it was great to see him transform himself from a liability to passable at the back.
Congrats to both players and let's hope this isn't just a one-year fluke from either!