N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard lead the nominations for the PFA Player of the Year award.
Kante, who was shortlisted last year for his part in Leicester’s remarkable season but did not make the top three, is the favourite for award, with the winners to be announced at Grosvenor House in London on Sunday, April 23.
Chelsea teammate Hazard won two years ago, when the Blues won the Premier League at a canter under Jose Mourinho.
Hazard, who was named best young player in 2013-14 and won the senior award in 2014-15, has bounced back from a poor season in the last campaign to be a crucial figure behind Chelsea’s march towards the Premier League title this season. He has scored 14 league goals this season, and provided five assists, to put Chelsea seven points clear of Spurs.
But Kante is the heavy odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to win after being on the shortlist as a title winner with Leicester City last season, when teammate Riyad Mahrez topped the voting. Credited as the key signing to transform the Blues from a team which finished 10th into runaway leaders, his energy in the middle of the park has been the driving force.
Kante is also on course to become the first player to win the title with different clubs in successive seasons. Mark Schwarzer did it the other way around with Chelsea and then Leicester last season, but his win with the Foxes doesn’t officially count as he didn’t qualify for a medal after making no appearances.