We're just a bit over halfway through the 2017-18 English Premier League season with 22 of 38 matchdays now in the books. But that doesn't mean it's too late to take stock of where things stand in the league and dole out a few midseason awards.
Best Player: Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne doesn't lead Manchester City in goals and he's tied for the team lead in assists, but he has been the talisman and driving force behind the team's fantastic run this season. The Belgian's transition from a winger to a central playmaker suited him perfectly. Between pinpoint crosses, killer passes and the occasional top-drawer goals, De Bruyne is the cog that moves the Man City machine from midfield.
Best Young Player (Under 21): Leroy Sane
Sane barely beat out teammate Gabriel Jesus for my Best Young Player award. (Go ahead and get used to seeing a lot of Manchester City on this list.) Sane took up De Bruyne's vacated spot on the wing, adding a healthy dose of speed and skill to City's flank. With six goals and nine assists, he's right there among City's most productive players.
Best Manager: Pep Guardiola
A few managers could have claimed this award. Sean Dyche has Burnley on a surprising run in the top half of the table, and David Wagner has Huddersfield off to a better start than the club's fans could ever dream of. But what City is doing under Guardiola this season is nothing short of magical. City rattled off an EPL record 18 consecutive wins and has yet to suffer a defeat this season, putting it in contention to join 2004 Arsenal among the ranks of EPL "Invincibles." Pep was brought to the Etihad to do exactly what he's doing now, and it's been brilliant to watch.
Best Signing: Mohamed Salah
Salah isn't only the best signing of the season, he's also in contention for the best player. So far in his first season at Liverpool, the Egyptian winger already has a whopping 17 goals to his name, as well as five assists. The folks on the Merseyside expected big things from Salah when he was signed over the summer, but I don't think anyone predicted him to be as prolific as he's been.
Comeback Player: Fabian Delph
Delph signing with Manchester City was a bit of a head-scratcher in 2015, at least from City's perspective. (Who wouldn't take the big payday City offers?) He was a good, not great player for Aston Villa. In his first two seasons at the Etihad, he found it difficult to break into a City midfield brimming with talent. But an injury to leftback Benjamin Mendy provided the Englishman an opportunity to fill in as a makeshift fullback, and he's taken full advantage. With the way he's played as a leftback, don't expect a switch back to midfield anytime soon.
Best Goal: Sofiane Boufal vs. West Brom
Words don't do Boufal's 70-yard run to goal justice. Just watch it and love it.
Best Game: Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool
Goals and comebacks are two markers of a great soccer match, and this one had both in spades. Liverpool got out to a 2-0 lead, but three goals in five minutes had Arsenal sitting pretty in the second half. Liverpool then showed what it's made of and hit back to draw level at 3-3. This game had more drama than you could shake a stick at, and both sides left with a deserved point.
Best Individual Single-Game Performance: David De Gea vs. Arsenal
Manchester United's 3-1 victory over Arsenal was one of the most-entertaining matches so far this season thanks in large part to the heroics of De Gea. Arsenal seemed poised to pour in a bucketload of goals, lobbing 33 shots at United over the course of the up-and-down match. But De Gea was at his best, making 14 saves to deny the Gunners.
Biggest Surprise: Burnley
The Clarets just missed relegation last season, finishing 16th. But this season has been a totally different story. Burnley is in contention for a spot in the Europa League, sitting in seventh. It even spent a cup of tea in the top four. The last month has been difficult on them, with three draws and two losses in their last five matches. (Although one of those draws was 2-2 vs. Manchester United at Old Trafford, arguably their best result of the season.) But if they can reclaim just a bit of form, this might be a season to remember at Turf Moor.
Biggest Disappointment: Everton
A few big signings, a slew of young talent and the belief that Ronald Koeman could take another step forward after leading the Toffees to Europa League in his first season at the helm had fans hoping for a shot at the top four. Those hopes were dashed early by October, when Everton fell into the relegation zone and Koeman was sacked. In the months since, the Toffees have battled their way to the top half of the table under Sam Allardyce, but two losses in their past two matches have fans worried that another nosedive might be on the horizon.
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Cy Brown writes about football, golf, soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.