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Arsenal's star Dutch striker has been named favourite to receive the prestigious prize, whilst Tottenham's Gareth Bale is 12/1 to retain the award he won last season

The 2011/12 Premier League season may only just be heading into the home straight, but March brings its stars to the ballot box for the PFA Player of the Year voting, and Sportingbet make Robin van Persie 5/4 (2.25) favourite for the honour.

The flying Dutchman has carried Arsenal through a difficult season, gone within a solitary strike of matching Alan Shearer’s goals record for a calendar year and stormed ahead in the league's Golden Boot standings – but is he assured recognition from his fellow pros?

According to the betting, his main rival is David Silva at 11/8 (2.37); the diminutive Spaniard has been widely recognised as the key man in Manchester City’s title charge this season.

An electric start of the campaign for the playmaker cooled off a little over Christmas however, so perhaps teammate Yaya Toure (18/1) represents better value after being sorely missed while on African Cup of Nations duty.

If you believe club success breeds votes, then the Manchester clubs will surely boast the leading contenders. Vincent Kompany (18/1), Joe Hart (16/1) or Wayne Rooney (16/1) are all in the running as their teams duel for Premier League glory, with the City skipper coming in for particularly high praise this term.

The alternative is that individual performances will grab the playing community’s attention, which would make Demba Ba (16/1), Juan Mata (33/1) and current holder Gareth Bale (12/1) all potential candidates for the Sportingbet coupon.

Bale seemingly won the 2010/11 accolade based on his stunning Champions League performances in the autumn and of course, Van Persie would slot into this category.

Other outsiders listed in the Sportingbet markets include 28/1 Sergio Aguero, 22/1 Scott Parker and 25/1 Luka Modric. Even Nani (50/1), Luis Suarez (100/1) and Theo Walcott (100/1) get a mention, but despite recent surprises in the award of this accolade, that trio would represent some real shock value!

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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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