It’s always difficult to put together a “Best of” in any sport because there are so many variables to consider that determine who qualifies, and particularly in this Premier League season, there are many players who warrant serious consideration. This season has shown that competition is still fierce at both ends of the table, and results have shown that “The Big Boys” have not had it their own way, and some newcomers have shined in the spotlight. I’ve kept the formation at 4-4-2 to try to not eliminate players because of playing style and I’ve used current form to date as my compass rather than reputation. So here goes. My English Premier League team of the season with substitutes. I’ve kept the formation at 4-4-2 to try to not eliminate players because of playing style and I’ve used current form to date as my compass rather than reputation.
GOALKEEPER – EDWIN VAN DER SAR (MAN UTD)
The Dutch veteran is possibly in his last season at Old Trafford, particularly with the signing of Lundegaard, and he has had some shaky moments, but on balance, he is the cream of the crop and while United have not yet hit their scoring form, their defense has been exceptional and Van Der Sar is a huge part of that rearguard.
LEFT BACK – ASHLEY COLE (CHELSEA)
At a time when both Chelsea and England have struggled to find form, Cole has maintained a high level of performance. Injuries and transfers have decimated the defense at Stamford Bridge this year which has piled up the pressure, but with his attacking qualities, he presents their most consistent performer on the left side of the back four.
CENTRE BACK – NEMANJA VIDIC (MAN UTD)
The Captain of my squad, Vidic has had to endure four playing partners this season, including a couple of youngsters, but his performances have not faltered. The Serbian has outlasted Rio Ferdinand in the middle of United’s rearguard and is irreplaceable in the eyes of Ferguson.
CENTRE BACK – VINCENT KOMPANY (MAN CITY)
Life is not good at The Eastlands at the current time with a squad of international players who all expect to play every week, but one player who has played the majority of the games is the Belgian defender. He is physical and an accomplished man-marker who’s last minute tackles have rescued City on many occasions.
RIGHT BACK – ALAN HUTTON (TOTTENHAM)
The Premier League does not have a huge talent pool at this position but Hutton has proved to be the class of the bunch. Started slowly, but with time, he has elevated himself to the best in the Division. Hutton has proved that SPL players can perform when they move South of the border.
LEFT MIDFIELD – GARETH BALE (TOTTENHAM)
This man was an automatic pick for me and must be a candidate for Player of The Year. He has become world class in such a short period of time and his performances against Inter Milan in the Champions League will warm the hearts at White Hart lane for years to come.
CENTRE MIDFIELD – SAMIR NASRI (ARSENAL)
The Frenchman has been the heart and soul of Arsenal’s midfield this season. What has changed is his attitude which developed at the World Cup when the French squad went into meltdown. Arsene Wenger values him as much as Van Persie and Fabregas and in my view should be club captain at The Emirates.
CENTRE MIDFIELD – LUKA MODRIC (TOTTENHAM)
This position is usuallty reserved for either Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard but neither of the Englishmen can compare with Modric this year. Hugely responsible for Tottenham’s scintillating form, the diminutive Croatian can control the midfield area from both sides.
RIGHT MIDFIELD – NANI (MAN UTD)
Eighteen months ago, Nani was close to being shipped out of Old Trafford but with an injury to Antonio Valencia, he got his chance and he’s grabbed it with both hands. Probably one of United’s true creative threats, he has also become a tad more unselfish which has added to his value.
FORWARD – ANDY CARROLL (NEWCASTLE)
The England youngster is fast becoming the new Alan Shearer on Tyneside. He is big, strong and skilful, and I’m sure those older Geordie fans have visions of “Wor Jackie” when they see this boy play. Fearless and with a taste for the net, England look to close to reaping the rewards with Carroll.
FORWARD – DIDIER DROGBA (CHELSEA)
A neck and neck choice between Drogba and Berbatov, Drogba gets the nod for me simply because of his game-changing abilities. Bring him on with half an hour left, and he can turn a match in a flash. Hate his arrogance but worthy of his place without a doubt.
GOALKEEPER – PETER CECH (CHELSEA) – Probably his best year with the club as Chelsea have lost their invincibility forcing Cech to actually make some meaningful saves this year.
DEFENDER – MICHAEL ESSIEN (CHELSEA) – Chelsea missed this man more than anyone while he was out injured and they are a different team when he plays.
MIDFIELDER – RAFAEL VAN DER VAART (TOTTENHAM) – Would have made my starting eleven but for fitness issues. Without a doubt, the signing of the year from Real Madrid.
MIDFIELDER – AARON LENNON (TOTTENHAM) – One thing this team needs is pace up front and Lennon gives you that and more, especially coming off the bench.
FORWARD – DIMITAR BERBATOV (MAN UTD) – Simply can’t ignore this guy despite his horrendous workrate and petulant attitude at times. Can be a huge difference maker.
MANAGER : OWEN COYLE (BOLTON) – The tendency here is pick one of the icons such as Ferguson, Wenger or Ancelotti but I’ve gone with this guy simply because he has fundamentally changed Bolton’s style of play and his success in doing that is shown by their 6th spot in the League. Has improved every team he’s managed and is a dark horse for Ferguson’s seat when the old dog retires. Another Scottish jewel on the bench.
There are many players who are not in this line-up who fans may think deserve inclusion, and whilst I try to watch as much of the Premier League as possible, obviously some players get more exposure than others, and you may think that is reflected in the team, with most of the players coming from the bigger clubs. There is a reason for that, which is that these players prove themselves week in and week out in the top matches. A game against lowly Wolves or West Ham does not compare with the challenges presented by playing Man Utd or Arsenal in consecutive weeks.
Any thoughts ?