‘Exciting’, ‘a genuine three horse race’, ‘poorer standard’, ‘more depth’. There have been many descriptions of the Premier League this season, but one thing is clear: it has been an extremely intriguing season in the Barclays Premier League.
For a while, it looked as though Arsenal might threaten to surprise everyone and actually mount a serious bid for the title, but they eventually fell at the last- and then there were two (again).
The battle against relegation looked as though it would go the full distance, but that has now been decided- unlike the hunt for fourth place. There are still 4 teams locked in a tussle for the coveted Champions League spot, and Tottenham are currently in pole position.
It has been an entertaining and fascinating season with some great performances from so many players. Forget the PFA Team of the year, this is my team of the season…
Goal keeper: Pepe Reina
Beach ball jokes aside, Reina is genuinely a world-class goal keeper. Liverpool have had a poor season, but he has been one of the very few stand out performers. He has made very few mistakes and without him, Liverpool’s plight could be even worse. A class shot stopper, he has even contributed 3 or 4 assists, showing his great distribution on the counter attack. In my opinion, the best keeper in the League. Very unlucky not to be an international number one, he is still behind Iker Casillas- maybe he should consider gaining English citizenship!
There haven’t been too many stand out right backs this season. A mention should go out to Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Carr and John Pantsil, but the Chelsea man has probably been the best of the bunch. A natural centre back, he has been deployed at right back this season by Ancelotti, and has looked at home. Solid, strong and dependable, he has been an ever-present in the team since Jose Bosingwa got injured and has impressed ever since.
A contender for buy of the season. Bought from Ajax in the summer, the Belgian defender has been outstanding for Arsenal all season. He is still the top scoring defender in the league with 7 goals. Quite astonishing for a player who was played at left back for Ajax last season. The ‘Verminator’ as Arsenal fans fondly call him, has been a revelation alongside William Gallas. He has a great leap for someone who isn’t the tallest, and is tough and strong in the tackle. Will be an important player for Arsenal for seasons to come.
Manchester City fans must wonder why Dunne was sold to Villa, especially with the form which he has produced this season. Along with James Collins, Dunne has been the cornerstone of Villa’s defence. Consistently turning in great performances, he has been one of the reasons for the amount of clean sheets Villa have kept this season. A monster in the air, he has also scored important goals such as the winner against Chelsea at Villa Park.
It was a toss up between Evra and Ashley Cole, but Evra just pips the Chelsea defender this season . The Manchester United left back has been class, combining fantastic defensive awareness with the ability to be a real threat going forward. His crossing has resulted in many goals, and he is rarely caught out at the back.
The Arsenal captain has single-handedly carried his team on so many occasions this season- a bit like Steven Gerrard has done in the past for Liverpool. The Catalonian playmaker has had an outstanding season, scoring freely from midfield and also contributing countless assists as usual. His vision remains unrivalled and he is the best passer in the league. It is no coincidence that Arsenal’s season ended when Fabregas’s did. Their unlikely title bid finally ran out of steam once Fabregas broke his leg against Barcelona. Talking of which, the world class midfielder will continually be linked with his home town club, and Arsenal fans can only hope and pray.
A certainty for Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad. Signed as a winger by Martin O’Neill, Milner has played in a central role this season and he has been nothing short of sensational. Recently crowned the PFA Young player of the year, the midfielder has combined goals, assists and a great work rate. Some will even argue that he should start for England in South Africa.
The Frenchman was omitted from the official PFA team of the season, however that may have more to do with the fact that the voting deadline closes around February. He has been in wonderful form since the turn of the year. The left winger is finally showing why Chelsea brought him to England in the first place, and why he was player of the year in the French League. He has scored an extraordinary amount of goals and also set up countless of others. He just might have done enough to secure Chelsea the title this season.
A surprising inclusion perhaps, but the little South African midfielder has been superb all season. He has recently been linked with Liverpool and Bayern Munich amidst his contract negotiations with Everton. The diminutive attacking midfielder can pick a pass, score goals and contributes all over the pitch. He links the play well and is a truly underrated player in the league. Along with Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill and Bilyaletdinov, Pienaar completes a great attacking midfield and has been the pick of the bunch this season. Expect a move to a big club if Everton do not resolve his contract.
Who else? It was impossible to leave him out and there isn’t much to say about Rooney which hasn’t already been said. 26 goals in the league makes him the current top scorer, and he has shown a remarkable improvement in many areas of his game such his heading. Manchester United fans hope that he can recover to play a part in United’s final two games.
Whether he is good or not to be included in the England squad is a debate for another time, however there is no denying Darren Bent has had a great season in the league. He has scored 24 goals playing for a team which is in the lower half of the table- making his achievement just that little bit more impressive. He certainly doesn’t receive the sort of service which the likes of Rooney and Drogba get on a regular basis. He has even contrived to miss a few penalties which would have made him the outright top scorer in the league.
The Spurs stopper was the subject of many jokes last season, but he has had a radical improvement in form and has been impressive for Tottenham all season. His saves against Arsenal in the recent North London derby was an indication of how important he has become for the club.
The Birmingham man has had a fantastic first season in the Premier League. Along with Scott Dann, who has also had a solid debut season in the league, Johnson ensured that Birmingham were hard to beat. A good old-fashioned centre back, he just loves defending.
It was hard to leave him out, but Lampard has once again had a great year. Scoring 20 goals from midfield is always an outstanding contribution from that position. Critics will argue that he hasn’t turned in as many fantastic individual performances as he did in previous seasons; however the Chelsea vice-captain is on the verge of leading the club to a magnificent double.
The Argentinian striker is having his best season in English football. Combining his bulldog tenacity, work rate and pure talent, Tevez has scored an outstanding 22 goals this season and he has been Manchester City’s best player on so many occasions. Expect him to be the key figure behind their push for fourth place.
Don’t agree? Should the likes of Didier Drogba, Scott Parker and Gareth Bale be in the squad? Comment and say who you think should be in the team.