What an end to the season! 34 goals were scored in all on the final day of the season including a memorable 5-5 at the Hawthorns between WBA and Manchester United, a great way to cap off the eventful career of Sir Alex Ferguson. Looking back over the season there has been some stand out performances and in this post I will name the players who have made my Premier League 11.
GK = David De Gea:
This is quite a controversial choice and I haven’t just chose him because I’m a Manchester United fan… but that is partly the reason. In his debut season in 2011, De Gea had a shaky start to his Premier League career making numerous errors, failing to adapt the style of the English game. Throughout last year there was much debate over who was the better goalkeeper, De Gea or Lindegaard but this year it looks like the Spaniard has answered his critics. He has kept 11 clean sheets this year and has asserted his position as the club’s number 1 choice. He’s be renowned for his shot stopping ability and he has looked a lot more comfortable between the posts at Old Trafford as he fulfills the legacy of Edwin Van der Sar. At the age of just 22, De Gea looks set for a successful career in the Premier League.
RB = Pablo Zabaletta:
The Argentine has been the most effective player in Manchester City’s back line in what has been a season of mixed fortune for the former champions. Since taking over the role from England international Micah Richards, Zabeletta has become a regular performer for the sky blues and will often be the first name pinned on City’s team sheet. Even with the presence of former Inter player Maicon coming in at the start of the season, the right back has kept a cool head and is a key factor to why City have kept the most clean sheets this year. He is a very effective full back who can defend and sprint down the wings when needed. Holding his position for 29 games this year whilst scoring a couple as well, Zabaletta has proven to be one of City’s under-rated stars.
CB = Chico Flores:
Again this is another unusual choice you may argue but I feel that Chico has been a pivotal factor towards Swansea’s success this year. Brought in at a price of just £2 million, the Spaniard has been the strongest component part of the Swansea defence, featuring in 26 games for the Swan’s including 9 out of the sides 1o clean sheets which include’s a win over Arsenal at the Emirates as well as goalless draws at Anfield and the Etihad. Chico is a key figure for the side and along side Wales captain Ashley Williams, the Welsh side’s defence has looked unbeatable at times and him and his side’s efforts this year have been rewarded with a 9th place finish and a League Cup title. Not bad for your first year.
CB = Jan Vertonghen
Another player who has had a brilliant first year is Belgian star Jan Vertonghen. Brought in from Ajax, many wondered whether he would be as good as his national counterparts Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen and the answer is, he has been better! He has started 34 out of Spurs’s 38 games and has been arguably the best defender this year. For me Vertonghen is just one of many brilliant signings conducted by Andre Villas Boas (including Courtois, Mata, Lukaku at Chelsea and Lloris and Holtby at Spurs) but unfortunately the Belgian’s efforts have gone unrewarded with the side finishing a disappointing 5th. It will be interesting to see how long he stays if the side don’t achieve a top four finish next year.
LB = Leighton Baines:
Without a doubt, Baines has become the country’s favourite left back ahead of Ashley Cole for both footballing and personal reasons. Baines is a very consistent performer for the Toffee’s and he has scored a collection of fine goals for the side including this stunning free kick against Newcastle. Just take a look!
Not only does he have a rocket of a left boot but Baines is a very clever and tactical defender who times his challenges to perfection. It will be tough for him to keep Cole out of the national side due to his reputation however he has the ability to do so and I would certainly pick him over the Chelsea man anyday.
RM = Eden Hazard:
There has been a lot of hype about Eden Hazard after having several remarkable seasons at French side Lille. Making the trip across the pond for £32 million, Hazard has become an integral part of the Chelsea side and he has made a magnificent start to his Premier League career scoring 9 in 34 appearances. Many questioned whether he would succeed of flop like many international super stars have in the past. Remember Alfonso Alves? Nope? Didn’t think so. He was at one point in his career the best striker in Holland once scoring 7 goals in one game for Heereveen and becoming the league’s record goal scorer. He then went to Middlesbrough and flopped and now he plays in the Saudi Arabian league. Anyway going back to Hazard, he has been far from a flop, becoming the leagues most skillful player, gaining a reputation as a ‘defenders nightmare’. He could certainly rise up to the heights of Ronaldo’s reputation within just a few years.
CM = Michael Carrick:
Behind ‘you know who’, Michael Carrick has been Manchester United’s most important player, controlling the midfield in what has been an astonishing season for the Reds. He is the most comfortable player on the ball in the league and his passes are always perfect. His credentials have gone unnoticed in the past few years but this time round he has stepped into the limelight becoming the key provider to much of United’s goals. Carrick is a great role model for young players due to his confidence and manner as a midfielder and his attitude is a trait that many pundits have credited over his career.
CM = Mikel Arteta:
Since making the move from Mersyside to North London, Arteta has grown with confidence and has become a key part of the Gunners side. He may not be the most skillful of midfielders but he makes up for this with his great determination and his superb passing ability. Alongside fellow Spaniard Santi Carzola, the Gunners have, at times, looked similar to the former glories of 2004. He has started in 34 of Arsenal’s games and has started several of them as the side’s captain within just over a year of being at the Emirates. Arteta possesses great traits as a passer but also as a motivator to aid much of the sides young players. In the run in of the final 10 games of the season, the Spaniard has been the main cog in the Arsenal machine as they romped home to a fourth place finish. Very well deserved and a well deserved mention in my team of the season.
LM = Gareth Bale:
There is no other winger who is better than Bale. That’s a fact. The Welshman has become a brand for the Premier League scoring some stunning goals and becoming the Tottenham’s most valuable player. When Bale has scored in a match, the side have won 14 of their games (2/3′s of their wins!) In total he has scored 21 goals equaling at 31.8% of his team’s goals in the league. Ever since moving up into midfield, Bale has got better and better demonstrating blistering pace and an uncanny eye for goal. He will be a player on many of the European Elite’s transfer lists and I feel if the right offer is made then Levy will surrender. If the side want to gain a top four finish next year they will have to cling on to his services but this will be hard to do against the attraction of European football in the upcoming season.
ST = Michu:
He has been the bargain of the season! Costing the Swans just £2 million, the Spaniard helped deliver a top ten finish scoring 18 goals being the league’s 5th top goal scorer. He has looked impeccable in front of goal being the Welsh side’s key player in what has been another surprise season and he memorably scored a brace at the Emirates to state his claim as one of the best strikers in the top flight. Being the signing of the season is my key reason for this pick as without his goals, Swansea would have been a much weaker attacking threat.
ST = Robin van Persie:
After making the surprising move to Manchester United instead of Manchester City, the Dutchman had a lot to prove in order to show how much he wanted that illusive league title. Scoring 26 goals and becoming the sides most valuable player, I think it’s fair to say that Robin has gone beyond the call of duty as he picked up the golden boot to accompany his league winners medal. In a striking quartet of Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez, van Persie has been in a different league in comparison to the other strikers and he is the ultimate reason why the team regained the title. Despite going through a dry spell mid-way through the season, RVP is undoubtedly the best striker in the BPL.
SUBS = Begovic, Sagna, Nastasic, Lampard, Coutninho, Suarez and Benteke.
Inspiration from this post comes from http://robmilnesport.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/milnes-premier-league-team-of-the-season/ , be sure to check out his selection and a lot of his other posts on his sports blog