The players have had their say and the ‘real’ journos will have theirs shortly so it’s only right that BackPageFootball fires out a Premier League Team of the Season.
GK – David De Gea (Manchester United)
Now in his second season at Manchester United, De Gea looks to have finally seen off Anders Lindegaard in the battle for the starting berth. Although there are still some doubts about his abilities under the high ball, De Gea’s shot stopping and distribution have been superb this season and at 22 he can only get better.
RB – Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
Who doesn’t like Pablo Zabaleta? The Argentine has won himself many fans outside of Manchester City for his tenacious, no nonsense performances at right back and was given a spot in the PFA Team of the Year, a clear sign that he also has the admiration of his peers.
LB – Leighton Baines (Everton)
If it wasn’t for Ashley Cole, Baines would have been England’s first choice for the left back berth at international level for a long time now. At Everton, he has been excellent since joining from Wigan Athletic for £6 million in 2007. As well as being a great defender, Baines is rather handy from a dead ball and has five goals and five assists this season.
CB – Matija Nastasic (Manchester City)
Watching Nastasic play, it’s hard to believe that the Serbian defender has just turned 20 such is his maturity and composure. Inexplicably overlooked for Young Player of the Year nomination, he stepped up to the plate when club captain Vincent Kompany missed a number of games after the turn of the year.
RW – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Plenty of people questioned Hazard’s ability to succeed in the Premier League, as well as his attitude after that ‘Next Move’ video he did last year. However the former Lille man has been excellent for the most part, with nine goals and nine assists in the league as one piece of a very exciting attacking midfield trio at Chelsea. Extra ‘LAD points’ for giving that ball boy a shoeing at Swansea.
LW – Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Leaving hyperbole aside for a second, Gareth Bale is a very, very good player. With pace and power in equal measure, he has excelled since January in particular and has been the driving force behind a side playing without an in form striker. A return of 19 league goals is simply fantastic.
CM – Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Carrick has had his critics since joining Manchester United in 2006 and a lot of it was justified in the early years. However, the England international has gotten better with age and this season has been his best in a red shirt. Averaging 76.5 passes per league game with a completion rate of 88.1%, consistency has been key to Carrick’s season.
CM – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Last season David Silva was the small, creative Spaniard earning all the plaudits and this time around the baton has been passed to Juan Mata. Having hit double figures for both goals and assists, the 25 year old has been arguably the key man for Chelsea as they look to seal at top four place in the league.
AMC – Michu (Swansea City)
Did you know that Michu only cost £2 million? Of course you did, it’s been mentioned every week since he scored on his Swansea City debut back in August. With 17 goals in 32 games, the Spaniard has been a revelation and one of the real feel good stories of the season.
ST – Robin Van Persie (Manchester United)
Understandable question marks over the Dutchman’s durability didn’t stop Sir Alex Ferguson bringing him to Old Trafford and 25 league goals plus a title later it’s fair to say things have gone well. Capable of scoring every type of goal, Van Persie is a constant threat and there are few more lethal strikers in the world.
ST – Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Ever the pantomime villain, Suarez has had his ups and downs but there’s no denying that he’s a superb player. His 23 goals kept an average Liverpool side in the hunt for a European spot until recently and the club’s supporters will be hoping that he’s still around when the much debated ten game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic ends in September.
Honorable mention – Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
Benteke’s hattrick on Monday night against Sunderland only further underlined how much Villa will owe the Belgian should they avoid the drop in the coming weeks. A goal tally of 18 for a side that has been in or around the relegation zone all season is a phenomenal return, especially when you factor in it being his debut season in England. Unlucky not to make our team but his efforts warrant at least a nod of approval.
Stats via whoscored.com.
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