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Premier League Team Of The Season
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 3 years ago
Here I present my Premier League team of the season in a very standard 4-4-2 formation. This is my first blog entry so please be gentle with me!
Goalkeeper.
Joe Hart
The unflappable, but occasionally overconfident England No.1 might get caught napping every now and then but he played every minute of every league game this season, helped Man City to a league high of 18 clean sheets (3 more than United or Chelsea) and conceded just 33 goals, the lowest tally in the league. It wasn’t all down to the City’s squeaky-clean defence either. Hart’s 115 saves was comfortably more than any other goalie playing for a top 6 side (Cech got 98 and Van Der Saar 84) and even though he was left exposed by his back line more often than the other main contenders he got better numbers.

Runner-ups: Van Der Saar, Cech

Defenders
Vidic
In a season where the United back line was shuffled more often Ancelotti’s formation, Vidic became the Captain of the club and the cornerstone of a title winning defence, he missed just 3 league games, helped United to 15 clean sheets and was a major inspiration to those he shepparded around him so admirably in the absence of Rio Ferdinand. Yet another player Fergie has skillfully crafted in to a world-beater, picked up for just £7m.

Kompany
The Belgian missed only 1 game this season and was a solid, stable influence on a City side who often rotated their squad and included an excess of volatile face slappers, chest kickers and bad eggs. He was originally signed as a midfielder but soon established himself as the constant in a mean defence and adapted exceptionally well when City were forced to change his center back partner for the final third of the season due to Toure’s suspension. With 80 he made more successful tackles than any other center half in the league and he now looks an absolute bargain at the reported £6m City paid for him in 2008. He was also awarded both the supporters and players player of the year this season.

Hangeland
The 6” 5’ powerhouse has constantly been linked with moves away to the big 4, at 29 he’s in his prime as a defender and wouldn’t look out of place in any of the best sides anywhere in the world. Fulham may not have the glamour of the league’s finest but they did finish 8th and kept 14 clean sheets this season (only Man City, Man U and Chelsea managed more) and this was in no small part down to the all arms and legs style of the big Norwegian. With 6 goals he was also Fulham’s 2nd highest scorer this season.

Baines
Everton may only have kept 9 clean sheets this season, but Baines who went 57 games without a goal when he first joined for £6m benefited from the vastly over priced departure of Lescott. He played every minute of the season, scoring 5 goals and getting 11 assists (4th highest in the league). As well as holding the line he contributed to 31% of Everton’s goals. It was difficult to omit Ashley Cole for this spot, despite his oh so lovable nature; he’s undoubtedly one of the best full backs in the world and a far better defender than Baines.

Runner-ups: A. Cole, Evra, Sagna, Ivanovic, Terry

Midfielders
Van Der Vaart
Heaven knows what wheeling and dealing Harry had to do to get him to White Hart Lane for £8m but with 13 goals and 9 assists in the league he contributed a Spurs goal for every 100 minutes on the pitch. Despite staying the distance in only around a third of all the games this season he still managed more shots and shots on target than any other midfielder in the league, and proved to be a constant attacking threat crafting masterful passes and deadly shots from all sorts of inconceivable angles.

Nani
When he arrived at United for around £20m he looked like he might just be a rubbish Ronaldo forever, and he played in winky’s shadow for all of his first 3 seasons managing a grand total of 7 goals. But this season he became of man most likely to see his name appear in the same sentence as the phrase “coming of age”, he was the leagues top assistant with 18 created and pitched in 9 goals to boot, that’s 1 goal contributed for 98 minutes on a Premier League pitch and plenty of game changing contributions amongst his performances this season. At times his increased upper body strength and ability to impose himself forcefully on matches helped him produce odd flashes where you’d have been forgiven for thinking you were watching a young Ronaldo.

Malouda
He may seem an unusual choice and has often been criticized of starting well but then vanishing with Santa’s sack after Christmas but there is a reason why he was the only outfield Chelsea player to appear in every league game this season. Not only did he contribute 13 goals and 5 assists, but all the football number crunchers rate him as the best player in the league this season bar none. Why?, well 113 “key passes” is the highest in the league by a huge distance, and he also is in the top 20 for shots on goal, shots on target and something called “winning performance” which looks at the contribution each player makes to getting points on the board.

Toure
There are plenty of exceptional holding midfielders in the league and it’s tough to chose between them, but even though he cost £24m and he gallops forward like Bambi on ice, Toure edges it ahead of Wilshere, Parker and Essien. For a man who made over 1,800 passes this season an 85% success rate is amazing (only Wilshere (86%) and Essien (87%) can better that in his position), and he also chipped in 6 goals and 6 assists in the league as well as the winning goals in the FA Cup Semi-final and final to bring city their first trophy in 35 years. Another constant in an otherwise anarchic City set up.

Runner-ups: Wilshere, Essien, Modric, Bale, Parker, Adam, Nasri, Young, Nolan

Strikers
Van Persie
A controversial choice considering he’s nearly always on the treatment table, but a worthy one none the less. Van Persie missed 13 league matches this season through injury, but with 18 goals he fell just 2 short of being top scorer and if you count his 7 assists it means he contributed a goal to the Arsenal cause for every 68 minutes of game time, a country mile better than any other player in the league and an totally astonishing record, makes you wonder what might have been for the Gunners if he’d stayed fit. He also did something most strikers find very difficult, score a lot of away goals and earn Arsenal the best away record in the league. He broke the Premier League record for scoring in the most number of consecutive away games (9 and counting).

Tevez
21 goals and 6 assist makes the Argentine equal top scorer with Berbatov, but what gives him the edge is his contribution and work rate. He scored in 13 different games out of the 31 he appeared in (Berbatov scored in 11 out of 32). Tevez also single handedly contributed 45% of Man City’s league goals this season and was more important to his side than Berbatov, who scored more than half of his seasonal tally in just 3 games, and managed no goals against any team that finished in the top 6. He provided a cut and thrust that was crucial to a low scoring City sides Champions League ambitions.

Runner-ups: Berbatov, Odimwengie, Hernandez, Kuyt, Rooney, Drogba

Player of the Season
Nemanja Vidic. In a season where we all wondered how United actually managed to clinch the title despite winning just 5 away games you have to conclude that dropping only 2 points at Old Trafford and conceding a league low of 12 home goals played a big part. Even though Vidic was partnered at center back with Ferdinand, O’shea, Evans and Smalling at various stages he managed to steady the defence and notch up a number of crucial, but narrow wins which made a difference. He also chipped in with 5 goals, as well as scoring the winner against Chelsea at the end of the season just when it looked like United were faltering and Chelsea were on the charge.

Runner-ups: Nani, Van Der Vaart

Most improved player of the season
Nani. His season may have ended quietly, with no goals in his last 10 appearances, but he did make match winning assists in 4 crucial games during that time, points which were vital to keeping United’s momentum when things got tough. He’s also taken monumental strides this season scoring more goals than all of his past 3 seasons put together and creating almost double the number of assists he did the season before. Improvements in his attitude and all round ability to hold the ball and use it instead of doing 40 step-overs made him pivotal in United’s historic 19th title win.

Runner-ups: Bale, Barton, Lucas, Downing, Djourou, Adam, Lucas, Wilshere

Manager of the season
Sir Alex Ferguson. You might not like his red faced refusal to speak to the BBC and his eerie ability to command the mystical forces of football but there is no doubting in the man’s utter and uncontestable genius. What is even more pleasing is that his passion and desire to win the next trophy is as strong as it was all those years ago.

I’m certainly no United fan, and I have nothing against Liverpool but winning a 19th title for United is no more than suitable and well deserved decoration for a man of so many talents and wisdom way beyond what any of us armchair pundits are capable of comprehending. You could go as far as saying that he is the sole reason and otherwise ageing and often unspectacular United side walked away with the league title and reached the Champions League final. Many a manager would have been forgiven for finishing outside the top 6 with the team United had at their disposal during parts of the season but the inexplicable forces Fergie can conjure made even an comparatively ordinary United side a deserving group of Champions.

Runner-ups: Dalglish, Hodgson, Pulis

Signing of the season
Odimwengie. A handful of very promising contenders here but when it comes to value for money you can’t beat Odimwengie. Costing less than £1m he bagged 15 goals and 9 assists which means contributed nearly half of West Brom’s goals and really started firing when the chips were down and it looked like the yoyo baggies could be heading back to the Championship. Even though Hernandez made an equally important contribution to United’s title aspirations, and was a snip at £6m on for this award you have to favour the outstanding underdog.

Runner-ups: Hernandez, Van Der Vaart, Suarez

Worst signing of the season
Torres. He may have managed a single goal with a helping hand from a giant puddle but at £50m that just doesn’t cut it. He hasn’t looked the part since before the world cup and you might fear he’s lost it altogether if you’ve been watching him closely. Runs down dark allies, air kicks, and total failure of predatory instinct aren’t his only problems, invisibility might be a great super power and the craving of would-be perverts around the globe but the £50m blown on him is starting to look like legalized theft by Dalglish and will leave Abramovic feeling like he might be the last entrant in the world’s dodgiest pyramid scheme.

Runner-ups: J. Cole, Boselli

Team of the season
Blackpool. There isn't a neutral in the land that that would would have picked Blackburn, Wigan or even Wolves to stay in the Premier League over Ian Holloway's legendary Blackpool. They were a true embodiment of the "we'll score one more than you" approach in every game played and if you were lucky enough to be a season ticket holder at Bloomfield Road and followed your boys around the country you would have seen more goals than the fans of Man United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and in fact all the other major teams in Europe apart from Real Madrid, whose matches produced just 2 more goals than Blackpool's average of 3.5 per game.

And if you think goals aren't everything (then apart from being insane) you still can't write Blackpool off. They epitomised everything we football fans hold dear and everything that can get a real man all teary eyed. The classic underpowered, doesn't stand a chance underdog that came out swinging with massive haymakers in every round and in the process floored many gigantic opponents. They made us believe (for at least the first 45 of every game!) that maybe the big boys aren't so big, maybe the gap can be bridged and maybe 4-3-3 is the way a real team plays their football.

For never cowering or making excuses, for always entertaining and putting up a fight in the face of great adversity, and for reminding us that maybe all footballers aren't over paid, under performing, pampered pooches, we salute you Blackpool and we will miss you dearly.
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Amazing Article
Foooty (Manchester City) 3 years ago
Well written blog! However as one of your midfielders, you are describing Yaya Toure but have Kolo Toure's picture, who is Yaya Toure's brother and plays as a defender.

P. S. Congrats on securing promotion to the Premier League!
Tanmay 3 years ago
Great selection, and I completely concur with your choice of team of the season. It's very tragic that they went down.

The only point where I disagree: your award for manager of the season. Give SAF a lifetime achievement award for his 19th, but as far as performance as a manager in just this season goes, great though his influence and achievements were, Dalglish pips him to the post
Tony (footytube staff) 3 years ago
Dalglish? , for what? .... He's been there a few months, and roy hodgson has done better at west brom since he left liverpool, you can't give someone manager of the year when they missed most of the season, and he never won anything?
Don't get me wrong, kennys done wonders since he come in, but don't forget, he had £50m to spend, where was roys £50m?
GreatScot (Rangers)(Footytube Staff) 3 years ago
Good point Tony, by the way where is Davie Moyes mention, he had a horrific start to the season with so many injuries but still managed to pull it together and finish in the top 7 yet again, Never gets any money yet still manages to get his team up there year after year! Great manager with limited resources!
ScouserDan (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Actually that £50m was from the sale of Judas.... Bet you guys still wish we had Woy as our manager lol So he could sign some more Poulsen's and Konchesky's And yes awesome post Araz.... Well done
Tony (footytube staff) 3 years ago
Being honest dan, I thought you guys treated a great manager like shite, and he never had the fans behind him from the start, he was always up against it, and it filtered through to the players who in turn didn't wanna play for the man in the end.
Its funny the same players upped their game when he left, it wasnt all woys fault mate, far from it
DerBomber (Real Madrid) 3 years ago
But you can't deny that Roy did not quite have the vision to bring the correct players to the club, Tony. He may have done a great job at West Brom and Fulham in the past, but somehow he does not seem cut out to be a top manager yet, seeing as to how Liverpool were languishing in the table, it does somehow replicate the position which he has been accustomed to at those clubs. I believe Dalglish is the man to bring Liverpool forward once more, seeing as to how Liverpool had a sudden ascendancy once he took over.

But while I respect Dalglish for what he has done, I think it would be unfair to rate him as the best manager of the season based on half a season of work, so I would agree with the author that Sir Alex deserves that award. Or even if he didn't, for all the work that Sir Alex has done all through the years, he deserves best manager of the century
Tony (footytube staff) 3 years ago
He was never given any money mate, kenny got the benefit of the torres sale
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 3 years ago
I admit this season Baines was better than A. Cole, but I think imo overall cole is a better player
Go0bz (Liverpool) 3 years ago
So sick of people making excuses for hodgson, like hearing his excuses weren't bad enough:

He wasn't given much money, but with what he had he brought in gems like konchesky, poulsen, jovanovic, and jones. They played for a combined 10 games with jones never even stepping on the pitch. He also had no idea where meireles played (his words) when he cost the most during a troubled transfer window. He also loaned out a 20m player during a season, where everybody going in knew we lacked squad depth, and well, you know what's going on with that. He also said things like, "this isn't my squad" when people began questioning the results; yeah, that will win over the dressing room.

Liverpool's worst start in 50+ years. Souness did better.... Really?

In his interview he didn't defend his players (torres, johnson, agger) from outside attacks, and even went so far as to openly criticising johnson to the media. He also whined about not getting "the famous support from the supporters. ", while putting down the squad as much as he can.

People always seem to theorize that because he got the job over dalglish, supporters instantly hated him, but that was never the case. I'm sure a few extremists on both sides of the spectrum had their minorities arguing for and against him, but most supporters, as much as they weren't impressed with the appointment, wanted him to do a good job. In a results driven business, he couldn't deliver under different pressures. That would also explain his only other "big" club management inter (also brief), while making his name in the swedish league, and to sides in relegation battles like fulham/wba.

A utd fan of all people should understand the importance of having a great manager. Imagine utd without busby or fergie. Hodgson had to live up to the standards of shankly, paisley, fagan, dalglish, and to a lesser extent houllier, and benitez. You're seriously going to tell me he wasn't out of his league? Every manager above has won multiple trophies, except hodgson whose greatest accomplishment is losing in the europa final.


Err, I like the list, man. Well-written, and chosen; it looks pretty fair
Rockerr (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Roy might have done wonders at west brom by saving them from relegation but if he had stayed at liverpool the entire season he might have got us relegated
Liverpoolmagic (Liverpool) 3 years ago
He also said we played our best football when we lost to everton 2-0 how dose that work? And it would of been a bit of a kick in the teath to the players as well
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 3 years ago
A bit off topic, but I want my 2 cents, Hodgson wasn't the right kind of man to manage a massive club with massive expectations, he had previously thrived in jobs at teams like Fulham, Udinese, Blackburn, Switzerland and even Inter (in 1995), to which you can now add West Brom, where when he took over there was little to no expectation on him and he managed to do exceptionally well (and by that I mean compete with the top teams rather than beat them, or survive the drop rather than win anything) with limited resources.

I still think he's a brilliant manager and if anyone is to blame for putting the man in to a job that he wasn't right for it's those who sought and formed his employment at Liverpool.

At Liverpool many of the signings he made (like Poulsen, Jovanovic and Konchesky) showed he still had that small club, with little expectations mentality, where he'd be required to sign little known players or those at the top of the "average pile" and polish them in to half decent contenders.

Imo what Liverpool needed was a big name manager, used to the levels of expectations at the top level, and with a pair of cajones big enough to sign top end players for £30m and make risky (if ingenious with the benefit of hindsight) sales for £50m that moved the club on the right direction. That man was Dalglish and I fully expect Liverpool to have shorter odds on winning the title next season than the 15/1 on offer for them to be relegated towards the end of Roy's time.

Kavir (Queens Park Rangers) 3 years ago
Very good araz I proud of you. Babaji
Jasonjayo1 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Pepe Reina.

Seamus Coleman
Vincent Kompany
Njemanja Vidic
Gareth Bale

Ashley Young
Yaya Toure
Raul Meireles
David Silva

Carlos Tevez
Javier Hernandez

Special Mention to Brede Hangeland, Branislav Ivanovic, Joe Hart, Dimitar Berbatov, Richard Dunne, Samir Nasri and Scott Dann

Young Players. Andy Carroll, Phil Jones, John Flanagan, Seamus Coleman, Gareth Bale

Best Buy. Javier Hernandez and Luis Suarez.

Manager. Harry Redknapp
Reddevil278 (Manchester United) 3 years ago
Reina? It was easily van der sar. He made some amazing saves, saves tht 20 yrs olds wish they could make
Hayleycomet (Arsenal) 3 years ago
Andy Carroll?
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Van Der Sar was amazing last season. But Hart for me was the best last season
RealAnimalz (Real Madrid) 3 years ago
Should be :

- Hart -

- Evra - Kompany - Vidic - Bale -

- Silva - Nasri - Meireles -

- Suarez - Tevez - Van Der Vaart

It's a 4-3-3 formation cause that's how I got everybody in
There that had an amazing season.

Jawn (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Excellent blog Araz! Nice to see we have some talented writers doin' what they do
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 3 years ago
Couldn't agree more Araz, awesome article
Sam (Juventus) 3 years ago
I agree- very solid work all round!
Peteko 3 years ago
Excellent blog. Professional writers from The Guardian to any other newspaper have nothing on this guy.
Don't stop here Araz. Keep writing, please
Bk4179 (Arsenal) 3 years ago
Nice  
Nutcracker (Arsenal) 3 years ago
Great blog, but Wilshere is miles better than Essien and whoever that other guy is
Tony (footytube staff) 3 years ago
I'm surprised theres not more disagreement on your selections araz, they have let you off easy so far.... Lol, early days
Somere (Portmore Utd) 3 years ago
Tevez did score in more games than berbatov but am not sure if you know that 5 of his goals were penalties while berba scored all his goals from open play
Naszrick (Manchester City) 3 years ago
Berbatov, who scored more than half of his seasonal tally in just 3 games, and managed no goals against any team that finished in the top. Period
Zlatan94310 (PSG) 3 years ago
Tevez`s performances and influence on City`s results this season has been more significant than Berbatov, but you gotta' give some credit to the latter for having scored 20 goals including some sick ones
Borg (Manchester United) 3 years ago
Great job on the selections Araz. For the most part I agree
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
My team:

Hart

Ivanovic
Vidic
Komapny

Nani
Modric
Parker
Wilshere
Bale

Berbatov
Tevez
Zlatan94310 (PSG) 3 years ago
Vidic and Kompany. Strong and Solid!
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Araz amazing post, I am sure it took a long time to write, real quality stuff man. I would agree with most of your stuff I will make my own, not quite in such awesome detail though. Got to say though Nani probably deserves to be in the midfield as you have him, there is no way I can have him on my team

GK:Joe Hart

Honorable mention:VDS, Cech, Al Habsi

LB:Leighton Baines
CB:Nemanja Vidic
CB:Vincent Kompany
RB:Ivanovic

Honorable mention: Jose Enrique, Hangeland, Terry, Evra, Sagna, Zabaleta

LW:Gareth Bale
CM:Luka Modric(VDV was the star but Modric was the enigne)
CM:Scott Parker
RW:Ashley Young

Honorable mention:Samir Nasri, Wilshere, Essien, Nani, Charlie Adam, N'Zogbia, Meireles, Dempsey, VDV, Nolan

FW:Carlitos Tevez
FWdimwengie

Honoarble mention:Chicarito, Robin Van Persie, Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent, Kuyt

Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
I like your team. But I would put Nani in for Young. Most assist in the season and 9 goals. That's contributing to 27 goals. Which is impressive
DerBomber (Real Madrid) 3 years ago
I think Suarez and Lucas are missing from your line up as either main or honorable mentions. Other than that, Park Ji Sung and Wayne Rooney as well. Otherwise a very comprehensive list. Well done mate
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Haha ya Kimaway your right, Nani certainly deserves it, but I just really don't like him. DerBomba, you are totally right about Lucas, I think he definitely deserves a mention, I am just very attack minded. Lucas is a great midfielder a superb tackler, and his passing was fantastic this season as well. Suarez, he definitely made a massive impact, and looked world class in his time at Liverpool, but only being in the prem de la prem for a half a season, I don't know if he deserved to be in the team of the season.

As for Rooney and Park, I thought Rooney was outshone by Chicarito and Berba this year, he played much better towards the end of the season, but he was playing more of a supporting, deep lying role. For a United player, I really like Park, he works very hard and shines in big matches, but he was left out of the team a lot, he played better in the champiiiioooonss, in my opinion. Good points, I just think Rooney didn't have a great season, same with Fabregas, had loads of assists but not many goals, and didn't do enough to help his team down the stretch, again in my opinion
REDDevil98 (Manchester United) 3 years ago
Lol no matter how much you hate him (Nani) you can't deny his contribution
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Suarez should not be there. There were many better players in his position this season
DerBomber (Real Madrid) 3 years ago
Hmm, I can see where you're coming from with Rooney, but at least during the champions league finals, I saw a glimpse of his true abilities. But you're right, this season he's underperformed. Park well, I guess I'll agree that he played better in the champions league, though I thought I remembered some great performances through the season.

Suarez well, maybe half a season would not be a fair judgment, but for the half, he has been a real threat for liverpool, I'm sure you guys would agree. But @Kimaway17, I'm interested to know some of the players not already mentioned in the list who could be regarded as better than Suarez? I must have missed them out or something. I think he'll be Liverpool's key player for years to come though, just my opinion
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Well there have been players who played the whole season and contributed to their clubs more than suarez. That is why I don't feel who should be in the team. But I see him as one of our key players in the future
Theeasterbunny (Manchester City) 3 years ago
LOL you got Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure mixed up.  Everything else is great!
Ant (Liverpool) 3 years ago
I miss these kind of blog posts - thanks for writing it.

"Many a manager would have been forgiven for finishing outside the top 6 with the team United had at their disposal during parts of the season but the inexplicable forces Fergie can conjure made even an comparatively ordinary United side a deserving group of Champions. "

Best and most accurate part of the article if you ask me. He's an alchemist
LegendisPaul (Real Madrid) 3 years ago
Probably you could do one on International football, it would be well appreciated by all of us here at footy
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 3 years ago
Thanks for all the lovely comments folks, much appreciated. More on the way soon
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Thank you Araz, great to see this kind of post, good way to wrap up a season and give some life to the forums, top stuff



   
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