Selecting a “team of the year” is difficult, extremely difficult. How do you really judge one’s success over the course of the season? Should it be based on how important they were to their team? If so, then some players might not necessarily be the best or even crack the line-up sheet on a big club. However, they still may have been essential to the survival of the club. This brings up another point–does a losing club deserve to get a player on the team of the season? What about a guy who came in the winter transfer and lit it up for the remainder of the season? How high does his level have to be in order to merit mention among someone who has a full season as a body of work. There is also the debate of what formation our dream team should choose? Should it be a set formation that everyone has to follow or should it be more of a free form, allowing talent and deserving players to dictate the shape? Either way, it is an extremely difficult predicament, but that is why they pay us the big bucks to make these kind of hard decisions (and by big bucks, I mean nothing but hugs and hand-pounds). So we (I and my co-contributor Brian Edwards) have put our heads together to come up with our best eleven for the season, plus a full complement of seven substitutes. We decided on a 3-5-2 formation, with some freedom to select any midfield arrangement that we like due to the plethora of outstanding middies this season. So here is the Speak Easy’s best top 11 of the EPL.
So we will start at the back…
GK: Joe Hart
This pick was so easy. He plays for City, has 200 million dollars worth of players in front of him, and a coach that is naturally more defense minded. I was pushing for Krul from Newcastle, just because he’s got a great name, much less to work with, and Newcastle has been the surprise of the season (although not in my Football Manager, I took the same team to a second place season in my first year in charge… we then went on to the treble the following season.. but I digress.) However, I went about pleading my case to my co-jury all wrong and insulting him by insinuating that he did not know who he was. (Whoops, but in my defense I really was not trying to say that..) “He’s been fucking fantastic, 13 clean sheets, least goals against, you could argue he’s number one in the world right now.” So Brian makes some good points.. I concede.. Hart it is, then I watch him doing a bike in training and I agree.
CB: Vincent Kompany
I know what you are thinking, and no we are not going off the Man City team sheet. But this was a no-brainer. He has taken over the mantle from Vidic as the best center half in the league. He is big and strong enough to deal with the bangers, and quick and nimble enough to handle the shifty smaller guys. (I know calling Kompany nimble is a bit of a reach, but you get the idea. He’s a complete center back.) Plus, he has gotten forward and been dangerous in set pieces. That is pretty much all you can ask for from a center back.
LB: Leighton Baines
He has just been outstanding all year, a tireless motor, great at defending, and moves forward with great results (at one point he was Everton’s leading scorer this season). He deserves the left back spot at Euros this summer. However, a hamstring injury could derail those hopes. Brian and I are in complete agreement here.
RB: Fabricio Coloccini
While I know he is a center back, we decided to go with three in the back, so back off!! I fought this one to the bitter end, being a huge Kyle Walker fan. I was pushing hard for the youngster’s inclusion. But in the end, Brian won out with the fact that Tottenham blew a huge lead in the points and were hemorrhaging goals by the end of the season. While Walker played well, ultimately your job is to defend and he did not do a great job of it.
CM: Yaya Toure
Right now, you could argue that he is the most complete midfielder in the game. Xavi might possess better, Silva and Iniesta might be more dangerous going forward, and Toure might not tackle as well as Gattuso, but he does all of these things at an extremely high level. Wrap all of that in a 6’3″ 200 pounds package and you have the quintessential EPL midfielder. He is a battler with a great technique. If the game is sloppy and ugly, he can go in there and bang and come out on top. If the game is refined and technical, he is equally adeptat knocking the ball around and being dangerous. Oh, and he is clutch, clutch like Stevie G was a few years back. When Man City needed a goal, did they reach to their bench and bring one of their pricey forwards? No, they brought on a holding midfielder and let Yaya freelance. Results: 2 goals, one step closer to the EPL title.
ACM: Clint Dempsey
Call us homers, but ever since Fulham has dropped Dempsey in the hole behind the forwards, he cannot stop scoring. Seventeen goals in the EPL is great for a forward. He’s doing it from midfield. He was been a great story this season and there is NO doubt in my mind that Dub-Duece is easily the most talented American player…. Sucks as a rapper though.. sorry, although he’s better than David N’gog (but what is that really saying?).
ACM: David Silva
Even though his form did dip in the winter months, he still tops the EPL in assists, and while Yaya is the tank battering down defenses, Silva is the sniper. He floats around the pitch and pops up and inflicts maximum damage. I might have been pushing for Modric, but after watching Silva play again last night, it’s clear that he deserves all the plaudits coming his way.
I think he needs just one name.. Bale, Gareth Bale. Every Harry decided that he was NOT a fullback, but it has been easy for the Welshman. He has outstanding pace and great control and is dangerous with either foot. He has been a terror down the flanks.
LM: Juan Mata
The little Spaniard has the talent, and like Silva he has found a way to handle the rigors of the EPL. He has been dangerous in front of the goal and a constant creative force in Chelsea’s attack.
Probably as clear cut as it gets on this fantastic team sheet. A thirty goal Prem campaign pretty much says it all. If not, maybe the fact that seventeen of those were all important second half goals, nine of which he was the goal scorer, which adds to his already potent punch. If I was a gooner supporter (which, Lord, I am not), I would shudder to think about life without RVP. The Arsenal brass better get on theie knees and hand over a blank check…and that might not be enough… trophies is the name of the game.
FW: Sergio Aguero
First off, it needs to be said that we made this list before the final on Sunday. (Had we not, we might have had to go back…kidding) Joking aside, what a buy “Kun” Aguero turned out to be. A hat trick in the first match may have been a sign, but the clincher for any doubters was the composure he had when HE won the league in the dying moments against QPR. Ice in the veins and a killer instinct to boot, this twenty-three goal scorer earned his way on to this list and it probably won’t be the last time.
The PFA young player of the year is certain nothing to scoff at. Defenders don’t typically win this award and that speaks to what a bright future this Spurs and England right back has.
Yes, he missed his share of matches, but when he is on the field he is like no other center half in the game. He relies on Arsenal’s domination of the ball to make streaking runs out of the back that led to six goals, four of which were the last to be scored in the match… most of them were at the end.
The injury bug allowed Mata onto the team and they found this Red Devil in the reserves. A great talent who notched twelve assists and four goals, he will likely be in a fight for this squad next term.
A solid and fierce deep lying midfielder. He had a great season and really came into his own, getting involved in attacking with well-placed long balls, usually to RVP. However, as long as YaYa is in the league, the subs bench might be as high as Song can reach.
Ba was the Newcastle rock star until Cisse showed up and his sixteen goals played a huge roll in the club’s shocking finish in the table. Not sure that he will stick around now that Champions League is not in the cards, but Prem defenders are already having nightmares of a Ba & Cisse partnership for an entire season. I for one would love to see that.
He is a tough one. High wages might see him out of the Spurs and even out of England (I predict Inter), but he sure did leave his mark this year. A handful to manage, sure, but he is much more of one to defend. I like him and he deserves some recognition
So 27 goals was only good enough to find Mr Rooney on the bench this term, but, hey, this was no ordinary year. A fast start but snail finish led to giving Aguero the nod. But at least he has the Euros to look forward to….well, after those pesky first two games that is.