So, once again the season is finished. And instead of the usual Team of The Year featuring the media hype players such as Bale, Parker, Wilshere, Vidic – I’ve decided to form my own version, not including the top 6 teams and avoiding players which weren’t good enough to avoid the drop – though with one shining exception.
I will try to justify my decisions throughout, but I do expect a lot of disagreement, also, I’ve attempted to include a variation of sides, not just hugging to the bigger clubs.
So here goes; “My Alternative Team Of The Year” (4-2-2-2).
GK – Ali Al-Habsi; The on-loan Wigan stopper’s heroics just may have kept them in the Premier League. With outstanding performances against Tottenham, Blackpool, Wolves and importantly final day against Stoke City at the tricky Britannia Stadium. Andy Gray once said that a good goalkeeper will win you 10 points in the Premier League. That’s good enough for me. Maybe returning to the Reebok to contest the no.1 jersey with Jääskeläinen next season. Intriging.
Full back (s) – Naming them as Full backs because I don’t want the aggro that comes with having two Left-Backs in a dream team. In this instance, I believe both deserve their place in the side, and I would simply rotate them when needed. Jose Enrique and Leighton Baines. Both been shining lights in their respected sides, Enrique was immense in his side’s 1-0 at the Emirates and Baines similarly kept his best for the capital, securing his sides progression in the FA Cup with a stunning free-kick at Stamford Bridge. Baines is also one of few players to have played every minute of this season and is the Fantasy Football top scoring defender. Purchase.
CB – Brede Hangeland – Dominating in central defence for The Cottagers. Mr Wenger enquired about purchasing him 2 years ago and was rejected. How the Gunners could have done with him this season. 7 goals this season in addition to only conseeding 43 goals – not bad for a mid-table side. Shame the club owner doesn’t demand the same respect as he does. Towering.
CB – Christopher Samba (c) – His performance away to West Ham sums him up in a nutshell. Where there’s danger, you will always find Samba. An ultimate asset. Doubles up as a striker when needed and is never afraid to take one for the team. May be difficult to keep in the Summer with Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton all rumoured to be chasing him and a replacement would be hard to secure. Ox.
CM – Charlie Adam – “His corners & set-plays are worth £10M alone” – Not a bad review from the Knight of the PL. Very nearly single-handedly kept Blackpool in the Premier League, (here’s some highlights of him) and as I mentioned in a previous blog – Perhaps going down will make losing him that little bit easier. My bet is on Liverpool taking him, outside shot of Tottenham. Crucially, though not enough, in the last 14 league games of the season, Adam assisted, or scored, 12 goals. Quarterback.
CM – Stuart Holden – Bolton Fans POTY and rightly so. Influential in securing safety, and earning a trip to Wembley. Unfortunatly missing that match after being on the wrong end of a horror tackle from Jonny Evans at Old Trafford. The Scot-born-American has brilliant technique, a good tackle and commands the midfield. At just 25, he has a big part to play next season. Future.
LW – Ashley Young – The most fouled player in the Premier League, and the joint highest penalty winner in the division too, along with his absent team-mate Darren Bent. Disappointing season for the Villa but Young’s form has been good enough to keep the young Marc Albrighton out the side, and his goals tally of 7 (with 11 assists) has kept them in the Premier League. Liverpool look to be favourites to sign him this summer and I’d bet on him to go. Replace-able?
RW – Matthew Etherington – 5 goals, 7 assists, an England call-up and a cup final appearance. All in a season for Etherington. His Stoke side may come under unfair critisism for their style of play, but 75% of goals against the top 6 have come from open play, and Etherington/Jones link up has a lot to credit for that. Aerial.
CF – Peter Odemwingie – When he joined he promised the Baggies fans 15 goals and he delivered like Swiss Public Transport. Exact. Springing to life at the beginning and end of the season – Arguably when you need him most. And scoring in crucial times. He aims to add to his 15 next season, the Baggies fans will hope so too. Progression.
CF – Steven Fletcher – 10 goals this season which has seen him secure safety in the top division. Much a bit part player but has earned his place following the injury to Kevin Doyle. His 4 goals in the last 4 games of the season, including a winner against Black Country rivals West Brom makes him hard to dismiss as a partner to Doyle next season. Delivered.
Manager(s) – Chris Hughton & Roberto Martinez. Together they would bring a balance to each-other, the resilience and never-say-die attitude that comes with Hughton, who was harshly sacked by Newcastle United with the flowing game of Martinez which only hasn’t delivered more due to the lack of quality at his disposal. Partnership.
Subs; All could have made the side, but for the brilliant of the players mentioned;
- Darren Bent – Without his goals, Villa would be on 36pts. Relegated.
- Richard Dunne – Made the most ‘last man tackles’ in the PL this season. Timing.
- Charles N’Zogbia – Attempted the most dribbles per game, 8.8. More than any other player by about 3. Legwork.
- Kevin Nolan – 12 goals, 2 assists. Outscoring Nani, Lampard, Nasri. Chicken.
- DJ Campbell – 13 goals, including the 1000th of the PL season. Scraps.
- Paul Robinson – Blackburn Rovers FC POTY 2011. Stopper.
Please, let me know what you think people! Leave your suggestions below, or write to me on twitter!
Over and out.