Premier League Round Up – Alternative Best XI.

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.


About the12thman

A twenty-something football fan with two business management degrees. I run @_the12thman because my friends told me I talk about football too much on my personal twitter/facebook. Turned out quite well, 2 years on. View all posts by the12thman

40 responses to “Premier League Round Up – Alternative Best XI.

  • jordi

    Good team but one error – Charlie Adam shouldnt be in there because Blackpool weren’t good enough to survive the drop

    • markbritton7

      Yes! – Though I did outline “with one shining exception”. I felt as a player he simply had to be in the side. For everything he’s done.

      Had I not included him, I’d of either went with Jordan Henderson of Sunderland or most probably Chris Brunt (WBA).

      • Chris

        Mark, you say that if Adam was not in your team he would be replaced by either Henderson or Brunt however neither made your bench. What is the point of your bench is someone who is technically in your reserves would actually make the XI over people on the bench?

      • markbritton7

        You make a good point! – I probably would of revised the team and had Brunt on the bench if I’m honest, Henderson would of effectively been Brunt’s replacement.

        As an individual, I very much like Brunt’s game, I think he makes WBA tick and he could be just as vital as Adam if the people on the other end finished the chances he created.

      • test

        That doesn’t add up – how can you replace Adam with one of two players who aren’t even on your bench? Surely N’Zogbia or Nolan has to step up to the first team to be replaced by Brunt or Henderson.

        Either that or you’ve just admitted your subs bench is wrong.

      • markbritton7

        I wouldn’t go as far as to say wrong. I made my XI on the basis of the best team I thought, but I also tried to make the team balanced (would play together well in a realistic team).

        Therefore, I included Adam (as my ball distributor). My point to include Brunt would be IN PLACE of Adam, I.e, If I wasn’t allowed Adam I would need to replace him with a similar player, but my team would stay the same.

        I.e., N’Zogbia couldn’t come into the XI and play that role, but Brunt could. However there’s no need for 2 players like Adam in the side.

    • mattm

      Mate you are bonkers, Charlie Adam was incredible despite Blackpool going down. Any manager in the league would take him, SAF says his set pieces are worth £10m alone. Bonkers.

    • Dave


      You already ditched that as a consideration by naming two left backs! And Etherington is rubbish on the right, deadly on the left.

      • markbritton7

        Yeh, but two awesome left backs! haha.
        And yeh, Etherington and Young would switch like most wingers do.

        I could make the team work!

        Who would your team be?

      • Dave

        GK: AL-HABSI, Wigan
        LB: BAINES, Everton
        RB: WARNOCK, Aston Villa
        CB: HUTH, Stoke
        CB: SAMBA, Blackburn
        LM: ETHERINGTON, Stoke
        RM: DEMBELE, Fulham
        CM: TIOTE, Newcastle
        CM: ADAM, Blackpool*
        FW: ODENWINGIE, West Brom
        FW: BENT, Aston Villa

        SUBS: ROBINSON, Blackburn, CAHILL, Bolton, ENRIQUE, Newcastle, YOUNG, Aston Villa, JARVIS, Wolves, BRUNT*, West Brom, DEMPSEY, Fulham

        * Brunt to replace Adam if notable exception rule not applied.

      • Daniel

        Dave’s team does look like a good side, although you’ve done the same as Mark and named two left backs and no right back.

        I may be completely mistaken as I haven’t really seen him play much but I thought Dembele was a striker not a winger?

        There has also been a lot of media hype surrounding Charlie Adam, therefore can he really be included in an alternative team?

  • kredders

    Pretty good shouts all round there. I’d suggest David Vaughan instead of Charlie Adam. Blackpool fans reckon he’s been more consistent.
    I’d also put N’Zogbia in for Ashley Young. The only reason Young’s the most fouled player is because he dives ridiculously. A mate of mine is a big Villa fan and can’t wait to get rid of him. Delivery incredibly overrated too; never seen a professional fail to beat the first man so consistently.

    Good list though (Y)

  • soton_wolf

    GK) Howard (Everton)
    RB) Simpson (Newcastle)
    CB) Hangeland (Fulham)
    CB) Huth (Stoke)
    LB) Baines (Everton)
    CM) Parker (West Ham) My shining exception
    CM) Nolan (Newcastle)
    RW) N’Zogbia (Wigan)
    LW) Downing (Villa)
    AM) Dempsey (Fulham)
    ST) Bent (Villa)


    Foster, Cahill, Samba, Adam, Jarvis, Sturridge, Odemwingie.

    Trumps your selection, I’m afraid Mark. The relegation side rule is silly when you foresake one quality player because of 10 clowns around him.

    Let’s not even start on the genius of playing 4-2-3-1 against 4-2-2-2.

    • markbritton7

      Haha! Love it!

      Would make for a great game that’s right! – I am a massive fan of the 4-2-3-1 too, so I’ll give you that! Must be said, the core of our sides are fairly similar, more so looking at the squads. A good choice by yourself!

      Who would you have given POTY? Bale deserved? IMO, he’s not even the best at Spurs (Modric) never mind the BPL.

  • andy - london

    EPL is so boring, it’s just money

    • markbritton7

      Not half as boring as my national league, the SPL. Where two teams contest the title every year and have done since 1980’s! Though, Hearts look like this may be their season!

  • Bobby

    Matt Jarvis not even on the bench? Vital assists and consistently excellent performances earnt him an England call up. Without him and fletcher, wolves would have been gone. Agree with the rest though.

  • Bill

    Notwitstanding the series of injuries suffered by Bale in the 2nd half of the season, i strongly feel that he should have made ur 1st eleven. He was extremely brilliant in the 1st half of the season. He also single handedly took inter milan apart in the 3-1 champions league win. Your 1st eleven is not bad though. Odemwingie is an execptional player to have made such an impact in his 1st premiership season. Lets pray he keeps his shooting boot on next season.

  • kieran

    Nice team of the year but I don’t like the way u put one word at the end. Irritating.

  • Tom

    GK) Ali Al Habsi
    RB) John Flanagan
    CB) Christopher Samba
    CB) Nemanja Vidic
    LB) Ashley Cole
    CM) Gnegneri Toure Yaya
    CM) Charles N’Zogbia
    RW) Samir Nasri
    LW) Gareth Bale
    AM) Luis Suarez
    ST) Carlos Tevez


    Joe Hart, Garry Cahill, Ryan Shawcross, Fabreagas, David Hoilett, Darren Bent, Rooney.

    my dream team.

  • brocky

    Let me guess Tom is a Liverpool fan?? Suarez has only played about 15 league games and dont get me started on Flanaghan LOL!!!! (PS note the point of the article NO top 6 teams yet 8 of your 11 are?!?!!?!?)

    • Tom

      Iam actually an Arsenal fan Brocky. I would revise my defence though. Take out Ashley cole move Samba to his position and put Brede Hangeland as a (CB). I will also replace Bent with Odemwinge. Am sticking with Flanagan, there is enough experince in the team to show him the ropes. Luis is a class act.

  • Neil Kennett

    GK Friedel

    LB Baines

    CB Hangeland

    CB Kompany

    RB Bardsley

    LM N’Zogbia

    CM Parker

    CM Adam

    RM Van der Vaart

    CF Odemwingie

    CF Tevez

  • Blakeston

    Surprised no ones mentioned Jose Enrique? Had a brilliant season for Newcastle and he’s now getting deserved attention from ‘bigger’ clubs.

    • markbritton7

      I agree, hence why I included him… I think people over-look him due to his club. Same with Chris Brunt, I think Brunt is as technically good as Adam, just the players around him aren’t as good at finishing and Hodgson hasn’t the charisma of Holloway. He (Brunt) created the 4th highest goalscoring chances in the PL.

  • azuk

    @kredders first of all Young has never been truely accepted by the majority at villa, but then a majority would bring back corpral punishmant, and this is also as sbsurd. I’ve been a season ticket holder 15 years and been lucky enough to see games (some with Villa some not) in the Nou Camp, Mestalla, vicente Calderon, San Siro, and Olimpico to name a few, and Young is in my top 20 players i’ve been lucky enough to see play. He ‘dives’ only to avoid injury from the amount of times he is fouled, and is only disliked by the minority who hark back to the days Wimbledon and Bolton ‘wowed’ the english game. If he goes, and it is to United, i wish him the best at trying to play on a bigger stage whilst showing FAR more loyalty than Barry or Milner, and i am hounoured to have had him down the Villa for the last 5 years.

    Take issue only with Dunne in your team, he has only made the most last ditch tackles because; he can’t read a game, is always at least one step behind the rest of the back four, and makes the mistakes to need to make last ditch tackles. Good player on his day, the most i have seen his concentration last (when not on debut or playing man city) is around 50 mins. Top 12 player maybe, but one of the reasons we have struggled so much this season, and therefore should be nowhere near a seasonal XI

    • markbritton7

      Agree with this point on Dunne actually, very Carragher like. & that is often a criticism of mine for him. I don’t think Dunne has a perfect partner either actually, I’m a believe in a DEF partnership being 1) a big meat head (vidic, vermaelen, terry – Dunne) and a quicker player with a good tackle (Dawson, Luiz etc).

      Follow twitter @markbritton7

      • Daniel

        I actually thought that Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin were quite a good partnership back when they were at City together.

  • Jack

    CM-Parker (my exception)
    CAM-Van Der Vaart

    Beast of a team- CM is a hard psoition to chose as most of the top teams have the top CM’s and that is why they are so succesful!
    Hard to chose between Enrique and Bainse but Bainse gets my vote.
    And how can people forget Reina. Liverpools Player of the season in my veiw without him would doubt if they would have even got top 8 finish!

  • Enos

    Haha, The EPL is boring and yet its followers spend this much time analyzing it when its over? weird… The SPL is as consistent as the La Liga, wherever there are only two teams fighting it out for the title(by week 3), you are bound to wish for more.

  • Matt- Wigan

    GK- AL Habsi
    LB- Baines
    CB- Hangeland
    CB- Cahill
    RB- Bardsley
    CM- Parker (exception)
    CM- Henderson or (Adam with two exceptions)
    CM- Holden
    RW- Nzogbia
    CF- Odemwingie
    LW- Ashley Young

  • jami k

    so you think all the african players ply their trade in england. That is why u slected only players playing in england. Any way, I thing ashley yony and darren bent are english players. If they well africa players, why dont they play for any africa nation

    • markbritton7

      Never said that once, many African players star in many European Leagues, though, mainly English, French, Spanish. And yes, Young & Bent are both English.

      I don’t get your point…. Help?

  • Alex

    Good team, good blog. Surely your wingers are the wrong way around though – Etherington’s a leftie. Would have picked Reina over Robinson for the bench in a dream team (that terrible first half to the season and I think he still kept something like 14 or 15 clean sheets, was unlucky in at least 3 penalty save attempts this season), put N’Zogbia on the team instead of Young, and swapped Campbell and Fletcher for Suarez and Rodallega. Also, Dempsey (Fulham’s engine and talisman and, according to football manager, Sunderland’s first target this summer) instead of Nolan.

    If I had a sub manager, it would be the ever classy di Matteo. Such a shame he got sacked, worse still that Hodgson achieved veritable magic, especially with the derby match.

    • markbritton7

      Thanks for the good review, means a lot! Now, wingers may be the wrong way round, but hey.. It’s a modern game, wingers like to switch flanks a bit! Haha.

      As for Reina (& Suarez), was trying to pick a team without top 6, so Liverpool wouldn’t feature, though I do think Reina has been a gem for them all season – bar the opening day blunder vs Arsenal.

      N’Zogbia was very very difficult to leave out the XI, I’ll admit. But I was attempting to not have two players from one side, also, N’Zogbia did come good late on, but his consistancy levels weren’t there throughout. Though, Fletcher only really featured late, but his impact in such little time mate him worthy of a place. Dempsey would have been a fine addition, too, but for the previous reason.

      I think DiMatteo is a great manager, but I think perhaps the English game isn’t suited to his coaching style, could see him doing well in Spain though. I think WBA did the right thing to get rid of him, WBA did what WHUFC should have done to avoid the drop, switch their current manager for a more defensive minded coach. Had WHUFC brought in Allardyce in Feb, I believe they’d of finished mid-table. Their side was far too good (on paper) to go down.

  • Dave

    Decent team, but stop trying to be the Opta guys on twitter with the one word at the end thing you have going on. Wannabe?

  • YNWA


  • Lewis

    GK – Al Habsi
    RB – Steinsson
    CB – Jones
    CB – Distin
    LB – Baines
    RM – Pennant
    CM – Vaughan
    CM – Mulumbu
    LM – N’zogbia
    ST – Odemwingie
    ST – Bent

    Subs: Robinson, Enrique, Huth, Ethrington, Osman, Brunt, A.young, Gyan

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