Monday, 18 April 2011

A Premiership Dream Team

So the PFA have announced their teams of the year for all the major divisions in England, as well as awarding individual 'player of the year' and 'young player of the year' accolades. As always it's been met with the usual combination of outrage and over-zealous praise but all in all i reckon they've got it fairly right so far as the Premiership and Championship is concerned (i haven't seen enough football from Leagues 1 and 2 to be able to comment).

The premiership team is: Van Der Sar, Sagna, Vidic, Kompany, Cole, Nani, Wilshere (Young player of the year), Nasri, Bale (Player of the year), Tevez & Berbatov.

Now i'm going to give you my Premiership team of the year with brief justifications for each one. I'll precede it by saying that i don't enjoy putting this many Man U players in, but they've arguably deserved it. I consider the central requirement to this list to be the ability to be consistently good rather than occasionally incredible.

Edwin Van Der Sar (Same as PFA) - The 40 year old has proven himself yet again to be one of the most consistent goal keepers in the league; a great shot stopper who commands his area and his defence well. What more can you ask from a goal keeper.

Rafael (PFA chose Bacary Sagna) - The PFA went with Sagna but i can't say he's particularly stood out this season for me. Rafael however has looked like an incredibly promising right back who's been as consistent as any both when defending and going forward. Yes he needs to work on his temperament and he's far from the finished product, but in a position without any true stars this year he did well i thought.

Nemanja Vidic (Same)- Vidic has to be considered the most consistent and effective centre back in the country at the moment, he dominates defences and has looked solid despite rarely having a regular partner at the heart of Manchester United's defence.

Michael Dawson (Vincent Kompany)- I marginally prefer him to Kompany this season but i acknowledge an element of personal bias may have crept in (Dawson is a Forest academy product and has always come across as a model professional). He's been incredibly solid this season despite lacking a consistent partner and having Gomes' potential for mad moments playing on his mind constantly.

Ashley Cole (Same)- Cole just edges out Patrice Evra this season, but those two have dominated the left back position for the last few years; they both combine solid defending with effective attacking contributions and though i might argue neither has had their absolute best season, they've still been remarkably good. I've gone for Cole because he's managed to continue playing well and ignore the furore over his private life better than i'd have expected.

Nani (Same)- His histrionics and diving are beyond frustrating and he possibly believes he's better than he is, but despite that his failure to even make the short list for player of the year is baffling. He's been a bright spark in a solid but often uninspired Man U team this year; there's been a number of games where United seemed to be struggling to break down a determined defence only for Nani to provide a moment of real brilliance, either in the form of a shot, cross or pass and keep them on track for the title.

Scott Parker (Samir Nasri) - This man was nominated for player of the year and i'm tempted to say he should have won it. In a constantly struggling (and at times painfully poor) West Ham team he has been incredible. A perfect example of the centre midfield captain; tough tackling, accurate passing and able to chip in with the occasional goal he's been superb all year. Add to that the leadership and inspirational qualities he brings to the team and he has to be there.

Jack Wilshere (Same) - This has been his breakthrough season, emerging as a first choice midfielder in arguably the strongest midfield in the league. He's a very un-English centre midfielder; calm on the ball, self-assured and with an eye for the defence splitting pass that we rarely seem to produce.

Gareth Bale (Same) - Now he's been brilliant this year but it has to be said that he hasn't been hugely consistent. In spells he's been undoubtedly the best player in the league in terms of impact, but injuries and lapses in form have meant that others have been more consistent and i don't think i'd have given him the player of the year award on that basis.

Carlos Tevez (Same) - I'm a huge fan of Tevez; he combines skill and work rate like few others and would be a contender of my world wide team of the year, let alone simply the Premiership.

Dimitar Berbatov (Same) - This has been the first season he's looked anything like worthy of the £30.75m transfer fee Manchester United paid for him from Tottenham. He looks likely to be top scorer now that Tevez is out injured for most likely the remainder of the season and it has to be said he's earned it; he's managed to show consistently the seemingly casually applied innate talent everyone knows he does possess and now he looks like a star striker whereas previously he's looked like a distinctly average striker capable of flashes of brilliance.

Tomorrow i'll post my Championship team of the year.

Today's song is one i listened to while walking into town this afternoon. It's by Belle & Sebastian, off their album 'Tigermilk' and it's called 'We Rule the School'.

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