EPL top XI - Team of the season so far
I do this exercise four times every year ,and have been doing it for the past seven years. It is always difficult to pick the best XI players for their respective positions, it is fun, interesting, controversial, and very tough. A couple of points before I begin.
1. This is a matter of opinion, and every one’s will differ. There will be club bias as well, though I have tried to write this as a neutral. You might disagree with most things in my list, but this is just my opinion, and you can comment whether you agree or disagree
2. I was very confused between a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, but after deciding on the players, I have chosen the conventional 4-4-2
1. GOALKEEPER – Michel Vorm ( Swansea City)
This was definitely the most difficult decision in the entire team, as I had to choose between 4 goalkeepers. Vorm, Al-Habsi, Szczesny and Krul have all been magnificent this season, while big names like Cech, Reina and Hart have majorly been disappointing. A couple of weeks ago I would definitely have chosen Szczesny( for those who are unaware, it is pronounced as Chesney), but Vorm’s performance at Anfield has definitely tilted the scale in his favor. Swansea look a very good side, and will definitely stay up if they maintain the same level of performances. A lot will depend on the form of their penalty saving specialist Dutch keeper .
Substitute – Szczesny( Arsenal)
2. Right back – Micah Richards( Manchester City)
Without a doubt the best right back this season, he has really impressed with his commanding presence in his position, makes some lovely runs forward, and can track back at a lightening pace. More importantly he has formed a very good partnership with his club captain, Kompany. Richards has matured quickly, and was made the Captain of his side when Kompany was red carded against QPR . Capello must have some personal problems with the 23 year old, as their is no other apparent reason why he is not picked for the England squad .
Substitute – Kyle Walker( Tottenham Hotspur)
3. Center Back – Vincent Kompany, Captain,( Manchester City)
Again a very simple decision to make, this one. The best center back in the Premiership, by a country mile. What Vidic was for United last season, Kompany has been for City this season so far. Also the club captain, he has a commanding presence in the box and has more than made up for Hart’s poor form. This beast of a man makes some deadly tackles in the box, and is a master at defending set pieces, an envy of every other team, he is most likely to pick the premiership trophy this season .
Substitute – Ryan Taylor( Newcastle United)
4. Center back - Fabricio Coloccini( Newcastle United)
Along with Taylor and Krul, this Argentinian is the main reason for Newcastle having the maximum number of clean sheets this season. Probably THE most improved player this season compared to last. He was virtually unheard of the previous season, and hence many were surprised when Nolan and Barton left the club in the summer and Coloccini was made the captain. But this man has proved himself correct, and the fans at the Sports Direct Arena just love him. Besides he has lovely hair, just reminds you of the flowing locks of Gabriel Batistuta, back in those days !
Substitute – Ledley King( Tottenham Hotspur)
5. Left Back – Jose Enrique( Liverpool)
The fact that Newcastle have performed so well despite Enrique leaving for the Mersyside over the summer is a big compliment to them. As Enrique has been the best transfer this season. Liverpool have shown an awesome lot of stupidity considering the amounts they paid for Carroll, Downing and Henderson. But credit where it is due, this was a bargain to say the least. While he may not be a typical attacking left back, but he defends very well, and that is why he is in the team .
Substitute – Ashley Cole( Chelsea)
6 .Scott Parker( Tottenham Hotspurs), Holding Midfielder
Because every team needs a holding midfielder, someone to give the defense some cover, and to connect the defense with the midfield, some one to hold possession, and hence we have Scotty Parker. Voted the PFA player of the year last season, when WHU got relegated, it was expected that many top clubs would fight over him. However over the summer, as interest for him dwindled, Harry Redknapp, as he is famously known for, pulled off a killer transfer coup with Parker for 5 million pounds. Parker has been magnificent in his role, and has kept a player of the capability of Sandro on the bench. Along with Van Der Vaart, Bale and Modric, Parker completes what is the strongest midfield in the EPL as of now. It’s obvious that United missed a trick with Parker over the summer .
Substitute – James Milner( Manchester City)
I am already out of superlatives for this man. Even the most ardent of United supporters will agree when I say he is the best player in England as of now. I will not define a role for him, as he plays everywhere , a false number 9, a number 10, a striker, a creative midfielder, a defensive midfielder, he does it all, and he does it all so perfectly. Seeing him glide across the pitch, create those wonderful through balls, is almost FIFA-esque . He is the closest the EPL has to Messi or Ronaldo. Two moments of sublime beauty stand out this season, the pass to Dzeko for City’s sixth against United was the best through ball seen in a long time, and I have watched Xavi for past three years, and secondly, his first touch for his goal against QPR was so exquisite. As I said, one runs out of words to describe him, as of now in the EPL, he is SIMPLY THE BEST .
Substitute – Impossible to find any one to substitute him, but because I have to, I will go for Luka Modric( Tottenham Hotspurs)
As I write this piece, side by side I am reading that Barca sent their chief scouts man to London to track Bale and are preparing a 35 million pounds bid for the Welshman. That pretty much says it all. While he first came to light with he hat tick at the San Siro last season, he has been phenomenal this season as well. His pace, and even more than that, his acceleration, both on and off the ball are his main advantages. And well, if you add to this his capability to deliver pin point crosses even on the volley, well then the package is complete. All these talents were at display in the first half against Fulham. If he manages to stay injury free, this man definitely has a glorious career ahead of him !
Substitute – Juan Mata( Chelsea)
9. Ashley Young( Manchester United), Right Winger
Statistically, more than half the people reading this will be hardcore United fans, who will know much more about Ashley Young than I do, so I will not bother to state much. Just that when he was bought from Villa over the summer, most people were convinced he would take time to fit in, but from the very first day he played as if he has been playing for United all his life, his partnership with Rooney, and his ability to deliver crosses at will made him an instant favorite with the Red Devils. The ability to take free kicks and maximum points in the Fantasy League helps as well .
Substitute – I couldn’t think of any one in particular, probably Walcott or Lennon, your comments are awaited .
10. Robin van Persie( Arsenal)
After Silva this was the easiest choice, and it’s not difficult to see why. First the statistics, 11 goals in 11 games this season, 27 goals in 28 games this year, highest goal scorer this season and this year, and has scored more than half of Arsenal’s goals this season and this year, need I say more. An exquisite first touch, a deadly finisher, a cool calm composed head, and an inspirational captain. One cannot stress how much Arsenal’s fortunes depend on this man this season. Even the most ardent of the Spurs supporters will agree that on current form, he is the best striker in the premiership, and maybe also in the world .
Substitute – Kun Aguero( Manchester City)
11. Luiz Suarez( Liverpool)
A very difficult choice, choosing him over Rooney. Ever since his Hand of God against Ghana in the World Cup, Suarez has become a household name, he was also the player of the tournament when Uruguay won the Copa America in the summer. His skills on the ball are delicious, and bamboozles defenders reminding you of Ronaldinho. However he is not an excellent finisher, and always operates best behind a main striker, something which RvP can do very well in this team. Liverpool are heavily dependent on him, and along with Arsenal, these two constitute the two one man teams in the Premiership .
Substitute – Wayne Rooney( Manchester United) – Obviously 3 weeks ago Rooney would have been an automatic choice, but since then, he has been turned by Sir Alex into a midfielder, and hence I don’t see where I fit him in this team. Though I am sure United supporters are going to blast me for this one !!!
There, that’s my team of the season so far, what’s yours ?Published 11 Nov 2011, 20:37 IST