Picking the best in the Premier League for the team of the season 2014-15
And so, with another Premier League season drawing to a close, it’s time to once again to indulge in a debate on who has performed well enough to get into the best XI team of the year. The PFA’s official team was announced back in April, with Chelsea dominating the list with 6 players, but this one may be slightly different.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)
That the sound of his name belted down from the upper echelons of Old Trafford after United’s final home game of the season is testament enough to the regard the ‘keeper who has now become one of their main players.
No longer the slender boy that was bullied by opponents in the air when he first came to England but now confident, dominant and wonderfully agile, he has been a massive component to United’s return to the Champions League.
Saves against Liverpool, Everton and Crystal Palace stand-out in a sensational list of stops by the Spaniard who will leave a huge void behind should he join Real Madrid this summer. Louis Van Gaal may find it as hard to replace him as Sir Alex Ferguson did Peter Schmeichel.
Right-Back- Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
Apart from Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, nobody comes close to keeping the Serbian out of this side. He has started all of Chelsea’s league games as they have sauntered to the title and, like the rest of Jose Mourinho’s back-line, he has been the embodiment of dogged defensive solidity. Only Joel Ward of Crystal Palace has won more duels than Ivanovic’s 223.
Known for his fearsome aggression and determination at the back, he has also proved an able asset going forward, creating 34 chances and grabbing five assists, as many as Mesut Ozil at Arsenal and Nacer Chadli at Tottenham, a respectable haul for a full-back who doesn’t take set-pieces.
Centre-Back- Jose Fonte (Southampton)
When Liverpool convinced Dejan Lovren to follow Adam Lallana up to Anfield from St Mary’s last summer it turns out that the wrong defender was taken to Merseyside. As Southampton underwent an exodus, Fonte signed a new two-year deal, and took the mantle left behind by Lovren and inherited Lallana’s captain’s armband, growing into one of the league’s most assured centre-backs.
Alongside a partner who is new to the league in Toby Alderweireld, the 31-year-old Fonte has been a consistent part of a back four that has shipped just 31 goals, a record that is joint-best in the league with Chelsea.
Of the top seven clubs, only Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel has contributed more defensive actions than Fonte’s 337 and his number of interceptions, 113, is the highest in the division. The Portuguese is now rumoured to rock up this summer at, yep you’ve guessed it... Liverpool.
Centre-Back: John Terry (Chelsea)
Joh Terry is set to become only the second ever outfield Premier League winner to play every minute of every game, the superlatives have long since ran out for the standards Terry sets on the field.
He has been the steel base on which Chelsea’s fourth title win has been built, now getting by more on intelligence and reading of the game than the full-blooded committal that characterised his earlier career. A model of resilience, he has made a mockery of Rafael Benitez’s claims he can now longer play two games in a week and at 34 he is by far the best defender in the league.
Left-Back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Signed originally to provide cover at right-back, the Spaniard has proved an invaluable asset to Mourinho at left-back, filling the boots of Ashley Cole while keeping the £16 million Filipe Luis out of the side. Starting 28 times he has been another personification of grit and resolve that Mourinho instils in his team.
He was named as the league’s best defender by Sky pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher while he has not yet made a single error that has led to an opposition chance. He has been typically understated, missing out on the PFA Team of the Year to Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand but Mourinho is a massive fan of his Spanish full-back. It is easy to see why.
Defensive Midfield: Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
Who else? Matic has been the cornerstone of Chelsea’s title win and seemingly impregnable defensive effort, the outstanding holding midfielder in the league. Nobody has made more clearances or tackles in the entire league than the colossal Serbian who has missed just two of Chelsea’s games this season.
As well as being defensively imperious, the 26 year old who Mourinho braved-face to buy back from Benfica last January is also a gifted distributor of the ball, initiating the Blues’ attacks from deep and only Cesc Fabregas has completed more passes than Matic this term. He is the very definition of un-droppable to Mourinho.