As another Premier League season draws to a close and all the main players have had their say, we take a look at some of the best performers this year who have perhaps passed under the radar in a hectic season. They may not all be the highest earners or the most glamorous, but here is an alternate Premier League team of the year:
David De Gea(GK)
It’s evidence of just how poor Manchester United’s season was when their goalkeeper is the only player who could conceivably make the team of the year. Voted United’s player of the year recently, the Spaniard was almost faultless all season as the team in front of him regularly faltered. He will hope to have forced his way into the Spanish World Cup squad after a very impressive season.
A converted right back, Azpilicueta has enjoyed a fantastic season at left back for Chelsea. The Spaniard has kept Ashley Cole out of the team for much of the season and has improved greatly as the season progressed. He has quietly gone about his business this season and looks to have made the left back position his own.
Hull City Manager Steve Bruce was ridiculed by Roy Keane when he suggested that Curtis Davies be included in Roy Hodgson’s plans for the summer. Bruce may have been instilling some confidence in his player but there is no denying that Davies has had a fine season. Somewhat of a football journeyman at his fourth club in four years, Davies seems to have finally found his feet at Hull. Many expected Hull to go straight back down but a 16th place finish and a FA cup final, are largely down to contribution of Davies at the back.
The veteran centre back has undergone somewhat of a renaissance this season under Jose Mourinho. Often overlooked because of his tendency to court controversy, Terry recaptured his best form this season and was a key figure in Chelsea’s Champions League and Premier League challenges. Many England fans have called for his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s squad, which further highlights the impact he has made this season.
Purchased for a mere £400,000 from Portsmouth, Crystal Palace will feel they found a gem in Joel Ward. Ward has been a stalwart of Tony Pulis’ side and a key figure in helping them to a very respectable 11th place finish. Overlooked by Roy Hodgson for the England World Cup squad; nevertheless he has enjoyed a brilliant season.
A somewhat controversial pick as he missed a lot of the season through injury, but Aaron Ramsey has been too good to ignore. Arsenal fans will point to Ramsey’s absence as a key factor in their failure to win the Premier League this year and it’s little wonder why. Ten goals and nine assists despite missing 14 games show just how good he has been. He will hope to stay injury free next season and would surely have been a certainty on the team of the year barring injury.
Yaya Toure rightly earned a PFA player of the year nomination after a remarkable season; however Fernandinho was arguably just as important in City’s title winning campaign. On the rare occasions he did not play, the team invariably suffered, with a lack of defensive cover and energy evident in midfield. The 28-year old supplied the type of dynamism that Gareth Barry was expected to bring to City. A lot of his work goes unseen but he was the perfect complement to Toure bombing forward.
Everton’s remarkable season has largely been attributed to Roberto Martinez’s influence off the pitch and the teams attacking abilities on it, however Gareth Barry has been crucial for them in the engine room. Another player whose work often goes unnoticed, Barry has been consistent, shown his experience and been economical in his passing all season long. The 33-year old is often criticised for not contributing enough on the pitch but this season he has been excellent alongside James McCarthy. He is a free agent in the summer and will surely attract plenty of attention.
Jason Puncheon scored the winning goals for Crystal Palace this season against Stoke City, Hull City, Aston Villa and two of the three in the 3-0 win over Cardiff City – which adds up to 12 points before you even factor in his first in the 3-2 away win at Goodison in April. This surely makes the former Southampton man one of the bargains of the Season. Puncheon has sporadically shown glimpses of his promise but the 27-year old proved his doubters wrong this season.
Jose Mourinho was perhaps up to his old tricks when he claimed that Edin Dzeko should be Player of the Year and not Luis Suarez, however the Bosnian has been brilliant form this season for Manchester City. He has fired home 16 goals and assisted 7 in his best season in a Man City shirt. Often overshadowed by Aguero, Dzeko has proven his worth this year and will go into the World Cup full of confidence.
After a slow start to life at Swansea, following a club record £12million transfer from Vitesse, the Ivorian has had a very solid season. He has bagged 17 goals and 4 assists in the league which is a great return for any striker in their first season. Bony has undoubtedly been compared to Didier Drogba, he has a long way to go yet but if he continues to have seasons like this he may prove a very important signing for the Swans.
Andy Twomey, Pundit Arena.
Do you agree with the selections? Has someone been overlooked? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured Image By Brian Minkoff-London Pixels (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.