As we near the end of yet another fantastic year in football, we give you the pick of the players so far this term in the Barclays Premier League.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie.
One of the easiest choices on this list. The Dutchman has indeed been flying this calender yeat, averaging almost a goal a game. His strikes have ranged from stunning to the most outrageous of volleys against Everton and it’s safe to say that Arsenal would be nowhere near their current position had it not been for their talismanic forward.
Aston Villa – Shay Given.
Villa might be turning in lifeless performances this season, but the ever reliable Shay Given has kept them solid and tight at the back. Brad Guzan is an able replacement but Villa miss Given’s command of his area and incredible shot stopping ability.
Blackburn Rovers – Yakubu.
In a season filled with defeats and protests, summer signing Yakubu has done his best to lift the gloom surrounding the Ewood outfit. Steve Kean may be facing serious pressure from the fans, but Yakubu’s goals this season have at least ensured that the under-fire Scottish manager hangs on to his position a little while longer.
Bolton Wanderers – Ivan Klasnic.
Extremely difficult to pick a player from Owen Coyle’s side. No one has really stood out in an error-striken season, but Klasnic has at least turned in half decent performances. Chris Eagles could’ve made the list but his erractic form has kept him out.
Chelsea – Juan Mata.
In a season of ups and downs, Juan Mata has been the one shining light for AVB’s Chelsea. While Torres’ goal drought shows no sign of ending, and with Malouda and Kalou losing all form, Chelsea needed a star and Mata has delivered in some style. He has taken to the Premier League like duck to water. He has 9 assists and 4 goals in 20 appearances this season, an outstanding record.
Everton – Leighton Baines.
Everton have been very inconsistent this season but Baines has been their standout performer without a shadow of a doubt. Defensively solid, he is a potent threat going forward and has one of the best left foots to boast in the whole division.
Fulham – Moussa Dembele/Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey has been hitting the back of the net regularly for Fulham and has been ably assisted by Dembele. Dembele has incredibly quick feet and a sharp mind to match. If he can get a little sharpness into his game, he will turn into one of the most fearsome forwards in the division.
Liverpool – Luis Suarez.
While his conduct may be under serious scrutiny these days, there is no doubt about the qualities the Uruguayan brings to the Liverpool side. While Andy Carroll continues to fire blanks, Suarez has been hitting the back of the net when needed (and the woodwork, too). Lucas could give him a fight for his money as far as this list goes, but the season-ending injury he suffered at Stamford Bridge edges Suarez ahead, but only just.
Manchester City – David Silva.
People have just about run out of superlatives to describe the Spanish playmaker, such has been his influence in the Manchester City squad this season. His best performance to date might well be in the Manchester derby when he ripped apart the defending champions with his silky movement and eagle-eyed vision.
Manchester United – Phil Jones.
It’s strange to select a 19 year-old but such have been his performances this season that it’s impossible to select anyone else. Not only has he been consistent, but has performed admirably well wherever he’s been asked to play (central defense, right-back and central midfield). He has drawn comparisons with the mighty Duncan Edwards because of his incredible stamina and lung bursting runs. High praise indeed.
Newcastle United – Demba Ba.
Before they suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Manchester City, Newcastle’s defense was getting all the praise for having the joint tightest defense in the league. But one man has been scoring the goals consistently this season at the other end, Demba Ba. He has found the net 13 times in just 18 appearances this season and looks a real threat every time the ball is at his feet.
Norwich City – Steve Morison.
Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington were close contenders for this spot but in the end it goes to Steve Morison. He was a non-league football player just 3 seasons ago and is now terrorizing Premier league defenders with his wonderful off-the-ball movement and has been averaging a goal every 2 games to top it off.
QPR – Alejandro Faurlin.
While Joey Barton and Adel Taarabt have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Faurlin has got on with his job and has put in a sterling effort. He has attracted a lot of attention reportedly from Arsenal and Juventus. He has adapted to life in the Premier League quickly and brilliantly.
Stoke City – Jonathan Walters.
Had it not been for Matt Etherington’s indifferent form at the start of the season, he was a sure fire winner. But Jonathan Walters has endeared himself to the Stoke City faithful with his workhorse like displays and a never-say-die attitude. He has formed an unlikely partnership with Peter Crouch up front, scary indeed.
Sunderland – Sebastian Larsson.
Sunderland’s season has been mostly gloom and doom so far but the free signing from Birmingham has provided a ray of hope. He is one of the best strikers of the dead ball and his contributions to the Sunderland cause this season cannot be taken lightly. If Sunderland are to avoid dropping down into the Championship, Seb Larsson will have a pivotal role to play.
Swansea City – Michel Vorm.
Who else? The Dutch stop stopper has been one of the signings of the season as he has produced stellar performances week after week. Swansea have kept an incredible 8 clean sheets in 17 games this season and that is in no small part down to Vorm. He is nicknamed ‘the penalty killer’ and with reason.
Tottenham Hotspur – Scott Parker.
While Adebayor has been banging in the goals this season, Scott Parker has provided the Spurs midfield with the sort of performances they have craved since a long time. Harry Redknapp can now play both Lennon and Bale on either wing with Modric and Parker in the middle. Parker has kept Sandro out of the squad this season and will be a big part of England’s squad next season for Euro 2012.
West Bromwich Albion – Shane Long.
While he and Odemwingie are not the perfect fit (not so far, anyway), Long has been West Brom’s most effective performer in the absence of Odemwingie. After a promising start to his WBA career, he has continued to work hard and provided the link-up between the midfield and the forward line.
Wigan Athletic – Victor Moses.
It has been another topsy-turvy season for Wigan Athletic but their fans must now be used to the ride. Goals have been few and far between but it’s certainly not for lack of trying. Victor Moses has shown real promise, his dancing feet and sheer raw pace troubling teams up and down in the league.
Wolves – Stephen Ward.
One of the most improved players in the division, Ward has had an outstanding season at left back for Wolves. While the other players around him have crumbled like a pack of cards, he has held his own and has rightly earned the captain’s armband in the absence of Karl Henry.