Solid and functional if not spectacular has been the theme of the Premier League season. It has been the hardest of all years to pick the best eleven players (plus subs) as all have arguably cases against as much as for.
Consistency has seen Manchester United crowned champions although it would be hard to agree they have played as well as last year. Beating the lower table clubs has been the difference as the Red Devils have only beaten Liverpool of the top four.
The Merseysiders have probably been most themselves but being Liverpool, they’ve dropped points against teams like Stoke and Middlesbrough who should have been dispatched considering the amount of chances they had in those game. Arsenal have disappointed but have one player in the team of the season having made ten assists but only on the subs bench. Going by a loose 4-2-3-1 formation where the attacking midfielders hold their shape only when defending, here is Arsenal Column’s team of the season.
Tim Howard (Everton)– The American stopper has made 16 clean sheets this season, a club record and while like all goalkeepers he has made the odd mistake, his saves have been crucial especially in the early parts of the season.
RB: Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea)- Started the season on fire and although injuries hampered the close season, he was a class apart. Chipped in with a couple of screamers and thoroughly involved down the right.
CB: Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)– Committed and controlled, the Serb has been a huge presence at the back. Great in the air and underrated in the pass too.
CB: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)- Always been the one who misses the cut for England, Carragher has continued to show what England have missed. Second to none positional sense and a steady influence.
LB:Leighton Baines (Everton)– A lot of strong candidates but Baines has been very consistent since Christmas especially. Allowed to stride down the left flank to chip in with seven assists.
MC: Xabi Alonso (Liverpool)- Another Liverpool player but Xabui Alonso fully deserves his place. He has circulated the ball with such ease, pinging the ball all over the pitch.
MC: Stilian Petrov (Aston Villa)– While team mates such as Barry and Ashley Young dropped a bit form recently, the Bulgarian has kept going. The engine room in the Villa midfield and keeps the side ticking.
AMR: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)– The skipper has been the most spectacular player in the league constantly churning out stellar performances. The main benefactor of Rafa Benitez’s systematic approach attacking with great dynamism.
AMC: Frank Lampard (Chelsea)– Upped his level this season and carried his team through Scolari’s reign. Probably the most consistent player this season by the virtue of playing a more team based role.
AML: Stephen Ireland (Manchester City)– Ireland’s industry and pure opportunism has seen him score nine goals and make nine assists but the one-man show wasn’t enough for a place in Europe next season.
FC: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)– Joint top scorer at the moment, his goals and dynamism down the right or centre have been arguably just as influential if more than Wayne Rooney’s.
Subs: Reina, Jagielka, Hangeland, Murphy, Modric, Van Persie, Torres
Player of the Season: Steven Gerrard
Runners up: Frank Lampard, Nemanja Vidic
Young Player of the Season: Stephen Ireland
Runners up: Ashley Young, Denilson
Manager of the season: Roy Hodgson