Premier League team of the season
Published: 20.05.12 / Written by: David Gold
Choosing a team of the season is a difficult task but ultimately it must be done when a season is over.
To narrow down the choice, one criteria is put above all others in this team. The players selected must have been consistent throughout the whole season, not just in fits and starts.
For that reason, David Silva, Antonio Valencia and Sergio Aguero all miss out, as though they enjoyed periods of particularly impressive play for their teams, they did not perform well all season. On the other hand, there are three Arsenal players in the team, and none from Manchester City or United. This is explained by the fact that Arsenal lack the strength in depth of either. No one player was brilliant all season for City or United; instead both teams looked to different players at different times of the season. Whereas Arsenal relied all season long on Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta and Robin van Persie, who were superb from start to finish despite a traumatic season at times.
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm (Swansea). Vorm was a reassuring and calm presence for Swansea, plucked from Holland on the eve of the season. He was a key figure as they
kept numerous clean sheets, particularly at home, and pivotal in a superb season for Swansea.
Right back: Kyle Walker. Energetic and talented, Walker’s technical skill and power was a constant threat for Tottenham going forward. He was key at the start of the season as Tottenham enjoyed a superb run of form which ultimately won them Champions League football (pending the Champions League final).
Left back: Benoit Assou Ekotto. By far the most consistent left back of this Premier League season, the Cameroon star is always composed, sometimes too calm, but always assured and dependable. Tottenham owed much to his rampaging down the left hand side to create width and allow Gareth Bale inside. When he and Walker were at their best Tottenham were the best team in the league, and it was the dip in form of others which led to their collapse towards the end.
Centre back: Fabricio Coloccini. Coloccini was a rock all season long for Newcastle, who lost Steven Taylor at the start of the season. Much of their good form was built on a solid defence, as Newcastle were essentially a counter attacking team. Without Taylor, and then Ryan Taylor, Newcastle’s defence was tested but the Argentine’s consistent brilliance held them together throughout the campaign.
Centre back: Laurent Koscielny. Vincent Kompany may have won more plaudits at Man City, but even with him in the team they were often conceding cheap goals at the back. Koscielny on the other hand held Arsenal together at a time when their world seemed to be crumbling. The former Lorient man’s assured and calm defending was authoritative at a time when Arsenal desperately lacked leaders, and the club’s resurgence during the season had as much to do with the Frenchman as anyone else.
Central midfield: Leon Britton. The Swansea midfielder was one of the league’s most prolific passers as Brendan Rodgers’ side passed around their opponents with style and skill. His ability to keep his team moving was one of the unsung stories of the season for the Swans.
Central midfield: Yohan Cabaye. Cabaye was one of the most effective players in the country after signing from Lille last summer. He provided many of Newcastle’s chances this season, particularly late in the campaign for Papiss Cisse and Hatem ben Arfa. He was in effect the club’s Luka Modric, and a superb job he did of it too.
Central midfield: Mikel Arteta. The ever hard working Arteta’s importance to Arsenal was underlined that they did not win a game without him until the last day of the season against West Brom. And even that day they conceded two goals. Arteta was instrumental though; his defensive positioning one of the underrated features of his game. Always tidy in possession, defensively solid, he gave Arsenal a balance all season long reflected in his own mix of technical brilliance and defensive reliability.
Right forward: Clint Dempsey. Antonio Valencia would have won this place hands down if he’d been playing all season but he did not, and so Dempsey takes the spot because of his consistency and goalscoring throughout the season. He and Moussa Dembélé, another strong contender for team of the season, were superb all year for Fulham.
Left forward: Gareth Bale. Bale was brilliant as ever for Tottenham this season as he helped them to a top four finish. His constant probing, skilful running and accurate finishing and passing were integral to Harry Redknapp’s side as they enjoyed a superb two thirds of the season. He kept up his high standards even as the team dropped theirs.
Striker: Robin van Persie. The Dutchman was in superb form throughout the season and his 30 goals made him the league’s top scorer. Arsenal were indebted to him. For all the work of others, it was van Persie’s ability to finish off their moves which ensured they won a 15th successive crack at the Champions League next season.