The Team of The Year is always a hotly debated subject amongst football supporters across the country. This season has been the most exciting in Premiership history, but who deserves to be in the best starting XI of the year? Here’s my choice for the best side from this campaign.
GK – David De Gea
To be fair, this position could be filled with a number of players. Butland, Lloris, Schmeichel, Adrian, Hart and Cech have all had very good campaigns. For me however, De Gea has done the most for his side to claim points for a United side who’ve fallen below expectations this season. Whether he’ll still be donning a United jersey next year is questionable, ones thing is for sure however.. He’ll be a big gap to fill should he depart Old Trafford.
CB – Toby Alderweireld
Spurs’ structure and rigid nature defensively, combined with certain players enjoying a fruitful campaign up the other end (which I’ll get onto later) has been the main reason behind their success. The Belgian centre back has been at the heart of the defence all season, and has demonstrated an array of skills that have warranted his inclusion in this side. Athletic, strong, versatile and comfortable on the ball, Alderweireld could well be a big part of Spurs’ revolution for years to come yet.
CB – Wes Morgan
The first of two Leicester centre halves, Wes Morgan’s upturn in fortunes has been almost as remarkable as his sides title challenge. Last year, Morgan was widely regarded as a disaster waiting to happen. Without meaning to sound over the top, comparing Morgan last year to Bambi on ice would be a slight insult to Disney’s much loved character. This year however, alongside Huth, Morgan has formed a truly formidable defensive partnership, similar in my opinion to great pairings in the past, such as Vidic and Ferdinand. A worthy inclusion.
CB – Robert Huth
Similar to Morgan, Robert Huth’s brand of physically imposing defensive work has been a treat for purists to witness this season. A traditional centre half, Huth’s playing style hasn’t changed throughout his career, but this year he’s reached another level. The sheer desire to win is clear, and alongside Wes Morgan, it’s no surprise the Foxes have grinded out so many tight victories.
CDM – Ngolo Kante
Sometimes, footballers are given strange metaphorical nicknames. However, Ngolo Kante truuly summarises the “engine” sort of footballer. Kante’s fitness levels truly are remarkable, and his persistence and energy in the heart of the Foxes midfield has again reaped it’s rewards throughout the season. Every great team needs a player who’s prepared to run himself into the ground doing the dirty work for the sake of the side, and in Kante that is exactly what Leicester have.
CDM – Eric Dier
Two years ago, even the most dedicated and knowledgeable of football supporters wouldn’t of known a huge amount about Eric Dier. Now however, he’s an established international quality player. Dier has provided great protection to the Spurs back-line and allowed some of the more creative players to flourish going forward without having to concern themselves as much with defensive duties.
CAM – Riyad Mahrez
I wouldn’t want to insult anyone who’s made it to this stage of the post by repeating the classic lines about Mahrez, however most of them make legitimate points. An absolute bargain of a signing, Mahrez has provided pace, skill, goals, assists and unpredictability when going forward – which is always a recipe for success. The stats and league positioning speak for themselves, as does Mahrez’ nomination for a player of the year award.
CAM – Mesut Ozil
Especially in the earlier stages of the season, the German playmaker demonstrated the quality he possesses. Some people have claimed his first campaign in England was below par – and I’d agree with that. I’d agree purely because Ozil has shown this year his true class. At points this year, Ozil has looked in a different league to the opposition and even some of his own teammates. A slightly quieter second half of the season, but that’s due to the whole Arsenal squad under performing in the second half of this season. A deserved place.
CAM – Dimi Payet
West Ham have secured an absolute gem in the Frenchman Payet. Proven in Ligue 1, the transition into the Premiership isn’t always a smooth one. However Payet has demonstrated his ability and class throughout this campaign. It’s very rare to recall a game in which Payet has disappointed – and this consistency exemplifies why West Ham could well be moving into their new stadium with European football to look forward to. Also, he’s not bad at free kicks I’ve heard.
ST – Jamie Vardy
Depressingly unoriginal internet jokes aside, Vardy has had a fantastic season for the title chasing Foxes. After breaking Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for goals in consecutive matches, Vardy’s goals haven’t dried up like many people (including myself) believed they would. A hunger to work for the side and ability when chances arise has seen Vardy make several appearances for his country, and he’s fighting it out with his strike partner in this team, and for England, for the golden boot.
ST – Harry Kane
Harry Kane for me could well be the future of England. He seems to have it all – every aspect that a forward would want. He’s only going to get better in the coming years, and this season he’s been spectacular. Fingers crossed this years Euros could be the tournament in which Kane truly proves his class at such a tender age, similar to the manner in which Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney introduced themselves on the international scene at major tournaments recently. Even if he doesn’t, you’d have to go a long way to find someone who doesn’t believe Kane warrants a TOTY place.