So, in keeping with that great tradition of end-of-season blogging, here are the eleven players that have impressed us most regularly over the last ten months in a 4-5-1/4-3-2-1 (sort of) formation. And yes, you’re right, I know nothing about football/am an idiot/am incredibly biased/am behind a UEFA conspiracy against your club.
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United)
He may be into his 41st year and set to retire at the end of the season, but van der Sar has rolled back the years in recent months to produce some of the very best form of his career. A key component in the Manchester United machine, the Dutchman’s supreme reflexes and dominance of his penalty area have been one of the major reasons behind his team’s success this season.
Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s back four may have looked flimsy on occasion this season, but Sagna has been one of the few reliable defensive personnel that Arsène Wenger has been able to call upon. Defensively sound and improving the attacking side of his game all the while, Sagna has been a dynamic figure for Arsenal this season and probably the most impressive right back in the division.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)
Manchester United have had more than their fair share of defensive injuries to contend with this season, but Vidic has been the one constant at the heart of a regularly shifting back four. Arguably better than ever and combining significant brain with his undoubted brawn, the Serbian has led by example this season and has further built upon his reputation as one of the finest centre backs in world football.
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
Quick, strong in the tackle and positionally intelligent, Kompany has blossomed into a genuinely world-class centre back over the past year. Arguably Manchester City’s best player this season, the Belgian has become a defensive colossus and a natural leader amongst a complex group of players. Kompany is now comfortably one of the best defenders in the league.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Everton may have struggled for form during the first half of the season, but Baines has enjoyed a rich vein of form throughout the campaign. One of the most dynamic full backs in the division, Baines combines his defensive know-how with a sizeable offensive threat, his pinpoint delivery from the left flank being one of Everton’s main attacking weapons this season. It can’t be long before he starts to put Ashley Cole’s regular place in the England side under more serious threat.
Cheik Tioté (Newcastle United)
Not an awful lot was expected of Tioté when Newcastle signed him from FC Twente last summer, but the Ivorian central midfielder has been an absolute revelation at St James’ Park. A tirelessly physical presence who combines defensive intelligence with a supreme passing ability, Tioté has been Newcastle’s inspirational midfield heartbeat and quite possibly the best and most consistent newcomer to the division this season.
Scott Parker (West Ham United)
It’s been a disastrous season at Upton Park, but Scott Parker has emerged from the campaign with his reputation greatly enhanced after countless excellent performances in the West Ham midfield. A natural leader who has led from the front with lung-bustingly creative displays, Parker’s consistency was recognised as he was awarded the Football Writers’ Player of the Year title recently. Should The Hammers find themselves relegated at the end of the season then little blame will be laid at Parker’s door, his form being perhaps the only reason why Avram Grant’s side haven’t already been consigned to The Championship.
Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur)
Gareth Bale may have won the PFA Player of the Season gong, but there are many who believe that it is Modric who has been Tottenham’s best player over the last ten months. Tenacious and technically supreme, Modric has been the creative heartbeat of Harry Redknapp’s side this season while also proving more than able to hold his own physically despite his relatively small stature. It’s been yet another deeply impressive campaign from the Croatian.
Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
Dempsey’s inclusion may raise eyebrows amongst some, but the American has been in superb form all season for a Fulham side that has played some attractive football in recent months. A player who combines technical excellence with grit and determination, the Texan has produced some stunning moments of individual brilliance as well as being The Cottagers’ offensive catalyst. He may not get as much credit as his contemporaries at some of the league’s biggest club’s, but Dempsey’s level of performance deserves much praise and recognition.
Nani (Manchester United)
Quite how Nani didn’t make the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year is something of a mystery, Manchester United’s Portuguese winger having been in sparkling form all season. Nine goals and eighteen assists have seen Nani become United’s major creative influence in 2010/11, the once erratic midfielder continuing along the steep upward curve of improvement that he has enjoyed since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. The current United team may not be a particularly fine vintage, but Nani’s performances would have made him at home in any of Ferguson’s great sides.
Carlos Tévez (Manchester City)
Tévez may have struggled with injuries and personal issues in the latter part of the season, but the striker’s form for the majority of the campaign has been little short of exceptional. A tireless, bustling presence in attack, the Argentine has scored nineteen goals in twenty-seven league appearances and been the major driving force behind City’s push for the top four. Without doubt the most impressive striker in the Premier League this season.
Substitutes: Ali Al-Habsi (Wigan Athletic), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Robert Huth (Stoke City), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), Rafael Van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur), Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Didier Drogba (Chelsea).