Premier League Dream Team (so far!) – Part 1 – Back Line
Now here’s the debate. Everyone has their own opinion, backed up with facts and stats as you can find them to support everything (so say 93% of the public :p). What is this seasons ‘team of the year’ based on Premiership performance? Key factors in my opinion must include consistency, ability, importance to their particular teams cause and the memorable moments they have provided us with. I know that everyone will not agree with all of my choices but hope that you can see my reasoning behind them. Feel free to slate or applaud my decisions below.
The usual suspects would always pop up here; Cech, Reina, Steady Eddie, Hart etc. For me, it’s Ben Foster. The former Utd youngster was written off by Sir Alex and shipped off to Birmingham (poor sod!) for £6 million at the start of the season. Big ‘Eck needed a replacement for Joe Hart who City had decided would become their No.1 and so they plumped for the former Stoke City stopper. Foster had to suffer the indignity of being told he was not only not good enough for Utd and that at international level, he was behind Rob Green and David James in the pecking order – ouch! To bounce back from that takes real character and his performances this season have been nothing short of sensational. His performance to almost single-handedly keep champions Chelsea at bay in City’s 1-0 win at St. Andrews in November was of the highest quality and has rightly put him back in the mind of Capello’s thinking for England and meanwhile showed the rest of the division that the champions were beatable (and we all know what happened then). That gaff against West Ham in the Carling Cup was horrendous but this is based on Premiership performance alone.
This is a difficult area to judge in that no-one has really seemed to stand out. Ivanovic has been good in what has been a poor Chelsea team, Sagna has impressed and Rafael has really started to show some of the potential we all can see that he has and will certainly be a quality player for years to come. A mention must also go to Nedum Onuoha (spelling suggestions please!) who has been excellent on-loan at Sunderland – surely Brucey will try make that permanent. One of the biggest dissapointments has got to be Glenn Johnson – how can he claim to be a full back? Not only a full back but a £19 million full back! His main attribute was his attacking prowess down the flank but this has been of a very poor standard this season. Coupled with this, the fact that he cannot defend for toffee and would be exploited by many a pub team winger and it can be seen why he is not worthy of consideration. So, as for the winner of this coveted (ha) prize, my vote goes to Spurs missing man, Alan Hutton. He was the forgotten man at the start of the season, Harry with all the good looks of a teddy bear having suffered a stroke, decided in his infinite wisdom that Corluka was the better player. Not any more. At least not up until a few weeks ago when Hutton has suddenly seemed to vanish off the face of the earth! A couple of sightings have been reported at London Zoo, but it turned out it was just a shaved monkey. There has however, been nothing primitive about his crossing this season. He has provided an excellent outlet for Spurs and with a giraffe called Crouchie to aim for in the middle, he has delivered consistently assured performances. Fierce and determined in the tackle, if he is ever found again, he could play a major role in Spurs run-in.
Again the obvious names will be lambasted around – Cashley ‘rent boy’ Cole, Patrice Evra, Wayne Bridge (that is a joke by the way!) There is 1 player who has really stood out in this area for me though (no not Paul Konchesky) and that is Newcastle’s Jose Enrique. The Spaniard has been consistently solid and really shown that he has another level to his game. Rumours continue to circulate linking the 25 year old with a big move in the summer. Obese Geordie wannabee fat cat Mike Ashley and his Cockney Mafia puppet Alan Pardew are understandably keen to tie the Valencia-born full back down to a long term deal as his current one runs out next year. Ashley will be sweating even more than normal as Enrique has stated that he will not enter discussions about a new deal until at least the end of season. With Liverpool and Aston Villa sniffing around, Ashley will want to make sure that if Enrique does want to leave, Newcastle can get as much as possible for him to line his XXXL pockets.
Lots of contenders here. For Birmigham, Roger Johnson and Scott Dann have both been colossal for the Blues. Gary Cahill at Bolton and Ryan Shawcross of Stoke have added their names to the list of no-nonsense English centre halves. Michael Dawson has looked as dependable as ever in his 14 league appearances this season but again seems to be keen on keeping Woodgate and Ledley ‘one-knee’ King company on the treatment table. Of the other usual suspects, Rio has looked shaky, JT has been exposed when up against pace yet always seems to get away with fouling the man, Carragher is past his best (apart from that amazing performance at Chelsea). Despite the decline of his usual central defensive partner, Nemanja Vidic has been his usual bullish self. An absolute bargain for £7 million (the same price as Bebe!), the solid Serb was rewarded for his top drawer performances with the captains armband for Utd this season and his performances have since stepped up another level. A healthy return of 4 goals so far demonstrates his ability in both boxes. A fearsome character and typical hard man, makes him my choice for the first position at centre back. Viva la Vida! In defence, I would partner him with Vincent Kompany. As much as it pains me to pick a City player, the Belgian has looked rock solid and has really made that place his own alongside Kolo ‘where have my ears gone’ Toure. If there was a league for odd-looking defenders, City would walk it with the elongated forehead of Kompany, the pug-like features of Toure and the Klingon Lescott. Maybe that is why Kompany wins everything in the air….. Anyway, I digress, back to the issue at hand and a major part of the reason why City have become so good at shutting up shop (oh and the fact they have an Italian manager) is down to the displays of Kompany.
Look out for part two where we will look at the midfield and strikers. So let me know what you think and who you think has really stood out at the back for you so far……
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