The Premier League season took about six months to get going but when it did, it presented us with plenty of memorable moments – most notably from teams outside the top four.
Of course there was Sergio Aguero’s injury-time winner in one of the most dramatic last days ever as the title went to Eastlands but then there was also the great escape of Wigan, Newcastle’s march up the table and the entertaining football played by new boys Swansea and Paul Lambert’s rejuvenated Norwich City side, who carried on the momentum of back-to-back promotions with some stirring displays.
It is the usual drill for team of the season; only one player from each team and a standard 4-4-2 formation.
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
11/12 Apps: 37 | Goals: 0
An absolute steal at £1.5-million from Utrecht, Vorm’s Swans’ debut was a real baptism of fire at eventual champions Manchester City. It was one he came through with flying colours, despite the 4-0 reverse, the Dutch stopper keeping the score remotely respectable as the Citizens looked to run riot. The man dubbed ‘the penalty killer’ showed his worth throughout the season with points-winning displays against Wigan, Liverpool and Fulham, amongst others.
Right Back: Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
11/12 Apps: 37 | Goals: 2
Former Sheffield United youngster Kyle Walker really came into his own at Tottenham this season, earning full international honours and a number of accolades, all of which were thoroughly deserved. Walker joined Spurs alongside fellow Blades’ full back Kyle Naughton but he has far surpassed his colleague, who spent the campaign on loan at Norwich City. Walker’s pace down the flank allows him to cover the ground excellently and he showed his penchant for spectacular goals with strikes against Arsenal and Blackburn.
Left Back: Leighton Baines (Everton)
11/12 Apps: 33 | Goals: 4
Left full back Leighton Baines continues to be a model of consistency for Everton. The 27-year-old is in his fifth year at Goodison and his dependable displays once again helped David Moyes’ men finish ahead of rivals Liverpool in the Premier League table. It is no surprise that Baines has drawn interest from Manchester United as he has proven himself to be a capable understudy to Ashley Cole at international level. A tally of five goals in the campaign was a career best and only a late-season injury prevented the player from completing 100 consecutive games for the Toffees.
Centre Back: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
11/12 Apps: 34 | Goals: 2
It has taken time but Slovakian centre half Martin Skrtel has finally settled in the Liverpool line-up and his performances alongside fellow defender Daniel Agger mean that veteran Jamie Carragher can finally be put out to pasture. Skrtel started the season in fine form at both ends of the pitch and never looked back, scooping the club’s Player of the Year award at the end of the campaign. The former Zenit St Petersburg man was a key paet of the side that won the League Cup and were FA Cup runners-up.
Centre Back: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
11/12 Apps: 31 | Goals: 3
Premier League champions Manchester City have quality throughout their spine but in Belgian defender Vincent Kompany they have a true leader amongst men. It was no surprise that City’s poor spell coincided with Kompany’s absence from the side and his calmness and ability to marshal the troops was sorely missed. And when the Citizens needed someone to edge them in front of neighbours United, it was Kompany who popped up with the vital winner – the player later being named Premier League Player of the Year.
Right Wing: Juan Mata (Chelsea)
11/12 Apps: 34 | Goals: 6
Chelsea may have scooped an unlikely Champions League victory, as well as the FA Cup but their league form left a lot to be desired. However, one major plus point for the West Londoners was the way new signing Juan Mata settled into the side following his big money move from Valencia. Deployed on either wing, in the hole or on the edge of an attacking three, Mata provided the guile and vision that Chelsea have so sorely lacked in recent times and his 13 assists went a long way to earning him the club’s Player of the Year award, as well as being influential in those FA Cup and Champions League runs.
Central Midfield: Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
11/12 Apps: 37 | Goals: 17
American midfielder Clint Dempsey goes from strength-to-strength in the Fulham side and became a talismanic figure for the Cottagers over the course of the campaign. The first American to hit 50 Premier League goals in his career, Dempsey turned in some sparkling performances, showcasing his prowess from set pieces and ability to ghost into the box late to secure vital points for Martin Jol’s side. in fact it was a record-breaking season for the US international, who surpassed Louis Saha’s 13 goals in a season for Fulham and became the first American to hit a Premier League hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Newcastle in January.
Central Midfield: Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
11/12 Apps: 30 | Goals: 2
After a few seasons of uncertainty, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is finally realising his potential and has become the lynchpin of the Red Devils’ engine room. The former West Ham and Tottenham player has been an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side throughout the campaign as is a rarity among English midfielders; one who is calm under pressure and doesn’t have an aversion to short, simple passing and retaining possession, which makes his exclusion from the England squad for so long all-the-more puzzling.
Left Wing: Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)
11/12 Apps: 30 | Goals: 8
The former Huddersfield and Stockport winger settled into the Premier League like a duck to water with eight goals in just 23 starts for the Canaries. His direct running, pace and trickery is a problem for defences and the supply line he can deliver was ideal for target man Grant Holt.
Striker: Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)
11/12 Apps: 38 | Goals: 30
For 2/3 of the season it looked as if Arsenal were ready to implode and slide disastrously down the table, whilst making a mess of every cup competition they were entered in. One saving grace for the campaign was the form of Dutchman Robin Van Persie, who dragged the Gunners out of so many holes with match-winning performance and goals of supreme quality.
Striker: Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United)
11/12 Apps: 14 | Goals: 13
There are very few players in the history of the Premier League who have made an impact, in such a short space of time, like Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse. The Senegalese international had to wait three weeks for his Toon debut but wasted no time in hitting the back of the net, breaking club records left, right and centre as he ended the campaign with 13 goals from his 14 outings. It is the quality of Cisse’s goals that has really caught the eye though; whether it’s from five yards or 35, left or right, the former Metz striker finds a way of hitting the back of the net and deservedly scooped Goal of the Season honours for his stupendous strike against Chelsea in early May.