Saturday, 22 June 2013

EPL Team of The Year Analysis + Review:

The announced EPL TOTY, featuring red-hot Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie. 

This blog post goes into detail about the players that were picked for the EPL TOTY this season, whether they were good or not and the players that deserve to be on the bench or who were notably absent from the team line-up. 

So firstly, we start off with the heavily criticized Manchester United goalkeeper in the form of Spanish David De Gea.  

As soon as he arrived in Manchester for around £20million pounds in July 2011, he knew that he had big boots to fill in the name of Edwin Van De Sar who had not only played for the club consistently well over a number of years, but had become a fans favourite to millions over that period of time. 

Last season would not have been his best as he was still getting used to the pressures and physical side of England, where he made many mistakes but you could quite clearly see that he was improving gradually especially towards the end of the season.

This season however, he has been playing much better and making much less mistakes as a result. 
Yes, if you look in more detail he has not had that much pressure to deal with in terms of teams that have top-class strikers apart from the two matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League, where he played phenomenally to deny Ronaldo and co on many occasions during both legs. United lost, but he was definitely their MOTM.  

He has proved his doubters wrong, and shown that this could just be the start of his illustrious career at Old Trafford where he has the potential to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world later on in his career. 

Potential: David De Gea has the potential to become one of the world's best goalkeepers.

For club and country: De Gea has impressed at U-21 level for Spain, and is first choice. 

Next, we have the defence.

The two full-backs in Manchester City's right-back Pablo Zabaleta and Everton left-back Leighton Baines.  

Zabaleta has had to almost lead the back line for Manchester City during Belgian centre-back Vincent Kompany's injury-plagued season. 

He has impressed for City throughout this campaign with solid performances and consistent runs and defensive work-rates, and this is why he is in the TOTS (team of the season). 

Leader: Pablo Zabaleta is the only City player in the TOTS but has played well this season. 

Meanwhile, Leighton Baines has been influential for Everton, helping them at the back and being dangerous on the wings. He has contributed massively scoring a couple of crucial goals and motivating The Toffees to challenge for a European spot.  

Influential figure: Baines has been crucial to Everton's season in both attack and defence.

Consistent performances for Everton have pushed him forward as a contender for the England left-back slot.

Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand has been included in this year's team of the season due to consistent and solid performances at the back in a rather shaky United back four.
He has been one of the standout performers for United this season, especially at the back with captain and fellow defender Nemanja Vidic out injured for the most part, Ferdinand has had to lead the back line at times in a rather young squad. 

Natural born leader: Rio has been solid and consistent at the back for United this season, deserving of his place.

Meanwhile, Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen has been an absolute revelation since his move from Ajax last summer.

He has been one of the standout signings for Spurs over the past decade, and that is an under-statement... This season he has been solid as a rock at the back, while bombing forward also to help counter attacks and lurking in the box for set pieces including corners.. he has scored 7 goals in 48 appearances this season, which is significant for a centre-back...

Standout performer: Jan Vertonghen has been solid consistently this season in his first season in England.

Not a surprise: Jan Vertonghen became only the second Belgian player to win the Player of the Month in March.

Well deserved for a solid defender in his first season in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, huh?

Now onto the midfielders...

Michael Carrick has been one of the most under-rated midfielders in the EPL over the past decade, and this season he has shown more than ever why United spent £18million pounds on him in 2008.

This season, United have had a weaker midfield presence than usual in recent years, with Carrick being a standout performer both in defensive and attack for the reigning champions. His consistent performances have made him a regular starter in both the United squad, and the England squad also, whereas he was overlooked to people such as Frank Lampard, Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard in the past but has impressed the world with his great attributes.

English defensive midfielder Michael Carrick has been consistently performing well this season for United

Key role: Carrick helped United secure their record 20th title by stabilizing the midfield throughout the season

Impressive: His performances have earned him a regular role in the England squad

Passing, vision and the ability to read the game properly are all reasons why Carrick has been included in the 2012-13 TOTS, and it is well deserved for a 31-year-old who has not had much recognition over his footballing career. 

Meanwhile, Chelsea's Spanish playmaker Juan Mata has been part of the reason why they have qualified for the Champions League in many ways... his goals, attacking flair, consistent showings and being able to pick out a pass everywhere around the pitch shows one of The Blues best signings of the Abramovich era.

Superb: Mata has been excellent for The Blues in helping them securing 3rd place and win the Europa League

Him and Lampard are the playmakers of the team; without them, the team is weak.

On the right wing, we have much hyped Belgian winger Eden Hazard who has had an interesting first season in the Premier League after his £32million move from Lille last summer. He was wanted by over 5 clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona but he chose to sign for the European champions at the time - Chelsea.

His move was heavily critisced from the start, as he could have moved to much stronger teams but chose a team that won the Champions League purely by luck yet struggled to get into the top 4 in their own league...

In his first few months, his performances were shaky and he was inconsistent frequently throughout the season.

However, having said that Hazard has shown attacking genius at times also, notably his solo effort against West Ham earlier on in the year, and his sublime strike against Manchester United in the FA Cup. 

Flashes of brilliance: Belgian winger Eden Hazard has shown flashes of attacking genius in his first season.

His place in the TOTS is slightly controversial as players such as Fellaini, Cazorla and Michu would have been preferred, but he has shown flashes of brilliance in his first season nonetheless and you can see why he has been chosen...
Hopefully he can start next season with a bang and play consistently well from the start without too much pressure.

The next player on the TOTS squad is definitely not inconsistent by any stretch of the imagination... Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has been voted Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year thanks to his amazing displays week in week out for Spurs, helping them to challenge for a Champions League spot up until the final day of the season when Arsenal snatched it right at the death... 

Talisman: Gareth Bale has been influential in a Spurs side that has been lacklustre this season, apart from a couple of players.

He has scored 21 goals in the EPL alone this season, while making a couple of assists and helping his side in general on many occasions.
The Welsh winger has sparked a lot of interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and PSG among other clubs after his amazing performances shocked the world and England throughout the season. 

Now the strikers... 

Luis Suarez scored 23 goals this season for Liverpool, as he undoubtedly performed his best in a Liverpool shirt, stunning the world with his skills, consistency in-front of goal, trickery and pace over the short distance to scare defenders..

Constant threat: Liverpool will have to do everything to keep Suarez, who reportedly wants a transfer.

He has unsurprisingly attracted attention from many of Europe's biggest clubs including Bayern, Real Madrid and PSG and despite his controversy over the Ivanovic biting incident, Liverpool will have to do a lot to keep their prized gem next season.. 

Manchester United's summer signing Robin van Persie was the difference between winning their record 20th title, and conceding a second title loss to local rivals Manchester City.

Signing of the season: Robin van Persie has been the difference between glory and failure for United...

Age is just a number: van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, at age 29..

He scored 26 goals in the EPL, totalling 30 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions as well as winning the Golden Boot for the 2nd year running, with a second team from the one last season - Arsenal.

Here is my TOTS team:
GK - De Gea/Begovic
LB - Baines
CB - Vertonghen and Ferdinand
RB - Zabaleta

CDM - Carrick and Fellaini
CAM - Cazorla
CF - Bale
ST - Suarez and van Persie

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