Premier League Team of the Season 2010-2011: Part 2.

I’m sure you’ve all read last week’s post . Voting is still open, so be sure to click the link to cast your vote. In the meantime, have a read of part 2 of the series: Defenders. Please use the poll to select the defenders you’d like to make up the back four in the team of the season.  

David Luiz:

A bit too much of late comer to make the team of the season probably, but included just because I am really impressed with his start at Chelsea. He may look like a cartoon character (Sideshow Bob as if you needed to ask) but he certainly doesn’t play like one. Strong, determined, tenacious, good passing ability and an eye for a goal. Luiz appears to have it all. Fernando Torres may have grabbed the headlines on deadline day, but Luiz looks as good, if not, a better signing. 

Ashley Cole:

Cole won the England fans’ player of the year this year. For a player whose personality is so universally hated that is some achievement. Cynics would argue it’s because the rest of the England squad were so poor, but you cannot deny, Chelsea and England are worse off without him. Another outstanding season for the man fans love to hate.

 

 

Jose Enrique:

Not often you’d associate “Newcastle” with “good defender” but Enrique is quality. He looked out of his depth initially when he joined the club, but after settling during their spell in the Championship he has been a revelation this year. He has seemingly limitless energy getting up and down the wing. He has a devilish delivery that, before his departure, Andy Carroll was profiting from regularly. It is no wonder teams in the top 5 are reportedly courting his services.

Martin Kelly:

Glen Johnson is England’s 1st choice right back. When Kelly broke into the Liverpool team, Johnson was forced to play left back to accommodate the youngster such was the impact he made.  Kelly has shown that he can make a tackle, but also that he is capable of getting forward and delivering some dangerous crosses. Had he not got injured I suspect an England call up would not have been too far away. In an age where big clubs are being criticised for not giving youth a chance, Kelly has certainly grabbed his. 

 

Nemanja Vidic:

Vidic’s inclusion in this list is as much to do with how much United miss him when he’s absent as it is to do with his performances when he plays. He is not a complicated player. He is a big, tough mountain of a man who heads, blocks, kicks and stops everything he can. He is a good, foreign version of the traditional English centre half. Some say United have looked fragile defensively at times this year. That is down to the absence of this man more than any other. If you think United have struggled, imagine the situation they’d be in had Vidic not played at all.

Vincent Kompany:

Solid. Consistent. Unspectacular. Effective. Carlos Tevez gets most of the headlines for Man City (apart from the regular Balotelli misbehaviour ones) but simply put, City cannot do without Kompany. He was actually a Mark Hughes signing but has really flourished under Roberto Mancini. City are miserly at home and away conceding very few goals (27 in total). Joe Hart is obviously highlighted as a factor in this, but Hart would be far more exposed were he not in such accomplished, ahem, Kompany. 

 

Branislav Ivanovic:

Equally at home at full back or centre back, he has been Mr Reliable for Chelsea this year. He is hardly one of their more fashionable names but a player who has well and truly earned his place in the side. With some of Chelsea’s aging squad struggling for form or with injuries he has been a relative constant with his solid displays in their back four. I suspect he will be moved out to right back now David Luiz has arrived, but he will not feel too threatened by Chelsea’s other options for that position. And why should he? 

Johann Djourou:

Arsenal’s defensive problems are well documented. It seems their defence is about as sturdy as a Sky Scraper made from biscuits. However, as with many of the other nominations for defenders, their plight would be far worse were Djourou not in their ranks. With Thomas Vermalen’s inability to stay fit and Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to buy anyone half decent to fill in, Djourou has at times cut a lonely figure in the Arsenal back line. However, this has not stopped him turning in a series of masterful displays. Statistically, up until February, Arsenal conceded a goal every 54 minutes in games Djourou missed, compared with a goal every 251 minutes when he played. Coincidence? Perhaps not. 

Leighton Baines:

Now the preferred understudy for England’s left back spot. If not for the excellence of Ashley Cole he would have a lot more caps. Everton have had a poor season, but Baines has remained top class. He is a superb crosser of the ball, an energetic and competent defender and a very big threat at set pieces. His superb form may mean that David Moyes struggles to hang onto him this summer.

 

Brede Hangeland:

Periodically linked with a move away from Craven Cottage, he is a defensive rock at the heart of the Fulham defence. Hangeland is a colossus in the air and surprisingly handy on the deck too. He is a modern version of what Sami Hyypia was during the Finn’s pomp. Hangleand also chips in with his fair share of goals. Whilst he has not had the platform to showcase his skills that he had during Fulham’s Europa League heroics, it should not detract from yet another top quality season from the big Scandinavian.

Next week: Midfielders.

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14 Comments

  1. Richard Stearman.

  2. I think Bacary Sagna deserves a mention for right back.

  3. DT, I suspect for Richard Stearman I could easily swap in the phrase “any Wolves player.” Am I right?!

    Gravesy, any reason why Sagna could be included? Present a convincing case and I’ll consider it.

    Thanks for reading, voting and commenting. Just remember it’s only my opinion!

  4. Gary Cahill? Destined for bigger things this summer after a couple of consistenly impressive seasons.

  5. Just wanted to answer why i didn’t include a couple of the suggested other players:

    Michael Dawson: I almost included him, as everytime i’ve seen him play for Spurs he has been excellent. However, he has spent a large portion of the season injured. For that reason i thought it best to leave him out.

    Bacary Sagna: I don’t feel that he has done anything out of the ordinary. Comparatively speaking, other defenders have been consistently excellent to a higher standard than Sagna. That is not to say he hasn’t impressed, just that i feel others have done more. Obviously i am open to suggestion, but it would need a decent case for him.

    Gary Cahill: I’m sorry to admit that i haven’t seen an awful lot of him. On the rare occasions i have seen him he has played well, but i simply haven’t seen enough of him for him to force his way into this list.

    Thanks for the feedback people. Keep it coming. Remember, you can vote for up to 4 defenders at a time.

  6. seems odd that you included David Luiz for playing 4/5 games, yet did not included Dawson who in your own words has played ‘excellent’ but missed some of the season? Looking forward to the midfield selection

  7. It’s a very fair point. My inclusion of Luiz was massively self indulgent. It’s that simple. I never expected anyone to vote for him (although people have) I merely put him in because I like the look of him and have enjoyed him achieving cult status straight away. Dawson missing out was because of the question marks over his fitness detracting from his achievements. It might seem stupid and a little harsh, but there you go!

  8. I should have pushed my case for Sagna! He got into the PFA team of the year so can’t have been that bad. I reckon fellow professional always rate quiet and efficient defenders. Bit like the Bevan Maricons of this world…

  9. There’s no doubting Sagna has had a good season. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have made the PFA team. You have to remember that this list is purely my opinion. Some of my choices will undoubtedly be a bit left field because my perception of the game is different to other peoples’. Personally, i wanted to acknowledge the contributions by others as i felt theirs were more significant or eye catching. You may see it differently, but it’s my blog dammit!

  10. Djourou’s clean-sheet stats with Arsenal are very impressive – a vastly underrated defender. Much like Kompany, he has been seriously impressive this year. Vidic has been there for manU through Rio’s injury-woes (and the lack of a clear-cut first-choice RB), and United are still in the hunt for two trophies. Leighton Baines has shone for an injury-hit Everton side, goals and assists to go with his usual defensive solidity. (Agree with Enrique earning a mention, he’s been quietly impressive). Thought Stoke’s Robert Huth might have been in with a shout though… several goals to go with (just about) mid-table solidity and an impending FA Cup final appearance??

    Djourou – Kompany – Vidic – Baines

  11. Thanks for your comments SportingBlogs. Greatly appreciated!

    The stat about Djourou is pretty good. I knew he’d done well but didn’t realise how well until i researched for this post. It’s funny though, most of the time when people talk about Arsenal defensively it’s to comment on their goalkeeper or to state how much they miss Thomas Vermalen. It’s rare that Djourou is praised but the stats speak for themselves.

    About Vidic you are spot on. His presence has been even more important due to Ferdinand’s injury problems. You wonder where they’d be had Vidic been missing as well.

    Leighton Baines has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for Everton. The thing about defenders these days is that a lot of the so called best in the world are superb at attacking, but pretty suspect defensively. Hell, Ashley Cole was for a large chunk of his career. The best thing about Baines is that he might not be Dani Alves in attack but he’s decent enough. He’s also solid enough defensively. It’s rare to couple the two these days. Good on set pieces as well.

    I see what you’re saying about Huth, however i don’t feel that he has contributed enough to edge ahead of the others.
    As you state, Stoke are a mid-table side. Whilst he has undoubtedly played his part, it is not as though they have exceeded expectations as a result of his efforts. I feel all of the others HAVE exceeded expectations. Either by helping thir clubs to a position they might not otherwise have occupied, or because they have really stood out personally on a level i did not see them reaching. In my opinion, (and it is just my opinion) Huth and Stoke have been as expected: Mid table, not too inspiring, and essentially a big lump who can head and kick a ball. Possibly a bit harsh, but that’s how i see it!

    Thanks for reading and commenting, keep the feedback coming!

  12. Surprised Vidic isn’t romping this. He has been outstanding. I’d have given him player of the year.

    RCM

  13. I suspect Vidic not running away with it is due to people’s feelings about the club he plays for as opposed to anyone doubting his performances this season!

  14. The poll on this is now closed. The results will be announced shortly.


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