Everton

An Everton Fan’s …Premier League Dream Team 2011/2012

The PFA have already published their team of the year but here is an Everton Fan’s opinion of the best XI from the 2011/2012 Premier League season:

Joe Hart – England’s number one certainly has earned his international jersey this season with a string of impressive displays.  Hart’s performances have provided the basis for City boasting one of the best defensive records in the Premier League conceding only 29 goals all season.

In the 38 games he has played, Hart has kept 17 clean sheets and has become Mr reliable for the Sky Blues.  Hart is by far the best keeper playing in this country at the moment; a very welcome change for an England manager to have such a safe pair of hands at his disposal given the country’s problems with the number one position in the past decade – a solid foundation on which Roy Hodgson can build.

Kyle Walker – My opinion may have been swayed somewhat by his incredible free-kick against Bolton recently, but Walker has been one of the key reasons for Tottenham’s success this season.  Going forward, he is possibly the best right back in the league, if not in Europe, and despite not being as defensively astute as some, his blistering pace is a crucial asset in covering lost ground in both attacking and defensive situations.

Vincent Kompany – Possibly the easiest choice of all.  Kompany was recently crowned the Premier League’s Player of the season, and deservedly so.

Like his Manchester City compatriot, Joe Hart, the Belgian international has been an integral part of City’s defensive solidity and their consequent league winning campaign. He has been the central figure in a City back-line that has conceded an average of just over 0.7 goals per league game.

It was a fitting bonus for the City captain to score the winning goal in the pivotal game against local and title rivals Manchester United a few weeks ago, that swung the title in City’s favour.

Johnny Heitinga – A decision that may have been influenced by personal club loyalties (choosing Heitinga over Collocini) but Johnny has been outstanding this season; Everton’s best defender throughout who deservedly picked up the Everton Fan’s Player of the Year award.

Everton ended the season with the 3rd best defensive record in the Premiership behind only the two Manchester clubs, and Heitinga’s impeccable and consistent form has contributed hugely to these figures.  His calm head, vision, good passing range and ability to read the game have shown the Dutch international to be an elegant defender much in the same vein as Chelsea’s David Luiz; and often the instigator of his team’s attacking play.

Leighton Baines – The 27 year old more than warranted his inclusion in the PFA’s team of the year in his favoured left back position.  Baines has undeniably established himself as the Premier League’s leading left back bar none; even his international rival, England stalwart Ashley Cole has not come close to the form of Everton’s Baines this season.

If not for Cole’s experience, I’m certain Baines would have cemented his position in the England starting XI before now.  However, with a new manager at the helm seemingly willing to go against the status quo, Baines may just be in with a chance of a starting position at the Euros in the summer.

I am sure Baines would be the first to acknowledge that he has benefitted from the return of Steven Pienaar to the Everton line-up, giving further impetus to his attacking prowess adding to his already reliable defensive qualities.

Scott Parker – Mr consistent for both Tottenham and England, Scott Parker has been the focal point around which Spurs style of play has evolved, providing some of the best offensive play seen in the league this season, more particularly, in the first half of the campaign.

His presence gives the abundance of attacking talent Spurs have at their disposal the freedom to do just that; attack, attack, attack.  Parker’s dependable defensive capabilities, ceaseless work-rate and positional discipline allow others, notably Modric, to focus on play going forward.

Admittedly, Spurs form did wane in the final few months of the season; it is no surprise therefore to see that Parker was missing from the team sheet for much of that time due to injury.

Fingers crossed he will make a full recovery in time for the summer championships, although recent reports suggest this may not be the case.  If available, he will be an important part of an England team wanting to prove themselves after a disastrous World Cup campaign two years ago.

Clint Dempsey – I have written before about Dempsey and acknowledged the deserved acclaim and subsequent transfer interest the Texan midfielder has attracted this term.  The statistics speak for themselves; he has scored 23 goals in 46 games in all competitions, 17 of these goals coming in the league places him 4th in the table of top goal scorers behind only Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Sergio Aguero.

David Silva – If an award existed acknowledging the best player in the first half of the season, it would undoubtedly have gone to the diminutive Spaniard; as did the Premier League Player of the Month award back in October 2011.

Silva has become a magician of goal creation this season ending the campaign with 15 assists, more than any other Premier League player.  He has tantalised defences with his movement off the ball, intricate passing and ingenious reverse balls that have become a trademark of the City midfielder’s game.  Despite a dip in form in 2012, his performances overall have contributed to him emerging as one of the league’s most valued footballers.

Yaya Toure – Toure has been a different class since coming to the Premier League, and his powerhouse performances have surprised many in the Premier League given the role he had at former club Barcelona.  Initially, he was a highly disciplined defensive midfielder who rarely moved from the central area of the pitch, much as his successor at Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, does for both club and country.

However, in contrast to his former role, the Ivorian international has literally burst onto the scene with his powerful and pacey forward runs, often taking out 3, 4, or even 5 players to allow his City team mates the space to create goal scoring opportunities or indeed to open up similar chances for himself.

Toure must be credited in part for the form of Silva, his presence frees the little Spaniard giving him license to wander into any area of the pitch.  A midfield partnership that could rival any on the planet, except possibly for the magical Barcelona midfield.

Aguero – Unsurprisingly given their success, yet another City player has made it into my starting XI.  It was a toss-up between Rooney and Aguero given the similar number of goals the Manchester based forwards have accumulated this season, but despite Rooney’s slightly superior goal tally I feel his overall play has failed to live up to the standards set in previous seasons.  For this reason, Aguero’s overall contribution has outweighed that of Rooney this season.

Aguero has emerged as the Champion’s main striker, weighing in with a total of 23 league goals and 8 assists in the Argentinian international’s impressive first full season in the Premier League.

Undoubtedly, the return of fellow compatriot Carlos Tevez has further enhanced the impact of Aguero who ended the season in dramatic fashion by scoring the decisive last minute goal that secured the title for Mancini’s men.

Robin Van Persie – Many were surprised to see Kompany pick up the Premier League Player of the Season award ahead of Arsenal goal-machine Robin Van Persie, but the Gooner did pick up the PFA’s version of the same award and rightly so.

In the past, the talented Dutchman has suffered with injury which has impeded his ability to fully display his worth.  However, Van Persie has remained largely injury free this season and has reaped the benefits of an extended run in the side.  The Dutch forward has ended the campaign with 30 league goals to his name and the title of the Premier League’s top scorer; RVP alone has scored almost half of all Arsenal’s league goals this season proving he is pivotal to the club’s success.

Of those 30 goals, some have been spectacular, including the volley against Everton, a precise free-kick against Sunderland and yet another volley against Liverpool in March.  Check out this video showcasing the majority of RVP’s goals this season.

Rumours abound concerning Van Persie’s future at the Emirates but Arsene Wenger will do all he can to convince his most valuable asset to remain at the Gunners for next season at least.

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