Premier League Team of the Year 2013-14

Jonas

 

Like this, but good, here’s my alternative team of the year. It’s inevitably worse, less witty and more tiresome than yours, but I don’t care.

 

Goalkeeper – Heurelho Gomes

It takes some effort to go from being first choice for your club and a squad mainstay for your country to playing back-up to a 42-year-old back-up keeper and losing out to Toronto’s number one on the international stage. Many would have struggled to pull it off, but Gomes has that never-say-die attitude needed to keep Richard Wright out of the starting XI.

 

Right-back – Ryan Taylor

“But Ryan Taylor left Newcastle ages ago, he’s probably retired, or playing in MLS or something. Actually it’s probably Australia. There’s a Newcastle there too, right? He can’t still be in the Premier League, right?” Wrong. He’s still there despite injuries restricting him to three games in the last two seasons, which itself is probably more than you’d thought he’d played. See, this is educational.

 

Centre-back – Garry Monk

A few weeks ago, when Ryan Giggs took over as Manchester United player-manager, people wracked their brains to try and think of the last person to fill that role at a Premier League club. Either they didn’t realise that Monk was still registered as a player for Swansea, or they didn’t care. Probably the latter in fairness.

 

Centre-back – Antolín Alcaraz

It takes a special kind of defender to see his teammates overachieving and deciding “I’ll do something about that”. Step forward Antolín Alcaraz. Clearly distraught by his contribution to Wigan’s survival in 2012, the Paraguayan sought to redress the balance by sabotaging new club Everton’s pursuit of Champions League football.

 

Left-back – Florian Marange

Sometimes when you join a new club you expect it to take a while to be given a game. However you probably rarely expect your new manager to make you ineligible for Premier League games. When Ian Holloway can’t even think of a woodland animal analogy when criticising you, you know it’s bad. Thankfully things have improved in the new year, as Marange has realised his name is an anagram of ‘Granola Fireman’.

 

Central midfield – Abou Diaby

Forget that meaningless Koscielny and Mertesacker stat, Arsenal have a 100% record this season in games where Abou Diaby has been named in the matchday squad. If he’d been fit the whole season then they’d have 111 points – you can’t argue with cold hard numbers like that.

 

Central midfield – Jonas Gutiérrez

He might have only made five league appearances this season, but the man’s Twitter game puts sees him lock down a midfield berth. A mesmerising blend of dog photos, Bon Jovi lyrics and so much more, El Galgo puts us all to shame.

 

Right midfield – Sylvain Marveaux (captain)

Not going to lie, I’ve only included him here so I can use the line ‘Captain Marveaux’.

 

Left midfield – Iago Aspas

Just look at him. The focus. The precision. The drive. And then this.

 

Striker – Jordan Bowery

Apparently a real person, with skin and bones and Premier League appearances and everything. He’s yet to live up to the illustrious career of his father, who scored one goal in a prolific 10-game spell for Team Hawaii in the 70s (this is actually true).

 

Striker – Moussa Dembélé

When we look back on Fulham’s season, we will remember two things: The first is Rene Meulensteen’s attempt at a Schrödingeresque teamsheet against Manchester United (I’m at least 70% sure Muamer Tanković isn’t real, or at the very least he’s part of an inside joke shared by only Meulensteen, Chris Morris and the Stonecutters).

Second is Martin Jol’s decision to pre-empt his sacking by calling upon Football Manager regens as early as November. In much the same way that Swansea tried to trick their fans into thinking Jordi Gómez hadn’t left by signing Jordi López, Jol fasttracked Dembélé into the first team despite him being nine years younger than his recently departed namesake, not to mention a different nationality and a different position. Did it work? See for yourself.

Premier League Round-Up 16/11/2010

Nemanja Vidic Celebrates Scoring 2nd goal with team mates Wes Brown and Federico Macheda Manchester United 2010/11 Aston Villa V Manchester United (2-2) 13/11/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

The Premier League threw up yet more surprise results this week, none more shocking than Sunderland’s 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge. The Black Cats had lost their last 11 games against Chelsea, but looked far more up for the game than their depleted opponents.

A fine individual effort from Nedum Onuoha was followed by second-half goals for Asamoah Gyan and the splendid Danny Welbeck, boosting Steve Bruce’s confidence in his side after the midweek draw with Tottenham but raising concerns for Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Title rivals Manchester United remain unbeaten in the league thanks to a late comeback against Aston Villa, but their seventh draw in 13 games means Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are three points adrift of Chelsea in third.

The points looked to be going the way of Gerard Houllier’s Villa after Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton found the net, but the hosts were made to pay for a hatful of missed chances as Federico Macheda halved the deficit and Nemanja Vidic headed home a late leveller.

Houllier can still be proud of his charges, though, with Stewart Downing marshalling a relatively-inexperienced midfield and almost earning his side a win.

Arsenal provide the meat in the United-Chelsea sandwich at the top after a 2-1 win away at Everton on Sunday.

Tim Cahill missed a glorious chance to give the Toffees the lead, and when he did finally find the net his team were trailing to strikes from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas.

Back-to-back wins provide a welcome relief to Arsene Wenger, after defeats against Shakhtar and Newcastle threatened to derail their season following a promising start.

An interesting dynamic was created at Eastlands as Manchester City and Birmingham played out a drab goalless draw.

The hosts will be disappointed with the draw despite it leaving them in the top four, while the visitors might see it as a point gained despite dropping into the bottom three as a result.

One of the main talking points will be Roberto Mancini’s decision to withdraw Carlos Tevez and introduce Gareth Barry, but in truth his side created some of their best chances after the Argentinian left the field.

Bolton are the latest team to step into the revolving door of fifth place, and proved how deserving they are of the position with a stunning attacking peformance for three quarters of their game at Molineux.

Johan Elmander’s fine solo effort was book-ended by a Richard Stearman own goal and Stuart Holden’s first goal in English football, although Owen Coyle may be disappointed with the lax defending which let in Kevin Foley and Steven Fletcher to narrow the deficit late on.

Defeat for Wolves in that game leaves them 19th in the table, five points from safety and only above West Ham on goal difference.

The Hammers missed a glorious chance to make up ground on their relegation rivals when they failed to convert any of their 17 shots on goal in a goalless draw at home to Blackpool.

It could have been even worse as former Upton Park favourite Marlon Harewood had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, but the home faithful will point to the denial of an early penalty appeal when Pablo Barrera was chopped down by Stephen Crainey.

May 03, 2010 - 05859439 date 03 05 2010 Copyright imago Victor Moses of Wigan Athletic Celebrates Scoring His Goal by completing A cartwheel Barclays Premier League Wigan Athletic v Hull City 3rd May 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football England Premier League 2009 Single cut out Action shot Vdig xmk 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd funny comic.

Wigan climbed out of the bottom three with a win against West Brom, who themselves are sliding in the wrong direction after one point from four games.

Victor Moses scored the only goal of the game after unselfish work from Charles N’Zogbia, and Albion failed to find an equaliser despite ending the game with three strikers on the field.

Perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend came at White Hart Lane, where Gareth Bale produced another virtuoso display to help Tottenham to a 4-2 win over Blackburn.

Bale scored two and made another, before late strikes from Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet made their own defensive shortcomings seem less embarrassing with a couple of late consolation goals.

In a battle between two sides rooted in mid-table, Stoke got the better of a dismal Liverpool outfit to leapfrog their opponents and move into the top half.

Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones netted as Liverpool looked a shadow of the side which beat Chelsea last week, and to add insult to injury they saw Lucas dismissed for two yellow cards.

The final game of the weekend will most likely be forgotten quickly by anyone who wasn’t at St James’ Park, and maybe even by some of those who were there.

Neither Newcastle nor Fulham lacked hunger, but both were lacking in the necessary spark to break the deadlock. Moussa Dembele came close when he hit the bar, but Fulham are missing the presence of Bobby Zamora up front as much as Newcastle missed Joey Barton’s midfield organisation.

Team of the week (4-4-2): Foster (Birmingham); Carr (Birmingham), Cathcart (Blackpool), Alcaraz (Wigan), Warnock (Aston Villa); Holden (Bolton), Fahey (Birmingham), Downing (Aston Villa), Bale (Tottenham); Welbeck (Sunderland), Fuller (Stoke)

Premier League Round-up 13/09/2010

This weekend showed once again why the Premier League is so popular, with one of the most thrilling encounters of recent years being played out at Goodison Park.

Manchester United were without Wayne Rooney for the trip to Everton, but – whatever Henry Winter tells you – his absence did not lessen their capacity to win the game. Dimitar Berbatov led the line well and scored the third goal which seemingly clinched victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, but Leighton Baines’ crosses caused havoc in the United box, allowing the hosts to score two injury-time goals and salvage a remarkable 3-3 draw.

Ferguson – who later saw his son’s team Preston throw away a similar lead to lose 4-3 at Burnley – must be concerned at his side’s failure to close out games, and he might begin to question the concentration of stand-in defenders Gary Neville and Jonny Evans. While the two are at opposite ends of their respective careers, they are perhaps equidistant from the pinnacle of their abilities.

Michael Essien

United’s late collapse allowed Chelsea to move four points clear at the top of the table with a comfortable 3-1 win against West Ham. Early goals from Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou meant the champions barely had to break sweat, as they sat back and allowed their hosts plenty of possession.

It is difficult to judge Chelsea’s start to the season based on the opposition they have faced so far, but you can only beat what is placed in front of you – something Manchester United have failed to do twice now.

While their rivals continue to hog the headlines, Arsenal are going about their business quietly yet effectively. The odd defensive hiccup remained in their 4-1 victory over Bolton, but Arsene Wenger’s side adjusted well to the loss of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie.

The scoreline was harsh on a Bolton side very much in the game until the laughable dismissal of Gary Cahill, but Owen Coyle’s side needed to capitalise more on their concerted spells of possession and take the chances presented to them. If you don’t do that, Arsenal will punish you.

The ‘big three’ were joined in the top four by Blackpool, who continued their fairytale start to the season with a surprisingly-comfortable 2-0 win at Newcastle’s St James Park.

Ian Holloway’s men were reliant on goalkeeper Matt Gilks to preserve the lead given to them by Charlie Adam’s first-half penalty, before DJ Campbell sealed the win in stoppage time. Toon Army manager Chris Hughton may be regretting his decision to leave new signing Hatem ben Arfa on the bench, with the midfield trio of Nolan, Smith and Barton failing to provide the necessary creative spark.

Elsewhere Fulham saw off a spirited but indisciplined Wolves outfit at Craven Cottage, in a game which will be remembered for a distressing injury suffered by Bobby Zamora. The England man’s leg snapped under a challenge from Karl Henry, bringing back memories of former Arsenal striker Eduardo’s horrific break in January 2008.

Moussa Dembele

But unlike Arsenal on that fateful day, Fulham were spurred on to record a hard-fought win, Moussa Dembele’s double placating Mark Hughes’ misery somewhat. His opposite number Mick McCarthy, meanwhile, will be concerned that Christophe Berra’s late red card is one of three which could have realistically been awarded against his side.

Another player to see red on Saturday was Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole, who did not even last half an hour against former club Wigan. Two yellow cards in the space of five minutes brought an early end to the combative midfielder’s afternoon for the second time this season.

£13m man Asamoah Gyan still came close to securing an unlikely three points for the 10 men of Sunderland, but his well-taken volley was cancelled out by an instinctive finish from Antolin Alcaraz, who turned in Tom Cleverley’s wayward shot for his first goal in Wigan colours.

1-1 seemed to be the scoreline of the weekend, with Manchester City’s tie against Blackburn and Tottenham’s trip to West Brom both ending in the same scoreline.

City will rue defensive errors and attacking complacency, as they made a meal of coming back into the game after Joe Hart gifted the opener to Nikola Kalinic. Roberto Mancini’s men had 20 shots on goal to Blackburn’s 4, but could not find a way past a determined Rovers back-line.

Chris Brunt

And Spurs were similarly guilty of gifting a goal to their opponents, with a static defence failing to respond when Marc-Antoine Fortune’s shot looped up and spun towards the back post, allowing Chris Brunt to equalise with a rare headed goal from all of a yard out.

Sunday’s televised game was not one for the purists, with Birmingham and Liverpool playing out a dull goalless draw. The hosts had the better chances, but Pepe Reina was equal to everything thrown at him by the Blues, while at the other end an uncharacteristically-negative selection from Roy Hodgson left Fernando Torres feeding off scraps for the most part.

Team of the week (4-2-3-1)*:

Reina (Liverpool); Kaboul (Tottenham), Jones (Blackburn), Dann (Birmingham), Cole (Chelsea); Song (Arsenal), Scharner (West Brom); Arteta (Everton), Fabregas (Arsenal), Adam (Blackpool); Berbatov (Man Utd)

*Team selected ahead of Monday night game between Aston Villa and Stoke

Follow me on Twitter

Become a fan of Pele Confidential