The English Premier League has been as one-sided as a battle of the sexes at a Justin Bieber concert, Manchester United have marched through to the title on the back of some great and some average play. The battle for 3rd to 5th has been the most exciting race in recent seasons, while Everton will, in all likelihood, finish above Liverpool for a second consecutive season. QPR and Reading will go down with Wigan, Villa and Stoke all putting their hands up as a possible joiner. For me 11 players stuck out over the course of the season and as a result they are now presented in the All Things Jabu EPL Team of the Year.
GK – Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
Yes he may have been the keeper for the bottom side in the Premier League, but there were countless games that QPR should possibly have lost by four or five goals. Cesar showed his class in a tough time and probably will find himself back in a Champions League playing side in the not too distant future, I know Id happily take him at Arsenal.
RB – Rafael da Silva (Manchester United)
One of the twins has truly gone on to make the most of his incredible talent. Rafael is comfortable enough playing either on the left or on the right of the back four. Throughout the course of the season he was constantly the top player in the Manchester United back four and was a key component of the march to the title.
CB – Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
I was often on the bandwagon of those that mocked Chelsea for buying Ivanovic. And although in this team he may have to wear arm protection, Ivanovic would in all likelihood make any of the 19 other EPL teams starting line-up. He has had a fantastic season and adds a good goal scoring threat to his defensive stability.
CB – Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
Vincent Kompany is probably the best captain in the English game right now. He leads his team with the kind of chest thumping, heart racing, screaming leadership that is missing from a lot of teams across the premier league. Manchester City would have got a lot closer to defending that title if a few of those other multi-millionaires performed with an ounce of the heart displayed by their skipper.
LB – Leighton Baines (Everton)
For me, Leighton Baines is the best left back in Europe right now. He has great skill in defence, making some truly top class tackles. But his ability to add to the attack is exceptional. He has created more goal scoring opportunities than any other player in the league, his set ball delivery could teach many a player a thing or two.
RM – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Juan Mata is one of the most gifted players in the Premier League. The gifted Spaniard has the ability to turn a game inside out with a change of pace, a change of direction or a perfectly placed pass. He has the vision to place balls into corridors that no other player can find. He also has a knack for scorings some great goals himself. Still the one transfer Arsene Wenger must truly rue missing out on.
CM – Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Michael Carrick doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves. The midfielder does the boring work required in front of the back four, but his distribution is outstanding and he offers Manchester United the kind of platform on which the exciting forward pack can launch attacks from. Kagawa, Rooney, Hernandez and co, all benefit from the work that Carrick does. The unsung hero for the Red Devils. I think in fairness, it was when he met me in July that he became fully inspired.
CM – Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
Santi Cazorla will arguably be the best signing of the season. While he has fallen back a bit in terms of performance now, he is Arsenal’s top scorer and creates a fantastic amount of opportunities for his team. His close control is simply outstanding and his ability to ride through four or five tackles (often ludicrous) is second to none in the EPL.
LM – Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham Bale have ridden their luck, performed well and are destined to finish the season back in the Champions League for only the second time ever. The reason for this is somewhat down to Andre Vilas-Boas and his impressive management, but it is largely down to Bale and his run of form. If ever a team were dependent on one player, its Tottenham and Gareth Bale. Of course this will probably lead to Barcelona talking about Bale’s Catalan DNA or some other nonsense to try and sign him.
CF – Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
Robin van Persie’s form may have dipped heavily since the turn of the year, he may have missed simple chances in United’s FA Cup and Champions League defeats, but this list is the EPL team of the year and when Man Utd were in a pickle this season, RVP delivered in style. He may not be the most loyal player in the world, but he is still class. Hi is in the top 3 signings of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign so far alongside Cantona and Ronaldo.
CF – Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Jokes aside, the player who gets more bans than John Terry gets woman, Suarez may bite, he may dive, he may “racially abuse” other players, but any player who scores 30 goals in a season has to be talented. Suarez is on his day as good as any other footballer in the World. Alongside Gareth Bale is probably the most important player to his team individually in the entire league.
Notable Mentions who don’t make the final side:
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Eden Hazard (Chelsea) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)