Welcome to our look at the players that made the Premier League as watchable as ever, earned the respect of their peer group and endeared themself to their club’s fanbase – here’s our top player from every side:
In a season dominated by the rampant Dutchman up front, Alex Song has been overlooked by many in a year of progress for the Gunners. Without Wilshere for most of the campaign, Song has established himself as a cunning midfielder with the nous to unlock the most ardent defensive structures. At this stage he has 12 assists for the year – double the output for the more highly fancied Luka Modric. If RVP has provided the goals, then Song has provided midfield authority across the pitch, proving he’s more than just a changing hair style. Wenger’s midfield mob for 2013 looks outstanding with the resurgent Rosicky, returning Wilshere and Diaby, Song, Walcott and a crafty Benayoun inflating the ballooning expectations of the red half of North London. It will be interesting to see how the arrival of M’Vila, who is considered a close replica to Song, fits into the system.
What a miserable 9 months for the Villians and what a fall from grace following the departure of M. O’Neill from the managerial hot seat at Villa Park. Picking a standout has been difficult, near impossible, and the choice of Darren Bent from our ardent stargazing tells its own story. Bent was dynamic and prolific before his season was curtailed by injury; a setback that few predicted would add such significant impetus towards relegation. No side in the league is more dependant on one asset.
Football for the Day’s favourite shambles have ended up precisely where many predicted. We await with bated breath to see Venkys grace the luxurious Barnsley or bask in the glamour of Watford. Never before has a playing group been so absolved of responsibility for a measly return of 31 points, with owners, managers and everyone else barred from actually taking part between the white lines being liable according to the persistent protests. So persistent, a fan protest 3 weeks ago failed to even warrant a mention during coverage. So persistent, FFTD wonders if seasoned patrons even saw the glimpses of promise seeping from the boots of Junior Hoilett, who’s our clear standout. At times, Hoilett was the only viable route to goal and we think he’s bound for continued premier league action. A close second was that chicken that hit the back of the net against Wigan, overcoming driving rain and the unflappable Al-Habsi.
The Reebok was a place of discontent over the last 38 weeks – bottom at Christmas, their great escape has stuttered, more than flourished. Picking a player that has seen his stock appreciate makes us feel like a Wall St broker back in 2008. Maybe it was Petrov, or could it be Eagles? In truth, it was calamitous and we’ll opt for sentimental favourite Fabrice Muamba for no other reason than his underperforming heart and his tears with the Bolton Lion. Mates that follow the Trotters fear that the fairly pedestrian (am I allowed to say bad things about Fab?) midfielder, and his feel good episode, may have sealed a new indefinite, uncapped contract with the Trotters.
For the KGB bankrolled London outfit, the league has proved challenging and frustrating throughout. But in cups, both European and domestic, Didier and his merry bunch have shown glimpses of the output such a team of stars warrants – stifling the irrepressible Messi et al with a display of adhesive defensive efforts and swatting the pretence of Spurs and Liverpool in the cup. The AVB saga, that effectively ended a vehement title quest with the early season calamity at home to Arsenal, weighed heavily on the more experienced and traditional lifeblood of the side in Franky, Johnny, Ashley, Petry, Mikey and Droggy D’zz, and it was a new addition that glistened brightest. Juan Mata has joined David Silva as quality Spanish additions to the EPL with a consistently superb first year in the league. Mr Mata has 16 assists and 6 goals in the league – a return that few have exceeded. Mata is a constant menace on the left; the bane of right sided defenders across England. It will be a shoot out between Silva and Mata for a Euro12 adventure that involves more than perusing the standards of Polish/Ukranian pitchside facilities. Possibly the best input AVB added to the Blues, something RDM, RA and maybe PG can utilise going forward.