Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday March 25 2007
With another mind numbingly tedious international break temporarily removing the meaning from my life, I thought I might churn out the most general of articles. A weekend addled away in Croydon's luminous drinking establishments has denegrated my brain into something resembling Swiss cheese and with my guitar having been successfully restrung, I thought I would expend my boredom in the shape of this article. My Premiership team of the season so far. Usually, I am loathe to produce something like this until May, but international games will probably rob us of half of these players for the rest of the season, so here goes......
1.Ben FOSTER (Watford)- Marginally edges out Cech, who was on the sidelines slightly too long to make the cut. Foster has had plenty to do in the Watford goal this season, and has done most of it brilliantly. He has a Schmeichel like presence rare in a young goalie and is easily better than England's current chubster between the posts. Shame he belongs to Man United eh? I would love to see him as Jens's successor.
2.Micah RICHARDS (Manchester City)- Right back is a bit of a sparse category this year, usually Neville would win it hands down but Richards has been consistent and shown a maturity that belies his youth.
5.Nemanja VIDIC (Manchester United)- Most thought Fergie had been on the whiskey when he bought the Serbian defender, but that oft ignored trait of patience healed all wounds as Vidic's immense strength and commanding aerial presence saw him become United's defensive lynchpin.
6.Linvoy PRIMUS (Portsmouth)- With firm competition from Campbell and Stefanovic, Primus raised his game significantly to become the season's great surprise package. Lightning speed and an insatiable work ethic made him one of the big reasons for Pompey's revival under Redknapp.
3.Gael CLICHY (ARSENAL)- Ultra consistent, has been tenacious in defence and a reliable outlet going forward. Has improved the offensive side of his game tremendously, causing havoc with his dribbling.
7.Cristiano RONALDO (Manchester United)- You can't really argue with this one can you? As you know I am loathe to agree with any media consensus, but this guy has been sensational. The tricks and flicks really don't impress me, they seldom get him anywhere. But his marauding running has crucified defenders all season long and he has really assumed the mantle of United's star player, wresting the set piece responsibilities and scoring many a goal. His form has also been set against the backdrop of a nation hellbent on scapegoating him for an act of Rooney thuggery. The fact that Ronaldo has thoroughly outshone Rooney this year is a delicious irony indeed.
4.GILBERTO Silva (ARSENAL)- In a young side bereft of its star turn for much of the season, Gilberto has stepped up from his quietly effective role to become a real leader. His experience and flawless footballing brain have never been in doubt (for me anyway), but he has really become a lion this year. For me, he is Arsenal's player of the season by quite some distance.
8.Michael ESSIEN (Chelsea)- Has been Chelsea's star player with a series of all action displays. Has selflessly done a quiet job at right back and centre half without complaint, but in midfield he has shown a domineering aspect to his game that made him a hit at Lyon.
11.Ryan GIGGS (Manchester United)- Great players are able to adapt their games as time dictates, and Giggs is no longer the whippersnapper he was. However, he has used his experience and his brain to become a cog in the United side, keeping them ticking over with his creativity. There is a common theme in United's rare defeats this year- Giggs is usually absent.
10.Dimitar BERBATOV (Tottenham Hotspur)- This guy is a different class, he has stepped up a level from Bundesliga to Premiership with ease. A gravity defying touch and great upper body strength. His positional play is incredibly intelligent and Spurs will have a job holding onto him in the summer with Man United looking for another striker.
9.Didier DROGBA (Chelsea)- Beginning to justify Chelsea's huge outlay, leading the line with poise and an arrogance that top players usually possess. The range of his goals, as well as their regularity, has really caught the eye.
12.Jamie CARRAGHER (Liverpool)
13.Brad FRIEDEL (Blackburn Rovers)
14.Gareth BARRY (Aston Villa)
15.Francesc FABREGAS (ARSENAL)
16.Aaron LENNON (Tottenham Hotspur)
17.Andrew JOHNSON (Everton)
18.Benni McCARTHY (Blackburn Rovers)
I have tried not to exercise any personal prejudice, certain players on the list have been involved in controversies. But this article is produced as a football fan. It was also hard to exclude the likes of Nicky Shorey, Kolo Toure, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Jermaine Jenas (HA!) Nevertheless, I am sure you will add any glaring omissions on the forum. LD.
Date:Sunday March 25 2007
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