A long-time reader tries to fill the void in Power Line’s soccer coverage with this submission:
Picking an English Premier League all-star team this year is complicated. For example, Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale was voted EPL player of the year in April by the Professional Footballer’s Association. But when the season ended May, Tottenham fans selected Croatian midfielder Luca Modric as the team’s player of the year. Meanwhile, the Spurs’ Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart had more goals and assists than Bale and Modric combined. All three players rate serious consideration for the all-star eleven, but I found room only for Bale.
Meanwhile, Dimitar Berbatov (of Bulgaria) and Nani (of Portugal) led Manchester United to the front of the ÉPL pack with stunning first half of the season performances. And Berbatov ended the year tied for the lead among EPL goal-scorers, while Nani led the league in assists. But by the end of the season, with the championship on the line, neither could hold down a spot in United’s starting line-up. Far be it from me to second-guess Sir Alex Ferguson; neither player makes my team.
Then there’s the case of Arsenal’s Robbie Van Persie (of Holland). He produced a remarkable 18 goals (third best in the league) and seven assists in just 25 games. But due to injuries, he started only half of Arsenal’s matches – not enough participation to merit first-team honors this year, in my opinion.
Here is my all-star eleven, which would line up in the 4-2-1-3 formation that has become so popular. I’ve included each player’s nationality to demonstrate the diversity of the EPL:
Petr Cech – Chelsea (Czech Republic)
Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea (Serbia)
Leighton Baines – Everton (England)
Vincent Kompany – Manchester City (Belgium)
Nemanja Vidic – Manchester United (Serbia)
Scott Parker – West Ham United (England)
Charlie Adam – Blackpool (Scotland)
David Silva – Manchester City (Spain)
Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur (Wales)
Peter Odemwingie – West Bromwich Albion (Nigeria, but raised in Russia)
Carlos Tevez – Manchester City (Argentina)
Player of the Year: Vidic
Super-sub (to bolster the attack if needed): Charles N’Zogbia – Wigan Athletic (France)