The 2011-12 Premier League team of the season so far
With the Premier League season just past the halfway point, The Sport Review picks its team from the best performers so far
Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
Arguably the signing of the season, the Dutchman arrived from FC Utrecht with the nickname ‘The Penalty Killer‘ and he has certainly lived up to that reputation, saving two spot-kicks already this season. Largely thanks to Vorm’s heroics, Swansea have conceded only four home goals all season, the equal lowest in the league, and have amassed an impressive tally of nine clean sheets. It seems unbelievable now that Brendan Rodgers paid only £1.5m for him.
Right-back: Micah Richards (Manchester City)
Micah Richards has been in fantastic form this season and the fact that he has missed only two games demonstrates just how vital a part of Manchester City’s high-flying squad he has become. The 23-year-old has showcased an impressive all round game, combining his rampaging runs down the right with a physical defensive presence that many of the league’s other attacking right-backs have lacked. Astoundingly overlooked for Fabio Capello’s last England squad, Richards must surely be included for Euro 2012.
Centre-half: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
City’s captain has provided an immense defensive presence at the back, which has been at the heart of their success so far this season. He has produced a string of man of the match performances and his calm, unassuming leadership provides the perfect balance for his team’s stellar attacking talents. Kompany has looked equally assured in the tackle or in the air and has also been a danger to the opposition at set-pieces, chipping in with two league goals.
Centre-half: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)
Formerly something of a laughing stock in the Premier League, the Argentine has been a transformed player this season, returning to the sort of form that saw him earn 34 international caps and giving Newcastle a start to the season that nobody predicted. He was instrumental in the Magpies’ 11-game unbeaten run and he has led his side by example, displaying a defensive stability which has been lacking in previous seasons and has helped his team to their impressive league position.
Left-back: Jose Enrique (Liverpool)
The Spaniard has started every single league for Liverpool this season and has been the stand out left back in the Premier League. Part of an impressive back four that currently have the second best defensive record in the league, the £5m summer acquisition from Newcastle has been one of Kenny Dalglish’s best signings and for a fraction of the price of many of the others. Enrique’s performances have been sufficiently good that many are saying he deserves a call up to Spain’s squad.
Midfield: Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Harry Redknapp may detest being referred to as a “˜wheeler dealer’ in the transfer market but the acquisition of Scott Parker for only £5.5m in the summer has done little to diminish that reputation. Parker has provided a solid midfield platform for Tottenham and his tireless performances have allowed his team-mates a greater freedom to attack. Spurs may have made headlines for their commitment to exciting attacking football, but without the England man in midfield, they would surely not have had the same success.
Midfield: David Silva (Manchester City)
Arguably the player of the season so far, the diminutive Spaniard has been at the heart of everything City have done this season and a crucial part of their success. It is hard to think of a game where he has underperformed and he has even contributed important goals. But it is his playmaking ability that has sparked universal praise. Silva has displayed a sublime range of passing and he has provided more assists than any other player in the league. Although he struggles to get into Spain’s first team – a terrifying thought for everyone else at next summer’s Euro 2012.
Midfield: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Gareth Bale has been a key part of Tottenham’s success, proving to be deadly in attack. The Welshman has once again rediscovered the form that saw him pick up last year’s PFA Player of the Year Award and his pace, touch and eye for a goal have terrorised defenders up and down the country. His knack of providing goals and assists in equal measure has been invaluable for Spurs and has propelled them up the table.
Forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
With Carlos Tevez no longer welcome in Manchester, City’s fans have a new Argentine hero. Sergio Aguero has been in fantastic form, topping the clubs scoring charts with 14. He has impressed since his explosive goal-scoring debut from the bench and has an excellent strike rate. However Aguero has also shown himself to be very much a team player, providing assists on a regular basis as well. Already something of a club icon, he looks set to dominate the Premier League for years to come.
Forward: Demba Ba (Newcastle United)
Another contender for signing of the season, Demba Ba is the second highest scorer in the league and has more than adequately filled the gap left by Andy Carroll’s departure. It is unbelievable that Alan Pardew snapped up the Senegalese striker for free in the summer, particularly given the fact that Ba now has the best goal per minute ratio in Premier League history. He has scored 59% of all of Newcastle’s goals and has been vital in helping them to obtain their excellent league position. All that remains to be seen is how they will cope while he is away at the African Cup of Nations.
Forward: Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
Robin van Persie has so far managed to have an injury-free season and he is making the most of it, showcasing just what a world-class player he is. The leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season has appeared to be almost a one-man team for Arsenal at times this season. His fantastic volley against Everton is already a contender for goal of the season and if he can maintain this fantastic form he will surely challenge David Silva for player of the season. Arsenal players and fans alike will be praying he remains uninjured.
Tim Krul (Newcastle), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).
Rest of 25-man squad:
Joe Hart (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Nani (Manchester United), Yakubu (Blackburn).