English Premier League Team of the Season 2011-12

We’ve now reached the end of one of the strangest and most exciting seasons in Premier League history. The FA Cup winners and Champions League finalists Chelsea finished 6th, big spending soccer ballers Liverpool win the League Cup but finish 8th below Everton, and Manchester City wait until the last few minutes of the season to secure their status as the best team in England, and claim the title for the first time since 1968.  Even now all the games have been played, the European spots are still undecided as Chelsea can qualify for next seasons Champions League if they win the final next week, meaning Spurs would miss out on Europe’s most lucrative and prestigious competition, and Newcastle would miss out on Europe altogether.

Deciding upon a team of the season has been difficult due to many players enjoying their best runs of form either before or after Christmas, and very few players performing consistently well for the entire campaign.  Add to this some of the most successful January transfers in recent years and you could pick several teams of the season based on certain conditions, as has been done here by Miguel Delaney for The Score.  Below are the Soccer Football picks, as well as some honourable mentions.

The typical 4-4-2 formation has been avoided due to the prominence of attacking play this season, and a slight nod towards Roberto Martinez who had great success with a 3-4-3 / 3-5-2 formation later on in the season. Maybe if he’d have opted for this formation earlier, Wigan might have been as much of a revelation as Brendan Rodger’s Swansea.  Unlike Wigan, this version has abandoned the full backs altogether, which means no place in the team for the likes of Kyle Walker, Leighton Baines, Branislav Ivanovic, or Angel Rangel to name just a few of the best full backs in the league this season.

Joe Hart
 gets the nod between the posts, which will no doubt put the mockers on him for the important international competition this summer, in which he’ll surely be quite busy.  Tim Krul and Michel Vorm were also in the running, as were the premier league stalwarts Brad Friedel and Petr Cech.

The three centre backs chosen make a real difference the their respective teams, and their first XI looks a lot more reassuring to fans of their club’s with them in it. An Arsenal side without Thomas Vermaelen, Manchester City without Vincent Kompany, and Newcastle without the much improved Fabricio Coloccini, all look a lot weaker and more vulnerable at the back.  They’ve played big parts in their team’s successes this season.

To start with the engine room, Ramires was playing well for Chelsea when playing well for Chelsea was going out of fashion, and was performing well week in week out even before his heroics against Barcelona, and in the FA Cup final. Similarly Yaya Tourehas been a colossus in the middle for Manchester City, playing well in both defensive and attacking roles through the middle and generally being the big game player his big game wages require.

Further forward, Tottenham reaped the rewards for managing to keep hold of Luka Modric despite a lack of Champions League football this season.  The Croatian pulled the strings in the middle for Spurs – ending the season with a world class strike against Bolton.

The best winger in the world, Antonio Valencia, gets in the team because he’s the best winger in the world. He’s been Manchester United’s best player in a season where they somehow managed to push Manchester City to the final day, despite having one of their weakest squads in the Premier League era.

Clint Dempsey has cemented his place as the best player from the U.S. to play in England, and has been one of the best players in the league this season. Spending much time on the left, but equally as effective through the middle or up front, he’s turned Fulham into a solid mid-table side, but his next level performances could attract interest from other clubs this summer.

The Premier League has been blessed with some of the best strikers in world football this season. Robin Van Persie finally enjoyed that injury free season everyone hoped he have one day, and we also saw Sergio Aguero fully living up to the massive fee Manchester City paid for him, not least with the title winning goal.

Elsewhere Wayne Rooney weighed in with a good amount of goals for Manchester United, and Papiss Cisse scored goals for fun after moving to Newcastle in January.

Almost impossible to choose between Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers, but Brendan Rodgers would deserve credit had he merely kept Swansea up, but the manner in which they’ve played this season means he has to be the pick of the managers.