x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The players that stood out in the Premier League this season

Paul Radley picks his team of the season and it includes three Englishman, two Serbs and a Mexican.

Manchester United face a big task replacing the retiring Edwin van der Sar between the posts.
Manchester United face a big task replacing the retiring Edwin van der Sar between the posts.

Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United)

The abiding memory of the Manchester United keeper's campaign was the goal he threw in against West Bromwich Albion. It says a lot about the consistent excellence of the retiring Dutchman that a lone error sticks out so prominently. His gloves will be tough ones for United to fill this summer.

Right-back: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

Chelsea did well to push Manchester United so close, given their mid-season meltdown. While many of their top stars went missing in action just at the wrong time, their right-back-come-centre-half, Ivanovic, was a model of consistency throughout the campaign.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)

The Serbian stopper has been a perennial achiever since arriving at Old Trafford in 2006. Having assumed the captaincy full-time from Rio Ferdinand, his performances were even stronger this term. He even got through the campaign without being sent off for fouling Fernando Torres, which was a bonus.

Centre-back: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

The Belgium international was recruited by Manchester City before Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bought the club, and as a midfielder rather than a defender. As the stars started to arrive and the midfield became congested, he moved back to centre-half, and he has been a key figure in City's advance since.

Left-back: Leighton Baines (Everton)

Everton's player of the season was so good that he was coveted on the other side of Stanley Park, but Liverpool's advances were spurned. Being overlooked by the England manager, Fabio Capello, for last summer's World Cup fiasco has proved to be a blessing given Baines's form this season.

Right-wing: Jermaine Pennant (Stoke City)

Playing on the wing for Stoke City must be easy. Picking out a big bloke with a cross is like shooting fish in a barrel, and if your marker is giving you a hard time, there are plenty of tough guys on your side to handle him. Forget Arsenal and Liverpool, Pennant has found a home.

Centre-midfield: Charlie Adam (Blackpool)

Ian Holloway, Adam's manager at Blackpool, responded angrily to the suggestion that his standout player had missed his shot at the big time when he failed to secure moves to the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window. The club want big money for one of the six PFA Player of the Year nominees.

Centre-midfield: Scott Parker (West Ham United)

Parker must be good: even though he is English and a long while out of his teens, Arsene Wenger is apparently keen to take him to Arsenal. He was the big fish in West Ham United's rapidly evaporating pond this season, and will have no shortage of suitors following their demotion to the Championship.

Left-midfield: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

To think that Bale was once thought to be bad luck for Tottenham, who would lose whenever he played. This season was his breakthrough, especially via a couple of glorious nights in Europe. He landed the PFA player of the season prize despite missing a chunk of it through injury.

Striker: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)

You can hardly even get a bag of chips at most Premier League clubs for what Manchester United paid to get the Mexican forward last summer. Proof that bargains can still be had, the "Little Pea" kept the Premier League's leading scorer, Dimitar Berbatov, out of the side for the most important matches.

Striker: Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)

The Argentine striker has itchy feet again, but he has never been one to outstay his welcome. On arrival in England, he single-handedly kept West Ham United in the top division, then helped Manchester United to the Champions League. This term his goals were key to City's first success since the Dark Ages.

pradley@thenational.ae

Do you agree with Paul? Should Robert Huth be in the team perhaps? What about the efforts of Ashley Young for Aston Villa? Feel free to comment below