Part Two dealt with the goalkeeper and defence that I’d pick for my Premier League squad of the year. Now I’m into the difficult bit where my selections will be a bit less obvious. It’s a 4-2-3-1 formation for me, so I’m going to start with my holding midfielders.
For this, I’ve gone with Michael Carrick - of newly crowned champions, Manchester United - and Yaya Toure from the deposed title holders Manchester City. I think the pair will give a good balance to the team. Ever the unsung hero of the United engine room, Carrick is the player who plays regularly when all around him are rotated. His ability to keep the ball flowing, linking the defence to midfield and providing important cover have been key attributes in the success of Ferguson’s team this year. Although a little less spectacular than last year perhaps, Toure remains a key element in City’s approach to games. The guard in front of the back four has many similar qualities to Carrick, but in addition can also be moved forward when the need arises, and has again scored and created goals for his team this season. The big man is a must for me.
Across my three attacking players, I’ve got two pretty straightforward choices and one a little less so. My two wide men are Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard. For different reasons, both have had exceptional seasons. For the Welshman, it’s been very much a breakthrough period wherein he has moved from being very good to the stratospheric heights of the outstanding. The biggest clubs in the world are now linked with him, and should Tottenham decide to cash in their asset, the fee would probably be in the £50million bracket. Spurs won’t want to lose their talisman, but their resolve could be tested. On the other flank, Belgian Hazard was already a big money signing when captured from French football. Quite often there’s a sharp incline of learning when players arrive in the Premier League, but after bursting on the scene with some early season virtuoso performances, Hazard has moved through a packed season with increasing assuredness marking him out as a genuine star of the future. His pace, trickery and eye for a goal has been a beacon of hope in an otherwise often disappointing season for Chelsea fans. My team won’t lack for threats from the flanks.
That just leaves two places. I want my team to be flexible, but also able to exploit the opportunities created by my wide players, so playing behind the striker, I’ll have Everton’s Marouane Fellaini. Having the Belgian there will give a presence to my ‘player in the hole’. An ability to feed off the crosses from the wide will work well for him. Additionally, and this is the key to his selection, it also allows me to rotate with pushing Toure forward, as Fellaini can also operate in a deeper role. Given my subs bench as well, should I need a more traditional ‘number ten’ the presence of Mata and Wilshere – both perhaps unlucky not to be selected as a starter, gives me plenty of options.
That just leaves my striker. It will probably come as little surprise to see the Flying Dutchman from Manchester United, Robin van Persie leading my line. The outstanding striker of the season is a bit of a no brainer for me. Some may have argued for Liverpool’s Suarez, but my team will have plenty of ‘bite’ already, so he’ll be missing out. Ably assisted by Bale and Hazard from the flanks, and the support from my midfield, I’m confident that there are goals in my line up.
So, there you have it:
Zabaletta Kompany Luiz Cole
Hazard Fellaini Bale