EPL: Starting XI from the Premier League's Worst Teams
New Year's Day is traditionally the halfway mark in the English Premier League season and since that time we've all read article after article proclaiming who the best players in the league are.
Tottenham's Gareth Bale is the best winger in England. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is a world-class forward. Arsenal's Robbie Van Persie is too good for words.
Blah, blah, blah.
It's easy for the biggest, richest clubs in England to have the most talented players on their squad, but what about the minnows of the Premier League?
There are five clubs—Wolverhampton, Queens Park Rangers, Bolton, Wigan and Blackburn—who are currently separated by only three points. Three of these clubs will likely be relegated by season's end.
But that doesn't mean these clubs don't have some outstanding players of their own.
While the rest of the world puts together all-star lineups consisting of top teams, I present to you the best eleven players from the bottom feeders of the English Premier League.
GK: Wayne Hennessey, Wolverhampton
This was a hard one because Wigan Athletic's Ali Al Habsi is also incredibly talented.
But the difference between Hennessey and Al Habsi is that aside from Christophe Berra, Wolverhampton has the worst back line of defenders in the Premier League—and probably half the teams in The Championship.
Hennessey's defenders have allowed him to see 139 shots in the first 20 league matches. That's 64 more than Manchester City's Joe Hart and 45 more than Tottenham's Brad Friedel.
Despite the volley of shots, the 24-year-old Hennessey has matured very quickly into one of the best 'keepers in England, and will be given a shot before next fall with one of the bigger clubs in England.
LB: Maynor Figueroa, Wigan Athletic
Wigan Athletic's woes this season have less to do with their defense and more to do with the fact that they've only scored 18 goals through 20 games.
Don't get me wrong, Wigan's defense has been atrocious this season. But of the Latics' back line, it's Maynor Figueroa who is getting up field to support the attack.
The 28-year-old Honduras international is a smart player who, according to ESPN.co.uk, has been linked to transfer rumors with Manchester United or Liverpool. He's also incredibly durable, one of only two players to appear in all of Wigan's games so far this season.
CB: Gary Cahill, Bolton
This choice was too easy.
With Chelsea and Tottenham locked in a transfer tug-of-war over the 26-year-old England international, the days of Cahill fighting relegation with Bolton will soon be over.
He is a leader on the pitch, he tackles well in the open field and is an aerial threat on corners and set pieces.
What's not to love?
CB: Christophe Berra, Wolverhampton
As I said before, Wolverhampton has the worst back line in the Premier League—except for Christophe Berra.
Berra is a Scottish international who is one of the few players to make his way up the ranks of the Scottish Premier League to get poached by an English club.
While defending in Scotland, his Heart of Midlothian team reached the Scottish Cup final twice, finishing runners-up in 2005 and winning the cup the next year in 2006.
Just because his Wolves are a point away from relegation, I don't expect a player of Berra's caliber to get relegated with them. In fact, the club going down to the second flight of English football could be the best thing for Berra and several other Wolves as they would finally punch their ticket out of Wolverhampton and play for one of the bigger clubs in the Premier League.
Here's a header by Berra for Scotland in last summer's 2011 Carling Nations Cup between Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
RB: Christopher Samba, Blackburn
I know that Blackburn defender Christopher Samba is a center back, but it was either him or Queens Park Rangers right back Luke Young.
Thanks for understanding.
With interest from some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League (including Tottenham, according to Goal.com), Samba is a diamond in the rough for a Blackburn team that is currently sitting in last among the league table.
LW: Victor Moses, Wigan Athletic
Victor Moses is one of a handful of players who could leave Wigan Athletic before next fall.
The 21-year-old has made appearances for England's U-16, U-17, U-19 and U-21 team and could play on their senior team for the 2014 World Cup.
He's incredibly skillful with the ball and can dribble past the best of them. Look for him—along with defender Maynor Figueroa—to leave the soon-to-be relegated Latics.
MF: Chris Eagles, Bolton
Since graduating through the ranks of Manchester United's youth system in 2003, Bolton midfielder Chris Eagles has played for a lot of teams with very little result.
But it wasn't until his three-year tenure at second-flight club Burnley where he started regularly and began showing the rest of England what he could do.
He was purchased by Bolton shortly before the 2011-12 season began, because he puts himself in great positions in attack and has an excellent eye for goal.
RW: David Hoilett, Blackburn
David Hoilett is a rare talent on a bad team that isn't getting any better.
Hoilett's Blackburn Rovers is last in the league, but the 21-year-old is one of the best wingers in the division.
According to Guardian.co.uk, the Canadian midfielder is currently being courted by Tottenham.
F: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Blackburn
You might be surprised to know this, but Blackburn has the fifth-highest scorer in the Premier League.
His name is Yakubu Aiyegbeni and he's scored 12 goals in 15 league matches this season.
The Nigerian international accounts for nearly half of Blackburn's offense and could find himself the subject of interest from other Premier League teams in the near future.
Check out his goal in the first minute of play against lowly Wigan Athletic.
F: Ivan Klasnic, Bolton
Klasnic has been one of the bright spots in a poor season for Bolton, scoring 8 goals despite not being a regular starter.
He's got a rocket of a left foot, he's strong enough in the box to muscle his way around a defender, he's accurate with his set pieces and he's the only hope Bolton has of staying in the Premiership—especially if teammate Gary Cahill bolts (forgive the pun) for Chelsea or Tottenham.
He has started to earn more opportunities of late, and it will be interesting to see how he does as the season goes on.
ST: Heidar Helguson, Queens Park Rangers
There's a world-class player on Queens Park Rangers and his name isn't Joey Barton.
Forward Heidar Helguson is the only player even worth looking at on what is the weakest roster in the Premier League. He's been in on nine of QPR's 19 goals this season (seven scores, two assists).
If the Iceland international leaves in either of the next two transfer windows, it'll be a long time before this west London club sees the top flight of English football again.
Here's a beauty of a goal from all the way back in 2000 when Helguson was still at Watford.