Picking a Premier League Team of the Season
The English Premier League season has come to a close, and fans all over the world are constructing their teams of the season.
We've made ours in a 4-2-3-1 formation and based it solely on performances this season in the 38 league games—the only ones that count.
Take a browse and see how we'd line up. Does yours differ? Detail yours in the comments below!
GK: Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
Christian Benteke has taken an awful lot of plaudits this season, but Aston Villa would have been relegated had it not been for Brad Guzan's heroics in goal.
The American won the starting job in Week 3 and excelled on a consistent basis, producing outstanding saves in every game to keep Villa in with a chance.
He's conceded a lot of goals and Villa failed to keep a clean sheet in 2013, but Guzan is not to blame—the stunning, springy stop against Christopher Samba is one of the pivotal moments in this season and typifies why he swept the awards ceremony at the club.
Alternate: David de Gea, Manchester United
RB: Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City
The debate over who is the best right-back in the English Premier League is fierce.
Pablo Zabaleta gets the nod here. It's arguable his all-round game is better, defending with steely determination but also popping up at the right time to score a goal.
His engine is impressive and he's beloved by the fans at the Etihad Stadium, providing a stable leadership presence for all the players around.
Alternate: Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea
CB: Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal
Laurent Koscielny's dealt with injuries at the start of the season, but once he finally established himself, Arsenal's fortunes spiraled upward.
He's a dominant defender—on form, he's one of the top 10 in world football—and his vital goal on the final day to win it for the Gunners assured them of UEFA Champions League football.
He's emerged as the best centre-back of the pack and keeps captain Thomas Vermaelen out of them team.
Alternate: Matija Nastasic, Manchester City
CB: Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham Hotspur
Jan Vertonghen aced his debut season in the English Premier League and has quickly become one of the best centre-backs in the nation.
His marauding, surging runs forward—either from central defence or left-back—have been too much for established defenders to handle. His four-goal haul was only diminished by the dubious goals panel.
Just another Belgian off the La Masia-esque assembly line...
Alternate: Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United
LB: Leighton Baines, Everton
One of the easiest choices for our team of the season, Leighton Baines takes the left-back spot.
He's been a creative machine—finishing top of Europe with 116 chances created—but hasn't neglected his defensive duties and formed part of a solid line.
The Englishman has surpassed Ashley Cole in many people's opinions. There's a real clamour for him to become England's No. 1.
Alternate: Ben Davies, Swansea City
DM: Michael Carrick, Manchester United
Michael Carrick is no longer an unsung hero.
He's widely lauded for his contributions—both defensively and offensively—in a strong Manchester United side, and his impressive season has seen him catapulted back into the England setup.
Red Devils fans adore him for a very good reason.
Alternate: Mousa Dembele, Tottenham Hotspur
DM: Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
Morgan Schneiderlin has won plenty of admiring glances this season and stamped his authority on the holding midfield position.
He has excelled under both Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino, but it's arguable the latter's high-pressing system suits his dogged tendencies better.
He finished the season with the most interceptions in the league (139), averaging 3.9 per game.
Alternative: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
RF: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Like him or dislike him, love him or hate him, Luis Suarez is a fantastic player who's enjoyed a stunning season.
His season was cut short, but he still managed to scored 23 goals and lay on five assists—second only to Robin van Persie in the chase for the Golden Boot.
The Uruguayan's goal against Newcastle United was a Goal of the Season contender.
Alternate: Kevin Mirallas, Everton
AMC: Juan Mata, Chelsea
Chelsea's players' and fans' Player of the Year Juan Mata deserves every accolade going for a truly stellar season.
He ended the season with a goal against Everton, giving the stands at Stamford Bridge the chance to adore him one final time this season.
He totaled 12 goals and 12 assists, establishing himself as the creative force in the Blues' 4-2-3-1 formation. What a year for the Spaniard.
Alternate: Santi Cazorla, Arsenal
LF: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur
Gareth Bale's late strike against Sunderland took his goal tally to 21 for the season—a truly incredible feat for a midfielder.
He's moved from left wing to right wing to the No. 10 position in an attempt to evade double- or triple-marking and established himself as one of the best players in the English Premier League.
His stock is high and his price tag is sky-high. Tottenham missed out on UEFA Champions League football. Fans will spend the summer worrying about the chance of him departing.
Alternate: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
ST: Robin van Persie, Manchester United
Robin van Persie moved to Manchester United under immense pressure.
He reacted by scoring 29 goals (26 in the league) in his debut season, firing his new club to the English Premier League title.
The volleyed strike against Aston Villa sealed the title and epitomised his entire campaign—he shows up when he's needed and fires in a beauty.
Alternate: Christian Benteke, Aston Villa