Bleacher Report's Premier League Team of the Season
The trophy has been handed out; the contenders have considered just how close they came.
The major associations—the Professional Footballers’ (PFA) and Football Writers’ (FWA)—have distributed their honours, and now it’s time for Bleacher Report to get in on the act.
Following is our Premier League Team of the Season.
Not surprisingly, the starting XI is entirely made up of players from the English top-flight’s best five finishers, although there’s some broader representation among the seven names we’ve assigned to the bench.
We’ve even selected a manager to look after our squad.
The following slideshow will reveal who we’ve chosen.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard, Everton
From March 15 to April 12—a stretch of six matches—Tim Howard didn’t lose a match. He allowed just four goals, and over the course of the season only David Marshall and Vito Mannone made more saves.
Yet Howard’s Everton pressed Arsenal for a Champions League position until the last couple of weeks and wound up an impressive fifth on the final day.
Right-Back: Seamus Coleman, Everton
The best right-back in English football is Irish—originally trained as a Gaelic footballer. But Seamus Coleman took the Premier League by storm in 2013-14, missing only two matches, scoring six goals and completing 88 per cent of his passes.
A useful outlet going forward, he nevertheless prioritised his defensive responsibilities and made an impressive 47 interceptions over the course of the season.
Central Defender: Per Mertesacker, Arsenal
Per Mertesacker might have played his best season of club football at the age of 29. The Germany international turned out 35 times in the Premier League for Arsenal in 2013-14 and made an eye-popping 251 clearances.
He also tended to play a good first ball out of the defense and completed an astounding 93 per cent of his passes. He was generally dominant in the air as the Gunners conceded just 41 goals during the campaign.
Central Defender: John Terry, Chelsea
All it took to revitalise John Terry was the return of Jose Mourinho.
The reunification of the 33-year-old defender and erstwhile Chelsea manager saw Terry turn back the clock at Stamford Bridge, turning out 34 times in the Premier League and helping the Blues to the best defensive record in the division. He also completed 90 per cent of his passes and made 228 clearances in 2013-14.
Left-Back: Leighton Baines, Everton
Leighton Baines is England’s first-choice left-back; Luke Shaw is the second option, and Ashley Cole has retired from international football. How times change. At 29 years of age it seems Baines’ time has come, and through much of the 2013-14 season the Everton man was the best left-back in the Premier League.
Going forward he scored five goals and assisted on four others, but he averaged just over an interception per match on the defensive side of the ball.
Midfielder: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
At 33, Steven Gerrard led the Premier League in assists and came within a whisker of winning his first Premier League title.
While his slip against Chelsea may be what his detractors remember, everyone else will fondly recall the goals he scored, chances he created and commitment he showed on the defensive side of the ball as the Reds finished second in the standings.
Midfielder: Yaya Toure, Manchester City
Yaya Toure’s season was one for the ages. No player was as vital to Manchester City regaining the title as the Ivory Coast international; no midfielder came close to the level the 30-year-old operated at over the course of the campaign.
In 35 matches Yaya scored 20 goals, picked up nine assists, completed 90 per cent of his passes and executed 24 interceptions.
Midfielder: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool
Who would have thought there would come a day when Jordan Henderson would seem a bargain at the £16 million Liverpool paid Sunderland for his services back in 2011?
Well, that day has come, as in the 35 matches he played in 2013-14 the 23-year-old showed himself to be among the best midfielders in the land.
He scored four goals, assisted on seven others, completed 87 per cent of his passes and contributed 87 clearances. No doubt he’ll be key to England’s chances at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
Forward: Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Only Luis Suarez scored more Premier League goals than Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14, and the two of them, along with teammate Raheem Sterling, combined to form the most lethal forward line of the campaign.
Sturridge, who carried the load in the early going while Suarez was serving out his suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic, opened the schedule with goals in his first four Premier League matches and eight in his first nine.
Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Sergio Aguero missed 15 matches through injury in 2013-14, but he nevertheless finished joint-fourth on the Premier League goal-scoring chart and found the back of the net in every match he played between December 4 and January 29.
Over that 10-game stretch he scored 14 goals in all competitions, including five in five Premier League outings, as Manchester City got back into the title race.
Forward: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
He won both the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards, so it’s appropriate that Luis Suarez makes our Premier League Team of the Season as well.
Despite missing the first five matches of the campaign through suspension, the Uruguay international went on to lead the English top flight in scoring with 31 goals—10 more than runner-up and teammate Daniel Sturridge. He also created an incredible 87 goalscoring opportunities and picked up 12 assists.