Arsenal's Robin Van Persie Has Had a Sensational 2011
In hopefully as controversial a list as the Sky Sports Premier League Player of the Year poll, we take a look at and rank the best players in England's top-flight in 2011.
Some honourable mentions who didn't make the cut include Joe Hart, Dimitar Berbatov, Ashley Young, Charlie Adam, David Vaughan, Peter Odemwingie, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and the ignominious Carlos Tevez.
Here are the best Premier League players of 2011.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge has turned into one of England's finest forwards in 2011, and a better-performing player than the likes of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.
He scored eight goals in 12 games in a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, and followed that up by scoring nine goals in 14 league matches back at Chelsea in the first half of this season.
Such form earned him his first call-up to the senior England squad, where he made his debut against Sweden at Wembley.
With 17 Premier League goals in 26 matches this year—a lot of them at Chelsea this term, coming from the wing—Sturridge deserves his place on this list.
Manchester United winger Nani is ever so slowly starting to emulate former teammate and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, and has proven that more than ever in 2011.
The 25-year-old finished with an impressive haul last season, scoring nine league goals and making a whopping 14 assists, nicely complementing his five man of the match awards.
And this campaign, he's followed that up with six goals and seven assists already, winning three man of the match awards, taking his year's total to 15 goals (all from the wing), 21 assists, and eight MoMs.
While 2010 was ultimately a year to forget for Wayne Rooney after showing so much promise, 2011 has seen the Manchester United talisman back to true form.
After a slow start to the 2010-11 season, Rooney picked up his form to end his Premier League campaign with 11 goals and 11 assists.
And at the start of 2011-12, he exploded into life, scoring back-to-back hat tricks against Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers, and has 13 league goals so far this season, as well as two assists and four man of the match awards.
Having ended a recent scoring drought with four goals in his last four games, Wazza could have an even better year in 2012.
This season, Manchester City playmaker David Silva has undoubtedly been the Premier League's best player.
The former Valencia man has scored five goals, made eight assists, won four man of the match awards and created more chances for teammates than any other player in the league.
And while last season he was good, he only ended up with four league goals and seven assists—the same amount of assists as West Brom's Peter Odemwingie, and 11 goals fewer.
Which all means he deserves his place on this list, but only ranks seventh.
Last season, Scott Parker proved himself as the best holding midfielder in the Premier League, making over 80 key interceptions and winning 120 tackles as he tried to guide West Ham United to safety from relegation.
He also created 40 direct goal scoring chances for teammates, which, along with his inspirational leadership and tireless work ethic, saw him rewarded with the Football Writers' Assocation Player of the Year.
This season, the 31-year-old has done just as well following his £5.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, having won the second most amount of tackles per game this season.
Throughout 2011, Parker has proved himself as Mr. Reliable, and, in doing so, has now become a vital part of the England team.
Newcastle United striker Demba Ba is quite possibly one of the most naturally talented strikers in world football.
Playing for a struggling team who got relegated and now a defensively-minded, mid-table side who don't create a lot of scoring chances, Ba has managed to score 21 goals in 29 Premier League matches since arriving at the start of 2011.
Ba has outscored the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Javier Hernandez, Daniel Sturridge, Emmanuel Adebayor and other in-form forwards this season, despite playing for teams which, on average, create 50 percent fewer goalscoring chances.
It takes one special player to do that, which is exactly what Demba Ba has proved himself to be in 2011.
Following his fine form last season, Vincent Kompany was handed the Manchester City captaincy this term by manager Roberto Mancini.
And the centre-back has not let his boss down, putting in many inspirational displays for his club and teammates.
Quick enough to keep up with any striker, strong enough to out-muscle any man-mountain-forward and clever enough to dispossess even the trickiest of playmakers, the 25-year-old Belgium star has proved himself to be the most complete centre-back in the Premier League.
Such has been Kompany's form in 2011 that you could say he's perhaps even better than Nemanja Vidic.
Liverpool star Luis Suarez, despite his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, is fast becoming as talismanic as Steven Gerrard for the Reds.
He may have only scored nine goals and made eight assists in the Premier League in 2011, but there quite possibly is no forward in England as complete as Suarez.
Pound-for-pound in terms of performance data, Suarez is possibly the most dangerous forward in the league, having completed more dribbles, made more key passes and had more shots on target combined than any other player in 2011.
The potential is there for Suarez to easily be the league's top scorer. All he really needs is a decent strike partner and the return of Steven Gerrard.
Yaya Toure is to Manchester City what Xavi Hernandez is to FC Barcelona.
The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international makes City tick, and is unassailably the best passer in the Premier League, as proven in 2011.
Last season, he was the most accurate long-range passer, spraying around 135 cross-field balls with an 81 percent accuracy rate. This, combined with his overall pass success rate and amount of accurate passes hit, made him the league's best overall passer of the ball, even better than Paul Scholes.
This season is no different, with Toure chosen by his teammates to start almost every attack. He has done this better than any other player in the league, with the best pass success rate and second best long-ball success rate.
Not only that, but he's also the most complete all-round midfielder with his two goals and four assists this season, nicely complementing his tackle and interception success rate (among the league's best).
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie was always going to be the No. 1 choice.
34 Premier League goals in 2011 says it all.