No City or Liverpool representatives in our Premier League Team of the Season so far
We are already a third of the way through this Premier League season and many of the stars that were expected to shine have come up horribly short so far.
Wayne Rooney, Eden Hazard, Memphis Depay and Daniel Sturridge are some of the marquee names that have failed to shine so far this season, with this collection of unlikely lads making it into the Independent.ie team of the season so far.
Jack Butland (Stoke)
A young keeper who has carried a big reputation for some time, he has proved his worth after stepping into the first choice spot at Stoke following Asmir Begovic’s move to Chelsea. Ireland’s veteran keeper Shay Given will be spending the rest of this season warming the bench and watching his youthful team-mate in action.
Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand suggested ahead of this season that his former club lacked the defensive strength to challenge for top honours, but he could not have predicted the rise and rise of Smalling. This immaculate centre-back has barely put a foot wrong at the heart of Louis van Gaal’s defence.
Scott Dann (Crystal Palace)
Palace boss Alan Pardew has built a sound defence this season and Dann has been the leader of his pack. His presence his felt most when he has been absent and his winning goal against Liverpool at Anfield earlier this month cemented his reputation as one of the most effective defenders in the Premier League.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)
Spurs snatched this talented Belgium defender from under the noses of Southampton last summer and he has made a big difference to their backline. His partnership with compatriot Jan Vertonghen has been impressive.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
Chelsea have been in need of quality full-backs this season, so they may reflect that off-loading Bertrand was not a wise move. This 26-year-old has confirmed he is a class act since moving to Southampton.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
Anyone who had this unlikely hero in their fantasy football team last summer has enjoyed a healthy harvest of points, with Mahrez impressing with goals and invention for the high flying Foxes so far. He may be the subject of transfer interest from top clubs in January.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
He took some time to win over his critics, but Arsenal’s silky smooth club record signing has been sublime at times this season. His ten assists put him well ahead of his rivals in that particular statistic and while he might not always catch the eye, he is hugely effective.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
The injury that looks set to sideline this influential figure for a lengthy period will be a hammer blow to Slaven Bilic’s team as Payet has been a sensational performer for West Ham so far, scoring five times and credited with three assists.
Shining in a struggling team is no easy task, but Brazilian midfielder Willian has carried the Chelsea challenge on his own at times this season. His wonderful free-kicks have been valuable to the Blues faltering challenge and he has set an example of those faltering around him.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
What a sensational story for a young man who was plying his trade in the lower reaches of English football just four years ago. He is a shining example of the kind of talent that can be found lower down the football pyramid, if any of the Premier League’s can be bothered to go and look for it.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
This powerhouse forward needed to prove his worth at Everton this season and he has done that and more with seven big Premier League goals. He has been the outstanding target man in the division so far this season.