Sunday 1 February 2015

The alternative Premier League Team of the Season

Published 25/04/2014 | 18:06

CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 01: David Marshall of Cardiff shouts instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Norwich City at Cardiff City Stadium on February 1, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Goalkeeper: David Marshall (Cardiff City) 143 saves - No goalkeeper has made more saves than Marshall. Without his interventions, Cardiff would probably have been relegated before the clocks went forward
Full-back: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) 2,550 touches - The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of the season but his importance to Arsenal is underlined by the fact that nobody has touched the ball more often in the league this season
Full-back: Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) 96 tackles - The former Portsmouth player has been integral to Palace's survival, playing in every game and making more tackles than any other top-flight player.
Centre-back: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) 34 blocks - Liverpool's craggy central defender has made the headlines with his goalscoring prowess, but he does the dirty jobs, too. No defender has made more blocks this season.
Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United) 0 fouls - This might not have been a vintage season for Ferdinand but his touch has not completely deserted him. Of all defenders to have played 10 league games or more, only Ferdinand has not committed a foul.
Midfielder: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) 324 duels - If Tony Pulis could build his perfect footballer, Jedinak would probably be it. Strong, reliable and utterly uncompromising, no player has won more of his individual duels this season.
Midfielder: Youssouf Mulumbu (West Bromwich) 346 recoveries - Perhaps not the greatest measure of success, but at least with Mulumbu you know that when he makes a mistake he atones for it. No midfielder has won the ball back more often this season.
Midfielder: Gareth Barry (Everton) 406 passes into final third - The Everton midfielder has faded out of England contention but maybe Roy Hodgson should think again. As well as grafting, Barry has played more passes into the final third, with 406, than any other midfielder.
Striker: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 230 aerial duels won - His goal tally may be scant return on his bumper new contract, but nobody could accuse Benteke of not doing a shift for Villa. No striker comes close to matching his tally of aerial duels won this season.
Striker: Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) 36.4pc shot conversion rate - The German is disgruntled at being deployed on the flanks rather than in the middle, and maybe he has a point. Of all the forwards with five goals or more, none can better Podolski's shot conversion rate of 36.4pc.
Striker: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United) 73.3pc shooting accuracy - The 'Little Pea' is likely to be one of the casualties of United's summer clear-out, but his eye for accuracy - no striker with 10 shots or more this season has hit the target more regularly - should make him coveted.

This unlikely team compromises of some players who have come in for their fair share of criticism this season.

The inclusion of Rio Ferdinand will certainly raise eye-brows, while Lukas Podolski too has hardly set the world alight, despite a recent goal spree.

The team was compiled based on various statistics, some perhaps a little less relevant than others, but does nonetheless make for interesting viewing.

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