The Premier League Team of the Season so far
We are nearing the halfway stage of the Premier League season which gives us time to reflect on the best performers so far.
Any one of five teams could sit top of the table after St. Stephen's Day which shows the competitive nature of the league and there have been a whole host of individuals who have made a great start to the 2013/14 season.
There are some hard calls to be made in certain positions and by choosing a 4-4-2 formation Wayne Rooney is a notable absentee, though the form of Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero mean that they have the edge at this point.
Here are the eleven men we chose.
The Polish goalkeeper admitted earlier this week that being dropped last year has made him a better player and that has been obvious in his performances so far. The Arsenal attack has been getting most of the plaudits, but Szczesny has kept 11 clean sheets and has eradicated the lapses of concentration which had been a feature of his early career at Arsenal.
The Donegal man has been simply outstanding and thriving under Roberto Martinez and his attacking philosophy. An all-action full-back who has been at the heart of so many Everton attacks, his thundering goal against Swansea at the weekend was just rewards for his displays to date.
Has been a rock at the heart of an Arsenal defence that has conceded just 17 goals, only bettered by Everton. A leader within the team, the German international has looked assured throughout and also poses problems in the opposition penalty area.
Few expected Southampton to have the start they enjoyed, and the basis of Mauricio Pochettino’s game plan is a sound defensive unit. The central defender has been at the heart of this and has rightly earned plenty of plaudits for his impressive outings for the Saints.
The left back only turned 18 in the summer and has just 41 senior games to his name, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for in all other aspects of his game. Similar to Coleman in that he is prominent going forward but not afraid to shirk his defensive duties. While he is yet to gain an international cap, some are suggesting he is a decent bet to make the World Cup squad if his form continues.
The midfielder has missed just one game for the Blues and is a key component of Jose Mourinho’s attacking plans. Chelsea have been up and down this season and a lot of the creative invention falls on Hazard’s shoulders, especially with the marginalisation of Juan Mata. Has scored or assisted in more than a third of all Chelsea’s goals.
The Manchester City powerhouse is looking like a snip at £24 million and along with Vincent Kompany is arguably the most important player at Manuel Pellegrini’s disposal. Marauding runs have become his trademark and is a dominant figure in the middle of the park. Has added goals, lots of goals, to his game this season, with only Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez finding the net more than the Ivory Coast international.
The Welsh midfielder has put his long-term injury very much behind him and has been the standout performer in an attacking unit that features Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere and Giroud. After Toure he is the highest scoring midfielder in the league and has been creating chances for those around him. A transformed player.
The attacking midfielder has been a revelation this season, culminating in his first England cap in November. Blessed with balance and vision, Lallana is the fulcrum of the ever-impressive Southampton team. His goal against Hull, where the 25 year-old started with the ball 30 yards from goal and dribbled his way past five players into the left-hand side of the 18-yard box, before slotting it past Hull goalkeeper Steve Harper was one of the goals of the season.
Thirteen goals in 15 appearances for the Argentinean who looks back to his best after an indifferent campaign last year. Has formed a great understanding with Alvaro Negredo up front and the two have been tormenting defences, especially at Eastlands.
The man is simply box office. Despite missing the first six games of the season, he has bagged more goals than 11 teams in the league and is in the form of his life. His four goal cameo against Norwich were some of the best goals you will see this season and Liverpool fans will be relieved he penned a new deal, though failure to claim a Champions League spot could lead to more transfer speculation in the summer. Arguably the form player in world football.