Welcome to the last part of my best premier league XI of 2012/2013, and I hope you read the previous two parts, with the defence and the midfield. In this part I will be detailing my front 3 and my manager of the season.
Left wing: Gareth Bale (Spurs)
What is there to say about Bale this year that hasn’t already been said? His performances this year for Spurs have been outstanding, and if they qualify for Champions League football next season, then they owe a great deal to the Welshman. In the past he has been criticised by some for not being consistent enough, or not scoring enough goals. But this year that has changed, and he is on to score 20 goals in the Premier League this year, an outstanding achievement from a non-striker. It is still to be seen where his best position is, whether it is out wide or in behind a striker, but with his blistering pace and wand of a left foot, he really is a huge talent and one that the Lily-whites will be absolutely desperate to hang on to in the summer. Exciting.
Honourable mentions here go to Hazard, who has shown in his first season in this league what a talent he is, and at such a young age he is only going to get better, and also Weimann, who has shown how good a player he is, even in a team that is struggling as much as Villa are. Expect him to be in the Premier League next season, whether Villa are or not.
Right wing: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
This man truly is the definition of a marmite footballer. Every single football fan in the country has an opinion, and most of them either love him, or hate him. His antics and some of the things he does on the field are wrong, like diving, and biting Ivanovic, and I’m sure he is trying to rectify that. But say whatever you like about Suarez as a person, there is no doubting that as a footballer he is one of the best players in the league, if not the world. His technique, dribbling skill, pace and directness must terrify defenders, and this year he has added that clinical finishing that people felt was missing from his game last season. If he can sort out his discipline, then expect him to lead the line for Liverpool for a long time to come. The Uruguayan looks a bargain at just over £20 million given his age. Flawed genius.
Honourable mentions to Lallana, who is a terrific young prospect at Southampton and who I tip to get a call up for the international team if he continues his performances, and Michu, who is definitely the bargain of the season for 2 million, and who can play up front or behind a striker.
Striker: Robin Van Persie (Manchester United)
The Dutchman has been probably the best striker in the league this season, with his outstanding goal record for United being one of the main reasons they have won the league this season. Van Persie has scored all types of goals this season, with free kicks, tap ins, headers, wonderful volleys (think 2nd goal against Villa) and has incredible composure in the box to find that half a yard he needs to put the chance away, right or left footed. This season he has also managed to create goals for his team mates as well, and his budding partnership with Rooney has grown as the season has gone on. If I was any of the other teams I would be worried about him next season, as he has said he is disappointed with his form this season and feels he can do better and score more. With his first Premier League medal around his neck and United sure to strengthen in the summer, who would bet against him? Exceptional.
Honourable mentions to Benteke, who is an absolute beast and who can terrorise any centre-backs in the league, and whose goals have given Villa some crumb of hope of escaping relegation, and Lukaku, who looks a terrifying prospect given his age.
Manager: Steve Clarke (West Brom)
This was by far the most difficult decision for me, with many other candidates such as Laudrup, Allardyce, Villas-Boas, and of course Sir Alex. But Clarke just edged out the rest for me because he has taken what is honestly an average mid-table Premier League team, and played exciting attacking football that got them up into the top half, and if not for some bad luck and poor end of season form, they could have been right up there challenging for Europa League football. For an inexperienced manager to do that in his first season at the club is incredible, and expect them to push on next season, especially if they can keep hold of Lukaku in the summer. The Boss.
So there it is, my full Premier League XI. Im sure you all disagree with at least one pick, so feel free to comment and give me feedback and we can get a discussion going about it.
Right Back: Zabaleta
Centre Back: Williams (c)
Centre Back: Vertonghen
Left Back: Baines
Centre Mid: Carrick
Centre Mid: Yaya Toure
Right wing: Suarez
Central Attacking Mid: Mata
Left wing: Bale
Striker: Van Persie
And manager: Steve Clarke
Also follow me on twitter @danielyeates1 for my other articles.