The Spoiler’s Premier League team of 2008/09 so far
Oooh look a fancy 4-4-2 diamond formation
Obliging the interweb’s unrelenting appetite for “Best of 2008″ lists at this time of year, The Spoiler has considered the eleven players who have impressed us the most so far this season. There’s no room for well-played Brazilians or anyone who plays at Anfield or Old Trafford, and a surprise choice between the sticks…
GK Robert Green (West Ham)
Pepe Reina and Petr Cech may keep more clean sheets but they are rarely tested as much as Green, who (aside from one bad game against Bolton) has had a fantastic season. Of all the players West Ham could lose next month, it is Green’s departure that would prove the most fatal.
DL Luke Young (Aston Villa)
The Spoiler wasn’t the only one to raise eyebrows when Aston Villa paid a fee rising to £6 million to sign Young in the summer but he has delivered not just at right-back, but out of position on the left too, where he has recently been preferred to the underperforming Nicky Shorey.
DC Michael Turner (Hull)
If someone told you at the start of the season that one of Hull’s defenders would be linked with a call-up to the England team and a transfer to Liverpool you would have laughed in their face, but that’s exactly what has happened with Turner, who has also contributed three goals.
DC Brede Hangeland (Fulham)
Many centre-backs have shone at times this year, such as Martin Laursen, Nemanja Vidic, Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson but it would be wrong not to recognise the impact Hangeland has had on Fulham’s fortunes. The Cottagers have conceded just twelve goals in seventeen games, nine fewer than Arsenal, and the Norwegian defender is the major reason behind that.
DR Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea)
In a season where Chelsea have lost their unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge and have taken less home points than teams like Stoke, Newcastle and Wigan, one of the biggest positives has been the way Bosingwa has instantly settled in England to solve the Blues’ longstanding right-back problem.
DM John Obi Mikel (Chelsea)
There were worries in the summer that Chelsea would struggle to fill the void left by Claude Makelele but Mikel has excelled in his new role. It was also noticeable in the home defeat to Arsenal that Chelsea ran out of ideas going forwards after substituting their defensive midfielder.
ML Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
While The Spoiler is inclined to disagree with Martin O’Neill’s proclamations that his winger is at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, he has established himself as the best Premier League player outside of the Big Four. Fabio Capello will surely give him more England opportunities in the new year.
MR Steed Malbranque (Sunderland)
Tony Blair’s favourite player probably won’t be appearing on many lists like these but the Frenchman deserves great credit for having made the most Premier League assists despite playing for a team that have been struggling. Malbranque has set up eight of Sunderland’s 21 league goals this season, as well as scoring one himself.
AM Stephen Ireland (Manchester City)
Mark Hughes hasn’t got a lot right at Manchester City this season but surely his best decision was to pull the plug on Ireland’s proposed transfer to Sunderland back in August. The midfielder has scored six and set up three and has consistently been the billionaires’ best performer.
SC Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)
Anelka has a lot of critics and they are always quick to point out that a lot of his goals are tap-ins and are adamant that Didier Drogba should return to the side now. However, it’s hard to imagine Chelsea being as close to the summit as they are now without the Frenchman’s fourteen goals from seventeen starts.
SC Geovanni (Hull)
There were so many contenders for this second slot. Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored nine, the eight goals apiece by Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch are the main reason why Portsmouth aren’t yet embroiled in a relegation battle, and Ricardo Fuller has stepped up impressively at Stoke to outperform record signing Dave Kitson. Meanwhile Amr Zaki, Robinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie have all scored eight. However, our choice is Geovanni, the Brazilian who cost Hull nothing and kickstarted their amazing campaign with vital goals against Fulham, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Substitutes: Given (Newcastle), Johnson (Portsmouth), Vidic (Manchester United), Lampard (Chelsea), Kuyt (Liverpool), Zaki (Wigan), Fuller (Stoke)
Do you agree with our choices? Do you have the audacity to disagree? Either way, let us know with a comment…