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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020
Advertisement's alternative Premier League Team of the Year

We select the unfortunate players who missed out on the PFA’s official seclection this year.

Cazorla has arguably been Arsenal's most consistent performer this year.
Cazorla has arguably been Arsenal's most consistent performer this year.

Petr Cech (Chelsea): The Chelsea man has been at his imperious best this year. Following his infamous collision with Stephen Hunt, some critics suspected he had gone off the boil as a result of the psychological issues incurred from the incident, however he has continually alleviated such doubts ever since. This season, he has looked as strong as ever, making 32 appearances for Chelsea and helping them secure the league’s second best defensive record.

Rafael da Silva (Manchester United): This year will surely be seen as the campaign where United’s full-back finally came of age. Having looked error-prone and all-too-hyperactive prior to this season, he has since established himself as a solid, reliable member of a United defence that has improved considerably as the year’s gone on.

Ashley Williams (Swansea): The Welsh international’s form has been one of the primary reasons for a season in which they have exceeded expectations immeasurably. Following the loss of manager Brendan Rodgers and some key players, many even predicted that they’d struggle to stay in the league. Nonetheless, with a backline that has been spearheaded by the influential 28-year-old, they have flourished, comfortably avoiding any threat of relegation in the process.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea): Another oft-overlooked but integral member of the Chelsea side, Ivanovic has been impressive enough to ensure club legend John Terry’s appearances this year have been limited. Much has been made of the influence of the attacking flair provided by Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, yet the defensive aspect of the Londoners’ game has arguably been the integral element in ensuring their progress as the season’s developed.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United): It’s been another vintage year for the Frenchman, with a best-ever Premier League tally of four goals in conjunction with his recurring presence in a United defence that has undergone relentless change in other areas over the course of the campaign.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal): It’s been an inconsistent season for Arsenal, who have had to cope with the loss of Robin van Persie, but Arsene Wenger showed he still has an eye for a bargain by securing the services of the Spaniard in the summer. Cazorla has undoubtedly been the Gunners’ standout performer this year, while the return of key players in other areas has also helped them enjoy a hugely impressive finish to the season.

Yaya Toure (Manchester City): Toure missed a substantial part of the season owing to injury and being selected for the African Nations Cup, but he’s still had a major impact on the Premier League this year. While he may not have quite been the phenomenal force of nature we saw last year, City aren’t going to come second by accident and he has still managed seven goals in 29 appearances while remaining a lynchpin in the midfield of Roberto Mancini’s side.

Frank Lampard (Chelsea): Despite being underused by Rafael Benitez, Lampard has refused to be discouraged by the lack of faith shown in him by the Chelsea manager. There is much talk about the fact that his contract probably won’t be renewed in the summer, but 13 goals in 26 matches indicate he still has plenty to offer at the top level.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton): Save the odd unsavoury headbutt, Fellaini, along with Leighton Baines, has been the central reason why Everton have overperformed for the umpteenth time this year. The Belgian international earned the Premier League Player of the Month for November 2012, among a series of highlights this campaign.

Michu (Swansea): Arguably the player most unlucky to miss out on the Team of the Year, Michu has been a revelation at Swansea and proof that it’s possible to buy exceptional players for low prices. He managed 17 goals from 32 appearances despite often playing in midfield, and were it not for a slight drop in his performances towards the end of the campaign, would have been a strong candidate for Player of the Year.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa): If Villa do end up staying up, they will largely have the Belgian international to thank. Playing alone up front in a struggling side is one of the hardest tasks in football, but 18 goals in 32 appearances and a Young Player of the Year nomination has illustrated the accomplished manner in which he has approached this arduous challenge.

Subs: Simon Mignolet (Sunderland), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Matija Nastasic (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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