Tonight the PFA player of the year will be crowned and the PFA best XI named. Gareth Bale is expected to be the win individual award, and the best XI is likely to drawn from players playing for Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, and to lesser degree, Chelsea.
The 2010/11 season has been one of the most unpredictable seasons in memory, and a big reason for this has been the performances of mid-table sides who have stepped up and taken points off the top six. Having played such a big role in a memorable season, it is only right, that the unheralded stars of the Premier League’s less glamorous sides be recognised.
I have picked an eleven consisting of the season’s best performers playing for sides outside the top six. As much as possible I have tried to base selections on consistency over the course of the campaign, rather than flash in the pan runs of form.
Ben Forster 31 Appearances 9 Clean Sheets
Since his move from Manchester United he has been very consistent and plays an important role in a strong Birmingham defence.
Seamus Coleman 28 Appearances 4 Goals 4 Assists
Cheating a little here as the young Irishman has played most the season at right midfield. Nonetheless, in this position he has been excellent. He has good ability on the ball and his capacity to play right back means he contributes defensively.
Brende Hangeland 32 Appearances 3 Goals 1 Assist
The cornerpiece of a Fulham defence that has conceded less goals than any side outside of the top four, and only three less than Manchester United. Surely it is only a matter of time before he joins a Champions League side. When he does everyone will probably wonder how he remained at Fulham so long.
Gary Cahill 30 Appearances 3 Goals
Cahill has had another fine season for Bolton, and has been rewarded with call ups to the England squad. He looked assured on his first international start against Ghana.
Leighton Baines 32 Appearances 4 Goals 11 Assists
Unfortunate not to go to South Africa last summer, Baines has been Everton’s key man in an up and down season. He has provided excellent service from full back contributing eleven assists.
Scott Parker 30 Appearances 5 Goals 3 Assists
Shortlisted for the PFA player of the year award, Parker has been one area of consistency in a poor season for West Ham. He is their talisman, and the driving force behind the side. As well as his defensive efforts he has had his best ever goalscoring season, scoring five, and is the hammers joint second top scorer.
Kevin Nolan 27 Appearances 12 Goals
Much of the attention on Newcastle early in the season focused on Andy Carroll. However Nolan performances were just impressive. What is more he has continued his fine form following the departure of the 35 million pound target man. A goal scoring midfielder who is not afraid to get stuck in Nolan has been key to the safe mid table position Newcastle find themselves in.
Charlie Adam 29 Appearances 9 Goals 7 Assists
Probably every neutrals favourite team, Blackpool have contributed enormously to the entertainment of the season. Adam has been key to Blackpool’s play; he has a great range of passing and is a dead ball specialist. Interest from Liverpool and Spurs indicates he is set for bigger things. It will be interesting to see if he can succeed in a more pressured environment.
Stewart Downing 32 Appearances 6 Goals 8 Assists
It has been a disappointing season for Aston Villa. However, one bright spot must be the consistent form of Stewart Downing who, this season, has reached some of the potential he showed as a young player at Middlesbough. He has demonstrated versatility playing on the right, the left and behind the strikers at different times this season
Charles N’Zogbia 28 Appearances 4 Goals 6 Assists
If Wigan somehow stay up, it will be in large part to the creative abilities of Charles N’Zogbia. When it comes to beating a man, he is one of the best in the league, and he has matured as a player since his Newcastle days. If Wigan do go down there will be plenty of offers for N’Zogbia.
Peter Odemwingie 27 Appearances 12 Goals 8 Assists
The statistics say it all, a fantastic return for a striker playing for a newly promoted club. Strong and pacey, Odemwingie has provided a focal point for West Brom’s attacks. More importantly, Odemwingie has brought goals something West Brom have lacked in their previous visits to the Premier League.
Paul Robinson, 31 Appearances, 9 Clean Sheets.
Robert Huth, 31 Appearances, 6 Goals, 3 Assists.
Jose Enrique, 30 Appearances, 2 Assists.
Ashley Young, 29 Appearances, 6 Goals, 10 Assists.
Clint Dempsey, 32 Appearances, 10 Goals, 3 Assists.
Chris Brunt, 30 Appearances, 4 Goals, 11 Assists.
Darren Bent, 30 Appearances, 14 Goals, 2 Assists.
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