Cole vs Evra vs Baines – Who has been the PL left back of the season?


Football FanCast columnist Adam Daley continues
his investigation into the Premier League team of the season by focusing on the
left back position.

Sometimes an overlooked position, left backs are an
important cog in the smooth running of a decent footballing machine. In this
review I look at some of the best left backs to grace the Premier League this
season. My three nominations for left back of the season are…

 

Patrice Evra

Many consider Evra to be the best left back in the
world, even he's said that he believes it. His form this season however has not
been completely consistent. In particular many may remember how Lennon toyed
with him in the Carling Cup final. He's also struggled with injuries and bans,
but even through all this he's still been one of the best in his position this
season. It's difficult to argue with his talents when he's flying up the wing
or nipping an excellent tackle.

Evra actually started his career as a striker with
Paris Saint-Germain, and was only tried as a left back in his second club Nice
because of injuries to their squad. It's easy to understand then why his
attacking capabilities are his prized asset. In particular he usually impresses
with his blink and you miss him pace (when he's fit), along with decent
stamina, ball skills and tackling ability. The PFA decided that he was their
best left back, is he yours?

 

Ashley Cole

Often a controversial figure off the field, but on
it he's got bags of ability and is rightly England's best left back. He can
easily tandem defensive grit with silky attack, and can often combine them to
spark a dangerous counter attack. This season he's been particularly excellent
and has firmly put the ghosts of his poor showing last season to bed. His
fellow players have considered him to have done so well in fact that they voted
him Chelsea's player's player of the year.

A lot of his on field problems to date have resulted
from injuries, with his ankle giving him particular problems. This season
however Cole has managed to avoid the physio's table and has looked refreshed
and tenacious. If you can forget his tabloid mayhem and often unpopular
decisions, Cole is a good player who has done well this season deserves his
spot amongst the best three left backs.

 

Leighton Baines

Baines struggled in his first Everton season last year, but this year he has
gone from strength to strength. He scored his first goal for Everton, got his
first England call-up and was named player of the month two times in a row in
March and April, all capping off a terrific season for Leighton Baines. As a
result of his form his manager David Moyes has tipped him to be a part of
England's 2010 World Cup squad.

Baines is a tireless defender who is very hard working and combines this with a
decent amount of skill. He's also good at linking with the forwards and has
often formed a deadly partnership with Pienaar on the left this season.
Injuries permitting, there is a good chance that 24 year old Baines will have a
bright future not only at Everton but in the England fold as well.