Adam Daley continues
his investigation into the Premier League team of the season by focusing on the
centre of midfield.
Often on the front line of attack and defence, a
good central midfielder is critical to the flow of a game. In this review I
will reveal some of the best central midfielders in the Premier League this
season. Because two central midfielder slots are up for grabs in the best XI,
this time I have included four nominees…
He was named fan's player of the year but pipped by
Giggs to the player's player of the year. With 24 goals Gerrard has had another
terrific year as Liverpool captain, and has once again proven how indispensable
he is to the club. It has notably been a year of landmarks and firsts for
Gerrard, after he scored his 100th Liverpool goal against PSV, played in his
100th European appearance against Real Madrid, scored for the first time ever
at Old Trafford in March, scored his first ever hatrick in the Premier League
against Aston Villa, and became the first Liverpool player in 19 years to win
the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. On top of all this
France legend Zidane claimed that he was the best player in the world. Not a
bad season then for the Liverpool captain.
As far as talent is concerned, Gerrard has
continued his trademark ability to grab his team by the scruff of its neck and
throw it into action. His pounding runs, tenacious tackles, thunderous shots,
stunning passes, and overall beaming quality have all been there as he guided
Liverpool to their first real title challenge in a decade. Gerrard has been a
joy to watch in the Premier League this season and more than deserves his spot
amongst the best central midfielders.
Lampard is another player who's reached a couple of
landmarks this season. In particular he scored his 100th Premier
League goal against Sunderland and made his 400th appearance for
Chelsea against Stoke. Also the new £39.2 million five year contract he signed
at the start of the season made him the highest paid Premiership player.
For much of the season Lampard has been Chelsea's
one guaranteed consistent performer. When other Chelsea players were under
performing, Lampard was always the one to carry the team to the finish, and
over the course of the season he has pulled out some magical displays for the
club. His eye for a pass has been as immaculate as always, his excellent
shooting has helped him rack up yet another high scoring season, he's been
comitted, determined and always there when Chelsea needed him. All this makes
it even stranger that he was not even considered for the PFA player of the year
award. This revelation has angered many Chelsea fans, and when he's finished
the season with 19 goals and is amongst the top assisters in the Premier League
it's easy to see why.
Ireland has accomplished this season what Lampard
did all those years ago when Abramovich first took over at Chelsea. Suddenly
his club comes into a huge amount of money and his starting position seems very
much under threat, but instead of shrinking behind the billions, Ireland has
stuck his nose out and transformed with the circumstances just like Lampard
did. In the course of a season he has gone from promising youngster to
indispensable member of the first team, and his club even named the 22 year old
Senior Player of the Year for his outstanding performances.
Ireland's season has been packed with superb
assists and memorable goals. As manager Mark Hughes has said, "He's a very good player with good work
rate, good vision and a good technical level." If anything this has been an
understatement of Ireland's qualities this season, as Man City have looked to
him again and again to provide that bit of inspiration to carry them forward.
His exploits eventually led to a nomination for PFA young player of the year,
and some believe that he should have won it instead of Ashley Young.
Giggs is the PFA player of the year and was named
in the PFA's team of the year, though neither of these selections were without
controversy, and some believe that his selections were more about sentiment
than merit. Do you agree or is Giggs being treated harshly? Now is your chance
to vote and make your voice heard.
Giggs appears in the central
midfielder slot despite playing most of his career at left midfield after
United manager Alex Ferguson decided at the start of the season that he would
play deeper than his usual position because of his age. The idea was that he
would play behind the forwards and create chances. Giggs settled in very well
to his new position and as a result has provided his team with 8 Premier League
assists. Some of the criticisms of him winning the award have been through a
lack of starts for Manchester United, but to be fair to him over the course of
the season he has made 46 appearances in total with 19 of them as a substitute.
Along with his assists he has managed to bang in 2 Premier League goals,
including a potential goal of the season against West Ham. He has also shone
through a number of winding runs, excellent through balls, and good one touch
football. Giggs has been an asset for Manchester United this season and for a
35 year old have been in very impressive form.