With the PFA team just announced it is only natural to look at various positions within the team and debate if they are really the right choice and who the other contenders are. This time we are looking at left back and the choice was Ashley Cole. Many people might also think about Gareth Bale – but I won’t be considering him, because there is no doubt he is a left winger. But let us look at some top choices in Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Patrice Evra and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
We all know that Ashley Cole is a fantastic talent and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to be first choice for Chelsea and England in the near future. For that reason I can understand his selection in the PFA team. But many people have felt that he has had a below par season and the rankings on the Premier League website suggest that he can consider himself fortunate to have been selected in that PFA team.
Leighton Baines is probably the best left back in the Premier League at the moment. He has certainly been impressive and he will be pleased to have scored 4 goals and created 11 (ESPNSoccernet). But I do have a slight issue with Talksport that suggested he was the best left back purely based on the amount of goals he has created. Now, I take the point that it’s impressive but a left back’s job is first to defend and keep goals out. The attacking qualities are an added bonus. But I can’t argue against the statistics that confirm he is ranked as the best left back this season.
Patrice Evra has been in the Premier league a while and proved himself to be a very capable defender and very dangerous in attack. In the rankings he is only just behind Baines and has had another solid season. Assou-Ekotto doesn’t actually feature in the rankings for the top ten defenders in the Premier League – but he is still worth a mention. Mainly because he takes a lot of pressure off Bale and allows the Welshman to concentrate on attacking.
So without doubt Baines is the best left back in the Premier League – but misses out in PFA Team of the Year. Seems strange I know, but it seems a classic case of reputation going ahead of actual form. But at least he is another quality left back for England and Everton to use.