Because the PFA vote neglected the last three months of action
Last night, the PFA names their team of the season, but did you know that members voted for it all the way back in January? In his BBC Sport Column, Micah Richards admits that votes were cast way back when Arsenal were on for the title and Newcastle were going down, meaning the past few months of play have not been taken into account. With that in mind, here’s our team of the season from February onwards:
Contributed to Arsenal’s downfall with a stunning clean sheet at the JJB before stealing the spotlight again at Stamford Bridge to help Wigan to a 1-1 draw, which could prove crucial come the end of the season. Remarkably, Wigan have kept more clean sheets than any other Premier League team from February onwards.
Gael Clichy’s season went down the drain with Arsenal’s while Evra has been solid all season long at the back for Manchester United.
Keeps his place and, if anything, his importance to Manchester United has been magnified by their vulnerability when he has been missing.
Dropping Ferdinand may seem harsh but a defence made up of Manchester United and Arsenal players can’t be justified when Everton have let in fewer goals in 2008 than anyone else in the country. Joleon Lescott has taken the plaudits because of his goal contribution but while he has made a few mistakes, Jagielka has grown in stature as the season’s progressed and could be close to an England call-up.
The only one of four Arsenal players to maintain their place, Sagna has maintained his reputation as the best right-back in the country while his team-mates have faltered.
He may not have scored in three but his 11 goals from February onwards means he is still the first name on the teamsheet.
He got a lot of negative publicity for his sending off at Old Trafford, but has been the unsung hero in Liverpool’s midfield as they have taken more points than anyone else in the league from February onwards.
Pipping his team-mate Michael Essien into the eleven, it’s hard to believe that most Chelsea fans would have been glad to see the back of him last summer. He missed the first half of the season through injury and it’s no coincidence that Chelsea have looked much more threatening since his return.
The only outfield player from outside the Top Four to get in the PFA team, Young retains his place in our team thanks to the performances that led Martin O’Neill to compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo.
He was voted into the PFA team in January but has been even better since, scoring two hat-tricks and 13 goals.
Roque Santa Cruz
The bargain signing of the season should feel very hard done by not getting in the PFA team having scored 21 goals after arriving for £3.8 million. He experienced a lull in February but bounced back to score six in his last seven.
In: Kirkland, Evra, Jagielka, Mascherano, Ballack, Santa Cruz
Out: James, Clichy, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Fabregas, Adebayor