I meant to put this team up when we were 19 games (i.e. exactly halfway through the season) into the Prem campaign. Still, better slightly late than neverâ€¦ here, for you to peruse/violently disagree with, is Pies’ Premier League team of the season, at the halfway stage (it will be interesting to see how much this changes come the end of the season). It’s in a standard 4-4-2 formation.
Goalkeeper – Manuel Almunia (Arsenal)
There is no standout goalkeeper, in my opinion. Edwin van der Sar and Jose Reina have given up few goals, as usual. Rob Green has had a decent season too. But Almunia gets the nod simply because he’s done very little wrong, despite knowing that one dodgy performance could spell the end of his Arsenal career. Jens Lehmann has not been missed.
Click below to see the rest of the XIâ€¦
Left-back – Gael Clichy (Arsenal)
Ashley Cole could have stayed in north London, but perhaps he left because he saw how much better than him Clichy was going to become. The young Frenchman has been sensational for the Gunners this season. Arsene Wenger said of him recently: ‘Today we can notice he has no more gaps in his play. He is awesome in the quality of his passes, in his long passes, in his technical levelâ€¦ He can get out of any situation.’ Clichy, now 22, is good enough to be Arsenal’s left-back for the next 8-10 years.
Centre-half – Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd)
For all of Rio’s crass off-pitch antics, and general boorishness, we must not ignore the fact that he’s now at his absolute peak – and what a peak that is. I think he’s the best central defender in the world right now, and so far this season he has been imperious. No side in the Prem has shipped fewer goals than United, and Rio takes most of the plaudits for that. (A share of the credit for Rio’s majestic form also goes to his trusty sidekick, Nemanja Vidic.)
Centre-half – Richard Dunne (Man City)
Like Rio Ferdinand, Dunne is at the very top his game. He’s been City’s player of the season for the last three seasons, and the way he’s going, that will become four in the spring. It wasn’t always this way. Dunne used to be an indisciplined player, reputedly fond of the odd shandy. That showed in his waistline. But he is a reformed character â€“ the Honey Monster nickname no longer applies â€“ and now behaves like the ultimate professional. His manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, said of Dunne this week: ‘He is a real captainâ€¦ he is such a fighter.’
Right-back – Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Not a great number of candidates for this position. Sagna gets my vote because he’s adapted faster to the Premier League than almost any footballer I can remember. Yet another astute signing by Monsieur Wenger. Unlike some defenders blessed with