Soccer Gaming’s PL Team of the Season
Cliche, it very well maybe (although he wasn’t our left back) but we have decided to put together a traditional team of the season for the 2012/13 Premier League season. These are based on the formations, tactics and performances of the most recent campaign, and therefore perfectly valid players will be left out!
With the season now all but over, we know that Sir Alex’s final act as Manchester United manager was to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford. We know that money doesn’t guarantee success with QPR being relegated and Man City ended up empty handed. And we know football isn’t sentimental; with Wigan being relegated in spite of their excellent FA Cup win. We will throw together / steal some compilation video of goals and action from the previous season in the coming weeks, but until then, please feel free to argue with every decision we have made!
Okay, not the most original, but has been played by pretty much every team within the top half of the table for some point during the season, plus is quite a common one for big teams in big games (Man United vs. Real Madrid, for example)
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
Maybe not as influential in terms of his media mind games or causing other managers to have break downs, however his undeniable drive and determination has rubbed off on his players to lead them to the 13th Premier League title. Honorable mentions for Villas Boas and Laudrup, however in terms of going out on top, there are very few better!
GK - Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)
Quite simply, most of the players in this team will be from clubs in the top six of the league. Rightly so, as these players positively influence matches and results. However Sunderland’s keeper has been responsible for keeping the club in the Premier League, predominately due to their impotence at the Sharp End of the pitch. Turning draws into wins and loses into draws has been his game, along the way producing his usual collection of world class saves. Take him out the team, and replace him with a lesser stopper, and Sunderland very well may have been a Championship side in 2013/14
RB - Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
It is very rare that one full back stands out so much, yet the Argentine has been a class above for City this season. His defensive understanding of the English game has improved greatly, he became part of the best defense in the league, and still looks a threat going forward. A true modern day full back capable of playing of any team in the world.
LB - Leighton Baines (Everton)
For the last few years, everyone’s go to English left back has been Ashley Cole. This year, the power has shifted, with Baines looking the better player both defensively and in the attacking third. Responsible for some excellent link up play, decent challenges and wonderful strikes, Baines is a shoe in for the left back in team of the season, and arguably the national team’s number one in the position too.
CB - Ashley Williams (Swansea City)
Captaining Swansea to a domestic trophy aside, Williams is a top class CB, capable of pitting himself at the highest level. Composed and confident on the ball, excellent understanding and reading of the game and physical in the challenge, his diminutive size for the position isn’t really ever considered a factor. Like Cannavaro, could go on to bigger and better things as his career progresses.
CB - Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
Teams win matches, experience helps win trophies. Rio Ferdinand, at 34, has been a key component both on the field and in the dressing room to support United’s success. Chelsea have shown how missing your experienced CB can effect the whole team, and Rio has managed his body and mind in a way which has allowed him to put in some top class performances for the Champions.
DMC - Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Personally, I am not a huge fan of Carrick, however his ability to build possession, receive under pressure and play killer passes is a key factor in the success of United this season. Arguably the English Sergio Busquets, Carrick doesn’t get as many goals as some more ‘eye catching’ midfielders, but his role as a team player and his overall consistency makes him a valid choice in this side.
DMC - Marouanne Fellaini (Everton)
Forget the fact he is six foot five and counting, forget the fact he has ridiculous hair, Fellaini is a top footballer with the ball on the floor. His balance and footwork for such a big man is exceptional, and add on top of that his phenomenal chest control and aerial threat and you are left with a top player. Granted, his has been deployed this season more often as a second striker or target man, but the big Belgian’s preferred position is as a defensive midfield player, and long term this will more than likely be where he ends up. More influential this season than Yaya Toure, and that is saying something!
RM - Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Sheer class is the best way to describe this little man. Chelsea fans know it, watch him live and you’ll see it. Could play anywhere across this middle three and be effective, has the ability to float and drift into spaces that other players don’t know are there, technically able to perform in high intensity situations, and leads the table for number of assists this season. 11 league goals is a fair return from any midfield player. and whatever the future holds for the London club, their number 10 shirt is in a safe place.
AM - Robin Van Persie (Manchester United)
Goals, technique, support play and awareness. RVP has been the standout PL player for the last few seasons, and in spite of him playing as the focal point in many of United’s fixtures this season, he is more than comfortable drifting and playing in behind a target man if required. With the talk of Manchester City being so disappointed on missing out on the Dutch hit man, the bottom line is that with Robin’s goals, United have dominated the league pretty much since Christmas. His first league trophy, and based on his form this season, probably not his last!
LM - Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham are not a one man team. Their excellent season doesn’t happen because of one player. But when you have Gareth Bale on the form he has been in this season, your team is undoubtedly ‘better’. Goals at crucial times, wonder goals in big games, pace and trickery, everything that a football fan will happily pay to see. Deservedly this season’s PFA Player of the Season.
CF - Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
In a close call between the Belgian and Luis Suarez, I have opted for a player who without his goals and hold up play, Aston Villa would be undoubtedly in the Championship next season. For a young man in his first PL season, Benteke has been a handful for experienced defenders, competed admirably in a very average side and bagged a commendable 19 goals in the process.
There you have it. Looking through the side, it would not be unheard of for 50% of the team to be playing at different clubs next season!
We are delighted to announce that the Soccer Gaming team of the season is available as a download on FIFA 13, under the title Soccer Gaming FC. We are hoping this becomes a more common feature for the 2013/14 season, and the download can be accessed by visiting the EA Sports Creation Centre.