Joe Hart: While on loan at Birmingham City the young Englishman has impressed and shown that he should perhaps deserve a spot on the international squad. The statistics are all in the 23 year-olds favor with 129 saves and 10 clean sheets he gave Manchester City fans and owners something to think about. While on loan from City he stayed as a brick wall behind the Birmingham defense, which doesn’t exactly have the Premiership’s brightest bunch of lads. His most notable performances were ties against Liverpool (twice!), Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Perhaps his stellar season would earn him a spot as England’s #1 as the Three Lions look to win their second world cup victory.
Glen Johnson: The English Right Back has shown his worth this year for Liverpool tearing up the flanks. During Liverpool’s dark season, the Englishman has been the light in the defense. Although Ivanovic has been named on the PFA’s XI Glen Johnson has out performed him in many aspects. Even with a depleted defense Glen Johnson, with the aid of outstanding keeper Pepe Reina, has helped Liverpool keep on of the best defensive records with only 35 goals conceded this year.
Richard Dunne: In a year where Aston Villa has had the best defensive record since the 99/00 season Richard Dunne was a gem in the defense. The Irish International has had an amazing year almost making it to the World Cup, only to be denied by a controversial handball by Henry. The heroic man in defense proved his worth as he was transferred for £5 million from the Eastlands and gave City owners something to think about as the Irish man appeared in 37 games scoring 3 goals.
Thomas Vermaelen: Arguably the best signing of the year the Belgian international wasted no time impressing any doubters. After his €12 million transfer from Ajax Varmaelen stepped on the scene scoring crucial goals and earning himself the captain band for the Belgian national team. Slipping under the radar Vermaelen came as a surprise to many and has been added to the list of unknown players that have been signed by Wenger and flourished under his guidance.
Patrice Evra: Starting every single Premier League game, the Frenchman has been the only starting defender who has been a regular this year. Incisive movement, solid defending and blazing speed are few things that set him apart from the rest as he constantly ran up and down the flanks being key in many of United’s relentless attacks sending in crosses that constantly gave his opponents trouble. Safe to say that without Evra’s presence in the back United would have had more than 28 goals conceded this season.
James Milner: Starting in 36 games and having 12 assists, James Milner has had a stellar season. The English International has impressed considerably this year scoring 7 goals, a career high. Fabio Capello has given the winger much praise saying, “the player I like is Milner. He’s the future, my future.” It only comes as a surprise that James Milner is only 23 years of age and is already top class. With two years left on his contract, Milner is expected to renegotiate his contract with the club after the World Cup.
Frank Lampard: Scoring 12 goals and having 10 assists last year many critics believed that Lampard’s prime was behind him. The English International has been monumental this season for the Blues scoring 22 goals in 36 games and registering 14 assists. Lampard led his side through thick and then always dominating spearheading Chelsea’s attack helping them break the Premier League record of goals scored in a season, 103 goals. The numbers are all in his favor and England fans will be hoping he can replicate his club performance at the national level as England hope to win their second World Cup victory, which hasn’t been done since 1966.
Cesc Fabregas: The young vibrate 23 year-old Spanish midfielder has been plagued with injuries and been subject to transfer rumors this year but has still had a phenomenal performance slotting in 15 goals and tallying 13 assists for the young Arsenal squad. Cesc’s performance this year hasn’t gone unnoticed as he was shortlisted for the PFA player of the year award. The Spaniard has been named for Spain’s World Cup squad and will be hoping to break into the starting lineup but will have to beat some of the world’s best, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Iniesta just to name a few.
Florent Malouda: Having disappointed Chelsea fans his first season at Stamford Bridge Malouda has won the hearts of many this year putting on the best performance of his career. Malouda has scored 12 goals out of his 33 starts for the Blues and had 8 assists as Chelsea moved on to win the title. His speed and toughness have earned him his first major title with the Blues.
Wayne Rooney: This year is easily Rooney’s best season of his career tallying up 26 goals in the EPL and 34 goals in all competitions. The talismanic striker’s impact on the pitch wasn’t just seen in the goals he scored but in his distribution of the ball and some amazing long balls that tore apart the enemy’s defense. Losing the best player in the world is very difficult for a team and even more difficult for the man filling in those golden shoes. England’s striker even caught the eye of Real Madrid who are reportedly trying to lure him to the Bernabeu.
Didier Drogba: Scoring more goals than he has in the past two seasons combined Drogba has exceeded expectations scoring the most goals in the entire Premier League. The Ivorian International spearheaded the Chelsea attack which set records this year scoring a total of 103 goals. Drogba also ranked up 10 assists, 4th in the Premier League. Drogba’s performance this year has quelled any rumors that he may be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer. He’ll be looking to replicate his performance at the World Cup in South Africa this summer.
Subs: Pepe Reina (GK), Branislav Ivanovic (RB), Michael Dawson (CB), Ashley Cole (LB), Valencia (RM), Darren Fletcher (CM), Nani (LM), Darren Bent (ST), Tevez (ST)
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