Another season ended and the blue side from London walked away with the top honours. City failed to defend their title for the second time in the last 3 years. Chelsea’s side was, obviously, the standout side of the season racing into the lead early in the season and then displaying a champion’s tenacity to hang on even when the going got a bit rough towards the end of the season. Chelsea apart, however, we saw great performances from talents like Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane and Jose Mourinho failed to outshine a couple of managers (spoiler alert!) in the dugout. Here’s our EPL Team of the Season. While picking this team, we have given equal importance to the player’s own performance, his performance relative to his teammates and his performance in the context of his club’s final standings in the league.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
The Manchester United shot stopper was a large part of the reason that Champions League football is set to return to Old Trafford next season. He came up with spectacular saves when his forwards not scoring to ensure United were never too far away from the fight for a top 4 finish. While his future at the club is in doubt with one year remaining on his contract and Real Madrid interested in taking him to Bernebau, de Gea has ensured he played his part and some more in his club’s success.
Right Back: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
Ivanovic’s role in his side’s victorious campaign is highly underrated. His surging runs down the right flank are pretty fear inducing for all but the most resolute defenses. At the ripe old age of 31, Ivanovic has been one of the few consistent players in the league over an extended period.
Centre Back: John Terry (Chelsea)
Ivanovic’s defensive partner and captain, John Terry, storms into the team on the back of a spectacular season where he played every single minute in the Premier League for Chelsea. That in itself is an achievement but Terry was spectacular in most of those 3420 minutes.
Centre Back: Jose Fonte (Southampton)
After a summer raid last year, Ronald Koeman came to St. Mary’s Park to pick up the pieces of what had been Southampton F.C. One Portuguese defender had remained from that team and he became the backbone of Koeman’s new look side. He was largely instrumental in the Saints conceding the second fewest goals in the EPL this season and edged out Gary Cahill, albeit by only a hair’s breadth.
Left Back: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)
While Azpilicueta had a stellar season for champions Chelsea, Aaron Cresswell has to be one of the bargain signings of the season, the Hammers having acquired his services for a mere A?3.75 million. Especially in light of the fabulous season he had at Boleyn Park.
. Midfielder: Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
Nemanja Matic is overshadowed by his more illustrious teammates in the limelight but the Serb has been a crucial cog in the Chelsea wheel. He shields the defence well, breaks up play and carries the ball out of defense fluently for the forward players.
Midfielder: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
Arsenal’s prodigal son returned but he was not welcome at the Emirates so he made his home at Stamford Bridge instead. And propelled the London club to victory in his first full season at the club. Fabregas may have been a misfit at boyhood club Barcelona but it was because of the sheer brilliance and audacity of Xavi, Iniesta and co. He still has the edge and displayed it in ample measure this season as he controlled midfield play in crucial games and got the ball to Hazard and other forwards quickly.
Midfielder: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Midfielder: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
The Chilean’s breakthrough season for the North London outfit catapulted him to the signing of the season for the Gunners ahead of the much touted Mesut Ozil. 16 goals and 8 assists comprised the rich haul from his first Premier League campaign and he is clearly far from finished with the league. Sanchez has injected some much needed legitimacy into Arsenal’s Premier League challenge and could well make the Gunners a force to reckon with next season.
Forward: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspurs)
The English International became the first player since Gary Lineker (1991-92) to score 30 or more goals for Spurs in one season. His haul was second only to Aguero’s in all competitions but the latter lost out to the Englishman because City’s season would be termed as a disappointment as they meekly surrendered their title to Chelsea and finished the season without a trophy. Aguero did score the most number of goals in the league but he failed to score in crucial games that City absolutely needed to win.
Forward: Diego Costa (Chelsea)
The new arrival from Atletico Madrid took the league by storm by racing to 10 goals from just 7 games. While Costa’s season did taper a bit after that initial burst owing to injury and time on the sidelines, he still finished the season strongly and ended with a total of 20 goals to show for his efforts. He may be criticised for being excessively violent on the pitch but the fact is that he is a bona fide striker, a poacher when provided the ball in the box.
Manager: Ronald Koeman (Southampton)
After Liverpool (Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren), Manchester United (Luke Shaw), Arsenal (Calum Chambers) and Spurs (Mauricio Pochettino) had finished picking apart the core of Southampton’s 2013 season side, most people expected the Saints to slip into mid table mediocrity, probably even be battling to avoid relegation. Ronald Koeman was handed the unenvious job of rebuilding the side practically from scratch. Koeman took to the task head on after 9 months and 38 games, Koeman can be proud of what his team have achieved. Southampton finished 7th in the league table and with Arsenal winning the FA Cup, secured a place in the Europa League. Koeman proved that it is not necessary to have big name players but for the players to stick together and play together.