THE PREMIER LEAGUE season is now over, thus bringing an end to our weekly Fantasy Football column.
And what better way to commemorate the occasion than by focusing on the dream team – many of whom inevitably featured in the majority of your sides.
So sit back, contemplate the brilliance of these 11 individuals, and ask yourself why in God’s name you neglected to pick Clint Dempsey for so long.
GOALKEEPER: Joe Hart - The Man City goalkeeper was in most pundits’ teams of the season, and the statistics back up their praise of Hart. He ultimately proved to be a crucial part of Man City’s title-winning side, helping them earn an impressive 17 clean sheets and making 143 saves.
DEFENDER: Patrice Evra – While many people claim Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the Premier League, Evra surely cannot be too far off him. He was part of a solid (for the most part) Man United defence, developing a Dennis Irwin-esque level of consistency in the process.
DEFENDER: Vincent Kompany – Another titan in City’s incredibly impressive defence, much has been made of Kompany’s leadership qualities, but without a defensive record to back up this praise, such comments would mean little. However, his contribution in helping City concede less goals than any other Premier League club this season has been considerable.
DEFENDER: Kyle Walker – The right back showed the type of consistency that many of his Tottenham colleagues lacked this season, helping them to acquire 14 clean sheets and chipping in with the odd impressive goal to boot.
MIDFIELDER: Theo Walcott – Arsenal fans may rub their eyes in disbelief, given that the player has received his fair share of criticism during this campaign. Nonetheless, Walcott has at least sporadically shown the supporters what he is capable of, contributing 10 goals and 12 assists, while perhaps epitomising Arsenal’s inconsistent season in the process.
(Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to Barcelona following a series of strong performances this season – Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)
MIDFIELDER: Gareth Bale – The winger was as effervescent as ever this season, giving opposition full-backs nightmares on a routine basis. The Welshman consequently managed a remarkable return of 12 goals and 18 assists – so surely he won’t be at Tottenham much longer.
MIDFIELDER: David Silva – While it’s true that David Silva may have gone off the boil slightly during the latter half of the season, when on form, he was arguably the most beautiful player to watch in the league – City’s 6-1 mauling of rivals United, in which he played an integral role, was a prime example. And the Manchester derby wasn’t the only occasion when Silva served as his side’s midfield lynchpin, as his overall tally of eight goals and 21 assists attests.
MIDFIELDER: Clint Dempsey – Dempsey is arguably the most remarkable player of all on this list, given that in comparison to all the other players mentioned, he had far less talented footballers playing alongside him. And despite the obvious pitfalls of playing with a smaller club, he emerged as both the highest-scoring (in FF points) and top-scoring (21 goals) midfielder in the Premier League this season.
STRIKER: Robin van Persie – What else can you say about this man that hasn’t already been said? He won the PFA Player of the Year award by a country mile, and was also comfortably the highest scoring Fantasy Football player.
STRIKER: Wayne Rooney – After coming into his own following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, before experiencing a slight dip in form last season, Rooney produced another campaign to be proud of this time around. He now has an impressive total of 144 goals in 318 appearances – not bad for a player only beginning to approach his peak.
STRIKER: Sergio Aguero – With the fantastic form of Rooney and Van Persie, many people seemed to overlook Aguero as far as striker accolades were concerned. However, the Argentinian played a pivotal role in City’s ultimately successful title challenge. Moreover, given the fact that it was his first season in the Premier League, and not to mention the stiff competition for places up front in Roberto Mancini’s side, his consistent success was bordering on the miraculous.
Who won TheScore.ie’s league this year: David Gilkeson’s ‘Tog In your Useless’ beat Noel Crowley’s ‘Crilly’s Fella’s’ by a mere three points in a title race that was almost as close as the actual Premier League.
How did my team get on this year: I finished a respectable 68th out of the 322 teams competing in TheScore.ie‘s league. However, the mistake of not sticking with Jonathan Walters for anywhere near long enough will haunt me until my dying days.