A few weeks ago, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) released their “Team of the Year“, revealing who they believed to be the best collection of players spanning across the entire Barclay’s Premier League. The team consists of 2 Forwards, 4 Midfielders, 4 Defenders (2 Fullbacks/2 Center Backs), and 1 Goalkeeper. It’s essentially a who’s who of the BPL in regards to their respective positions.
And while the team certainly has some impressive names on it, it does differ slightly from what the top of the fantasy scorers’ list tells us. And let’s be honest, that’s all we really care about, right? I thought so. What a player does on our score sheets has truly become paramount in the world of sports.
Having said that, let’s take a look at who would’ve made the Premier League Fantasy Team of the Year.
Accurately describing just how good Luis Suárez was this year is admittedly a futile task, but I shall make a meager attempt non the less. To put it simply, he was utterly dominant for the majority of the season. Not only did he tie Christiano Ronaldo’s single season record of 31 goals, he also (ho hum) dished out 25 assists (per fantasypremierleague.com), 10 more than the next closest player (Steven Gerrard). Oh yeah, he also did all that after missing the first 5 games of the year due to a suspension. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can bestow on him is that even as an Everton fan, I truly enjoyed watching this man play football.
As Suárez’s running mate there were bound to be times where Sturridge took a back seat to his Uruguayan counterpart, but make no mistake about it, there were times were the English version of this duel threat attack was just a dominant – if not more so. His 21 goals was good enough for 2nd in the league, and while he isn’t well known for his passing prowess, he benefited greatly from Brendan Rodgers’ attacking mindset and chipped in 7 assists himself. For the first 5 games of the campaign while Suárez was out, Sturridge was largely responsible for giving the team it’s early season success and setting them up for a title run; netting a goal in 4 of the first 5 games
Yaya Touré/Manchester City
With the style and grace that one would not usually associate with someone the size of this hulking midfielder (6’3″/175), Touré epitomized what it meant to be a “box to box midfielder”. Constantly roaming the middle of the pitch, Touré’s mark was left on essentially every City match – especially their victories. Wether it was from open play, from the Spot, or from stunning free kicks, he did it all and amassed 20 goals – something almost unheard of for a midfielder. He also wasn’t too shabby in distributing the rock either as he completed more passes than anyone else in the league (2,207), with 9 of those going for assists.
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Perhaps no one benefited more from the deadly Liverpool attack than “Captain Fantastic”. 10 of Gerrard’s 13 goals came from the penalty spot which no doubt came as direct result of what players like Suárez and Sturridge were doing around goal. The bottom line is goals are goals and it doesn’t matter how they’re scored (especially to fantasy players). Those goals plus 15 assists made Gerrard an elite fantasy option. And as long as he’s upright and continues to take all the PK’s and most of the free kicks, there’s no reason he can’t continue to be one either.
A late season injury and some stagnant play up front caused the flame to cool on this Belgian down the stretch, but that only highlights just how good he was for the first 22 weeks. Over that span he amassed 14 goals and 10 assists, which, given how lackluster the Blue’s attack was for most of the year, is truly amazing. José Mourinho hailed him as the best young player in the world, and with his performance this season it might be hard to argue with him.
The 2013/2014 campaign was kind to this midfield maestro. Not only did he spur Southampton to a very solid 8th place finish, but he was also selected amongst Roy Hodgson’s provisional World Cup roster. His 9 goals and 9 assists may not look like much compared to a few other names on this list, but when you consider his cost at the beginning of the year was £6.o, that production came at quite the value for fantasy players.
*Note* FantasyPremierLeague.com does not differentiate between Fullbacks and Center Backs; it’s all just “Defense”. As a result, the defenders listed here will not be two of each, it will simply be the defenders who finished highest on the fantasy scoring table.
If you look up “breakout season” in the dictionary, you’ll probably find a picture of one Seamus Coleman. The Irishman lit up the right side of the pitch for the Toffee’s, on his way to 6 goals (all from open play) and 2 assists. Those 6 goals were good enough for 2nd amongst all defenders, falling behind only Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel. And, being a member of the 2nd best defense (in terms of goals scored) meant that he kept his fair share of Clean Sheets as well. 15 as a matter of fact.
The Blue’s skipper enjoyed a very nice bounce back season in ’13/’14. The 3 goals and 1 assist made for some nice icing on the cake, but it was his presence at the heart of that stout Chelsea defense that made him one of the most valuable fantasy defenders. Notching 16 clean sheets and playing 90+ minutes in all but the 4 games he missed, signaled that this former English national still has quite a bit left in the tank.
Much similar to Gerrard, much of Baines’ fantasy points come from his job as the team’s PK and free kick taker, as he found the back of the net 3 times from the Spot, and the other 2 from gorgeous set pieces. Outside of a stretch of 6 games missed due to an injury, he was his normal self flying up and down the left wing, whipping the ball in on crosses, dishing out assists (5), and being an overall menace to opposing offenses and defenses.
Almost a carbon fantasy copy of his backfield mate Terry, Ivanovic also notched 3 goals and 1 assist but it was the 16 clean sheets and constant 90+ minutes played that placed him amongst the league leaders in points. As a matter of fact, with the exception of 2 games missed to injury and 1 where he left early, he played the full 90+ in every single match.
The “real life” version of this team has Chelsea’s Petr Cech at Keeper, but a late season injury to Cech gave Timmy Howard, the American, all the time he needed to take over the fantasy Goalkeeper throne. 15 clean sheets and an amazing 114 saves (plus a sneaky assist) summed up Howard’s stellar season, and gave the club confidence that he’ll be able to keep up this level of play as they locked him up to a 2-year extension.