F365's Team Of The Season So Far...

Here we go...when we did this in October there was space for Ramires and Chris Smalling. An awful lot has changed since then. We do love Yaya and Silva so much...

Last Updated: 21/02/12 at 15:58 Post Comment

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Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm (Swansea)

According to those wonderful geek-bods at whoscored.com, Michel Vorm is the fifth most effective goalkeeper in Europe's elite leagues this season. Top was of course Marc-André ter Stegen of Borussia MGladbach but Vorm came in fifth ahead of any other goalkeeper in the Premier League. But never mind the stats, we just think he's bloody brilliant.

Vorm looks so much like a chiselled Action Man we assume that his shorts hide plastic underpants that cannot be removed (even with a chisel), but they don't appear to restrict his movements because he is a phenomenal shot-stopper who finds his relatively short stature no bar to dominating his area at set-pieces.

Just in case you missed it, Vorm recently told the story of a woman in a Swansea branch of Tesco who greeted him with the words 'Hello Legend' and said that if she was in charge, he could have his shopping for free. Now we love Joe Hart, but we're pretty sure this almost never happens to him in Manchester.

Right-Back: Micah Richards (Manchester City)

When we put together this team's equivalent in October, the right-back slot went to Chris Smalling. Now doesn't that seem an awful long time ago now? The good news is that the list of candidates is once again dominated by Englishmen, though that gives Fabio Capello's successor (do we still have to pretend it might not be Harry?) a headache for Polkraine. A case can be made for Kyle Walker, Micah Richards and Glen Johnson.

We've given the nod to Richards because he excels at both end of the pitch, with his physicality making him an uncompromising defender and his energy making him a pest for the opposition left-back. City's lack of hug-the-touchline wingers means there's an awful lot of emphasis on the full-backs to provide width and Richards has responded with six assists so far this season.

Centre-Half: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

"You can fall a thousand times but you will stand up and go on," is apparently the motto of the Slovakian centre-half who has formed probably the Premier League's most consistent centre-half partnership with Daniel Agger. Only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool this season, with Skrtel and Agger combining to push Jamie Carragher onto the bench without the hint of a complaint.

Simply speaking, Skrtel is hard as nails and displays literally zero fear on a football pitch - with 21 blocked shots already this season, he's never slow to throw himself into the path of player or ball. Like a more frightening, heavily-tattoed John Terry with pace and without the...fill in your own word here.

Centre-Half: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

A survivor from October's Team of the Season So Far, only debilitating injury could shift him now. In the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Vincent Kompany is simply unparalleled in the Premier League when it comes to centre-halves. In the absence of Kompany, Manchester City look so very vulnerable, with the drop in quality from the Belgian to Stefan Savic of 'Beyonce to Bella Emberg' proportions.

When Nigel de Jong talks of being happy to win every game 1-0 and then still win the title, he knows that's only possible with Kompany marshalling the back four. Thanks to him, even Joleon Lescott is starting to look a class act.

Left-Back: Jose Enrique (Liverpool)

The Spaniard has almost instantly become Liverpool fans' favourite left-back since Stig-Inge Bjornebye. Yes, even more popular than Paul Konchesky. Enrique combines coolness, positioning and timing in defence with the pace and confidence to be a real attacking threat - though we suspect Stewart Downing may be making him look quicker than Jonas Gutierrez ever did at Newcastle.

We did almost give this slot to Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but on reflection it would have been mostly about his hair. And then leaving out Marouane Fellaini, Fabricio Coloccini and Leighton Baines really wouldn't have been fair. Jose Enrique has decent hair but he's a more-than-decent left-back in a season when other left-backs have been a bit, well, rubbish.

Central Midfield: Scott Parker (Tottenham)

Last season we got a little irked at the hard-on journalists were getting for a player who, ultimately, was relegated with West Ham. But this season the plaudits have been deserved as Parker has been the foundations upon which Tottenham have been able to build their brand of fast-paced attacking football (except at Stevenage, where they just lumped it long to the man mountain that is Jermain Defoe).

Parker is quite simply a tackling machine. And no matter how many times he goes to ground, in whatever conditions, he always emerges with his hair entirely unruffled. That kind of hair deserves European Championship and Champions League football.

Central Midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Simply speaking, he is a colossus - the sight of Yaya Toure powering towards the penalty area might not be beautiful in the same way as a reverse pass from David Silva, but it is certainly awe-inspiring. That Roberto Mancini pushed Toure back into the City side against Porto just days after his return from Africa tells you everything about his importance to City. He gives them a Plan B going forward as well as strength and power in rare defensive situations.

Those of us who mourn the passing of the 'complete midfielder' in the mould of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane are buoyed by the presence of Toure, whose drive is infectious. He may have come to England for the money, but we suspect he will stay for the football.

Left Midfield: David Silva (Manchester City)

We are all rapidly running out of superlatives for Silva, who is simply a joy to watch. Even Manchester United fans would struggle to find something to dislike (envy, perhaps, but not dislike) about a player who has brought oodles of positive and absolutely nothing negative (no whining, no diving, no moaning about the cold) to the Premier League. It's a pleasure to have him here.

For the record, we do love Juan Mata for just about all the same reasons - and also because he gives the F365 editorial staff confusing feelings in their private parts - but for now at least, Silva is the darling of Premier League neutrals.

Right Midfield: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

He may only have one working foot as far as kicking a football is concerned, but when that one working foot is as good as Valencia's right foot, then all is forgiven. Nine assists in 17 Premier League games this season is a fantastic record that looks even better when you take into account the fact that he's occasionally been forced to play full-back.

Nani might be the more dynamic player but he is also far, far more frustrating. While the Portuguese winger lurches between phenomenally good and embarrassing, Valencia's variations take him between truly excellent and mediocre. That's why a fully fit Valencia pushes a crying Nani off the right flank for both Fergie and Football365.

Striker: Robin van Persie (Arsenal)

There was quite a compelling e-mail in the F365 mailbox this week in which an Arsenal fan argued that the inherent selfishness of Robin van Persie is the reason for Arsenal's woes. The argument is that - like Ian Wright and Ruud van Nistelrooy before him - the Dutchman's goalscoring exploits make it impossible for anybody else to contribute. Which would be a phenomenal theory if only Van Persie did not have seven assists as well as 22 Premier League goals.

We're pretty sure that just about every club in Europe would like to have his selfish, at-times-unplayable arse in their squad. He makes it into our team ahead of Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero as he hasn't had a dodgy patch since he got fit over a year ago.

Striker: Yakubu (Blackburn)

Thirteeen Premier League goals from just 41 shots. In contrast, Luis Suarez has scored six goals from 86 shots. And one of them plays for a relegation-threatened side. And has a quite massive arse.

Substitutes: Hart, Walker, Modric, Mata, Rooney, Ba, Aguero.

Sarah Winterburn

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Readers' Comments


m pretty sure van Gaal has created his own dialect.

LVG: Herrera better at No.10


hy do ye insist on making out Spurs are a bigger club than Everton? Blatant London bias here

Have The Top Six Met Their Targets?


ot even Bosnich: The United Year(s) by Victor Valdes. Coming to a bookshop near you soon.

Valdes set to leave United for Besiktas

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