Southampton top the list but perhaps it's Aston Villa who should get most credit. Their defence is the reason why they are sitting comfortably in mid-table...
Garrulous, uncompromising, always fighting his corner, but not without charm if the mood takes him. Sam Allardyce is the Premier League's classic Proper Football Man...
Although the Manchester City captain hasn't been at his imperious best of late, his leadership qualities and defensive assuredness were crucial for the Blues last season as they battled against Manchester United to win their first Premier League crown and first title in 44 years. Along with Joe Hart - who can also feel aggrieved at his exclusion - Kompany typified City's resolve, marshalling a defence that conceded the fewest number of goals in the top flight. His heroic performance and winning goal against United, which turned the title race in City's favour, encapsulated his importance and Gerard Pique can count himself fortunate to have made the shortlist ahead of the City man.
Cavani's five goals in eight Champions League games last season helped Napoli reach the quarter-finals and the striker demonstrated his talent with a commanding display in the first leg against Chelsea. The Blues overcame the Serie A side in the second leg, but Cavani still led Napoli to their first silverware in 22 years, opening the scoring against Juventus in the Coppa Italia final, which was Juve's only defeat of the season. Cavani has already scored seven goals in the current campaign - including a hat-trick against high-flying Lazio - and was recently rewarded with a new five-year contract at Napoli.
Whether you agree that Cole is the best left-back in the world or not, it's impossible to deny the defender's importance to Chelsea in their triumphant Champions League campaign. Only Petr Cech and Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng made more Champions League appearances than Cole last season, and the England international led by example with a number of brilliant displays in the Blues' incredible run. While managerial upheaval saw Chelsea stumble to sixth in the Premier League, Cole also picked up an FA Cup winner's medal and has started this season in superb form, with the Blues racing into top spot.
Gomez is both sublime and frustrating in equal measure but after an impressive year with Bayern Munich and Germany, he's unlucky not to have made the Ballon d'Or final 23. The two sides of Gomez were highlighted at the Euros, when former Germany star Mehmet Scholl criticised the striker's workrate despite his three goals in the first two matches, which included two superb strikes in the 2-1 win over Holland. Gomez is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, but considering his 12 goals in 12 Champions League appearances helped Bayern reach the 2012 final, it's a surprise he missed out to Mario Balotelli.
The Manchester City playmaker was hugely instrumental in the Blues' title march, notching 15 assists - the highest number in the Premier League - and adding six goals in his 36 appearances. Silva played a key role in helping Sergio Aguero reach his phenomenal goal haul and also impressed in the Champions League, where City narrowly missed out on reaching the knock-out rounds after amassing ten points in a tough group. Following his domestic success, Silva then demonstrated his adaptability in Spain's 4-6-0 formation at Euro 2012, with two goals and three assists. The playmaker was an ever-present for Spain and his opening goal in the final set the ball rolling for a famous victory.
Although the sublime skill of Mesut Ozil and, obviously, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been recognised on the shortlist, Real Madrid also have Khedira to thank for their success in 2012, with the German midfielder a key performer in the club's La Liga victory. Khedira may not top the charts for goals or assists, but his tireless work in midfield and forward bursts are a vital feature of Real's play. Khedira made 42 appearances for Jose Mourinho's team last season as they stole Barcelona's Primera crown and was also an ever-present for Germany at Euro 2012.
FIFA's 23-man shortlist is here...
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.