Friday, May 18, 2012
Team of the Season
The fantasy season is over and we're delighted to crown The Mr Men as our 2011-12 champions, taking the title by a gap of 141 points. The result had not been in any doubt for months as The Mr Men pulled away in the second half of the season but FC Soccer Mullet had to wait until the final day to confirm runners-up spot.
Now the Fantasy Team of the Season can be unveiled, the 15 players who have proved vital to any manager's success over the last nine months, plus a few other honourable mentions.
Joe Hart (Manchester City, 185 points)
Michel Vorm led the way for most of the season and was without doubt one of the bargain signings, but with Swansea City going on a run of one clean sheet in eight matches at the end of the season the Dutch goalkeeper was overtaken by Hart.
With 17 clean sheets and a total of 97 saves, Hart finished on 185 points, nine clear of Vorm with Everton's Tim Howard a point further back in third.
Patrice Evra (Manchester United, 164 points)
United had considerably more clean sheets than any other team - 20 compared to City's 17 - but only one defender in the fantasy team of the season. In fact, United have just one in the top 12 defenders, which is a reflection of the chopping and changing Sir Alex Ferguson had to do at the back.
Evra missed only one Premier League match all season, with four assists and no goals. It is extremely rare for the top-scoring defender not to get on the scoresheet, but his consistency in a tight defence proved the difference.
John Terry (Chelsea, 154 points)
Kyle Walker (Tottenham, 154 points)
There is no doubt that Terry would have beaten Evra to be Defender of the Season had he played as many games. Terry played six fewer matches than Evra yet finished just 10 points behind. The Chelsea skipper also weighed in with six goals and an assist. It was certainly not clean sheets which were key for the Blues, with the team recording a total of 10 - half that of United.
Walker was a late-comer to the top of the scoring charts, with team-mate Benoit Assou-Ekotu in the running to finish in the lead before his season was ended by injury at Queens Park Rangers on April 21. Walker played 37 Premier League games, scoring two goals and providing one assist in a Tottenham team which picked up 14 clean sheets across the campaign.
Clint Dempsey (Fulham, 237 points)
Dempsey's fantasy profile has been on the rise for the past couple of years, but this season has seen the United States international take his form right to the top level. Only three players scored more Premier League goals, and he is the only player classified as a midfielder to appear in the top 13 in the goalscorers' chart.
The Fulham star scored 17 goals and contributed six assists and, once he found his form, his points were spread across the season. It was a slow start, with only one goal in the first six matches of the season, two in nine and three in 13. But after that on only on two occasions did he go three consecutive Premier League games without either a goal or an assist.
Dempsey peaked in 54.8% of teams, with his price rising from what was a bargain £6.3 million last summer to become one of the most expensive players at £10.1 million.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham, 208 points)
Bale was the top-scoring midfielder for many months, but his form dipped off in the run-in, in line with Tottenham's performances. Bale failed to score a single league goal beyond January 2012 after being on the scoresheet nine times before then. He also recorded ten assists, with three of those from February onwards.
David Silva (Manchester City, 197 points)
The form of Silva is similar to that of Bale, as he started the season like a train only to suffer a complete loss of form. By the start of November he had four goals and six assists which made him the top scoring player in the game. But that did not last, as after November 5 he netted just two goals across the rest of the campaign. Assists kept him in the team of the season, with 15 in total - the best in the Premier League.
Stephane Sessegnon (Sunderland, 182 points)
Theo Walcott (Arsenal, 182 points)
Many fantasy players would have predicted Sessegnon to be in this team, but Walcott was something of a slow burner - never really a top tip yet he continued to contribute goals and assists.
Sunderland attacking midfielder Sessegnon did most of his good work in the weeks following Martin O'Neill's appointment, scoring five goals and bagging six assists in a four month spell. His total for the season was seven goals and nine assists.
Walcott had never previously managed more than 19 starts, but this season it was 32, with a further three appearances from the bench. The Arsenal winger has eight goals and assists for the season.
The players each scored 182 points so although there is only one midfield slot available, they are both included in the list.
Robin Van Persie (Arsenal, 251 points) [Player of the Season]
Arsenal striker Van Persie had a wobble towards the end of the season and it looked like it could cost him the Fantasy Player of the Season award, but three goals in two games against Norwich and Stoke made sure he would hold off the late charge from Dempsey.
A return of 30 goals from 38 appearances is an outstanding tally, especially when you consider the top goalscorers in the Premier League last season, Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez, managed 20. Van Persie is the first player to reach 30 goals since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007-08. The last striker to do it was Thierry Henry in 2003-04. Van Persie also provided nine assists.
Wayne Rooney (Man United, 211 points)
Wayne Rooney's goal at Sunderland on the final day of the season ensured this is his most productive Premier League campaign of his career, with 27 goals. That beats the 26 goals of 2009-10, and in both seasons he made 32 starts. He contributed four assists, and in only one previous season, that very same 2009-10 campaign, did he record fewer assists (three).
Sergio Aguero (Man City, 207 points)
Very much like Clint Dempsey, Aguero proved to be a consistent performer for most of the season, and a return of 23 goals left him just short of Fernando Torres' record for the most prolific debut season by a foreign striker. He scored seven Premier League goals in his last eight appearances, and also created eight assists. Although there is no counting how important his final goal was in fantasy circles.
Best of the rest
Goalkeepers: Michel Vorm (Swansea City, 176), Tim Howard (Everton, 175)
Defenders: Vincent Kompany (Man City, 152), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham, 148), Leighton Baines (Everton, 148)
Midfielders: Rafael Van der Vaart (Tottenham, 178), Juan Mata (Chelsea, 170), Matthew Jarvis (Wolves, 164)
Strikers: Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham, 190), Demba Ba (Newcastle, 161)
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