We are halfway through the season and here is my team for the first half of the season.
Goalkeeper – Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
It is really hard to keep out the keeper with the most clean sheets and least number of goals conceded in the Premier League, 9 clean sheets and just 14 goals conceded. With Begovic and the Stoke defence playing like this they have become an extremely hard side to beat, 10 draws show that. If Begovic can continue this form into the second half of the season he will be a lock for this position in the Team of the Year.
Right Back – Pablo Zabaleta
The Argentinian defender has been a consistent performer for City this season with combative performances for his side. With his tough tackling style as well as attacking forays he has been a solid presence for City in the first half of the season.
Centre Back – Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Shawcross has been a rock at the heart of the Stoke defence, earning him his England debut against Sweden in November. Stoke have been water tight this season as mentioned in the goalkeeper position with the Shawcross/Huth partnership being a key reason for that. On the back of their defence Stoke have only lost 3 times this season, the same as league leaders Manchester United. If Shawcross and company can maintain this form then they will be in the reckoning for a Europa League spot.
Centre Back – Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
While playing between centre back and left back the Belgian defender has been a major addition to Spurs. He is cool and calm on the ball, a demonstration of his Ajax education, as well as doing a good job in the fundamentals of defending. He also has two goals this season, scoring in the famous win at Old Trafford and scoring the winner against Swansea. As he becomes more familiar with his new team and the Premier League he could be a key part of Spurs season as they chase a Champions League spot in the second half of the season
Left Back – Leighton Baines (Everton)
The English defender has been a key component of Everton’s excellent first half of the season where they have only lost twice and are chasing a Champions League spot. As well as defending well Baines had been an important attacking option for the Toffees, he has crossed the ball more often than any other Premier League player at 3.2 crosses per match and also makes a Premier League high of 3.6 key passes per match. He has 2 goals and 4 assists and is always dangerous from set pieces.
Midfield – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
The Spanish midfielder has been fantastic for Chelsea this season. One of the most creative players in the league Mata has 7 goals and 7 assists so far for the Blues. He is comfortable with both feet and can play on the right, left or down the middle. The Spaniard has it all and Chelsea fans will hope that the Spanish influence at the club will yield similar results to the success of the Spanish national team.
Midfield – Marouane Fellaini (Everton)
The Belgian started the season superbly, scoring the winner against Manchester United in Everton’s opening game of the season, and has continued his fine form throughout the first half of the season. The combative midfielder has scored 8 goals this season and with 4 assists to add to that, he has played a key role in the Toffees superb first half of the season.
Midfield – Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
The Gunners Summer signing has been a key player in Arsenal’s drive for a Champions League spot with 7 goals and 6 assists. Arsenal’s season has been a disappointment to fans as it is another season without a title challenge but Cazorla’s form has been a bright light in an average first half of the season for his team.
Midfield – Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
The Welsh winger has been in fantastic form this season in Spurs bid for a Champions League spot. He has scored 9 goals and has 4 assists and was a key figure in his side’s famous win against Manchester United at Old Trafford with a goal and 2 assists as well as scoring a hat trick at Aston Villa. Spurs may need to qualify for the Champions League to keep Bale as Barcelona and Real Madrid are keen admirers and he deserves to be playing for a team competing at the highest level and for trophies.
Striker – Michu (Swansea)
It would be hard to find anyone who would argue against Michu being the signing of the season. The Spaniard has 13 goals and 1 assist to date and is the leading scorer in the Premier League, a fantastic bargain for the Swans.
Striker – Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
United’s Summer signing has adapted superbly to life at Old Trafford netting 13 goals, making him joint leading scorer at the halfway stage. As well as his goals, van Persie has 8 assists, making him an important player in United’s title charge. A continuation of this in the second half of the season and the Dutch will be closer to his first Premier League medal.