The real footballer of the year
Having seen the PFA manage to totally mess up their so called player and team of the year awards, and in the absence of much Arsenal guff worth talking about, I thought I'd present my own view on the Premier League team of the year. I know I'm biased but, as you can see from the photograph above, Alexis is my player of the year. Anyone that thinks it's Eden Hazard needs their head reading as far as I'm concerned.
Goalkeeper - David de Gea
I considered giving Thibaut Courtois this position in the side and he would have been absolutely deserving of it, playing a key role in his side winning the Premier League at his first attempt. However, when you consider the defence that Manchester United have been fielding since the season started then the performance of de Gea is truly outstanding. He has won points for his side virtually single-handed and has been the dominant goalkeeper in the league, for me. I don't see him being at Old Trafford next season as it seems certain that Real Madrid will come calling very soon.
Right-Back - Cesar Azpilicueta
Pablo Zabaleta has been good enough to keep Bacary Sagna out of the Manchester City side, but to me he hasn't been able to get ahead of Chelsea's right-back this season. Azpilicueta stands head and shoulders above every other full-back in the Premier League and has got better and better since joining Chelsea. He also plays equally well on both sides of the defence.
Left-Back - Nacho Monreal
I make no apologies for Arsenal bias in this decision, but there can be few more improved performers than Nacho this season. He started the season having to carry Per Mertesacker at centre-half, in the absence of King Koscielny, and it seems to have been the making of him. His positional play is better, he looks a yard quicker, he rarely misses a tackle, and he has been really good going forward too. Kieran Gibbs is excellent, but Nacho is rightly keeping him out at the moment.
Centre-Back - John Terry
Yes, it's painful to make this selection. But you have to admit that the old racist has been at his best throughout the season for Chelsea. I felt that he was finished a couple of years back, but he has got back to being the best English centre-back around at the moment. Horrible man though.
Centre-Back - Jose Fonte
The PFA quite ridiculously picked Gary Cahill in this position. Fonte, meanwhile, has lead Southampton through a fantastic season in which he has dominated the defence. Fonte has surprised me with his quality at the top level and he has been one of the quiet stars of this season. It's about time Southampton players got some recognition.
Central Midfield - Morgan Schneiderlin
Another Southampton player who has shone during this campaign. It seemed certain that he was off last Summer amid the great south-coast exodus, and he seemed to be actively forcing a move. Ronald Koeman put his foot down and Southampton have reaped the benefits as Schneiderlin has got his head down and dominated many an opposition midfield. Will he be at Saints next season? I hear the Emirates is a popular place for quality midfield players...
Central Midfield - Esteban Cambiasso
You weren't expecting that, were you? For me he has been truly exceptional at Leicester City, even before they went on their recent winning run. In a side that was struggling Cambiasso emerged as the class of the field and stood out in a mediocre group. When they played at our place earlier this year he dominated the game and he has gone on doing that throughout the season. I'm amazed that his fellow pros have overlooked the contribution of a top class player that could yet rescue his team from the drop.
"Number Ten" - Cesc Fabregas
Another painful selection, but Chelsea won this Title before Christmas when Fabregas was the best midfield player in the league. He created so much for Diego Costa that they were able to build up the lead they needed long before they started to bore the backsides off all of us. How anyone can consider Hazard to be more important to Chelsea than Cesc Fabregas is totally beyond me.
Striker - Harry Kane
I think the boil has been well and truly gone off in recent weeks for Kane, and he may yet turn out to be a total flash in the pan. Certainly his past points to a glorious six months that may be pretty quickly forgotten. Next season we will quickly find out, but you have to admit he deserves his place in a team of the season. If he does do the same next season then it will be the last he plays for Tottenham.
Striker - Sergio Aguero
The best goal scorer in the Premier League, the one attacking player in the Premier League that I would really like to see signing for Arsenal. I think the Argentinian is a wonderful player, unstoppable at his best, and he'd fit in so well in our team. Without him City would be in Spurs or Liverpool territory.
Striker - Alexis
The signing of the season. The player of the season. What an impact he's made at Arsenal. Yes, he sometimes holds on to the ball too much, but he has been truly wonderful for Arsenal. I have rarely seen a player with such ability be prepared to work so hard for his team. For a little man he is incredibly powerful, good in the air, and afraid of nothing. Without a doubt he is my favourite current player at Arsenal.
Manager - Ronald Koeman
Did anyone think Southampton would recover from selling almost all of their best players last Summer? Koeman has showed what a different perspective a top foreign coach can bring, and how their connections in some of the less well known leagues of Europe can see quality players come in for very little money. Okay, Saints won't win a trophy, and may yet miss out on Europe, but what a start he has made. He has surely put himself in the frame as a possible replacement for Arsene Wenger as it stands, and I've been mightily impressed by him.