Ruddy; Martin (c), R Bennett, Turner, Olsson; Tettey; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Redmond; Elmander.
Subs: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Fer, Hooper, E Bennett, Loza, Josh Murphy.
Fabianski, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud
Subs: Szczesny, Monreal, Wilshere, Kallstrom, Flamini, Diaby, Sanogo
With Luis Suarez having been voted the PFA Player of the Year and the title race ending one way or another today, it’s certainly awards season in the Premier League.
But just who have been the best, worst, brightest and dimmest in the division? @Mark_Jones86 puts on his best tux and gets ready to dish out the gongs.
Best Game: There have been a couple of 6-3s, with Liverpool and Manchester City coming out as the victors of both, but for the best game you have to look at the meeting between the sides at Anfield earlier this month, which the Reds won 3-2.
It had everything. One of Liverpool’s trademark fast starts, City’s quality seeing them roar back into the game and then an error from the visiting captain which swung the match and title race in Liverpool’s favour, at least until a more recent mistake from the other captain saw it go back the other way.
Worst Game: Back in August no-one knew quite how bad Manchester United were going to be under David Moyes, and so Jose Mourinho thought he was being really, really ball-achingly clever when his Chelsea side turned up at Old Trafford, opted to play no forwards and bored his way to a goalless draw.
Best Player: During one four-game spell in December, Luis Suarez scored 10 goals. Ten in four. That’s ridiculous.
By far and away the best footballer in the Premier League, Suarez has been sensational this season. Ill-feeling and a morbid fascination in him may remain from some, but it’s called Player of the Year for a reason.
Best Young Player: How young is young? Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge were both brilliant but they are 23 and 24 respectively, so let’s go for Luke Shaw. Still only 18 and now considered good enough for one of those ridiculously over-priced transfers that English players specialise in.
Best Goal: A worthy late entry here from Jonjo Shelvey, and whilst Wayne Rooney’s goal at West Ham was truly special, the fact that goalkeeper Adrian was flapping around like a beached seal somewhat ruined it.
No, for sheer bloody-minded Jeeeeeesus Christ-ness its Norwich City’s Alex Tettey, with the type of goal that Norwich City’s Alex Tettey shouldn’t be scoring.
Best Own Goal: Nice try Everton, but John Terry was always going to clinch this award for his glancing header against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. It was the goal which ensured that Palace would improbably stay in the Premier League and that Chelsea probably wouldn’t win it.
Best Manager: Brendan Rodgers. Less soundbites, more scoring.
Worst Manager: Look Moyesy, you’ve won something! *waves* Sorry Pardew.
The bit where I state how well Tony Pulis did at Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis did incredibly well at Crystal Palace, and is finally getting the credit he deserved at Stoke. London bias?
Worst refereeing decision: Not so much Andre Marriner’s genuine error in mistaking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Kieran Gibbs as a sea of red and white shirted Arsenal players surrounded him at Chelsea, but more the fact that Marriner didn’t sprint down the Stamford Bridge tunnel, grab Gibbs, haul him back on and dismiss Chamberlain once he’d learned of his error.
Do you not know what people are like on Twitter, Andre?!
Alternative, uncool team of the season: David Marshall, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Joel Ward, Gareth Barry, James McCarthy, Jordan Henderson, Samir Nasri, Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Bony.
Best Signing: Romelu Lukaku was an unused Chelsea substitute in that aforementioned bore draw at Old Trafford, before Mourinho loaned him to Everton and then watched on as his forwards failed to hit several barn doors for much of the season. Meanwhile, the big Belgian was brilliant at Goodison.
Worst Signing: Roberto Soldado, Marouane Fellaini and Ricky van Wolfswinkel can rest easy, because we’re a little bit concerned that Tottenham might actually have killed the £30m Erik Lamela.
Actually lads, do you mind forming a search party? You’re not doing anything else.
Surprise of the season: Liverpool. Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool.
After years of in-fighting, grave off-field errors and mistakes at every turn, the Reds reinvented themselves as the Premier League’s great entertainers. Every match was an event. It might not be enough to secure league titles until they can back it up defensively, but it’s going to be fun watching them try.
Funniest Manchester United game: Loads to choose from here, but strangely we’re not even going to go for a defeat.
Fulham had barely ever scored a goal north of the Watford Gap until they went to Old Trafford in February, took the lead and then pinched a point through Darren Bent in stoppage time just as the ‘Moyes turns the corner’ headlines were being written.
He’d merely found another cul-de-sac.
The Arsene Wenger award for repeating the same season over and over again, although at least this time he’ll probably win the FA Cup, which will finally bring an end to that long trophy drought and give an admirably hard-working, respectable figure something to enjoy, although he must still have nightmares about the league collapse, I mean, they were top of the league before they went to Liverpool in early February and got battered 5-1, I hope he doesn’t leave though, because deep down I like him and wish him well: Arsene Wenger.
Yaya Toure rampaging run of the season: The one against Palace the other day? Or the one against, er… you know? And that other one. He does it every week. What a player.
Defining moment of the season: If Liverpool win the league then it’ll be Philippe Coutinho’s winner against Manchester City, but if, as now seems likely, they don’t then of course it is Steven Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea which allowed Demba Ba to score.
It was a moment in time which ensures that, no matter how hard you work, how much you sacrifice, how much you long for success for your team, your fans and your city, you are still susceptible to the crazy storylines which run throughout football.
And we wouldn’t want it any other way would we?