This piece originally appeared on www.sabotagetimes.com.
Asmir Begović – Stoke City (Goalkeeper)
This has not been a vintage season for Premier League goalkeepers. Thinking about this list, I was hard pressed to find a ‘keeper who has actually had a good season. Choosing between Begović and Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet, I chose the one with the superior ‘Goals Against’ column.
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City (Right-Back)
I expect Rafael will take the spot in most others’ Best Of The EPL XIs, but Cameron has been an unheralded hero in what was until recently Europe’s tightest backline. He may leave a lot to be desired going forward but in terms of doing his job he has been excellent.
Chico Flores – Swansea City (Centre-Back)
One of the Swans’ three Spanish summer signings, Chico Flores may even have outshone Michu at the Liberty Stadium such has been his success at the back. As the British player, Ashley Williams is taking the plaudits for Swansea’s defensive success, but his partner at the back makes more tackles and interceptions while also playing more passes. An unqualified success.
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur (Centre-Back)
Another player who arrived in the Premier League this summer, Vertonghen has displayed the class that saw him linked with Barcelona last season. While he has moved between centre-back and left-back this season, he has been excellent in both roles. He has arguably been the league’s best defender.
Kyle Naughton – Tottenham Hotspur (Left-Back)
As I mentioned in my recent article on Spurs’ resurgence, the effect Naughton has had on their results has been incredible. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with QPR was the first time in 2012-13 that Naughton has started a Premier League match and not finished on the winning side. Benoît Assou-Ekotto may find it hard to regain his place at White Hart Lane.
Sandro – Tottenham Hotspur (Centre-Midfielder)
Undoubtedly the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League, Sandro has been Tottenham’s heartbeat this season. His aggression and energy are vital to André Villas-Boas’ side and supposedly better midfields have wilted when faced with the tenacious Brazilian. His partnership with Moussa Dembélé is a match made in heaven.
Marouane Fellaini – Everton (Centre-Midfielder)
Ideally I would have selected Mikel Arteta in this position, but as I’m restricted to 4-3-3 the Arsenal playmaker has had to make way for Everton’s talisman. Fellaini has been at his very best in 2012-13, with eight goals and five assists to his name at the time of writing. His move forward has given Leighton Baines a more mobile target and David Moyes’ side are reaping the benefits.
Michu – Swansea City (Centre-Midfielder)
Another player selected slightly out of position, Michu should really be selected off the striker in a 4-2-3-1 but he has been so good this season that it would be a mistake to leave him out. Only Robin van Persie and Luis Suárez have scored more goals. If he keeps this form up he will go down as the best value signing in Premier League history.
Juan Mata – Chelsea (Right-Wing)
The player of the season so far, Mata has been central to everything good about Chelsea in 2012-13. He has been consistently brilliant, scoring seven goals and eight assists and dictating the tempo in every match in which he plays. His football is not only productive, it is beautiful.
Robin van Persie – Manchester United (Centre-Forward)
Some (read: me) had their doubts that Van Persie would succeed at Manchester United, and good grief have they (I) been proved wrong. He has carried United to the top of the table in the same way that he dragged Arsenal to fourth and third in the last two seasons. It says everything that less than six months after he relocated from the Emirates, Van Persie’s is the most chanted name at Old Trafford.
Luis Suárez – Liverpool (Left-Wing)
The only footballing criticism that could be made of Suárez in the past is that his finishing let him down. In 2011-12 he had by far the worst shooting accuracy of any regularly-playing Premier League forward. This season, he has shown the sort of deadliness that made him so sought after at Ajax. On fifteen goals at the moment, it would be a brave man that bet against the Uruguayan doubling his tally.