The Best Players of the Premier League Season So Far…

Goalkeepers

Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tim Krul (Newcastle United)

When Swansea City won promotion to the Premier League, I thought it was a steal by Wolverhampton Wanderers when Mick McCarthy signed their keeper Dorius de Vries, but half a season gone, it appears they’ve not missed him at all.

City boss Brendan Rodgers signed another Dutch keeper in Michel Vorm, who’s been one of the best performers in the EPL so far, with 9 Clean Sheets already, a superb stat for a newly promoted club to the ‘best league in the world’.

City’s Joe Hart continues to keep his high level of performance with a number of outstanding saves, including one-on-ones which is only good news for England fans. And Tim Krul’s efforts in goal for Newcastle have not gone unnoticed.

Defenders

Micah Richards (Manchester City), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Phil Jones (Manchester United)

Full-Backs have stolen the limelight so far this season with Micah Richards of City and Assou-Ekotto of Spurs putting in consistent performances which go ignored more than centre backs. How Fabio Capello can exclude Richards from the England squads still amazes me.

Newcastle’s impressive half to the season was down to their back Four being unchanged until injuries interrupted form. Steven Taylor certainly looks to have improved on his game, whilst his fellow defensive partner in the middle, Coloccini has got a whole lot better since he first arrived on Tyneside.

Is he a defender or a midfielder? Maybe he’s both, it’s Phil Jones, who’s had a good spell in midfield for United but I’ll include him in the Defenders section. Despite his own goal at Newcastle, Jones has still had a good season and has taken to United like a duck to water. Good things to come, for many years.

Midfielders

David Silva (Manchester City), Nani (Manchester United), Tottenham’s Quartet, Swansea City, Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The arrival of David Silva to the Premier League has been a joy to behold, his class has been entertaining on many occasions this season but he’s also joined by other good performers in the middle for City in the likes of Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.

Silva and Nani, top performers

United’s Nani has been fairly consistent this season, perhaps considered more of an attacker than a midfielder, the dazzling winger has provided a fair share of goals and assists. Does he have enough in his engine to keep going?

I have been wholly impressed with Spurs quartet or quintet. The signing of Scott Parker has been important as well keeping Luka Modric, whilst Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart are always dangerous going forward.

Impressive

Swansea City’s flair can be founded in their midfield, various stats have appeared this season which show Mark Gower, Joe Allen and Leon Britton to have better passing rates than Barcelona’s, although stats can be misconstrued, Brendan Rodgers has Swansea playing attractive possession football with an attacking threat. Also, Scott Sinclair has taken the Premier League by storm on the wing having been let go by Chelsea many seasons ago.

No Fear for the Premier League

The other impressive promoted club Norwich City have Anthony Pilkington, signed from League One Huddersfield Town, in the summer. The versatile midfielder has chipped in with a few goals already and does not look out of place like his team-mates and manager in the EPL.

As for Chelsea, Juan Mata has added the creativity they needed in an ageing team and whilst they may have missed Michael Essien, Frank Lampard has had a better season than most people would lead you to believe. He’s got 9 goals from the middle, despite missing a number of games and although he’s now the wrong side of 30, he’s still got quality.

Attackers

Demba Ba (Newcastle United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Steve Morison (Norwich City), Danny Graham (Swansea City)

Of course, plaudits go to Magpies forward Demba Ba, who’s certainly made the Toon Army forget about Andy Carroll a year since their prodigal son departed for pastures new. Ba has been sensational and he’ll be sorely missed whilst he plays in the African Nations Cup.

Sensational So Far...

What I like most about Ba, is his eye for goal. He has composure at times, but also stays positive and even chases down lost cause, a player certainly playing with confidence and class.

Sergio Aguero has been an ideal replacement for Carlos Tevez for Manchester City and they’ll hope he continues his scoring form in the business end of the season. Whilst they loaned out of favour Adebayor to Spurs, they probably did not expect he’d have helped them challenge for the Title.

Jonathan Walters was one of my favourite Championship players for many years and I was delighted to see him have a bright start to the Premier League and Stoke City. The same can be said for Steve Morison at Norwich and Danny Graham at Swansea, their summer transfers from the Football League were criticised but both have popped up with 8 goals each already this season.

Morison winning a header versus Sunderland

Why Daniel Sturridge Should Go To EURO 2012

As it stands at present England star striker Wayne Rooney is set to fulfil his 3-match International suspension at Euro 2012. Whilst the English FA desperately try and get it reduced or overturned it is looking likely that England will have to do without Rooney for the Group games against France, Sweden and Ukraine.

It’s going to make it tougher to be without Rooney’s class but we are not left with terrible strikers as his replacement by any means. In fact, England has more quality up front now than in recent years with plenty of young talent breaking through that could and should, in my opinion be given their chance.

Michael Owen was given his chance at France ’98 and the same with Rooney at Euro ’04. Which young striker could make his name at next year’s tournament?

Daniel Sturridge.

The Chelsea striker has been one of the Blues’ better players so far this season in a squad of forwards that boast Didier Drogba, Saloman Kalou, Nicholas Anelka and of course Fernando Torres.

However, Sturridge who was signed on a free transfer from Manchester City has got 7 goals in 10 games and could be the impact player that England need in the wake of Rooney’s absence.

Of course, Sturridge at 22 is still inexperienced but he’s starting to prove the potential that has been with him since his days as a teenager in City’s youth academy. There’s no chance of the player being overwhelmed with recent form either, with both his Uncle’s Simon and Dean Sturridge both having played in the Premier League/Old Division One in the past.

Danny Wellbeck has impressed since returning to Manchester United but I believe Sturridge is more developed. Sturridge could play well with most other striking options, as part of a 3 up top or in a traditional 4-4-2, with the likes of Zamora or Carroll alongside him.

Whilst Sturridge may be criticised for being too lightweight, his dribbling and pace is to be admired but most importantly is his finishing, which is one attribute I’ve always admired in him and believe it is comparable to that of Robbie Fowler.

Of course Sturridge as a lot of living up to with that comparison but I believe he can succeed, for Chelsea and for England if given the opportunity. If England play well as a team and feed Sturridge the ball, he’ll be the one to put it in the back of the net and get us through the Group stage.