Garth Crooks picks his Premier League team of season
By Garth Crooks
BBC football reporter and Score pundit
Caught your breath yet? What an absolute barnstormer of a season that was! There were twists, turns and surprises aplenty, with plots, sub-plots, on-field and off-field dramas everywhere you looked.
So without further ado, here is my 2009/2010 Premier League team of the year, which is partly based on my weekly selections but also my overall view of the campaign.
In every position and at every club we have seen many eye-catching performances but, in my mind, there were 11 men who stood out above the rest.
I feel these particular players would work well in a 4-3-3 formation and it is a system that would also suit those I have given honourable mentions to.
HEURELHO GOMES (goalkeeper)
Having taken enormous criticism during the early part of the season, Heurelho Gomes has rediscovered the form that gave him legendary status in the Netherlands.
The former PSV Eindhoven stopper is largely responsible for Tottenham's success in clinching fourth spot and qualification for the Champions League play-offs.
BRANISLAV IVANOVIC (defender)
Right-back has been a problematic position for Chelsea in recent years but Branislav Ivanovic filled in admirably. He is a natural centre-half who, when fit, has kept Paulo Ferreira - a natural full-back - out of the team.
JOHN TERRY (defender)
Chelsea captain John Terry recently had a pop at his critics, who claimed that his off-the-field activities resulted in poor form. Really? What poor form?
NEMANJA VIDIC (defender)
For much of the season, Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic has had to perform without a regular partner at the back, mainly because of injuries to Rio Ferdinand.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described him as the best centre-half in the world and it is difficult to argue with that.
PATRICE EVRA (defender)
Patrice Evra has made it into my team of the season for the third straight year and deservedly so. Yet again, he has looked every bit a world-class performer.
CESC FABREGAS (midfielder)
Another outstanding season for Cesc Fabregas. The young Spaniard has topped Arsenal's scoring charts this season and deserves to be at a club that is regularly winning things.
Otherwise, the Gooner's a goner!
FRANK LAMPARD (midfielder)
Frank Lampard may not be the most gifted footballer you will ever see but he is the most prolific goalscoring midfield player in the world.
FLORENT MALOUDA (midfielder)
The Chelsea squad recently voted Florent Malouda as their player of the year and I agree. For me, he has been their stand-out performer. What a turnaround from the player who looked so ordinary under former Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari!
CARLOS TEVEZ (striker)
Manchester City's investment in Carlos Tevez - thought to have cost £25.5m - has paid off handsomely. Welcome to Manchester!
DIDIER DROGBA (striker)
Didier Drogba has enjoyed yet another outstanding season. His goals at Old Trafford and Anfield might have been tinged with controversy but he still had to put the ball in the back of the net.
The man for the big occasion.
WAYNE ROONEY (striker)
The Professional Footballers' Association and the Football Writers' Player of the Year. Nuff said!
HARRY REDKNAPP (manager)
Harry Redknapp has finally taken Tottenham into the Champions League, securing victories against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City in the process. Last summer, Spurs spent £40m as opposed to Manchester City's £200m in pursuit of the elusive fourth spot. Sadly for Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, those are the facts, otherwise he would have won my vote for the second consecutive season.
Looking outside of the Premier League, I must reserve praise for Newcastle manager Chris Hughton who, without an open chequebook, took the Geordies straight back to the top flight with a record number of points and with quiet dignity.
May I also extend my congratulations to Bournemouth and their manager Eddie Howe, who did the impossible and won promotion to League One.
On the playing side, Aston Villa keeper Brad Friedel was in the shake-up for the number one spot with some excellent performances. Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon started the season very well and might have made my team had it not been for his injury.
Midfield dynamo Michael Essien also fell into this category and, to their credit, Chelsea never allowed his injury to affect their season. Manchester United winger Nani recovered from a poor start to finish the season strongly, while, for me, Aston Villa midfielder James Milner edged out Liverpool powerhouse Steven Gerrard, although both failed to make the final line-up.
The battle for striking positions was an intense as ever. Sunderland's Darren Bent, enjoying his best Premier League season, was unlucky to find himself competing with Rooney and Drogba. Fernando Torres of Liverpool did enough to warrant a mention in a difficult season. Better treatment from his manager might have helped his confidence.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.