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Garth Crooks' team of the season

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks

No players from Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal make my team of the season - and that tells its own story. It has been the city of Manchester that has dominated the headlines in 2010/11.

Notable mentions must go to goalkeepers Ben Foster and Ali Al Habsi, who figured prominently in my team of the week selections but failed to convince me they were more effective than Edwin Van der Sar.

Congratulations also to Peter Odemwingie, who transformed West Bromwich Albion's season but missed out to fellow strikers whose exploits won their teams trophies.

Garth Crooks' team of the season

EDWIN VAN DER SAR
Edwin van der Sar

Goalkeeper
Manchester United

The keepers who appear most active throughout the season are not necessarily those who are the most influential. My goalkeeper of the season is Van der Sar because he has yet again proved the point that top-class goalies win their team prizes. A credit to his profession and his craft. An amazing season. The question is, with whom do they replace him?

Did you know? At 40 years and 206 days old today, Van der Sar is the oldest player to win the Premier League.

LEIGHTON BAINES
Leighton Baines

Left-back
Everton

What a season for the Evertonian. It has been years since I have seen a player with such a sweet left foot. He has been inspirational for the Toffees and his goals have often been game changing.

Did you know? Baines made 11 assists and created 74 chances in the Premier League this season, both are highs for defenders.

NEMANJA VIDIC
Nemanja Vidic

Centre-back
Manchester United

He is a throwback to the good old-fashioned centre-half. Rugged at times, not afraid to put his head in where it matters and is always prepared to put his game on the line for the team. It cannot get more committed than that. Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling should give him half their wages!

Did you know? Since Vidic made his Premier League debut in January 2006, Manchester United have won 73% of the league games the Serb has played in and 59% of the games he has missed.

VINCENT KOMPANY
Vincent Kompany

Centre-back
Manchester City

The quiet assassin. The second player in the City defence who has been practically ever present and a rock. Not a fussy player but extremely effective. In the absence of Kolo Toure, he has been sensational.

Did you know? No Premier League defender has been involved in more clean sheets this season than Kompany (18).

PABLO ZABALETA
Pablo Zabaleta

Right-back
Manchester City

A solid, consistent, mature performer and one of the reasons Manchester City have had an exceptional season.

His term at the club could not have been better epitomised when he responded to City's injury crisis at the request of manager Roberto Mancini. He returned from his father's bedside in Argentina to play in an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. I suspect his father would have been very proud of the outcome.

Did you know? Manchester City have won 65% of the league games Zabaleta has played in this season but just 33% when he has not been involved.

SCOTT PARKER
Scott Parker

Midfield
West Ham United

The Football Writers' Footballer of the Year 2010-11. Enough said.

Did you know? West Ham won 23% of the games Parker started in the league this season but none without him in the starting XI.

GARETH BALE
Gareth Bale

Midfield
Tottenham Hotspur

He has thrilled Tottenham fans all season with his willingness and pace. The big question is will Spurs have the desire to keep him and not cash in on his obvious value.

Did you know? Bale is one of only five players - and the only midfielder - to have netted a hat-trick in the Champions League this season.

CHARLES N'ZOGBIA
Charles N'Zogbia

Midfield
Wigan Athletic

I cannot make up my mind if his performances in the latter half of the season have been down to his desire to keep Wigan up or pure self-interest. Whatever the reason, some of his displays over the last 12 games have been amazing. Wigan's best player this season by a mile.

Did you know? N'Zogbia has attempted 8.8 dribbles per game on average this season in the top flight, almost three more than any other player.

YAYA TOURE
Yaya Toure

Midfield
Manchester City

Anyone who earns what this fellow earns per week should be providing performances fit for an Arab Prince - and he does.

Did you know? Toure completed 1,566 passes in the Premier League this season, 44 more than any of his team-mates.

JAVIER HERNANDEZ
Javier Hernandez

Striker
Manchester United

The most exciting player to arrive at Old Trafford for some time. The effervescent Mexican is developing the kind of relationship with the United fans that legends like Norman Whiteside, Mark Hughes and Stuart 'Pancho' Pearson enjoyed. Hardly surprising. 'Chicharito' has the same infectious spirit.

Did you know? Excluding penalties, Hernandez has the best shot conversion rate in the Premier League this season, netting with 29.6% of his shots based on a minimum of 10 goals.

CARLOS TEVEZ
Carlos Tevez

Striker
Manchester City

The piece of the jigsaw that has been so important to City yet the Argentine hitman has also been problematic. I have seen this player practically win games for City on his own this season. There is not a player in the Premier League who works harder.

Did you know? Tevez netted 35% of Manchester City's league goals this term (excluding own goals), a higher ratio than any other Premier League player.

TONY PULIS
Stoke boss Tony Pulis

Manager
Stoke City

My manager of the season is Tony Pulis. He has produced nothing short of the miraculous. Having taken Stoke City to their first FA Cup final and a return to European football after 39 years, he deserves all the plaudits. A remarkable season. Well done, Tony!



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see also
Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool
22 May 11 |  Premier League
Bolton 0-2 Manchester City
22 May 11 |  Premier League
Everton 1-0 Chelsea
23 May 11 |  Premier League
Fulham 2-2 Arsenal
23 May 11 |  Premier League
Man Utd 4-2 Blackpool
25 May 11 |  Premier League
Newcastle 3-3 West Brom
23 May 11 |  Premier League
Stoke 0-1 Wigan
23 May 11 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
22 May 11 |  Premier League
West Ham 0-3 Sunderland
22 May 11 |  Premier League
Wolves 2-3 Blackburn
23 May 11 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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