This week the 2013/14 Premier League season comes to a close. Here at TSN.ca we will take a look back at the season by bringing together a panel of experts to help pick the best 50 players of the season. This list is based purely on their performances this season. It is not a list of who we think the best 50 players in the league are.
Fourteen members were asked to take part (panel below) and submit their top 20 players of the season. Their list was then placed into a scoring system and then the totals determined the overall positions in the top 50.
Each day this week we will release the list in 10s. The sport is very much about opinions, so please feel free to write your own list in the comments below.
You can read part one of the list here.
Here is how the Top 20 were scored –
1st place – 30pts; 2nd place – 25; 3rd place – 22; 4th place – 20; 5th place – 18; 6th place – 17; 7th place – 15; 8th place – 14; 9th place – 13; 10th place – 12; 11th place – 10; 12th place – 9; 13th place – 8; 14th place – 7; 15th place – 6; 16th place – 5; 17th place – 4; 18th place – 3; 19th place – 2; 20th place – 1.
Six members of TSN's soccer team were on the panel and were joined by eight other members from around the world who were asked to represent their specific field. Joining our staff members were two outstanding statistical experts, Jonny Blain and Simon Gleave, two brilliant reporters/commentators covering the league, Stewart Coggin and Paul Sarahs and two extremely knowledgeable tactics writers, Tim Palmer and Ritesh from the False9 website and a man who covers the development side of the league like no other, Aidan from the England Youth website. In addition, also involved was arguably one of the knowledgeable writers covering the league in the world, Michael Cox, aka Zonal Marking.
Follow the Panel on Twitter
Aidan from England Youth – https://twitter.com/englandyouth
Jonny Blain - https://twitter.com/jonoblain
Noel Butler - https://twitter.com/TheSoccerNoel
Stewart Coggin - https://twitter.com/StewartCoggin
Michael Cox - https://twitter.com/Zonal_Marking
Jason DeVos - https://twitter.com/jasondevos
Simon Gleave - https://twitter.com/SimonGleave
Kristian Jack - https://twitter.com/KristianJack
Tim Palmer - https://twitter.com/timhpal
Ritesh from The False9 - https://twitter.com/TheFalse_9
Paul Sarahs - https://twitter.com/PaulSarahs
Pete Schaad - https://twitter.com/PeteSchaad
Gareth Wheeler - https://twitter.com/WheelerTSN
Luke Wileman - https://twitter.com/LukeWileman
40. Kevin Mirallas (Everton) – Part of the reason for Everton's success this season has been their consistency, with many of their players, weekly, reaching a standard they require. Mirallas is not one of them. Some weeks he looks like someone who could one day be sold for a lot of money, going above that standard with electrifying runs, great positional awareness and some clinical finishing. Then, other weeks, Mirallas looks tired, unfit and easy to mark out of a game. There is room for his up and down unpredictability in a usually reliable Everton team but one wonders what road he will go down more in the future.
39. James McCarthy (Everton) – There were a couple of people on the panel who loved McCarthy and pushed hard for his place on this list (this writer included). It is hard to believe he played some Championship games for Wigan this season. Although his move to a bigger club was long overdue, being reunited with Roberto Martinez ensured Everton, once again, ticked a key box for the club by selling a bigger player for more money (Marouane Fellaini) and replacing him with a better one for less.
38. Asmir Begovic (Stoke) – Under new manager Mark Hughes, Stoke City slowly went about a modified change in style this season which meant they allowed more shots and goals conceded but none of this fell on the shoulders of Begovic. He remains one of the league's best goalkeepers and had another standout campaign, which also included a goal! Not sure how much longer teams like Arsenal, for example, will allow a much superior goalkeeper to play for a team like Stoke.
37. David Marshall (Cardiff) – The relegated team went through a lot of turmoil this season but had no such worry in goal. "I wouldn't swap him for anyone, that's for sure," said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Scot has backed him up, making more saves than any goalkeeper in the league. His save on Aston Villa's Andreas Weimann in February was one of the best you'll ever see.
36. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) – Another goalkeeper from a team who had a season full of turmoil, Lloris gets his spot after an outstanding season. The modern day goalkeeper is required to be an excellent distributor and the Frenchman's reflexes off the line often see him playing as a sweeper. Too bad for Lloris that the defence in front of him got worse as the season went on.
35. Dejan Lovren (Southampton) – Many of Lovren's team-mates have received plenty of plaudits for a record-breaking season for the Saints but you could make the case that the most valuable of all of Southampton's players was the Croatian international. It is hard to believe he is only 24 years old. When he first joined Lyon he struggled for a while in the French league but grew in stature and showed tremendous poise on the ball. He brought those qualities and more to the Premier League this season and the Saints may have a hard time keeping him away from some of the bigger clubs.
34. Sylvain Distin (Everton) – What a player. At 36, Distin has arguably been one of the most underrated players in world football for half a decade. This season he went past the 400 Premier League appearances mark and has now played more games in the league than any non-British outfield player. All for a player who never received one cap for his country. Selling Joleon Lescott and buying the Frenchman for a quarter of the price, back in 2009, remains one of the smartest pieces of business the league has ever seen.
33. Rickie Lambert (Southampton) – The Englishman's 12 goals this season give him a total of 27 over the last two seasons and that is quite a haul for a man who spent most of career in the lower leagues of English football. However, Lambert is not on this list purely for his goals. This season, under Mauricio Pocchetino, he evolved as a player, comfortably playing wide, dropping deep, and making up the triangles needed in Southampton's breathtaking attack. His total of ten assists shows his improvement in this regard.
32. Wilfried Bony (Swansea) – Last season Michu led Swansea with 18 goals and 110 shots and no other player at the club had half that amount in either category. No one saw Michu's rise to fame coming and the smartest thing Swansea did was not betting on it to continue. They needed a proven goalscorer at that level and, as many clubs have shown, those are not easy to find. The Dutch Eredivisie doesn't always get much respect but last season's top scorer was poached and the Ivorian has more than delivered, scoring 15 goals on 106 shots. The most impressive thing about Bony is the range of different goals he scores. He looks like a player who has a big future at this level and could one day reach that special 100 in the Premier League.
31. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) – When the season entered its fourth month, the Spaniard was unhappy. He had played less than 30 minutes combined in just three substitute appearances, and was back on the bench again at Newcastle in early November. Chelsea would lose 2-0 that day and for the next game the right back replaced Ashley Cole at left back. For the next five months he has played at such a high level that the high-profile Englishman hasn't deserved his spot back. Azpilicueta is versatile, a tremendous reader of the game, excellent defending in one-on-one situations and is, crucially, comfortable defending narrow, closer to his centre-back, which has helped Jose Mourinho's side become very difficult to break down. It's been a season that deserves his spot on this list and in Spain's World Cup squad, which is no mean feat after all.