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.
You can read part two of the list here.
You can read part three 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
20. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – We now know that Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas didn't see eye-to-eye and we also know a lot of the money, from the Gareth Bale sale, that they collectively spent, may well have better served by being set on fire for a spectacular bonfire in the middle of White Hart Lane. Thankfully, some of their purchases worked out and none better than the new Great Dane, Eriksen. The 22-year-old is on a path to world-class stardom and still managed to perform at a consistent high level, whichever role he was asked to do under whichever manager was in charge. Few in the league can muster a better delivery from a set-piece or make a key pass in the final third.
19. Fernandinho (Manchester City) – The Premier League has not always been good to Brazilians. Sure, Juninho was wonderful for Middlesbrough in the '90s, but for every good Brazilian it seemed five others disappointed. Afonso Alves, anyone? Kleberson? Jo? Robinho? Things, however, are changing with Paulinho, David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires, Willian and Philippe Coutinho all shining in parts of this campaign. City's Fernandinho, though, was the best of them all this season. Excellent with Shakhtar Donetsk, City identified him immediately as a massive upgrade to Gareth Barry last summer and how right they were. There are few smarter players in the league and the Brazilian's discipline allowed Yaya Toure to blossom even more.
18. Leighton Baines (Everton) – The English left back never has a bad game for Roberto Martinez's men and has become one of the faces of the Premier League internationally. It is a remarkable rise to fame for a player who seems uninterested in the bright lights. Baines, regularly linked with a move to Manchester United under David Moyes, might just be the perfect fit for Everton, who continued to evolve under their new boss and didn't use Baines as much as an attacking threat in the final third as in the past (his successful crosses were down over one per game this season compared to last). A shoo-in for a spot on the plane to Brazil for Roy Hodgson.
17. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) – Many Premier League watchers scoffed when Southampton, recently promoted to the top flight, spent in excess of seven million pounds on a Spanish sounding Englishman from Burnley. ‘J-Rod' showed flashes of talent last season, scoring exceptional goals against United and Chelsea, but this season made that price look like a bargain. The Saints were a treat to watch with their attacking flexibility this season, but all of that needed an end product and Rodriguez provided it with 15 league goals before his season, and World Cup chances, ended with a cruciate injury. Few are better in one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper - a real measure of a striker's credentials.
16. Luke Shaw (Southampton) – Rodriguez is likely to stay at St Mary's for some time, but his teammate, left back Shaw, may play his final game for the club this Sunday. It will be difficult for the club to turn down large offers from Premier League giants and the 18-year-old will probably be wearing the blue of Chelsea or the red of Manchester United next season. English football has waited for a talent, with a composed left foot, like this for some time. It is remarkable to think Shaw was still in high school two years ago as no stage has fazed him yet at the highest level of English football.
15. Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) – The stats will show that Rooney scored 17 goals and, with 10 assists, contributed directly to 27 league goals in 27 starts (heading into the final weekend), but it was far from a great season for the forward. For a player labeled by most as ‘world class', Rooney hasn't taken over enough games and questions still exist as to what is best position is. A liability defensively when played as a number-10 against top teams, Rooney can thrive when placed directly up front, but with Robin van Persie that will not always happen. United paid handsomely to keep him long-term, as they should, seeing that they need a lot more players close to his talent, but the new manager needs to work on Rooney's consistency and see how he fits best with van Persie and Juan Mata.
14. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Harshly considered a flop after making a big money move to Anfield at a young age, the English midfielder blossomed on the big stage this season, leading Liverpool's intelligent press with his fantastic energy and workrate. After spending almost 20 million pounds on a 20-year-old with much to learn, it looked like Henderson may be cast aside with other big money flops like Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll. Instead, Brendan Rodgers saw something Kenny Dalglish didn't and the rest is history. Henderson was badly missed while he was suspended down the stretch.
13. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) – This season Cahill took his game to another level. As the league continues to get more and more international, fewer English players are relied upon to play in big games. In just over two years at Stamford Bridge, Cahill has played under four Chelsea managers and has been one of the few players who has been trusted by all of them. A true big game performer, after stand-out performances in past European finals, the 28-year-old was exceptional for Jose Mourinho this season. Now an integral part of Roy Hodgson's squad for Brazil.
12. John Terry (Chelsea) – Cahill and John Terry were easily the best defensive centre-back partnership this season. Arsenal's duo had a good season, but no one came close to the English pair. Terry will tell anyone who is willing to listen just how much he loves Mourinho and it is not hard to understand why. Last season, under Rafa Benitez, the Chelsea skipper spent much of the campaign on the bench but Mourinho's style, on and off the pitch, has revitalized Terry's career.
11. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) – Once the kid made famous for being shouted at by his manager on the ‘Being: Liverpool' documentary series, Sterling is now a potential star in the Premier League. Last season he started well, but tired late and Brendan Rodgers rested his long-term project. This season, it was the opposite with Rodgers taking his time to unleash the 19-year-old until his performances were so good that the manager could no longer keep him out of the side. Had a number of outstanding games, but the world stood and took notice when he played at the top of a midfield diamond at home to Man City and was the game's best player. Sterling has a real appreciation for space, but can terrify opposing defenders with intelligent, fast runs, as well.