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.
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
10. Seamus Coleman (Everton) – The eighth member of Everton's team to make the top 50 and the best of them all, according to the panel, as well as a recent award ceremony at Goodison Park. The right back had a superb season for Roberto Martinez, continuing the development that began under David Moyes. Six goals from defence certainly helps players get attention, but the Irishman was more than just a goal-scorer, defending brilliantly and making intelligent runs to create key overlaps in wide areas. Named on nine ballots, 125 pts.
9. Sergio Aguero (Man City) – The Argentine has now played three full seasons in the Premier League and, probably, the league has yet to see him at his true best. The 25-year-old is a genuine world class star, arguably one of the finest talents to grace English football in years, but his best season in the Premier League remains his first, as he has only started 41 games over the last two years. Injuries limited him to starting only 19 games this campaign, but his 17 goals show what he could do if he were fit. Rumors continue to swirl that he may go to a Spanish giant this summer, but the Premier League and Manchester City will be desperate for a healthy Kun to play over 30 league games next season. If he does, he could be number one this time next year. Named on 10 ballots, 139 pts.
8. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) – Another player whose ranking would be much higher if injuries didn't take away a large chunk of his season. The early candidate for player of the season, Ramsey was a magician at the heart of the Gunners midfield, starting 17 of the club's first 18 league games and scoring eight goals. Arsenal averaged 2.16 points per game during that stretch, however, the Welshman started just two of the last 21 league games and Arsenal's points per game average dipped to 1.7. Only 23, Arsenal fans are excited at the prospect of a healthy full season for Ramsey to play alongside Mesut Ozil next year. Named on 11 ballots, 156 pts.
7. Adam Lallana (Southampton) – Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and now Adam Lallana. The noted Southampton academy certainly has produced some excellent youngsters in recent years, but none of them has made Saints fans smile as much as Lallana. Now 25, Southampton has nurtured the midfielder into an English international and the key, central, play-making cog in their system. Lallana doesn't have the pace of any of those other graduates, but he is an excellent distributor who demands the ball in tight quarters and doesn't spend too much time on it, adhering more to the continental model than the English game. Comfortable playing wide, when asked, his lateral movement in those areas helped his game and the club's attack. Named on 11 ballots, 164 pts.
6. David Silva (Man City) – If the Premier League has been denied of seeing the true, consistent brilliance of Aguero, Man City have certainly made up for it with David Silva's displays each week. No player in the league has more elegance than the Spanish wizard who is the driver behind the tempo and movement of City's passing moves. Silva, quite simply, has made City better, showing them how to pass and move, create angles and drift across the field to bring in attacking full backs to provide width. All of his skills ensured he absolutely dominated Manchester United at Old Trafford and then carried City on his back during their comeback at Anfield in the second half. If he scored more goals, you could be looking at the real player of the season, but it is not as if City needs more goalscorers. Named on 13 ballots, 213 pts.
5. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – The Liverpool skipper has one act left in the drama that has been the 2013/14 season. Cruelly, if Man City win the league on Sunday, the image for many, of his campaign will be the slip in the middle of Anfield against Chelsea. What shouldn't be forgotten, however, is how he adapted to a deeper role, making many sensational passes from deep areas. There were far too many to name, but the one to Daniel Sturridge at Fulham with the outside of his foot was sensational, as was the one to Luis Suarez that helped win them a penalty at West Ham. Gerrard was brilliant from set-pieces and the spot too, scoring crucial goals to build the momentum late in the season, including ones at Old Trafford and the winner in the final minute at Fulham. Named on all 14 ballots, and as high as third by three members, 234 pts.
4. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) – There are many faces at Anfield standing for something. Sturridge, signed in January of 2013, is the face of the Rodgers Revolution, one that really kicked into high gear once Chelsea accepted 12 million pounds for the forward. The 24-year-old is the only Englishman, other than Wayne Rooney, to score 20 PL goals in a season since 2010 and one of his best came back in August against Aston Villa that showed his all-around qualities, drifting out to the wing before picking his moment to run into the box. He then showed tremendous ball control, dancing around the defenders before looping the ball over Brad Guzan in the Villa goal. It was an outstanding goal helped by teammates who didn't touch the ball and one that rightfully got his manager off his seat to applaud. Rodgers was full of praise, afterwards, for his striker and didn't stop short at a bold prediction: "I think he can be one of the top scorers in the league this year." He was right. Named on all 14 ballots, and second on two, 265 pts.
3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – The Belgian ends the season in hot water with his boss, dropped against Norwich, after he called out Jose Mourinho's style in the Champions League semi-final loss, but the truth is Hazard's brilliance arrived at Stamford Bridge much earlier than the talent needed to assemble around him. He is far from the finished article, occasionally losing concentration defensively on his flank, not taking over games as his talent should dictate, instead waiting for the conditions of the game to allow him to get involved, rather than vice-versa. However, Chelsea need Hazard as much as he needs them and it will be interesting to see how Mourinho goes about massaging his ego over the next few months. Without any good strikers this season, the creativity for Chelsea fell on the shoulders of the trio in behind them and Hazard is far better than the rest in that position, even though Oscar and Willian have showed great promise. Named on 13 ballots, and second on two, 266 pts.
2. Yaya Toure (Man City) – There is no footballer in the world that is like the Ivorian. That doesn't make him the best, but it does mean it is extra special to watch the power and dominance he exudes from the midfield position. There are few better sights in the league than his surging runs from deep, gliding past terrified defenders. The former Barcelona man has been playing at a world class level for a number of seasons now, but elevated his level this season, becoming just the second central midfielder (Frank Lampard was the other) to score 20 Premier League goals in a season. If he plays at this level for a couple of more years, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane will have some serious competition for a spot in the all-time Premier League midfield. Named on all ballots, and first overall on two, 315 pts.
1. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) - Like many geniuses, there are many sides of Suarez, who is truly the polarizing superstar the Premier League desires. Some love to hate him, others hate to love him, but the man who started the season suspended for biting an opponent, ends it as the best player in the league. There are many responsible for the remarkable rise of Liverpool, from seventh in the table to serious Premier League contenders in less than a year, but it is hard to argue that the main reason for their success is the brilliance of the Uruguayan. The 27-year-old can score all different kind of goals, is a lethal finisher and gives defenders nightmares with all sorts of different tricks. He spent all of last summer trying to move to a contender, but by December signed a new long-term deal at Liverpool. The Reds may turn out to win nothing this season, after all, but their biggest scalp may well be proving to Suarez that they are legitimate, perennial contenders for the title. Named on all ballots, first overall by 12 of the 14 members, 405 pts.