Monday 18 November 2013
Ahead of the return of the Barclays Premier League this weekend, we asked Premier League TV pundits to select their team of the season after the first 11 matches of the season. The second team is selected by Iain Dowie, who has managed Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic in the Barclays Premier League.
David Marshall (Cardiff City)
Minutes played: 900; Clean sheets: 3; Save percentage: 78.12
He had a little blip against Chelsea but other than that Marshall has pulled out some wonderful saves, particularly against Norwich City. Tim Krul has done well but I am going for Marshall as he has had lots to do. I watched him against Swansea City and he was very, very good there and although he didn't have a lot to do, he was very assertive.
Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
Minutes played: 829; Clean sheets: 4; Tackle success: 79.5%
This is an awkward one but I pick Zabaleta because he is consistently the best right-back in the division. Nathaniel Clyne has pushed him close but I like Zabaleta; when he plays City are a different side. He is always in the thick of the action. You may think he is not that quick but when he plays against fast opponents he looks quick, and looks controlled when he has time on the ball. He is always in the right place at the right time and very rarely does anything wrong defensively.
Dejan Lovren (Southampton)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 6; Tackle success: 83.3%
What a piece of business this player is proving to be. He was signed at the peak of his powers from Lyon, he attacks the ball and has got himself the odd goal, but in defence he has been very, very sound. Three of Southampton's back four are the same as last season so it just shows you what leadership like that can do. For a side with genuine ambitions for the top eight, that back four has to be a good unit.
Curtis Davies (Hull City)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 4; Tackle success: 73.1%
He has been the signing of the season for Hull City. He has been fantastic and is back to the form he showed when Aston Villa bought him. He has been dominant, he handled Romelu Lukaku particularly well in the match against Everton. He has got pace, he has got power and it looks like he is really focused.
Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Minutes played: 752; Clean sheets: 4; Tackle success: 76.9%
This is a close call as Kieran Gibbs and Leighton Baines have done well but I pick Shaw because of his creativity and what he gives to Southampton. There's incredible athleticism up and down the left flank and he has also got a very good defensive side to his game. He has got a great engine. I think he will be the England left-back very shortly.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Minutes played: 922; Goals: 6; Chances/assists created: 13
He has covered more yards than anyone in the Barclays Premier League this season. He gets goals, looks a threat, is composed in front of goal, tackles, does all the things that midfielders need to do. People have been critical of him before but what a way to respond. He has been magnificent. He has responded to the arrival of Mesut Ozil and when Ozil has had a couple of dips in recent games, Ramsey has stepped forward.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 963; Goals: 2; Chances/assists created: 28
I think he has created more chances than anyone else this season. He is back to his best and is showing no signs of tiredness. He has developed into that deeper-lying role as well as anyone. His experience is really important to that side and he has been absolutely outstanding.
Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur)
Minutes played: 847; Goals: 1; Chances/assists created: 19
He is important in the team because he has had a real impact. I love his directness. I love what he does. He has been in great form. It is amazing to think that a few that a few years ago he could not get a game at Ipswich Town and now he is a pick for England. It has been a fantastic transition.
Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Minutes played: 879; Goals: 3; Chances/assists created: 20
He has really developed. It looks as if he has found a new sense of belief. He has got great energy and great leadership for one so young. He has just been outstanding and a player who epitomises the good young talent we have got in this country.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Minutes played: 835; Goals: 5; Chances/assists created: 17
Rooney is my No 10 pick. He has got goals, he has reinvented himself and looks back to his best. I love the aggression in his play, his non-stop work ethic. He was everywhere in the win over Arsenal. He is a street footballer. He can play in any position and would be an excellent full-back! He is playing that dropped-off role and he looks a proper No 10; he can create, he can score, and has that competitive edge.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 539; Goals: 8; Chances/assists created: 18
I could pick Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge or Sergio Aguero but Suarez just edges it as he is the best individual striker in the league. He just does things that other people cannot do. He scores goals out of nothing. His blend now with Sturridge is fantastic. As an out-and-out centre-forward there is no one better in the world on his day. Suarez never disappoints, never has a bad game. He is an entertainer. He gets you on the edge of your seat