In the final installment of the team analyses, I cover a team that slipped from glory, one that found some redemption… and three others that struggled all season.
Sesame Street Alert: Premiership players may not want to sign for a team that starts with the letters “B” or “W” (Blackburn, Blackpool, Birmingham, West Ham, Wolverhampton, Wigan)
Luka Modric (CRO) — Despite the Wheeler Dealer’s lamentations about being the poor cousin of the Premier League, Spurs had a mighty roster of offensive players that tantalized their fans. The purchase of Rafael Van der Vaart looked to be a stroke of brilliance, while Champions League football seemed to bring out the best in Gareth Bale. But after much reflection — and I admit, many consultations with fellow writers — I have to go with Luka Modric. The playmaker fed the engine when Spurs were scoring, and kept the ship afloat when the offence faded away. It is no small compliment that SAF hopes to bring in Modric to replace United legend Paul Scholes.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Peter Odemwingie (NIG) — The Baggies were lingering near the bottom of the table before the arrival of Roy Hodgson, but that’s not for lack of effort from Odemwingie. The Uzbek-born Nigerian found the back of the net 15 times, with seven helpers, over 29 matches. That’s a goal every two games. Not bad for a “rookie”.
WEST HAM UNITED
Scott Parker (ENG) — He wasn’t the Hammers’ most prolific scorer (that would be Demba Ba, who scored seven goals in 11 appearances). But Parker was right there in the middle of the park, marshalling his team in their futile struggle to stay in the Prem. He led the team with nine yellow cards, and despite his absence due to injury when his team needed him most, he led West Ham in appearances this year. Don’t expect Parker to still be wearing claret and sky blue come August, unless of course it’s for Aston Villa.
Charles N’Zogbia (FRA) — Don’t ask me how Wigan managed to remain in the Premier League again, because they are a piss-poor squad, save for their French midfielder. N’Zogbia left Newcastle for “bigger things”. He chose Wigan. Ahem. After leading the club with 10 goals and five assists, a slew of offers will likely come in. N’Zogbia should take them.
Matthew Jarvis (ENG) — I bitch and moan at Fabio Capello for his England choices. He came into the job claiming he would pick players on form, not on the badges they wore. Yet come game time, the same names appeared on the roster. But this year, Capello stuck Wolves winger Matt Jarvis into a friendly against Ghana in March. Bene, Don Fabio. Molte bene.
Tomorrow: My Premier League Starting XI.