Part Four takes us to a team that squandered their European dreams, another side that dropped like a stone, a third that pulled away from the edge of the precipice, and then two more that found the soft, creamy middle of the table. Let’s have a look at their best, shall we?
Michel Vorm (NED) – The first Welsh team in Premier League history was the mirror image of its fellow Championship graduate, Norwich. Just like the East Anglians, the Swans’ gaffer opted for a wide-open system that had trouble on the counter. Good thing Swansea had Michel Vorm. The Dutchman faced a barrage of shots, but his save percentage remained in the top flight’s top five. That’s why he will compete for the honour of being the Oranje ‘s No. 2 in the Ukraine this summer.
Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT) – I know that many Spurs fans — along with several neutral observers — will take issue with this pick. Why not Gareth Bale, or Luka Modric? But the stats are pretty clear: more goals, more assists in the league, more possession, more clear chances on goal. Sure the big man up front was a bit of lazy git at times, and Tottenham fans are worried that they have another Berbatov on their hands. But the Togolese striker was lethal for the Lilywhites and, more importantly, he wants to stay. The same might not be said for his teammates in midfield.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Ben Foster (ENG) – Beware when your best player is a keeper. WBA finished a positively decent 10th place under a positively decent manager, Uncle Woy. Peter Odemwingie had a decent season with 10 goals in the league. The Baggies were 12th in scoring, 14th in defence. Foster was decent in the middle of the goalkeeper pack when it came to saves and goals against. All of this bodes well for England, doesn’t it?… Doesn’t it?!?
Gary Caldwell (SCO) – Hey Wigan! Come here, you! No, go away! No, come here! No, go away! The Latics channeled the ghost of Alexei Sayle by dallying with relegation for the entire season (Editor’s Note: Alexei Sayle is not dead). Wigan were bottom of the table as late as St. Patrick’s Day, so it was apropos that a former shamrock-wearing defender led the charge to safety. Gary Caldwell’s team posted a record of eight wins and only two losses in their last nine matches, while only letting in seven goals. That’s as many as the eventual champions, Manchester City. (Ed. Note: Caldwell didna kill his brother — and former Wigan teammate — Stephen. He’s at Birmingham City… )
Steven Fletcher (SCO) – One of the only above-average players on a very sub-par squad, Fletcher had more goals than Frank Lampard, Rafael van der Vaart, Chicharito and Gareth Bale. ‘Nuff said…
Up Next: Season’s Starting XI and ATR’s PoY!