The best players in the Premier League were so immediately obvious that we didn't even need to watch any football after November. Congratulations to Chelsea.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Yet to concede a goal in his professional career, Hart is already the world’s best goalkeeper and, given that injuries and losses of form never happen to English keepers, will be in the Team of the Season for the next ten years.
Right-back: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Easily the world’s best player until the invention of Barcelona in February 2010, Rooney has the drive, passion and commitment to play in any position on the pitch, or even two positions at once.
Centre-back: Jonny Evans (Manchester United)
Sir Alex Ferguson faced a difficult choice in 2008 over which young centre-back to sell. Boy, did he ever make the right choice.
Centre-back: Dr Richard Stearman (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Contributed hugely to Wolves staying in the Premier League last season, as well as maintaining his own status as the world’s leading authority on knee surgery.
Left-back: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Right-midfield: Samir Nasri (Arsenal)
So good in the first half of the season that it is literally impossible for that form not to be replicated for the next six months/ten years.
Central midfield: Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)
Swapping him and six billion pounds for James Milner was such a stupid move that Roberto Mancini should be immediately fired. Anyone who thinks this anything other than a brilliant Villa wheeze is a fucking moron.
Central midfield: Yaya Touré (Manchester City)
The lung-splitting intensity of Ireland will need to be balanced out, and for this we need look no further than Touré, the most conservative of Roberto Mancini’s trademark eight holding midfielders. Though he joined from Barcelona he doesn’t have the technique of Spain’s Xavi Iniesta, and he’s unlikely to pop up with a crucial goal, but the dour Ivorian wardrobe fits in perfectly with Manchester City’s catenaccio (Italian for “defending a one-goal lead”).
Left-midfield: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)
Signed for a handful of dinero from French lower-leaguers Olympique Marseillaise, Ben Arfa was something of an unknown quantity until he scored a goal, whereafter he became a hotshot young maverick set for the very top, top of the world game.
That Crucial Position In The Hole Behind The Striker: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Striker: Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
Scored a hat-trick on the opening day as Chelsea beat West Bromwich Albion 6-0 on their way to winning the Premier League title in August.
Manager: Martin O’Neill (Aston Villa)
Fiercely loyal, O’Neill is never one to back away from a challenge. The fact that Aston Villa have among the highest wage bills and net transfer outlays in the league shows just how big a club they have become under the Ulsterman’s stewardship. His revolutionary “cut inside and swing a deep cross toward the back stick” strategy has helped mark O’Neill as one of the great tactical minds of the twenty-first century.