The Matty Lawrence EPL Best XI

Every season since I turned 16 years old seems to pick up a quicker pace and fade away before I even get a chance to take stock of all the twists and turns. This season being no exception, I felt it only right for my last column of the season to be a brief overview.

Of course, Chelsea have run away with the title and I don’t think anyone could begrudge them that. Chelsea won it at such a canter that they didn’t even need to rely on Spurs going, well, all Spursy.

At the time of writing it looks like Chelsea will end the season at least 10 points clear and I think most pundits, and fans alike, had handed them the trophy around Christmas time. They have been a joy to watch and Antonio Conte has been like a breath of fresh air: all tailored suits, flowing locks and winning every tackle and header on the sideline before throwing himself into the Stamford Bridge faithful after every victory.

A win against a dire Sunderland side at the Bridge on the last day of the season would see Chelsea hit 30 in the W column: the first team in the EPL era to achieve such a feat.

Enough tipping of hats to the boys in blue and let’s move on to the three big remaining games of the season; starting in Stockholm on May 24.

Europa League final: Ajax vs Man Utd 

Never one to let my Liverpool bias seep to the surface; I really hope Utd get absolutely stuffed and all of Mourinho’s eggs gathered into one basket don’t manage to hatch.

Come on, what could be worse for the beautiful game than Fellaini rising at the back post to give the Red Devils a thoroughly unconvincing 1-0 win? I wish I’d never said it….I know it’s going to happen!!

FA Cup final: Arsenal vs Chelsea

I’m praying for a Chelsea cup and league double here. Apart from 50% of people at the Emirates, no-one wants Arsenal Wenger to pull another rabbit out of the hat and be employed at Arsenal FC next year.

I assume, like me, we are all in agreement that we can’t bear to hear Wenger waffling on about his 20-year legacy anymore…give it a rest man and walk away quietly. This is football and that was the past and this is the now and that is all that matters.

Champions League final: Juventus vs Real Madrid

If ever there was a man who deserved to hold aloft the Champions League trophy it is Gianluigi Buffon. The man defies age and can be found in the dictionary alongside the word consistency, and probably brilliance and longevity, too.

And, to be quite frank, the thought of Ronaldo parading across my TV screen with his shorts rolled up and shirt off is enough to turn me to drink…well, more drink: I’ll use my left hand as well.

So, there you have it, my predictions for the three big trophies, based solely on bias and a hatred of a few unscrupulous characters: like any quality pundit, I feel.

All that’s left for me to do is leave you with my EPL team of the season. I’m picking, I’m the manager and we are basing this side on the one that is playing the La Ligament best XI in my back garden in June.

My lads will be playing 4-4-2 and we shall be employing a diamond shape in midfield.

Here goes nothing:

 

Lloris – The best goalkeeper in the EPL this season and part of the Spurs back-line that only conceded 24 goals. Cool, calm and collected and a decent distributor with his feet.

Moses – The most improved player in the EPL, bar none. I defy anyone (except Antonio Conte) to say they saw his level of consistency and defensive nous reach the heady heights it has all season long.

Alderweireld – Big, strong, covers ground quickly and another brick in that Spurs defensive wall. A man mountain at the back and a defender who actually knows how to defend: something of a novelty in the modern game.

Keane – a player who has not let being released by Manchester United phase him. Keane has used it to his advantage and has channeled all his energies into becoming a first-class player and defender. Looks like he will be rewarded this summer with a move back to Utd.

Rose – Didn’t play masses of games this season, but I love his energy up and down the flanks and his desire to improve the defensive side of the game. Completes a trio of Spurs players in my back line and for good reason.

Wanyama – A holding midfield player of top quality. Loved him at Celtic, saw him grow at Southampton and now he is part of a top two side in the EPL. Covers ground, never loses a tackle and can chip in with the odd goal.

Kante – what can we say about this guy. An engine of a Ferrari in the body of a Mini. This boy covers ground like no other and has just won his second EPL title with two clubs in as many years. On top of that, Joey Barton doesn’t rate him: Kante has everything going for him.

Alli – another Spurs player to add to the list: just to cheer up the Arsenal fans reading this. Young, English and by all accounts pretty level headed. 17 goals and five assists in a wonderful season for this young man and I honestly think there is more in the locker to come.

Hazard – the archetypal tip of the diamond player. Hazard plays with such grace and youthful exuberance now he has managed to free himself of the shackles of Jose Mourinho. 15 goals and five assists and the love of the game back. A player who glides past opponents like no other and improving all the time.

Mane – look, it’s my ball, my back garden and I’m picking the team. I had to get a Liverpool player in there somehow. 13 goals and five assists in only 27 EPL appearances shows you what a threat this guy is. A huge miss to Liverpool when injured.

Kane – bloody hell, another Spurs player! 22 goals and six assists in a season that saw Kane continue his growth. Love this kid and his attitude. Long may his rich vein of scoring continue for club and country.

All that’s left for me to do is get this game underway in my back garden and wish you all a happy and healthy summer.

Enjoy the MLS that carries on throughout the summer and see you at the far post in August.

Until then.

 

 


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