Friday, April 29, 2016

Ninth annual Narey's Toepoker Team of the Year (part 2)

I see that the PFA Team of the Year has been announced - just a few differences between theirs and ours, eh?

I can't believe Alim Ozturk got picked over Igor Rossi (in fairness, I'd forgotten about Ozturk, who was certainly a better candidate for an 'honourable mention' than some of the mugs I chose), or that Graeme Shinnie is in midfield, or that they went with three strikers - no-one plays that sort of formation now.

Anyway, the first half of our lineup can be found here.  Here is the business end - the midfield and attack.

Honourable mentions: Arnaud Djoum (Hearts), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Ross Draper (Inverness CT), Abdul Osman (Partick Thistle)

Three of the 'panel' picked Bitton and Irvine, and it's hard to argue much.  The Israeli's importance was magnified by the injuries and ineptitude of the failing Scott Brown, and his penchant for a spectacular goal does him no harm either.  He may be the only member of the Celtic squad who could command a Van Dijk-esque offer from a Premier League club, which may come this summer.  Ex-Celt Irvine lost his Worst Haircut In The SPFL title to Colin Kazim-Richards, but his engine is phenomenal; his former club could have done with that sort of energy this season.

I was the only dissenter here, giving Arnaud Djoum and Tom Rogic a vote; I suspect Djoum suffered because he wasn't around at the start of the season, but he's a terrific all-action midfield player.  Rogic has recoveered from an injury-plagued few years to finally show his talents and it reflects badly on Ronny Deila that he still seems to rate Stefan Johansen more highly.  Draper and Osman deserve mentions in dispatches for being the two most bad-ass midfielders in the league - a collision between the two would register on the Richter scale - and Draper must be the most unlikely penalty-winning merchant out there.

Honourable mentions: Osman Sow (Hearts), Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone), Michael Gardyne (Ross County), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Greg Stewart (Dundee), Ali Crawford (Hamilton Accies)

Possibly some controversy here, with Osman Sow and Michael O'Halloran both excellent candidates before they left for pastures new mid-season.  I'd have picked them anyway, but I got overruled.

McLean is a shoo-in, having delighted in that advanced midfield role all season and forced his way into the national team reckoning.  The £250,000 that Aberdeen spent on him in January 2015 looks like good value.  His team-mate Hayes is remarkably consistent for a wide player, and his ability to fill in at different positions, as well as his tactical discipline, help him stand out as more than a pacey winger.

Arguably, Marvin Johnson is little more than a pacey winger...but what a winger!  Since Christmas, he's been pretty much unplayable and chipped in with plenty of goals and assists.

As for the other candidates, Niall McGinn has been sensational at times but too often has gone missing when needed the most.  Ditto Ali Crawford, who at times looks like a world-beater but on other occasions doesn't seem to care much; he really needs to leave Accies to fulfil his potential.  Michael Gardyne continues to impress at Ross County.  Greg Stewart didn't quite hit the heights of last season (possibly because he was overshadowed by Kane Hemmings) but was still very, very good.  However, I was surprised he made the Player of the Year shortlist again.

Honourable mentions: Kane Hemmings (Dundee), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen)

Hemmings and Rooney have each been impressive enough that they'd have walked into this team in other seasons.  Both are excellent all-round strikers, able to lead the line on their own and score all sorts of goals...and plenty of them too.  Louis Moult's impressive season at Motherwell also deserves a wee acknowledgement.

But Griffiths will be Scotland's Player of the Year, and quite right too.  You just can't argue with 38 goals in all competitions.  His 29 in the league is the highest total in a single season for a decade (and Henrik Larsson only beat it twice).  Were it not for Griffiths, Celtic would be in an even worse state than they are now.

No comments: