The Footballers' Football Show panel have say on players of season so far...
The Footballers' Football Show panel have their say on the players of the season so far...
Last Updated: 04/01/13 9:13am
Niall Quinn, Ray Wilkins and Chris Coleman named a selection of the division's finest footballers - although attackers have taken much of the limelight with the panel disappointed by the quality of defending in the Premier League this term.
Read on to see who they went for - and which defenders did earn their praise...
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Quinn: He had off-pitch difficulties coming into the season after last year but he's been a one-man goal machine for Liverpool. His ability and desire to win every game, every ball, every throw-in, every tackle refreshes us all. When we see the best of him that's what we feel is great about the Premier League - and he's shown it in abundance this year. He's also scored one of the goals of the season against Newcastle. The degree of difficulty to take it down on his chest was very high; it was fantastic.
Coleman: I was watching his movement against QPR and he was always making a run here, finding a bit of space there, running on an angle... I felt sorry for Ryan Nelson and Clint Hill, the QPR centre-backs; they're experienced boys but they couldn't handle him because he was terrific. He gets the ball, gets into dangerous areas and gets other players into the game. I wouldn't have wanted to play against him; he doesn't stop and he's very brave as well - he's not afraid to go in where it hurts. I think he's an amazing player.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
Quinn: Van Persie and Suarez have brought a new dimension to goal-scoring at the top level and the type of performances both have put in for their clubs have been extraordinary. Van Persie's elegance, his class and his ability to turn a game from the seemingly bad positions United have got themselves in over the last six months has been terrific.
Ashley Williams (Swansea)
Wilkins: Some of the defending in the Premier League has been appalling this season but Ashley Williams has had a super past few months. He started the season a bit iffy but as it's progressed he's been pretty much a stalwart for Swansea and done a wonderful job.
Coleman: He's comfortable with the ball, he's very good defensively, he's quick, he's strong and his mentality is very good; he's a winner. I gave him the Wales captaincy because he's a good leader, he doesn't miss games, he doesn't miss training and he's quite refreshing because he was out of football early on his career, came into it late, so he appreciates everything about it. He's a great influence on players around him. He started the season slowly but in the last couple of months he's been terrific and he's one of the top defensive performers in the Premier League at the moment.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Wilkins: His maturity as a player now is really coming to the fore and, for once, I think Ashley Cole now has an opponent for that left back spot in the England team. I don't think he's gone past Cole yet - I'm a big fan of Ashley - but he's on the way. Baines is a terrific footballer.
Quinn: There have been some surprise packages - Moussa Dembele has done excellent for Spurs; he's played in a lot of the games they've won, he's missed five or six and they've lost most of them. He's been a key player for them. Marouanne Fellaini has had another strong, productive season for Everton and you wonder whether Everton can keep him and Baines for a longer period of time. Michu of course has been a delight, while one player who hasn't probably got the profile we thought he'd have because his club is struggling, but I think he'll have strong finish to season is Santi Cazorla. He is the player who can excite and get Arsenal back into the groove and among the top clubs again.