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Sports Mole's 2014-15 Premier League Team of the Season

Sports Mole selects the 11 players that made the biggest impression on us during the 2014-15 Premier League campaign.

With the curtain having come down on the 2014-15 Premier League campaign yesterday afternoon, it's time for Sports Mole to select its Team of the Season.

Below are the 11 players that made the biggest impression on us over the last 10 months.

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

David De Gea of Manchester United celebrates the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Liverpool on December 14, 2014© Getty Images

The likes of Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris have had very good seasons for their respective London clubs, but the performances that De Gea has produced over the course of the entire campaign have been nothing short of outstanding.

It's probably fair to suggest that without the Spaniard, Manchester United may not have regained their spot as one of the Premier League's four representatives in the Champions League. The 24-year-old, who United are desperate to keep out of the clutches of Real Madrid, made countless important saves, with perhaps the pick of the bunch coming against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.

Left-back: Ryan Bertrand

Ryan Bertrand of Southampton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at White Hart Lane on October 5, 2014© Getty Images

Charged with the task of filling the boots of Man United-bound Luke Shaw, Bertrand initially arrived at the St Mary's Stadium on loan last summer. Six months into that deal, Saints manager Ronald Koeman was so impressed that he parted with £10m of the club's money to sign the defender on a permanent basis from Chelsea.

Solid defensively, the 25-year-old Champions League winner also contributed offensively, scoring two goals and assisting a further two. His displays were also recognised by Roy Hodgson, who recalled the left-back to the England squad for the first time since 2012.

Centre-back: John Terry

Chelsea's English defender John Terry passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in London on October 5, 2014© Getty Images

In a recent interview with Soccer Am, Terry was asked if this season had been his best in a Chelsea shirt. Without hesitation, the 34-year-old admitted that is indeed the case. Told by interim boss Rafael Benitez that he did not have a future at the top level, the Blues skipper is now enjoying the autumn of his career under Jose Mourinho's management.

When he eventually retires, Chelsea should build a statue of him at the near post, such is the number of clearances that he made from that position this term. His reading of the game, coupled with the protection offered by his teammates, meant that Terry rarely found himself exposed, despite his lack of pace.

Centre-back: Jose Fonte

Jose Fonte in action for Southampton on November 1, 2014© Getty Images

When Adam Lallana joined a number of Southampton players in jumping ship last summer, Fonte was handed the skippering duties. Already a key component of the rearguard down on the South Coast, the 31-year-old has grown in stature since he was given the captain's armband.

In total, Koeman's men conceded 33 goals during their 38 outings, which is only one more than champions Chelsea. The inspirational displays that Fonte has put in at the heart of the defence were a major reason behind that, as recognised by Portugal, who capped the experienced defender for the first time this year.

Right-back: Branislav Ivanovic

Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on February 7, 2015© Getty Images

It is often the case that when a centre-back is played in a full-back role, they struggle to adapt to the demands of a position which in the current day requires the player to get forward at every possible occasion. It's a point that Paolo Maldini made during his recent interview with Jamie Carragher in the Daily Mail.

Yet, Ivanovic seems to be the exception to the rule. Although naturally a central defender, the Serbian has made the right-back position his own over recent years. Typically dogged in the challenge, he also scored four Premier League goals, including the winner (a left-footed volley no less) against Aston Villa back in February.

Left Midfield: Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard of Chelsea breaks with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on January 31, 2015© Getty Images

During the summer of 2014, the Belgian playmaker was asked by Mourinho to take his game to the next level. The result of that conversation was a season in which Hazard was voted the PFA Player of the Year by his peers - recognition of the 14 goals that helped fire Chelsea to a first Premier League title in five years.

Perhaps what was most impressive about the 24-year-old's campaign was his ability to turn defence into attack by beating three, four or even five members of the opposition. Kicked on more occasions than any other player in the division, Hazard deserves credit for rarely complaining. It was fitting that it was his goal that sealed the title.

Central midfield: Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic takes the ball from Daley Blind as Chelsea take on Manchester United on October 26, 2014© AFP

Claude Makelele - the former Chelsea midfielder - was so good that he had a position named after him. Not one for scoring goals, the popular Frenchman acted as a shield in front of the back four. Having rejoined Chelsea in the winter of 2014, this season the Serbian has shown himself to be a true connoisseur of the 'Makelele role'.

He may not have claimed as many headlines as his goal-getting teammates, but there is a real case for suggesting that without Matic's presence, Chelsea would not have won the title as convincingly as they did, if at all. Knowing that they have a reliable player in the heart of midfield allowed Chelsea's more creative players the freedom to express themselves further up the pitch.

Central midfield: Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on August 18, 2014© Getty Images

As a former Arsenal favourite, it was vitally important for Fabregas that he hit the ground running in the blue of Chelsea. Seemingly also believing that to be the case, the Spaniard went on to produce arguably the best pass of the season on the opening weekend at Turf Moor. From that moment onwards, the 28-year-old has not looked back.

His form, as it so often does, may have tailed off slightly since the turn of the year, but he still weighed in with a crucial last-minute goal away at Queens Park Rangers. In total, his 18 assists was just two short of the record set by his former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry.

Right midfield: Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between Arsenal and Anderlecht at the Emirates Stadium in north London on November 4, 2014© Getty Images

Talking of the great Henry, Arsene Wenger insisted during an interview last week that Sanchez was the best signing that he has made since he secured the services of the Frenchman in 1999. During his first season in England, Henry scored 17 Premier League goals, just one more than the Chile international.

Luis Suarez was signed by Barcelona to replace Sanchez and there are similarities between the two. Like the ex-Liverpool star and his fellow South American, Sanchez showed the tenacity of a street-footballer that never gives up. He has a long way to go to make a similar impact on Arsenal to the one made by Henry, but this season was a very good start.

Striker: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane on May 3, 2015© Getty Images

He may have scored more Premier League goals than anyone else, but strangely that was not enough to earn Manchester City's Argentine talisman a place in the PFA Team of the Year. Yet, as far as Sports Mole is concerned, it would be criminal to overlook Aguero's 26 goals and eight assists.

At two separate points in the season, the 26-year-old found the net on eight occasions in just five matches in all competitions. And, had it not been for injury problems, there is every chance that Aguero would have broken the 30-goal mark.

Striker: Harry Kane

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring from the penalty spot for their third goal during the English Premier League football match against West Bromwich Albion on January 31, 2015© Getty Images

Chelsea's Diego Costa will make many of these lineups, which is understandable, given that his goals helped to fire Chelsea to the title. But, in Spurs and England youngster Kane, the experienced Spaniard has been edged out.

Why? Not only was he the only player other than Aguero and Costa to score 20+ Premier League goals, his contributions to Tottenham were worth a staggering 25 points, which is 10 more than his closest rival to that honour (Hazard). The striker showed maturity way beyond his 21 years with a host of great performances, but perhaps he saved his best for the clashes against rivals Arsenal and Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

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Alexis Sanchez congratulates Olivier Giroud after the Frenchman scores Arsenal's opener on February 15, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City33245469244577
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd32199464352966
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4Chelsea321510750311955
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham32167953421155
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs331581056381853
7Liverpool32158954381653
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal32137124436846
10Leeds UnitedLeeds32144145050046
11Aston Villa31135134435944
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32118133241-941
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton32106164058-1836
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153553-1835
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton32713123338-534
17Burnley3289152645-1933
18Fulham33512162543-1827
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3242261756-3914

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