The Premier League season witnessed an exciting finale once again and as usual nobody seems too interested in those that have had a 'safe' season, rarely being threatened by relegation but without much ambition to push higher up the table.
Forget your Luis Suarezes and your Yaya Toures, because it's time to put an end to the myth that the mid-table is dull and dreary by handing out some awards!
Please note that 'mid-table' in this instance refers to positions 8th-14th and as such, players from Southampton, Stoke, Newcastle, Palace, Swansea, West Ham and Sunderland will be eligible.
1. Best Young Player: Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Luke Shaw's season can be summed up by the fact that he has replaced one of the finest left-backs in the history of football in the England squad, Ashley Cole.
After a fine season from the youngster, this has not come as much of a shock to football fans in England, but if you had predicted this two years ago even Shaw wouldn't have believed you. Adept at both attacking and defending as all modern full backs should be, there are certainly similarities with the man whom he has forced into international retirement prior to this summer's World Cup squad.
He is one of the world's future stars and with a reported £27million splurge incoming from the red side of Manchester, he may find himself playing in the Champions League within a couple of seasons if the Red Devils can climb back onto their perch.
2. Best Signing: Wilfried Bony (Swansea)
Bony arrived in England from the same league as Jozy Altidore and with a similar record. The fortunes of the two in their first seasons with their new clubs could not have been more different, however.
Bony started slowly in the league despite a fine record in Europe, though his Premier League">Premier League form eventually caught up. As soon as the big Ivorian began to fill the goal shaped void left by Michu, Swansea were safe from the relegation zone they briefly flirted with.
16 goals in a debut Premier League season is not to be sniffed at and if Bony can take the form he showed in the second half of this season and project that onto a whole campaign, he will become one of the league's hottest properties.
3. Best Player: Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Adam Lallana is a latecomer to the highest level of the game along with team-mate Rickie Lambert, though Saints fans have known all about his talent for many years now. An integral part of Southampton's rise to the Premier League, Lallana has simply kept up the form that he showed in the lower reaches of the English league system.
A seemingly humble player with a good work ethic, technique and a spark of creativity rarely seen in English players these days, Lallana's hard work is finally being rewarded and Southampton have had one of their best seasons in recent memory.
There is also a strong possibility that he may find himself in a Liverpool shirt next season and playing in the Champions League, so things are only looking up for the attacking midfielder.
4. Best Manager: Tony Pulis (Crystal Palace)
This award was admittedly a close one, with Southampton's Mauricio Pochettino also having a stellar season.
Nonetheless, the complete transformation that Crystal Palace underwent thanks to Pulis cannot be ignored - the very fact that they can be included in a 'mid table awards' article is testament to that. Without Pulis, Palace would probably have been dead and buried by February and plying their trade in the Championship once again next season.
Although there are always question marks over the Welshman's style of football, he knows how to set up a team and has adapted his game from his time at Stoke, preferring to use a technical forward like Marouane Chamakh instead of somebody in the mould of Peter Crouch.
Saving Palace from relegation was an impossible job - their squad was ridiculously bloated, lacking quality and short on confidence. But like Gus Poyet at Sunderland, Pulis did the impossible in spectacular style.
5. Worst Signing: Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Let me start this by saying that Andy Carroll is a very good footballer. Although he's certainly not the best of the best and will always be plagued by his £35m Liverpool failure, when he is made the focal point of a side he can be one of the most effective strikers in the Premier League.
Many thought that this would be the case when Carroll joined up with Sam Allardyce at West Ham - and why not? Big Sam always loves a target man up top and with the likes of Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing to whip the kind of cross in that Carroll loves, the potential was there for success. His best mate Kevin Nolan was even there to keep him out of trouble.
Things haven't turned out quite as planned, however, and the big Geordie has been plagued by injury all season. There have been glimpses of his class when he simply bullied defenders out of the game, but it hasn't happened frequently enough to justify the £15m outlay and reportedly astronomical wages handed to him by the Hammers. Maybe next season, Andy.
6. Flop of the Season: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland)
Having scored a very respectable and actually somewhat prolific 38 goals in 67 league appearances for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, Sunderland fans were hoping that American Jozy Altidore could bring some of that form with him to the Stadium of Light. Even a haul of 10 league goals would have seemed good value for the £6.5m the Black Cats shelled out for him.
Unfortunately, 39 appearances later in all competitions and Altidore has managed a total of two goals for his club side. Two. One of those was against MK Dons so you could argue the case that Jozy Altidore has in fact scored one-and-a-half goals for Sunderland (sorry MK Dons fans).
It is only the American's first season with Sunderland (although not in England) so there is scope for improvement, but as far as single seasons go, Altidore has had a shocker.
7. Mid-Table Team of the Season
GK: Vito Mannone (Sunderland)
RB: Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
CB: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
CB: Dejan Lovren (Southampton)
LB: Luke Shaw (Southampton)
RM: Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace)
MC: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace)
MC: Adam Lallana (Southampton)
LM: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton)
FW: Wilfried Bony (Swansea)
FW: Loic Remy (Newcastle)
That's four Southampton players, three from Palace, one from Newcastle, one from Stoke, one from Sunderland and one from Swansea. Sorry Hammers fans, but I'm sure there aren't many of you that will argue that any of your players have particularly excelled this year!
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