Left-back: Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace's eye-catching success under Tony Pulis was about hard work, opportunism and adaptability, and few players fit the bill better than Joel Ward. Having only played three top-flight games before this campaign, the former Pompey player was hardly expected to make the Premier League elite XI in a season expected to be a struggle, but defying expectations is what Pulis's Palace love to do.
Although previously a centre-back, Ward can play in either full-back role and even on occasion operated in midfield for Pulis, who was delighted with him: "Wardy has been absolutely superb since I came to the club, he's a good lad. He gives you everything." In the 1-0 win against Chelsea in March, Ward made eight interceptions; no full-back made more this season.