As for Baines, he is certainly our most consistent player. I remember Paul Jewell saying something like "he's never below a 7" and I'd go along with that. He's excellent going forward and I don't think he's as bad defensively as some make out. His one weakness is that he doesn't close the winger down as much or as quick as he should but he's one of the best left backs in the league and our most consistent performer as well.
People often go on about Pienaar and Arteta and who's better/more consistent etc. and there seems two definitive camps on that one. I think Baines goes under the radar though and I would say he's more consistent than both.