Premier League Stories - David SeamanSep 27
The people have spoken. More than 1.2million responded and we can now present to you the unofficial Premier League Team of the Season as selected by you…
Goalkeeper - Alisson
A close-run thing in the end, but Liverpool’s Alisson emerges on top for the spot between the sticks despite missing nine games through injury during the start of the campaign.
The Brazilian has made the fewest saves of any starting goalkeeper in the division with just 57 but that’s down to the Reds’ supreme defence (more on them later).
In 28 starts he’s let in just 22 goals for a ratio of 0.81 goals conceded per game – the lowest in the top flight.
Brazil’s No 1 clinched Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper last year and the best in the world is correctly voted as the best in England by Twitter.
1st – Alisson (Liverpool) - 38.8%
2nd – Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) - 32.6%
3rd – Nick Pope (Burnley) - 31.2%
4th – Rui Patricio (Wolves) - 2.3%
Right-back – Trent Alexander-Arnold
This one was considerably less close. Trent Alexander-Arnold is undoubtedly the standout right back in the division and at just 21 years old played a key role in Liverpool’s title triumph.
The academy product picked up where he left off the season before and contributed another 13 assists from right back with his sensational delivery from both open play and dead ball situations.
Alexander-Arnold shined brightest in Liverpool’s finest performance of the season when his two assists and one goal saw off closest title rivals Leicester 4-0 on Boxing Day.
And he delivered another timely reminder of his talents in the 5-3 humdinger over Chelsea at Anfield recently with a delicious free-kick and typically pin-point cross to assist Roberto Firmino.
1. Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – 73.3%
2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) - 19.1%
3. Ricardo Pereira (Leicester) - 4.4%
4. Matt Doherty (Wolves) 3.2%
Centre-back – Virgil van Dijk
No surprises here as the best centre-back in the world won with a landslide 83.1% of the vote. The Dutchman has transformed Liverpool into title-contenders since arriving and has been ever-present for Jurgen Klopp’s side in their march to the trophy.
Last season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year is the fulcrum of the meanest defence in the division – just 32 goals conceded – and he leads the way in completed passes of all players by an incredible 600 completed.
So solid is Van Dijk that in the last three seasons, only eight players have successfully dribbled past him. As Watford’s Troy Deeney summarises: “He’s too big, too strong, too quick, too good on the ball, loves fighting, a good head of hair.”
1st – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – 83.1%
2nd – James Tarkowski (Burnley) – 7.1%
3rd – John Egan (Sheffield United) - 5.9%
4th - Conor Coady (Wolves) - 3.9%
Centre-back – Caglar Soyuncu
The first non-Liverpool player of the list fills in the second centre-back position as Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu slots in alongside Van Dijk in a formidable heart of our defence.
The Turkish defender effectively replaced Harry Maguire in the Foxes’ backline this campaign and it speaks volumes that he finishes ahead of the Englishman by some distance.
Despite a recent wobble at Bournemouth, Soyuncu has forged a reputation as one of the best one-on-one defenders in the division with a combination of intelligent positioning and tough-tackling.
1st – Soyuncu (Leicester) - 49.8
2nd – Harry Maguire (Manchester United) - 29.7%
3rd – Lewis Dunk (Brighton) - 12.6%
4th – Fernandinho (Manchester City) - 8%
Left-back – Andrew Roberton
The Liverpool dominance continues with Andrew Robertson claiming our final position in defence – left-back. Robertson has proven to be one of the best bargains in Premier League history after arriving from relegated Hull City in the summer of 2017 for just £8million.
Robertson has matched his total of 11 assists from last campaign from full back and his tireless running up and down the left flank is pivotal to the breathless fashion in which Jurgen Klopp’s men approach the game.
It’s been a remarkable rise for the defender, who just eight years ago was struggling to make it as a professional footballer and now finds himself a Champions League and Premier League winner with Liverpool. At 26 years old, he is showing no sign of slowing down.
1st – Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) – 70.7%
2nd – Ben Chilwell (Leicester) 14.6%
3rd – Lucas Digne (Everton) - 9.3%
4th – Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) – 5.4%
Central midfield – Jordan Henderson
The first of our three central midfield spots is occupied by Liverpool’s inspirational captain Jordan Henderson who has just clinched the Football Writers’ Association Men’s Footballer of the Year award.
The 30-year-old has been the heartbeat of Klopp’s side with his relentless energy and metronomic passing in the middle of the park.
Ron Yeats, Tommy Smith, Steven Gerrard and now Henderson, the midfielder has continued Liverpool’s proud tradition of captains by lifting the Champions League and the Premier League in two successive seasons. Not bad for a player who many thought Liverpool should have sold as recently as three years ago.
1st – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) - 51.6%
2nd – Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester) – 21.3%
3rd – Declan Rice (West Ham) - 15.3%
4th – Ruben Neves (Wolves) - 11.8%
Central midfield – Kevin De Bruyne
Despite being regarded by many as the Premier League’s finest player, Kevin De Bruyne missed out on the FWA Player of the Year award to Liverpool skipper Henderson.
But Twitter’s appreciation of the Belgian midfielder remains with a whopping 82.7% of the vote in this category going to De Bruyne.
De Bruyne’s individual brilliance has been even more pronounced in what has been a down season for Pep Guardiola’s side. The 29-year-old has piled on a crazy 19 assists for City this campaign and scored some stunning strikes – notably against Newcastle and Chelsea.
Technically almost immaculate, visionary in his passing and a powerful presence in the middle of the park, De Bruyne is the finest attacking midfielder in the game right now.
1st – Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – 82.7%
2nd – Fabinho (Liverpool) – 10.8%
3rd - Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) 3.9%
4th - Joao Moutinho (Wolves) - 2.5%
Central midfield – Bruno Fernandes
Rarely has a player had such a transformative in such a short space of time as Bruno Fernandes since he arrived at Manchester United in January.
The midfielder was hot property for his sensational goalscoring form for Sporting CP but transitioning from the Primeira Liga to the Premier League is a huge step up. Fernandes has made it look like child’s play.
The 25-year-old has turned United’s season around. He arrived at a club who were booed off the field after a 2-0 defeat to Burnley two days earlier – their fourth defeat in 10 matches.
Since his arrival United have taken 29 points from 13 Premier League matches and look set to clinch Champions League qualification. Thirteen appearances, seven goals and seven assists means that despite playing less than half a campaign, Fernandes justifies his place in this XI.
1st – Fernandes (Manchester United) – 51.9%
2nd – Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 19.6%
3rd – David Silva (Manchester City) - 19.1%
4th - James Maddison (Leicester) - 9.4%
Right wing – Mo Salah
The Egyptian King has not hit the heights of his sensational 32-goal campaign in 2017/18 or even his 22-goal haul last year - “crazy numbers” according to his manager.
But with 19 goals heading into the final game, it’s hardly been a down year.
Salah’s own lofty standards are far above most of those in the division and the 28-year-old has once again proven one of the division’s finest attackers.
The 28-year-old scores when it matters most for Liverpool and his purple patches have tended to come in huge moments for Klopp’s side – notably a brace in a 3-1 win over Arsenal and a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-0 win over Manchester United.
1st - Salah (Liverpool) - 54.1%
2nd – Adama Traore (Wolves) - 25.3%
3rd – Riyad Mahrez (Man City) – 17.4%
4th – Richarlison (Everton) 3.3%
Left wing – Sadio Mane
The man on Liverpool’s opposite flank gets the nod from our Twitter followers with Sadio Mane securing his position on the left wing with a 46.2% share of the vote.
The Senegalese forward has weighed in with 17 goals in the Premier League this season and, like Salah, some have been pivotal in Liverpool’s run to the title. Mane has scored decisive goals in wins on six separate occasions meaning 18 of their total can be attributed to the forward’s impact.
Individually outstanding but a team player at heart, Mane is the perfect player for Liverpool and his pace, movement and passing is crucial to making the champion’s tick.
1st – Mane (Liverpool) – 46.8%
2nd – Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – 25.2%
3rd – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) 19.3%
4th - Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – 8.6%
BT Sport's Premier League Team of the Year
Alexander-Arnold Van Dijk Soyuncu Robertson
Henderson De Bruyne Fernandes
Salah Martial Mane
Striker – Anthony Martial
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial wins a close-run thing up front in our Team of the Year, edging out Danny Ings, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jamie Vardy and Raul Jimenez - who all scored more than the Frenchman.
Martial is a streaky scorer but when he’s on form, he’s really on form. In seven Premier League games since returning from the coronavirus lockdown, Martial has seven goals and three assists.
That run includes a sensational hat-trick against Sheffield United – United’s first Premier League hat-trick since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Frenchman has finally started to look at home in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s revitalised side since Fernandes’ arrival in January. And still only 24 years old, there’s a feeling that there’s still even more to come.
1st – Martial (Manchester United) – 36.7%
2nd – Danny Ings (Southampton) – 34.2%
3rd – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) - 16.6%
4th – Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 12.5%
Raul Jimenez def. by Martial in head-to-head vote