It’s that time of year where clubs start to name their Player of the Season.
The Premier League has confirmed their shortlist of candidates which include Arsenal’s very own Bukayo Saka.
I decided to write my best XI of this campaign but not surprisingly was left with mostly Man City and Liverpool names, which makes sense given how far those two clubs are ahead of the rest.
So, to make it fun and test my knowledge, I set the criteria of only being allowed to name one individual from one team.
E.g., if you pick Salah, you can’t select Arnold.
Feel free to play along and put your XI in the comments.
Remember it’s just a game so respect each other’s opinions ……
These are my choices.
GK – Ramsdale (Arsenal)
By my own criteria Ederson or Alison were not options but after that our keeper has been as good as anyone.
Many Gooners have been proven wrong after concerns that we would spend so much on a goalie with consecutive relegations.
Especially those who took way too long to realise Leno made too many mistakes to be our number one
At Leicester Ramsdale produced arguably the save of the season but he’s not just a great shot stopper.
He’s confident with the ball at his feet, has leadership qualities, and has a presence which gives self-belief to those in front of him.
This has meant Arsenal have been able to grind out wins in a manner we are not associated with.
Being English, there is a natural comparison to Joe Hart and Pickford in terms of, at times, being over emotional, and his form has slightly dipped in the last month.
Yet at 24 he’s only going to get better.
RB- James (Chelsea)
There is constant comparison with him and TA Arnold.
The consensus is James is better defensively while Arnold is world class in the final third.
This is a dilemma that Gareth Southgate continues to battle with England.
At 22 don’t be shocked if James’s attacking stats improve with hints that they already are.
Reece James is one of many players who has made being a full back popular and something kids now aspire to be.
It’s become one of the most vital positions in the sport.
CB- Marc Guehi (Palace)
Has played more than any other Eagle contributing to 12 clean sheets.
In a transitional year the 21-year-old has been vital to following Viera’s ethos with his ability to play from the back.
One of several examples of how our ex-skipper has got a talent to understand and believe in his vision.
The highlight of the defender’s year was a first Three Lions Cap.
At Stamford Bridge, he always was predicted to have a bright future and there is already talk that Chelsea might activate a buy back clause.
CB – Dan Burn (Newcastle)
When the Toon became the richest club in the UK, their fans probably were expecting a more sexier January signing then Dan Burn.
He’s just what the Geordies needed though, seen as responsible for improving Newcastle defensively.
Their defensive stats in both half of the season are night and day.
Having credited Graham Potter for developing his game at Brighton, Eddie Howe’s ethos is similar, and he should continue to make Burn better.
LB – Cucurella (Brighton)
Brought up in the Barcelona system, Cucurella is always forward thinking, with his attacking stats up there with the very best.
The shock was how quickly the 23-year-old settled into the physicality of the League.
Not just comfortable on the ball but hard on the tackle, he simply has it all.
Most apparent of all though is his personality, which has made him so popular within the squad and fanbase.
DM – Declan Rice (West Ham)
Is getting better and better.
Developing into more than just a DM, Rice is becoming an all-rounder box to box midfielder.
Wouldn’t shock me if he starts to add more goals to his game.
Too good for the Hammers, hence his rejection of a new contract.
At 23, he is heading for the very top of the sport
CM – Ward-
One of the best set piece specialists in the divisions, contributing to 14 goals in 34 games.
He is 4 free kicks short of David Beckham’s all-time record
CM – KDB (Man City)
An example of Pep Guardiola’s stance that there is a media bias towards Liverpool.
What separates a good player to the great is those who step up in April and May.
It’s one thing to deliver at other times, the very best do so when it really matters.
With the Champions under pressure to win every week, KDB has stepped up.
His 4 goals at Wolves in midweek were glossed over. It’s almost like we take the Belgian’s talent for granted.
Attacker – Salah (Liverpool)
In the first half of the campaign Mo Salah was easily the most consistent player.
Ask anyone who plays Fantasy Football, while star talent like Kane and Aubameyang didn’t perform, Salah was the one star you could rely on to deliver every week.
While he may be mentally tired after the disappointment of the African Cup of Nations, he remains the division’s top scorer and the player with the most assists.
Attacker – Ronaldo (Man United)
Will divide opinion, but the fact remains only two players have scored more Prem goals then Ronaldo.
In total has scored 24 goals.
If that was any other free agent called anything else, he would be deemed a success. Ronaldo has done his part of the bargain by putting the ball in the net.
It’s not his fault his managers couldn’t find a system that worked, or were expecting a 37-year-old to return to Manchester pressing like those 10 years younger.
Attacker – Son (Spurs)
With 21 goals, his best scoring season and could yet win the Golden Boot.
Had to take responsibility during Harry Kane’s goal drought.
With Kane back on form the two remain one of the best partnerships in the country.
Let me know your Team of the Season in the comments below
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