After a wild Premier League season with drama up to the final day, we saw some exceptional football. Now, however with the season in the rearview mirror, it’s time to acknowledge who has been the best of the best in the Premier League this season.
Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez, Aston Villa:
With fifteen clean sheets this season, Martinez has been a true revelation since his arrival at Villa Park last year. Despite coming in search of regular game-time, few could have expected him to rise to the challenge of week in – week out regular football like he has.
Conceding just 1.2 goals a game, he truly has had a season to remember, one he will surely grow on as Villa chase European football in the upcoming years.
Right-Back – Joao Cancelo, Manchester City:
In his first season Cancelo failed to make his mark in an exceptional City side, this year however, he has managed to impress with whatever has been thrown at him. Starting twenty-seven times in the league Cancelo has been willing to show his worth on both the right and the left.
It’s been a really strong season for Cancelo, one that should work to dispel any chance of him being another expensive Premier League flop. Perhaps the one criticism surrounds whether or not he would start in a full-strength City XI.
Centre-Back – Ruben Dias, Manchester City:
Unquestionably the first name in this team, Ruben Dias has changed Manchester City for the better since his arrival back in September last year. Coming to the side as yet another Pep Guardiola centre-back, Dias had to deliver, and deliver he has.
Easily the best defender in the Premier League this season, at just 24 years old he has consistently shown his maturity, marshalling City’s backline. A world-class centre-back, who may well be lifting a treble’s worth of trophies in his very first season.
Centre-Back – Harry Maguire, Manchester United:
Arguably one of the most overlooked players in the Premier League, Maguire will forever be unfairly compared to the lofty price tag that brought him to Manchester United. Starting all but four Premier League games for the club this season, Maguire has been a figure of pure consistency.
Maguire over the last year has grown massively into his role as United’s captain and leader, one that became even more apparent in his absence of late. If his injury costs him a place at the Euro’s it will absolutely be to England’s detriment.
Left-Back – Luke Shaw, Manchester United:
Speaking of Englishman at Manchester United having an excellent season, Luke Shaw has been in a world of his own this year. Unquestionably the best left-back in the division over this calendar year, you would be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn’t got him in their TOTS.
Despite, playing as a left-centre-back in the latter stages of last year, a role he seemed to excel in. It has been back in his traditional full-back position that Shaw, has been at his best this year. Playing with confidence by the bucket-load and creating countless chances. He needs to start at the Euro’s, I’m absolutely sure of it.
Centre-Midfielder – Declan Rice, West Ham:
In a West Ham team that has smashed any and all expectations out of the water, Rice has been the star performer. Much like the West Ham side he plays for, Rice has done it with a level of professionalism that all others should strive to hit.
After becoming West Ham’s vice-captain, he has had to lead his team into battle on countless occasions, something Rice has excelled at. At just twenty-two years old, Rice has a huge career ahead of him, one that will undoubtedly feature European football next year, be it at the Hammers, or elsewhere.
Centre-Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City:
Whilst nobody can deny Kevin De Bruyne’s class, he very nearly lost out on this spot to either Mount or Kante from Chelsea. However, despite playing just twenty-five times in the league this season, De Bruyne has been undeniably class.
Very possibly the best midfielder in the world, you could count the bad performances from KDB on one hand. The adjectives don’t exist to do De Bruyne’s ability credit, he truly is exceptional.
Centre-Midfielder – Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United:
After his immediate impact last season, this was a chance for Bruno to prove he was more than a one-season-wonder. With thirty goal contributions in the Premier League eighteen of which were goals, Bruno has excelled consistently.
Whilst some point to his high number of penalty goals as a way to downplay his accomplishments, you don’t criticise the postman who delivers just down the road. Bruno has been one of the stars of a Manchester United season in which the club have outperformed most people’s pre-season expectations.
Right-Wing – Mohammed Salah, Liverpool:
In a Liverpool team that had fallen short for much of the season, Salah was the one continuous bright spot in the team. Running the chase for the Premier League top goalscorer to the final day of the season, Salah scored just shy of a third of Liverpool’s goals this season.
After a tremendous run of form at the end of the season, Liverpool found themselves in third place which was an incredible season after their injury issues. However, in the previous three-quarters of the season, their successes was thanks to Salah, something that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Striker – Harry Kane, Spurs:
In what looks to be his final Premier League season at Spurs, Harry Kane has once again delivered an outrageous share of goal contributions. Topping the charts for goals and assists, it has been a tremendous individual season for Kane.
But, the word individual will stick out like a sore thumb. Kane doesn’t need individual honours at this stage in his career he needs trophies. With the rumour mill, and Kane himself seemingly pushing towards an exit from Spurs, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve to leave the club. But, where will he end up?
Left-Wing – Phil Foden, Manchester City:
With just twenty-eight Premier League appearances, it may be slightly generous to put Foden ahead of others such as Jack Grealish and Heung-Min Son. Especially with Son ranking joint third in the league for Goals/Assists combined.
Even so, there is something very special about Foden that not many others have been able to replicate. Foden makes football fun to watch again, and in a fairly dismal year where games have been missing so much without fans, he has managed to lift people out of their seats with his performances. Young, exciting and a true talent, Foden has a huge career ahead of him.
Did we get the right names for our Premier League TOTS? Who would you have in your team?
Cover Photo (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)