We are now approaching the business end of yet another Premier League season, and once again it has failed to disappoint. The league just seems to get better and better each year, which is why I already can’t wait for next season. But before all of that I am going to give my interpretation on how I think the PFA end of the year awards should go, as well as some more end of season highlights.
First up is my selection of the best 11 players in their respective positions from the past 9 months, otherwise known as the Team of the Season. Something that very few can ever agree on, and I am sure my version will be no different.
GOALKEEPER – DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United)
What more can be said about Manchester United’s shot stopper that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. He is simply the best on the planet between the sticks with very few coming close. This season he has yet again showed why Real Madrid are always knocking on the door. Just from the top of my head I can recall two huge saves from the Spaniard this season, one from point blank range against Joel Matip earning United a valuable point at Anfield, and another against Sergio Aguero in the Derby recently, securing a famous 3-2 victory for Manchester United.
RIGHT-BACK – KYLE WALKER (Manchester City)
A big money move in the summer had many thinking that Tottenham had received the better end of the deal, with a ready-made replacement in Kieran Trippier and Daniel Levy struggling for pocket space. But Walker has slotted seamlessly into Guardiola’s style with his marauding runs down the flanks causing havoc all season, and the lack of defending that you have to do when you’re a Manchester City player also played in his favour. Walker faced little in the way of competition for this right-back spot.
CENTRE BACK – JAN VERTONGHEN (Tottenham)
A consummate professional who is the rock in Spurs’ already sturdy back line. You could describe him as a Rolls Royce type defender, never gets flustered and is able to run with the ball and move his team up the pitch. Spurs are a team proud of their defensive record this season, which is in most part down to this man. It is often said that he could play in to his 40’s.
CENTRE BACK – JAMES TARKOWSKI (Burnley)
If you asked a Burnley fan at the start of the season if they thought they would’ve been 7th in the league after 32 games, just one place behind Arsenal, they would’ve laughed in your face. But here they are, largely down to this mans huge presence at the back. Several assured performances have caught the eye of many, including Gareth Southgate, who awarded him with his first England call up in the recent friendlies. It’s somewhat of a rarity nowadays to have a no nonsense English centre half, so Burnley will do very well to keep hold of him.
LEFT-BACK – ANDREW ROBERTSON (Liverpool)
Even with my unbiased hat on, I couldn’t keep the young Scot out of this team, he has been a revelation for the reds this term. Nobody expected the huge impact he would have on Liverpool’s notoriously troubled left back spot, which has been somewhat of a poisoned challis in recent times with the illustrious list of Alberto Moreno, Aly Cissokho, Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan all occupying the spot with similar degrees of “success”. Robertson is the sort of no thrills player that could hold down the position for many years to come.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – KEVIN DE BRUYNE (Manchester City)
Everybody knew coming into this season what the Belgian was capable of, but I think I can speak for us all when I say that he has gone above and beyond what we all expected. No player in the division wants to come up against De Bruyne, no matter how compact you are or how tightly you mark him, he will continue to create chance after chance. He has been a class above this season, and any other season he would’ve been a shoe in for POTY, but more on that in a minute.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – DAVID SILVA (Manchester City)
A player that you will struggle to dislike, he has been consistently superb throughout his whole spell in Manchester and this season has been no different. His eye for an incisive pass in second to none, and I am sure he is a joy to play alongside. He plays at a walking pace but before you know it he has played a killer ball and City are through. A common theme all year.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – FERNANDINHO (Manchester City)
You may have noticed a pattern emerging here, I think it’s fair to say that Manchester City’s midfield has been a huge factor in their title winning campaign. You can have all the flair in the world but that doesn’t win silverware, players willing to give that extra 5% and do the dirty work are the ones who win it for you, and I don’t think there is a better way to sum Fernandinho up than just that. He is perhaps the most versatile and dependable player in the whole league and is the glue that holds this wonderful City side together. This season he has also demonstrated his magnificent passing range and ability to dictate the pace of the whole game.
RIGHT WING – MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
I have run out of superlatives to describe this man; every time he steps on the pitch you expect him to score. To think he was frozen out of the Chelsea team just a few seasons ago and now he is one of the best players in Europe this campaign, if not the best. Even if you have a Mo Salah shrine in your house, you cannot honestly say you knew he was capable of a season of this magnitude. I am sure he isn’t going to find his way on to Kevin De Bruyne’s Christmas card list after knocking him out of the Champions League and now seemingly beating him to Player of the Year also.
STRIKER – HARRY KANE (Tottenham)
The one season wonder has had yet another fabulous campaign in front of goal, he is not the most entertaining player to watch but one thing for sure is that he knows where the back of the net is. As I write this Kane is 4 goals shy of Mohamed Salah with 6 games to go and given that Kane got 7 goals in 2 games at the end of last term, I wouldn’t put anything past him. This spot in the team is seemingly Kane’s every year.
LEFT WING – LEROY SANE (Manchester City)
Another player from the Champions elect, Sane has been a breath of fresh air in the league. He has all the key components to be one of the games great wingers and if he continues in the same vein as this season then he will take some stopping. It is a compliment of the highest order that a 20-year-old is receiving this much attention in such an amazing City team.
Notable absentees from the 11 include Burnley’s ‘keeper Nick Pope, Manchester United’s Ashley Young, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.
END OF SEASON AWARDS
Player of the year – Mohamed Salah, Runner up – Kevin De Bruyne
Young player of the year – Leroy Sane, Runner up – Raheem Sterling
Manager of the year – Sean Dyche, Runner up – Pep Guardiola
Game of the season – Manchester City 2 – 3 Manchester United (April 7, 2018)
Goal of the year – Victor Wanyama vs Liverpool (a)