The Forgotten Men Who Deserve a Mention in the Team of the Season

The Team of the Season

When looking at the best eleven players over the course of this past season, it’s easy to look at the superstars such as Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Kevin De Bruyne.

Whilst many of these big names have performed as magnificently as we’ve come to expect for their star-studded teams, there are many players whose stellar season this year may have gone unnoticed, when compiling the best XI of this season just gone.

Here are some of the players that you might forget, but nevertheless, thoroughly deserve a mention in the Premier League Team Of The Season debate.

The Forgetten Goalkeepers

Liverpool’s Alisson will most likely be the front runner for the goalkeeper spot after a campaign that has seen his side lose just once all season in the league. However, there are a few options that are capable of being chosen ahead of the Brazilian keeper.

Dean Henderson has been mentioned by many this season, with the Sheffield United shot-stopper being praised throughout as many tip him to become England’s first-choice goalkeeper when the European Championships come around.

The goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, has shown his quality by keeping 10 clean sheets in 27 league games for the Blades this season. To put that stat into context, that’s the same amount as Manchester City’s Ederson and just two behind Alisson.

Henderson has also conceded only 22 goals this season during the 27 appearances, which is two goals less than City goalie Ederson. The 23-year-old has been discussed a lot this season, with fans and plaudits debating whether he is good enough to overtake David De Gea at Manchester United.

Elsewhere, Nick Pope has had a great season in net for Burnley. The Englishman may be overlooked by the likes of Alisson and even Henderson, but he does deserve a mention when looking at the best goalkeepers this year.

Pope has had one more clean sheet than Ederson and Henderson with 11 and has been part of another great Burnley season under Sean Dyche. The Clarets are in 10th, nine points off the top four, one point behind Arsenal and two points off Tottenham Hotspur, largely down to Pope's a sensational ability between the sticks.

ICYMI: Read the Henderson-De Gea debate and check out the analysis on who should be the Manchester United number one.

What Defenders have been missed?

One of the first names on the Team Of The Season sheet will most probably be van Dijk and rightly so, as the Dutchman has been colossal at the heart of the Liverpool defence. However, other defenders in the league are certainly deserving of being mentioned in the debate when talking about the best defenders in the league so far.

A prime example is Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü. The Turkish centre-back had big boots to fill after Harry Maguire’s departure from the King Power Stadium in the summer, but 23-year-old Söyüncü has certainly proved to be worthy replacement.

The 6ft 1 defender has been a rock at the back, winning the 13th most tackles of any Premier League defender. He also boasts an impressive 89% passing accuracy, with only Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho achieving higher.

Another centre-back that deserves recognition for an outstanding season is Burnley’s James Tarkowski. The Englishman has recorded an average match rating of 7.11 across the season, bettered only by van Dijk and Maguire. the former Oldham Athletic man, Tarkowski, also achieved the most aerial duels won in the league this season, with 144, that has helped Burnley to 11 clean sheets, one less than table-topping Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will also receive a huge amount of credit when discussing the best full-backs over the past year and most definitely deserve a spot in the TOTS.

Manchester United’s summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka, however, deserves recognition also for his fantastic debut season at Old Trafford that has seen him make an average of 3.8 tackles per game with an 82.6% success rate. In comparison Alexander-Arnold manages 1.6 per 90 minutes with a 53% success rate. Wan-Bissaka also has the fifth most amount of interception in the league this season.

Ricardo Periera is another right-back worthy of a place amongst the league’s best XI. The Leicester full-back has been an integral part in the Foxes’ terrific season which sees them very much in position for Champions League qualification. The Portuguese Periera has recorded the most amount of tackles in the league this season as well as three goals and two assists from defence.

The Midfielders to Remember

Another Leicester player that has been instrumental to their remarkable campaign is defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian midfielder has been the enforcer in the midfield for the Foxes, seeing him record stats that see him appear in the top six of all Premier League midfielders for interceptions, ball recoveries, tackles, tackles won, duels won and aerials won.

Ndidi's nature to avoid getting forward often is a key attribute to Brendan Rodgers side, allowing the attacking freedom for midfielders such as Youri Tielemans and James Maddison in front of him. It’s a tough ask for any promoted team to stay up in their first season but if Aston Villa were to do so, Jack Grealish would be one of, if not the, most crucial reasons for it.

The Villa captain has had an impressive season and been the shining light for Dean Smith’s side. Grealish has helped out with some important goals and assists, such as his beautiful effort against Manchester United that found the far top corner.

It’s near-impossible to argue against what has been another elite season for Kevin De Bruyne who has been immense for City yet again. But when it comes to players who you might have forgotten that deserve to be in the best eleven, Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia springs to mind. The Argentinian has shown why many clubs are chasing him, being a shining light in what has been a dark season for the Canaries.

Buendia has provided seven assists for his team in the league, bettered only by De Bruyne, Alexander-Arnold and Riyad Mahrez. The 23-year-old also has the fourth-best chances created in the league this season. Buendia, who can play on the right of midfield or as an attacking central midfielder, will likely be on the radar for Premier League clubs if Norwich end up going down after a notable season.

The Forgotten Forwards

Out of all the attacking talent on offer at Manchester City, Mahrez’s performances arguably go under the radar. The Algerian right-winger has been involved in 17 goals (7 goals, 10 assists) from 23 appearances, which is considerably more than his fellow City winger Raheem Sterling despite less playing time.

Wolves have continued to impress this season, as they fight for a European place. Spanish winger Adama Traore has enjoyed a fantastic season and has been a handful for defenders, with his pace and strength causing problems. The former Middlesbrough man has completed 144 dribbles this season, more than any other player in the league. His impressive form has even led to a call up to the Spanish national team. Traore’s Wolves teammate Raul Jimenez also deserves a mention when discussing the best strikers, after chipping in with 13 goals and six assists.

The likes of Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will receive plaudits for their tremendous seasons, and with good reason. However, the season that Jamie Vardy has had should not go unnoticed. The Leicester striker has been prolific and has been the spearhead in the Foxes’ European qualification charge.

The former England international has proved yet again that he is one of the best attackers in the league, highlighted by his 19 goals that have sent him to the summit of the league top scorers table and on course for a Golden Boot.


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