The Premier League season is reaching its business end, with Manchester City cantering towards the title while the race for the top four and relegation battle heats up.
As is the case with every campaign, there have been a number of star performers who have stood out amongst their peers, and are thus tipped to win individual accolades come the end of the season.
However, statistically, the team of the season so far makes for very interesting reading, with a number of this season’s star players left out, and some surprising inclusions in the backline.
Courtesy of WhoScored.com, with stats compiled over 200 different areas, they have come up with the best player in each position across fields of multiple criteria.
There is no surprise when it comes to the inclusion of the bookmakers’ favourites for the PFA Player of the Year award. Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, as well as Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah are all included.
Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard complete the attack, but it is the defence which will raise an eyebrow or two. Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young occupy the full-back slots, with both having adapted well from wing positions over the past few seasons.
However, it is the centre-back pairing that stands out from the rest, with Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Burnley’s James Tarkowski statistically the best defenders, despite their clubs lying in 6th and 7th place respectively.
Burnley’s Nick Pope also gets the nod in goal, with many expecting that Manchester United’s David De Gea would be one of the easiest choices on the team sheet.
While this team is likely to change before the end of the campaign, the inclusion of some controversial selections goes to show that statistics are not always everything – and it is quite unlikely that this side will remotely mirror the one selected by the PFA in the latter weeks of the season.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena