As another exciting Premier League season winds down, attention turns to who should win the Player of the Year awards and who deserves to be included in the Premier League Team of the Season.
We take a look at how that XI might line up.
Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois looks set to win his second Premier League winners medal at Stamford Bridge this season and he, along with Manchester United’ David de Gea and Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, have once again been crucial players for their respective clubs, as has Tom Heaton for Burnley.
However, Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford, who has been nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award has had an outstanding breakthrough season in the Premier League with Sunderland despite the Black Cats struggling in a relegation battle for the majority of the season.
The goalkeeper has made 108 saves this season, which places him in second position in the top flight after Burnley’s Heaton, who has made 120 saves.
The 22-year-old has also been called up to the England squad by Gareth Southgate, and David Moyes will do well to hold onto the youngster, even if Sunderland avoid the drop.
Defenders taking a back seat while the attackers get the limelight is the norm again this season with only Burnley’s Michael Keane nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year accolade, while no defender makes the shortlist for the Player of the Year award.
However, Chelsea’s David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta have enjoyed a fantastic season under Antonio Conte, as the Italian aims to win the title in only his first season in England.
Michael Keane has been a standout player for Sean Dyche at Burnley, making Manchester United’s decision to offload the 24-year-old to Turf Moor all the more questionable.
Antonio Valencia has been a revelation at right-back under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, with his manager labelling him the best right back in the world. The Ecuadorian has stood out in a mixed campaign for Manchester United and won the EFL Cup with the club in February.
Tottenham’s Danny Rose has once again enjoyed a solid campaign as Spurs continue to improve under Mauricio Pochettino. He was one of Spurs’ most consistent players both at left-back and as an attacking threat on the left wing until injury curtailed his season in January. But he is thought to back in training soon as the season enters its most crucial stage.
A back four of Antonio Valencia, David Luiz, Michael Keane and Danny Rose would be hard to beat while also possessing an attacking threat.
N’Golo Kante is fast becoming the best player in the world in his position and it will be a surprise if the 26-year-old is not crowned Player of the Season. He is set to win his second successive Premier League title with Chelsea after, historically, winning it with Leicester City last season.
Dele Alli continues to improve for both club and country and is once again the favourite to win the PFA Young player of the Year award, and is unlucky not to be nominated for the senior edition having so far scored 16 goals from midfield.
Eden Hazard is enjoying his football again following a disappointing campaign last time out. The Belgian is nominated for the PFA Player of the Year and his 14 goals so far this season equals his personal best for a season.
Sadio Mane has enjoyed a fine debut season at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp as they aim for a return to Champions League football, scoring thirteen goals and making five assists.
His absence in January for the Africa Cup of Nations coincided with Liverpool’s season collapsing when they lost ground on Chelsea in the title race and were eliminated from both the EFL Cup and the FA Cup.
Unlucky to miss out are Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, who followed Pep Guardiola from the Bundesliga to the Etihad and has continued to improve as the season wears on.
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez has once again been a crucial part of Arsene Wenger’s side in another disappointing campaign for the Gunners and has found the net on eighteen occasions, with nine assists in the league.
It is impossible only to go with one striker in what has been a fine season for some of the best forwards in the league. Harry Kane is nominated for both PFA awards this season having scored 19 goals in an injury-hit campaign.
Romelu Lukaku tops the charts with 23 goals and six assists for Everton despite contract talks coming to a halt with a departure on the cards for the Belgian who is thought to be in high demand.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to the Premier League at the ripe old age of 34, and despite this has proved to be Manchester United’s saviour, scoring 28 goals in all competitions (17 in the league along with five assists). The Swede could be a realistic challenger to Kante for the POTY award.
Sergio Aguero continues to do what he does best for Manchester City, despite being briefly omitted from the first team as Gabriel Jesus stole the headlines. The Argentinian, however, has raked up 16 goals in the league.
Chelsea’s Diego Costa has also been a crucial part of Antonio Conte’s team, netting 17 goals and laying on five assists despite rumours of a possible departure from Stamford Bridge.
Jermaine Defoe, like teammate Pickford has stood out at Sunderland despite their woes and his 14 goals and two assists have not gone unnoticed by England manager Southgate.
Team in full:
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Antonio Valencia, David Luiz, Michael Keane, Danny Rose
Midfielders/Attackers: Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante, Dele Alli, Eden Hazard
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena
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