- Over the next two weeks, Insider will be revealing its Team of the Season for each of Europe’s top five soccer leagues.
- These are the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga, and the German Bundesliga.
- First up is our selection for the English Premier League, which is set to resume on June 17 after a two-month hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Keep up to date with the series here.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The English Premier League is set to return on June 17 after a two-month hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There is still all to play for at the bottom of the table with nine (or in some cases 10) game remaining, with five of the bottom six – Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham, and Brighton – separated by only five points.
Other than Liverpool having all but secured the title with a lead of 25 points, things at the top remain open too, with Wolves, Sheffield United, and Tottenham all within reaching distance of Manchester United and Chelsea in fourth and fifth place.
While there might be some shaking and moving in terms of teams however, it’s likely too late for individuals to stake a claim for being one of the season’s stand-out performers – 29 games is enough to know who’s been outstanding and who’s been underwhelming.
So with that being said, Insider has put together it’s Premier League Team of the Season, which you can see below.
Goalkeeper — Martin Dubravka, Newcastle United
A goalkeeper’s job is on paper relatively simple: stop the opposition scoring. Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka does that very, very well.
The Slovak shot-stopper has kept nine clean sheets in 29 games for the Magpies this term which the third highest total in the division.
That might not sound hugely impressive, however couple that with the fact he’s faced more shots than any other Premier League keeper, and made more saves, and it’s clear to see why the 31-year-old is being tipped for a move to a major European club.
Right Back — Ricardo Pereira, Leicester City
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has been the best attacking fullback in the league this season.
However the job of a fullback in the modern game is to both attack and defend effectively in equal measure, and that’s why Ricardo Pereira gets the nod here.
The Portuguese has chipped in with a tidy three goals, two assists, and 62 passes into the final third for Leicester. Going the other way, he’s made 199 tackles – more than any other defender in the league.
Centre Back — Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool FC
Putting Virgil van Dijk in this team is a no-brainer. Not only is the Dutchman the league’s best defender, he also makes those around him better.
Jurgen Klopp’s back line was nothing short of a mess when Van Dijk joined Liverpool in 2018, however with the 28-year-old at its helm, it’s now one of the most sturdy in the whole of Europe.
Liverpool has conceded just 21 times in the league this season, less than a goal a game and the second fewest of any other team in the continent’s top five divisions behind only Real Madrid.
Centre Back: Gary Cahill, Crystal Palace
Before you think we’re mad, we aren’t the only ones who think Gary Cahill deserves a spot in the Premier League Team of the Season – the former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson agrees too.
“He’s been outstanding for Crystal Palace,” Merson told Sky Sports when picking his XI. “He came in last summer and you’ve got to remember he didn’t play much football at all last season for Chelsea.
“To then go to Palace where you are playing in a team that only gets 35 to 40% possession, compared to Chelsea’s 60%, and to defend as well as he has, he deserves credit. He has marshalled that defence and he’s a key reason Palace aren’t deep in a relegation battle.”
Left Back — Andrew Robertson, Liverpool FC
Is Andy Robertson the biggest bargain in Premier League history?
Signed for just $US9.9 million from Hull City in 2017, the flying Scotsman has since established himself as one of Europe’s standout fullbacks thanks to his tireless workout rate, outstanding defensive acumen, and buccaneering attacking runs down the left flank.
This season, Robertson has produced seven assists, made 1,893 passes, and whipped an astonishing 148 crosses into the opposition box.
Right Midfield — Adama Traore, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sold as an FC Barcelona reject in 2015, Adama Traore subsequently struggled to adapt to life in England with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. He even endured a poor first season with Wolves in 2018/19.
However, this term, the Spaniard has added two killer weapons to his arsenal which have transformed him into one of the most devastating and effective wingers in the league.
The first is about 20 pounds of pure muscle, which has resulted in defenders simply bouncing off him. The second is a finishing touch, meaning when he does barge his way through the opposition, he tends to do something productive with the ball.
In 28 appearances this season, Traore has scored four goals and produced seven assists.
Centre Midfield — Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea FC
After a lacklustre loan spell last season, many Chelsea fans were surprised to see the club pay Real Madrid $US50 million to acquire Kovacic’s services permanently in the summer.
However, the Croatian has more than re-payed the club’s faith in him with his performances this season, establishing himself as a regular in Frank Lampard’s midfield, and more often than not the vital cog in helping it break down opposition defences.
When it comes to dribbling, Kovacic boasts the highest completion percentage in the division, while he’s also second for carries, meaning he opens up space in between the lines like no other midfielder in the top flight.
Centre Midfield — Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City
In a recent survey by Sky Sports which asked over 50,000 fans to pick their Premier League Team of the Season, Kevin de Bruyne was included in 80% of teams.
We can only assume the 20% of people who didn’t vote him in either don’t watch football or are Manchester United fans, as the brilliant Belgian has been the division’s best player this season by some way.
Eight goals and 16 assists in 26 games from midfield paint a picture of just how good he’s been.
Left Midfield — Sadio Mane, Liverpool FC
The third and final Liverpool player to make Insider’s lineup – Sadio Mane has scored the winning goal on five separate occasions for Liverpool this season.
While Jurgen Klopp’s side would still be top of the table without that contribution, it would have certainly made the end of the season far more interesting.
In essence, those 10 extra points the Senegalese forward has earned Liverpool have all but ensured it will be crowned Premier League champions for the first time, regardless of what happens in the remaining nine games.
Forward — Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
Jamie Vardy is the Premier League’s current top scorer this season, having hit 19 goals in 26 games.
During Leicester’s final game before the league was postponed, a 4-0 win over Aston Villa, Vardy hit a brace to move to 99 career goals in the Premier League.
Once play resumes next month, you can bet your bottom dollar the Englishman will pass the century mark and more before the end of the campaign.
Not bad for a $US1.4 million signing.
Forward — Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Raul Jimenez is the most well-rounded striker in the English Premier League.
The Mexican’s hold-up play is brilliant, his work rate is phenomenal, he has excellent footwork, and he is constantly bringing those around him into play. He’s clinical in front of goal too, with his 13 goals this term helping put Wolves on course for a historic top six finish.
“He’s the sort of player who would improve any team he goes to. When you watch him play, he’s a natural,” the former Wolves striker John Richards told Goal.
“He’s got all the attributes of a world-class striker.”