Premier League Alternative Team of the Season
Unsurprisingly, Manchester City players have dominated this year’s PFA Team of the Season.
Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Kyle Walker and Nicolas Otamendi were all selected, joining Manchester United’s David de Gea, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen
But if you put those selected aside, which other players could have made the XI?
GK – Ederson Moraes (Manchester City)
After last season’s issues at goalkeeper, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola needed to get this one right. In Ederson, a £35 million summer signing from Benfica, he certainly did. The Brazilian looks as comfortable on the ball as any outfielder and his ease in possession enables City to build from the back. Ederson also demonstrated shot-stopping ability, notably with a superb and decisive double-save in City’s win against rivals Manchester United in December.
Potential replacement: Nick Pope (Burnley)
RB – Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
It’s been several years now since Valencia operated as a winger. That there has been no talk of United bringing in a more conventional full-back speaks volumes of his seamless transition into defence, and of his quality. The Ecuadorian has scored three goals this season while also keeping 15 clean sheets, the most a defender has kept so far this campaign.
Potential replacements: Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
CB – James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Burnley have only conceded 29 goals this season, the third fewest in the league, and Tarkowski has been a big part of that. The defender wasn’t a regular starter last year but stepped up following Michael Keane’s move to Everton in the summer – a departure which has long been forgotten. Much credit must be given to manager Sean Dyche for creating a system that is so effective defensively but Tarkowski has performed terrifically, earning a call-up to the England squad in March.
Potential replacement: Davison Sanchez (Tottenham)
CB – Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth have conceded a lot of goals this season, but Ake catches the eye whenever you see him play. He impressed, too, on loan at the Cherries from Chelsea last year but wasn’t given any opportunities when he was recalled to his parent club six months later. Bournemouth paid £20m to sign the 23-year-old permanently in the summer but it already looks like a smart investment; Ake is strong in the air and consistently wins his battles against even the most dangerous of Premier League attackers.
Potential replacement: Harry Maguire (Leicester)
LB – Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
After a quiet start to his Liverpool career, Robertson grabbed a first-team place with both hands following an injury to Alberto Moreno in December. Since then, Robertson has arguably been the best full-back in the league, certainly defensively. His attitude to the game can be encapsulated by his lung-bursting, one-man harassment of Manchester City in Liverpool’s league win over the champions in January.
Potential replacements: Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Ben Davies (Tottenham)
RM – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
This has been a groundbreaking year for Raheem Sterling. The 22-year-old had already equalled his most productive goalscoring season by November and has gone on to score 17 league goals – the 4th most in the league at the time of writing – this season. It’s no secret that Guardiola has taken Sterling’s game to a new level after a difficult first two years at the Etihad. The winger still misses a lot of chances as well, just imagine how many he’d score if they all went it.
Potential replacement: Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
CM – Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)
Doucoure is one of the few goalscoring midfielders to be found outside of the top 6. He has scored seven Premier League goals this campaign and is Watford’s top scorer but it is his overall game, his dynamism, strength and technique that stands out most. Watford tailed off after making an excellent start to the season – the Hornets were 4th in October – but Doucoure has impressed throughout and would look comfortable making the step up to a top 6 side.
Potential replacement: Moussa Dembele (Tottenham)
CM – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
Oxlade-Chamberlain made the switch to Liverpool from Arsenal in August in search of regular first-team opportunities in centre-midfield and the move has appeared to do him a world of good. There was a suggestion that the 24-year-old’s development had stalled under Arsene Wenger. Now, Oxlade-Chamberlain looks a different player and is thriving playing in the middle under Jurgen Klopp. He’s also starting to add goals and assists to his game and is making a late push for a starting spot for England at the World Cup.
Potential replacement: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)
LM – Leroy Sane (Manchester City)
Sane’s speed of dribbling has terrified defences all season long. The German winger seems to glide when he’s on the ball and is simply electric when he has space to run into. A key part of the Manchester City attack that looks set to break the Premier League goalscoring record, Sane has scored nine and assisted 12 this season and is still only 22-years-old.
Potential replacement: Heung Min Son (Tottenham)
ST – Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Firmino’s tireless running and selfless effort has long been admired, but there was always the suggestion that he didn’t score enough goals to be a top striker. Well not any more. His manager, Jurgen Klopp, is his biggest fan and stuck with Firmino even when he struggled for goals. Klopp saw that he contributed more than that. He offered movement, pressed defences and made his teammates play better. Now he does that while also scoring for fun – the Brazilian has netted 15 in the league this season while also assisting seven.
Potential replacement: Jesus (Manchester City)
ST – Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Lukaku moved to Manchester United last summer following a 25-goal season with 7th placed Everton. Theoretically, Lukaku would get more chances at a bigger club and would score more goals and although that hasn’t quite happened, the Belgian has had a solid first season at Old Trafford. The 24-year-old has scored 16 Premier League goals so far but will look to improve next campaign.
Potential replacement: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)