The Premier League is already in its final act. Even the most unpredictable season since 2015/16 has found a sort of identity, with mid-table teams gridlocked, a certain few trying to pull away, and the three relegation sides all but confirmed.
2020/21 Premier League Season
The same cannot be said for the other half of the so-called “Big 6”; Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur would bite your hand off for Champions League football next season, with the likes of West Ham United and Everton hoping for a slice of Europe themselves.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion are hanging on for their dear lives until it’s mathematically impossible, while Sheffield United are already planning for life in the Championship next season.
Premier League Team of the Season
As the 34th Matchday of the Premier League draws its curtains, let’s take a look at the players of the season.
Note: All the players taken have at least played 15 or more Premier League matches this season.
GK: Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa)
After his recent move from Arsenal for a value of £20 million with add-ons, Emiliano Martínez started his Aston Villa career with a clean sheet and a penalty save on his debut. After making his debut, the Argentine has played every minute of Premier League football for Aston Villa this season. In his 33 appearances so far, Martínez averages 3.6 saves per 90 minutes, which is way better than the likes of Edouard Mendy and Ederson Moraes, though the latter two have more clean sheets than the former Arsenal goalie and have a much better backline compared to Aston Villa. With 14 clean sheets in his first season, Martínez is a no-brainer in goal.
RB: Reece James (Chelsea)
The English fullback has gone from strength to strength this season. In Tomas Tuchel’s current system, James has been predominantly used as a right-wingback in attack, while his pace enables him to track back and join the defence as a right-back when out of possession. One of his key improvements this season has been his overall defensive work; he averages 3 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game. He also wins close to 60% of his aerial duels. Coupled with that, he provides 1.4 key passes per game and has three goal contributions so far this season.
CB: Rúben Dias (Manchester City)
Rúben Dias did what Virgil van Dijk did for Liverpool – he came in and shored up any defensive frailties Manchester City had. In the 29 matches that he has played, City have only lost 2, keeping a clean sheet in half of them. His distribution of the ball and command of the area makes him one of the best centre-back signings since Virgil van Dijk’s addition to Liverpool in 2018.
CB: Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Kurt Zouma is enjoying his best spell in the Premier League since joining Chelsea in 2014. Zouma has been a constant threat in front of goals from set-pieces. In his 21 matches this season, the French international has five goals to his name. On the defensive front, he averages 4.3 clearances per game along with 1.3 interceptions, and 0.8 successful tackles.
LB: Lucas Digne (Everton)
This was a tough one to choose as Digne and Man United’s Luke Shaw both deserved to be in the Team of the Season. Digne just pipped Shaw due to his overall play. In his 25 Premier League appearances, Digne averages 2.5 successful tackles, 2.8 clearances, and 4.8 aerial duels per match. Despite his short stature, Digne wins an astonishing 75% of his aerial duels. In terms of shots, dribbles, and interceptions, he outperforms Luke Shaw in every metric. Only in key passes (1.6 per game) does he lag Shaw’s 2.4. Both have equal outputs in front of the goal, contributing 6 goal involvements each.
CM: Tomáš Souček (West Ham)
The Czech international has been a revelation for West Ham United since joining on a loan in 2019. West Ham tied up a permanent deal in July 2020, signing the Czech on a four-year contract for a fee of around £19-21 million. In his 34 matches this season, Souček has scored nine goals, running in from deep. Souček wins a whopping 6.7 aerial duels per game, which is the highest in this season’s Premier League. Other than that, he makes 1.4 dribbles, 2.2 successful tackles and also chips in with 0.6 key passes every game.
CM: İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City)
İlkay Gündoğan has been the favourite of many pundits and fans to win the PFA Player of the Year this season. The German maestro has taken his game to another level this season. His goal-scoring exploits have been evident for all to see, despite him missing a major chunk of first-team football in the first half of the season due to his recurring thigh and hamstring issues. In his 25 appearances for the Cityzens, he has racked up 12 goals and two assists. His number of assists may not highlight the fact that he averages 1.7 key passes per game, which is exceptional compared to his previous seasons.
CAM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Since joining Manchester United in the January transfer window for a fee of around £56 million with add-ons. Bruno Fernandes has changed the fortunes of Manchester United. In 33 appearances this season Fernandes has scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists, contributing to almost 39% of United’s goals. In terms of key passes, he is only behind Jack Grealish, with 2.6 key passes. For all of Paul Pogba’s lack of defensive contribution, Fernandes provided the much-needed first line of defence; he averages almost 4 attempted tackles along with 1 interception and 1 clearance per 90.
LW: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)
In a Tottenham side that has been full of negative football and mismanagement. Son Heung-min has been one of the few lights at the end of the tunnel. In his 33 appearances, he averages almost one goal contribution per match. Son has so far scored 16 goals and set up another 10 for his teammates. In a low-block system all the players are required to perform defensive duties, but with his average of 30 passes per match he lays off 2.6 key passes, which is quite remarkable.
RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
After lifting the Premier League trophy in 2020, the 2020-21 season will be one to forget for Liverpool. Salah, even after going a month without scoring a goal, has racked up 20 goals and three assists in 32 Premier League games. His pace and dribbling have been a thorn in the back for most of the Premier League outfits. Even in their worst season in quite some time, Salah has continued to produce the goods more often than not.
CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
The most sought-after player in the English Premier League, Harry Kane has been in scintillating form throughout the campaign. The England Captain has scored 21 goals and provided 13 assists in just 31 appearances this season. Apart from his goal-scoring prowess, his ability to bring in his teammates into the play, his link-up play, and his ability to make runs off the ball make him one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League.