After recently surpassing the midway point of the Premier League season, there have been some standout players who will be selected in this ‘Premier League Team Of The Season So Far’.
The team will be selected based upon a number of factors such as; ‘the eye test’, statistics and the players influence on the success of the team.
Goalkeeper: Nick Pope
Pope made a £10m switch from Burnley to Newcastle United last summer which represents very shrewd business by the north east club. The 30-year-old has kept 12 clean sheets in the Premier League this season- the most out of any goalkeeper in the league. The England international is also part of the Newcastle side that has conceded the fewest number of goals (11) in the league and his performances have helped Eddie Howe’s side reach the lofty heights of 3rd.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier
Since completing a £12m move from Atletico Madrid in January 2022, Trippier has been a fan favourite and his superb curling free-kick goal versus Manchester City in a 3-3 draw almost captivated in one moment the impact he has had on the Tyneside club. He has registered four assists from right-back and has captained the high-flying Magpies in a season which could yet result in Champions League qualification. Trippier has created the 2nd most big chances (16) in the Premier League only behind Manchester City’s, Kevin De Bruyne (20).
Centre-back: William Saliba
Following a successful loan period with Marseille last season, Saliba has come back into the Arsenal setup brimming with confidence and the 21-year-old has helped Mikel Arteta’s side battle for the Premier League title, a trophy the Gunners haven’t won since the ‘invincibles’ in 2004. Saliba has a tackle success rate of 93% which is a remarkable stat. His composure and willingness to drive out from defence with the ball has allowed Arsenal to become a side that retains possession of the ball well. Their average possession has risen from 53% last season to 57% this campaign. Saliba stands at 6ft 4 inches tall which has given Arsenal that added stature and presence in the backline.
Centre-back: Sven Botman
Botman, similarly to the previous two Newcastle player selections, has been a stalwart in the backline. He made a £35m switch from Lille last summer and thus far, he is certainly repaying the fee paid by the club. He is a left-footed centre-back and provides nice balance within the side. The 23-year-old has a tackle success rate of 87% whilst also successfully completing 86% of his 822 passes.
Left-back: Luke Shaw
Interestingly, Shaw lost his place in the Manchester United side when Tyrell Malacia joined the club from Feyenoord in a €15m move. However, since being substituted on in place of Malacia at half-time in the 6-3 away defeat to Manchester City in October, Shaw has started in every Premier League game. The 27-year-old has displayed great attacking threat down the left-hand side and has contributed towards 6 clean sheets following the thrashing at the Etihad. Shaw has featured as a centre-back recently and has looked like a well-accomplished, seasoned veteran which is extraordinary considering the majority of his career has been played at left-back.
Eyebrows were raised at the £70m transfer fee paid for the Brazilian however since making his move from Real Madrid last summer, the 30-year-old has made a huge impact at Old Trafford. His defensive tactical nouse paired with his ability to progress the ball has completely transformed the Manchester United midfield and in actual fact, at one point Erik Ten Hag’s side looked like genuine title challenges following the 2-1 victory against Manchester City last month. Casemiro is certainly one of the signings of the season.
Midfielder: Martin Ødegaard
Ødegaard has been the creative spark Arsenal have lacked following the departure of Mesut Özil in 2021. The Norwegian has scored eight goals whilst assisting six and he is among the top 5 for big chances created. As club captain, his leadership ability has certainly aided Arsenal’s bid to win the Premier League. ‘Lacking leaders’, was always a term used towards the Gunners in years gone by but Ødegaard along with many others within the dressing room have rubbished that term over the last year or so. The former Real Madrid player is a catalyst for Arteta’s side.
Right-Midfielder: Bukayo Saka
Like Ødegaard, Saka has enjoyed a very productive season in front of goal. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals this season whilst assisting as many. He is a joy to watch especially when playing in full flow, his electric pace matched with his direct and tricky dribbling were on full display in Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Manchester United last month. Saka is an honest player who always seems willing to complete his defensive duties too.
Left-Midfielder: Marcus Rashford
Rashford is quite possibly one of the best players in Europe right now. Since returning from the World Cup with England, he has scored in 5 out of six games, which included the winning goal against Manchester City last month. Marcus Rashford has won twice as many Premier League Player of the Month awards this season (2) as he had in his previous seven seasons combined (1), a stat courtesy of ESPN. The 25-year-old is still yet to enter his prime years as a footballer and his development this season under Ten Hag has been astounding. He is certainly a player who is nearing the ‘world-class’ level.
Striker: Harry Kane
Kane is and has been among the elite level strikers across Europe for some time now. The 29-year-old has scored 16 goals this season in 21 games which in virtually any other Premier League season, would put him as the leading top scorer- his tally puts him 2nd, only behind Manchester City’s Erling Haaland. Kane’s all round game as striker is phenomenal and at times he drops deep to become a playmaker. He is having a super season but it has gone relatively unnoticed due to the next man on the list.
Striker: Erling Haaland
Haaland is on course to break the record for the most goals scored in a single Premier League season. Alan Shearer and Andy Cole both currently hold the record after scoring 34 goals, although they both did have a slight advantage because Cole played 40 games that season (1993-94) whilst Shearer played 42 the following season (1994-95). Haaland has played 19 league games this season scoring a colossal 25 goals which means he is 10 goals away from breaking the record with 18 games remaining of the season. His goal tally also includes four hat-tricks which leaves him two away from breaking the current record of most hat-tricks scored in a Premier League season, held by Alan Shearer with five. Haaland is a tremendous talent and he will surely one day go on to win the Ballon d’Or.
Bernd Leno (Fulham), Lisandro Martínez (Manchester United), Miguel Almirón (Newcastle United) and Ivan Toney (Brentford).
Mark Marston | Get Football