From Ederson to Firmino

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Hard to believe but the Premier League season is almost over. Where has the time gone? Feels like only yesterday José Mourinho was happy.

Anyway, with the home stretch in sight, I’ve picked a Premier League XI of the season so far. My choices are sure to cause shock, horror and outrage but before the frothing commences let me make something clear: the team below are not made up of the 11 best players in their respective positions. Some are but others are players who have performed notably above expectation – individually or within a partnership/unit – and therefore are worthy of recognition. This also means there is a whacking great omission, one bordering on a national scandal, but I don’t care – I stand by my choices.

David de Gea has kept the most clean sheets. David de Gea has made the most eye-catching saves. David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, if not the world. But David de Gea doesn’t make this team because, across town, a 24-year-old Brazilian has made an incredible impact. Not much was known about Ederson when he arrived at Manchester City in June Blake Martinez Jersey but he has gone on to impress with his shot stopping, decision making and unreal distribution. And anyone who says it is easy being City’s goalkeeper, I have two words for you: Claudio Bravo.
There’s no escaping it: £53m is a jaw-dropping amount to pay for a full-back. Equally, there’s no doubt Walker has proven to be a worthwhile acquisition for City, providing the width and penetration Pep Guardiola demands from his wide defenders, as well as being better defensively than his critics suggest. He is England’s best right-back and probably the Premier League’s too.
Patience is a virtue and, in some cases, the way you break into the England squad a few months before the World Cup. This time last year no one would have predicted Tarkowski would be in Gareth Southgate’s plans this close to the finals but that is where the 25-year-old finds himself having bided his time at Burnley and, following Michael Keane’s move to Everton, taken his chance, impressing with his Cam Fowler Jersey distribution and defensive capabilities. Yes, Tarkowski performed nervously for England in midweek, and gave away the penalty that led to Italy’s equaliser, but it was his debut and at club level he has been consistently excellent. His inclusion in this team should also be viewed within the context of the person he is deployed alongside …
Only three players have made more clearances this Randy Johnson Jersey season than Mee and, at Burnley, only one player has completed more minutes. The 28-year-old has been a model of consistent excellence and, alongside Tarkowski, the bedrock of a side who have conceded a measly 26 goals in 30 games. As a centre-back partnership, Tarkowski and Mee are hard to beat and the latter’s presence also provides the giggling joy of hearing commentators say things like: “Great header by Mee.”
Any Liverpool supporter who says they weren’t underwhelmed by the club’s £8m purchase of Robertson from Hull City in July is a liar. Fast forward eight months and most of them are singing his praises as well as his name. Robertson has been a revelation since stepping in for the injured Alberto Moreno in December, catching the eye with his crossing ability as well as with his work rate and defensive skills. The 24-year-old has been one of the bargains of the season and ended Liverpool’s decades-long problems at left-back.
If you haven’t seen Doucouré play in the flesh, you should. He’s excellent. A marauding, hard-working and clever presence in central midfield who is the main reason Watford have avoided sliding into relegation trouble. Oh, and he is also their top scorer with seven goals. The Frenchman is the full package and, aged 25, young enough to get even better. Watford supporters won’t want to San Jose Sharks Jersey hear it but Doucouré is unlikely to remain at Vicarage Road for much longer; sooner rather than later the big boys will come calling.
No player has provided more assists this season and when City wrap up the title it will be De Bruyne who, Guardiola aside, receives the most individual recognition for the success. Quite rightly too: the Belgian has been supreme, featuring in every one of City’s 30 fixtures so far and, in practically every one, bamboozling the opposition with skill, strength and imagination. The 26-year-old is a Ballon d’Or winner in the making.


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