Jack Hallows gives his opinion on the Premier League Team of the Season for the 2019/20 campaign. Do you agree with his choices?
Whether you’re a Liverpool fan celebrating your first title, an Aston Villa fan celebrating final day salvation, a Chelsea fan celebrating a successful first campaign under Lampard or even a Sheffield United fan celebrating an impressive Premier League return, 2019/20 was a rollercoaster from start to finish.
Despite Liverpool winning the title by such a margin, it’s still a tough team of the season to decide upon, with pundits and fans alike having wildly differing opinions on who should fill a number of positions this campaign.
Most teams seem to be in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 formation and with the amount of forwards who finished within a 5 goal margin of the golden boot, the latter is what I’ve opted for.
Goalkeeper – Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
Honourable mentions to English pairing Nick Pope (Burnley) and Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) but Alisson Becker takes the cake in my Premier League Team of the Season for the second year in a row.
The Brazilian missed nine Premier League games through a combination of a calf injury and a single match suspension but still finished just three clean sheets away from a second consecutive golden glove.
Becker conceded just 24 goals from his 29 matches between the sticks with 12 coming in seven games after the restart and kept 13 shut outs – 11 of those in a run of 12 games over November through January in which the Reds’ astonishingly conceded just one goal.
Also provided one of the moments and photos of the season with his assist for Mohamed Salah against Manchester United.
Right Back – Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool)
Almost a non contest this one, Trent enjoyed an even better season than in 2018/19.
The 21-year old broke his own record for most assists in a Premier League season for a defender (13), with four goals and 15 clean sheets added in for good measure.
The Reds’ no.66 has helped continue to redefine the job of the modern full-back, continuing the aggressive style that the likes of Marcelo, Jordi Alba and Joshua Kimmich have implemented on the continent.
Put in perhaps one of the greatest individual full back performances in the Premier League ever in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Leicester when he scored, grabbed two assists, won a penalty and contributed to Leicester having a grand total of 0 shots on target.
Centre Back Pairing – James Tarkowski (Burnley) & Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool FC)
Honourable mentions to Willy Boly (Wolves) and Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester).
If we were talking the first half of the season, then Çağlar Söyüncü – who seemingly came out of nowhere as Maguire’s replacement – would be a shoe in. Leicester’s form since the Christmas period however kinda ruins it for him.
Tarkowski was an ever present in a Burnley back four that kept 15 clean sheets over the course of the league season while he also popped up with a pair of goals and a pair of assists, showcasing how dangerous he can be when attacking a set piece.
His 5.2 aerials won per 90 was the highest in the Premier League, while 1.2 blocks/90 and 5.3 clearances/90 also put him in the top five for each stat.
Moving over to perhaps Europe’s best defender over the past two years, Virgil van Dijk showed no evidence of slowing down his rapid rise into Europe’s elite bracket this season.
Playing every minute of the Premier League campaign, the man affectionately dubbed ‘big Virg’ on Merseyside played a huge role in guiding the Reds to 99 points, 15 clean sheets and most importantly – their first Premier League title win.
The Dutchman doesn’t top many of the defensive action stats because put simply, he just doesn’t have to. There is an art to Virgil’s defending and the way he often hangs an extra step off an attacker, using his pace and positional awareness to shepherd them away from dangerous areas and often into touch is incredible to watch.
Add in five goals and an assist and you just can’t leave him out.
Left Back – Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
Again, if Leicester hadn’t fallen off a cliff in the second half of this season, Ben Chilwell was in with a good shout.
As it was however, Robertson finished the Premier League season with a winners medal, contributing to 14 of Liverpool’s 15 clean sheets and providing 2 goals to go with his 12 assists at the other end.
The Scot has created an almost unbelievably dangerous partnership with Alexander-Arnold on the other flank and almost operates more as a wide midfielder than a full back.
Once again it was almost impossible to leave the former Hull City man out.
Central Midfielders – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) & Jordan Henderson (Liverpool FC)
Extremely honourable mention to Mateo Kovačić of Chelsea and once again, James Maddison of Leicester City could’ve been in with a shout if just looking at the first 19 fixtures of the campaign.
A pair of midfielders who are in this team for very different reasons.
Firstly, the Liverpool captain who does not make it into this team solely based on the numbers next to his name. Henderson still had a good season in that regard, contributing four goals and five assists while also registering a pass success rate of 84.5% and averaging 2 tackles per 90 but his inclusion is for more than that.
The skipper was instrumental in the Reds’ title win through his constant motivation of the players on the pitch, barking orders and personifying everything that his manager Jürgen Klopp asks for from a player.
He refused to allow his side to be beaten and his nine goal contributions directly led to Liverpool finishing seven points better off than they may have.
Next to him, a statistical goldmine – Kevin de Bruyne.
This guy is just an absolute Rolls Royce of a midfielder isn’t he?
Distance shooting, immaculate close control, pin point crossing, long range passing, set piece delivery… the Belgian genuinely has it all and his finishing numbers of 13 goals and 20 assists remarkably only tell part of the picture.
The City man is a creative genius and went just two consecutive starts as his longest run without a goal contribution this season.
He missed out on the PFA Player of the Year award to a record breaking Mohamed Salah in 2017/18 but I don’t expect him to be snubbed this time round.
Right Wing – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool FC)
19 goals, 10 assists, 29 goal contributions total and a Premier League winners medal yet Mohamed Salah seems to be nowhere near anyone’s team of the season shouts this time round.
The Egyptian continues to be a victim of his own success, with his inability to recreate a record breaking debut campaign on Merseyside leading to overrated shouts when in reality, he’s quite the opposite.
Despite enduring an apparently “awful season,” Salah ended the campaign with the third most goal contributions in the league behind only Kevin de Bruyne (33) and Jamie Vardy (30).
Had it not been for a combination of Nick Pope and an attraction to the post in the latter weeks of the season, he likely would’ve broken the 20 goal barrier for a third year in a row.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) and Adama Traore (Wolves) both get honourable mentions for this position.
Left Wing – Sadio Mané (Liverpool FC)
18 goals and 7 assists marked another stellar season for the Senegalese international on Merseyside as like Jordan Henderson, he continually refused to allow his side to be beaten.
Nobody wanted the Premier League title more than Sadio Mané with his goals and assists worth a staggering 21 points for the champions this season.
Even with a small stutter in performances from the champions once the title was confirmed, the former Southampton attacker continued to uphold his own personal levels, scoring four goals in seven starts.
Honourable mentions in this position go to Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) who only just misses out and Jack Grealish (Aston Villa).
Strike Partnership – Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Honourable mentions here to Danny Ings who enjoyed a stellar individual campaign for Southampton and Anthony Martial who was brilliant for Manchester United.
I wanted to ignore Jamie Vardy despite winning the golden boot because of the 10 straight game run in which he didn’t score for the Foxes but it almost just makes his golden boot achievement even more impressive.
The 33-year old (yes! 33!) finished with 23 goals and 7 assists this season and despite scoring just 6 times across the entire second half of the campaign, his 17 goals and 5 assists in the first 19 games was absolutely ludicrous.
Partnering him up front to complete perhaps the fastest front four in Premier League history would be Arsenal striker Aubameyang who finished the season just one goal behind the Leicester striker.
A phenomenal achievement for a man shifted out on the left wing for much of the campaign to accomodate team mates.
In fact, without his goals and assists Arsenal would’ve finished 22 points worse off in 17th… if that doesn’t warrant an inclusion in the team of the season I don’t know what does!!!
Bench – Dean Henderson, Çağlar Söyüncü, Ben Chilwell, Mateo Kovačić, Adama Traore, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial