May is usually the month in which the Premier League season draws to a close.
Finals are played, trophies are presented and awards are handed out. However, 2020 is slightly different.
While coronavirus has halted football, for the time being, many are still debating who should win these aforementioned awards. Frankly, there isn’t much else to talk about, so why not?
If the decision was made to end the Premier League season tomorrow, who would be remembered as the standout players of 2019/20?
Here, we take a look at who makes our Premier League team of the season (so far).
Alisson would be a strong shout for this position had he not suffered two big injuries.
In fact, a strong case for the Brazilian could still be made. He probably has been the best keeper in the league this season. But, to avoid having a team full of Liverpool players, we’ll go for Pope.
Pope has more clean sheets than any other keeper in the league this season. Many believe that this is down to Burnley’s defensive system. And that is a decent point. Yet Pope has had to make 89 saves, the tenth most in the league.
He has also played the fifth most accurate long balls in the league, which highlights his underrated distribution skills.
Pope just about pips Dean Henderson, who has a stronger defence in front of him. Martin Dubravka has been exceptional but has made too many errors. Also, of course, the previously mentioned Alisson.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, John Egan, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson
Three of the back four pick themselves.
Despite missing Alisson for large portions, Liverpool have the best defence in the league. This is while playing attacking football, so the individual qualities cannot be denied.
Alexander-Arnold has been a key part of this freakish defensive unit.
All anyone claiming that he ‘can’t defend’ has to do is look at the fact that he has played consistently in the leagues best defence for two straight years. Also, he has the second-most assists in the league, as a 21-year-old right back. His place is a certainty.
There isn’t much to say about Virgil van Dijk that hasn’t already been said.
He is the world’s best defender, by some margin. He has had to play much of the season beside Dejan Lovren, with Adrian behind him. Yet Liverpool still have the best defence in the league.
He is a candidate to win Player of the Season for the second year running.
Andy Robertson must be seen as one of the best bargains in Premier League history.
This season has cemented his place as the world’s best left-back. It is rare to see a full-back as good as he is at both defending and attacking. Nobody even comes close to him for a slot in this team.
The final place in the defence goes to John Egan.
Sheffield United have conceded the second least amount of goals in the league. They have taken the league by storm, so their individuals deserve recognition.
Jack O’Connell takes many plaudits for his performances in the Blades’ back three. However, when he and Chris Basham push forward in Chris Wilders’ overlapping centre-back system, Egan is left to defend. He has done so admirably.
Many Blades fans reckon he is their best defender, and the Irishman is worthy of his place in the side.
Harry Maguire, Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans are unlucky to miss out at centre-back. Similar to Alisson, if Joe Gomez had played more games he would have been included.
Ricardo Pereira can count himself unlucky that Alexander-Arnold has had such a fantastic year.
Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfired Ndidi, Jordan Henderson
Like the back four, there is really only one spot up for grabs in midfield.
De Bruyne is a certainty, as is Jordan Henderson.
The Belgian has stated his claim as the best midfielder in world football.
His 16 assists in 26 games is truly elite. He plays as a hybrid midfielder, filling the space of a number 8, a number 10 and a right-winger.
He goes in on the right of the midfield three.
Another Player of the Year candidate is Jordan Henderson.
The captain of the inevitable league winners has had his best season to date.
Excelling as a box-to-box midfielder early in the season, he moved to the holding role after Fabinho suffered an injury in November. He has been equally brilliant in this position, and his versatility makes him a certainty for this team.
There is a more detailed look at Henderson available here.
The final slot goes to Leicester’s Ndidi.
The Nigerian remains underrated. It was only when he missed a few games through injury that Leicester’s results started dwindling.
His 4.4 tackles per game is simply frightening. He is essentially a defensive machine.
If he can improve his already-decent passing game, and his dictating of a game’s tempo, he will be seen as one of the world’s best midfield anchors.
Ndidi’s teammate James Maddison is among the unlucky few here. Pre-injury, Fabinho looked a shoo-in, but his form since sees him miss out. Mateo Kovacic and Gini Wijnaldum are other options.
Jack Grealish has played the majority of his football on the left wing, so will not be shoehorned into the middle here.
Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy, Sadio Mane
This is conceivably the most competitive line in this team.
The only certainty is Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese forward has evolved into one of the world’s best footballers. He has every attribute needed to be a top player – pace, finishing ability, good decision making, good in the air, a great dribbler, fantastic team player. The list goes on.
He has come up with some vital goals this season, with winners against Bournemouth, West Ham, Norwich, Spurs and Wolves. His season is defined by his 87th minute equalising assist and 95th minute winner against Aston Villa.
Mo Salah has outscored Mane this season yet hasn’t received the same plaudits as his teammate.
The Egyptian has become somewhat underrated by English fans. Perhaps his general play is not up to Mane’s level. However, what cannot be argued is that his output remains elite.
After all, Salah is responsible for arguably the most memorable moment of the season.
His 93rd-minute goal against Manchester United was storybook-like. Liverpool going for their first league title for 30 years. 1-0 up against the arch-rivals. Injury time. Desperately holding onto their lead. United applying pressure. Alisson catches a ball. Launches it towards the out-of-shot Salah. Salah dribbles for what seems like an eternity. Holds off Dan James. Slots it past De Gea. Shirt pulled off, Anfield erupts. The first mumbles of ‘We’re Gonna Win The League’.
This and his 16 goals, including numerous equalisers, winners and important lead-extenders, see him slot in on the right side.
The final spot goes to the league’s top scorer, Jamie Vardy.
The ageless forward has had his best campaign since The Foxes’ unbelievable league win in 2015/16. His goals have inspired his side to a Champions League place. If one takes out the freak title win, this achievement feels all the more outstanding.
Ideally, we would see who the top scorer is when the season finishes and put them in the team. As of this moment, Vardy leads the golden boot race. This is enough to see him force his way into this team.
The two obvious candidates who miss out are Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. There are strong arguments to be made for both, but for us, Salah and Vardy pip them to it.
If either man had overtaken Vardy in the scoring charts, then they would have been included.
Marcus Rashford is unfortunate as he suffered an injury at a key time. Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings, Adama Traore and Riyad Mahrez are more rogue shouts.
The team: Pope; Alexander-Arnold, Egan, Van Dijk, Robertson; De Bruyne, Ndidi, Henderson; Salah, Vardy, Mane
Player of the Season: Jordan Henderson
Young Player of the Season: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Goal of the Season: Heung-Min Son, vs Burnley – 7 December 2019
*All statistics from WhoScored