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With the 2017-18 Premier League season coming to an end, we take a look at a standout XI, including PFA Player of the Year Mohamed Salah
GK – David de Gea | Man Utd
If there was a fixture to encapsulate David De Gea’s campaign it would be Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat at Brighton, in which the 27-year-old made a string of exceptional saves before ultimately being let down by his uninspiring United team-mates. It’s difficult to imagine where United may have finished the season without De Gea protecting their goal.
RB – Kyle Walker | Man City
Kyle Walker has enjoyed a fine first season with Manchester City, proving his decision to leave Tottenham in the summer was the correct one. “I want to be the best in the world,” Walker told Sky Sports. “Everyone wants to be the best in the world and that’s what I want to strive to do. With his [Guardiola’s] knowledge, experience, hopefully he can get me to that.”
CB – James Tarkowski | Burnley
Burnley will be playing Europa League football next season. Sean Dyche’s side are promised a finish of at least seventh, qualifying them for next year’s competition, while James Tarkowski has been shortlisted in the Premier League Player of the Season contenders. The 25-year-old’s imapct at Turf Moor this season has been so great that he was rewarded with his first England cap during the Three Lions’ friendly meeting with Italy in March and holds an outside chance of a spot at the 2018 Russia World Cup.
CB – Jan Vertonghen | Tottenham
Ever-present in Spurs’ defence this season, Belgium international Jan Vertonghen has formed a strong partnership with Davinson Sanchez to help the London side edge towards a top-four finish.
LB – Andrew Robertson | Liverpool
Andrew Robertson’s emergence as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back is a romantic one. From the verge of quitting the game to being in line to playing in a Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 26, his rise is truly exceptional. The 24-year-old marked his 20th Premier League appearance of the season in the Reds’ 3-0 victory over Bournemouth before playing the entirety of both Champions League semi-final ties against Roma, a signal of Jurgen Klopp’s trust in the Scotland international.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne | Man City
Had Kevin De Bruyne been named PFA Player of the Season ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, few would have had a genuine complaint. The significance of the Manchester City star’s performances under Pep Guardiola this term have been immeasurable, and without him a Premier League title race may have existed between the blue and red side of Manchester. “Average players complicate the game. Great players simplify it,” Thierry Henry recently told Sky Sports, referring to De Bruyne’s talent.
CM – David Silva | Man City
David Silva’s excellence may now be expected, but it takes nothing away from the Manchester City midfielder’s performances this season in what has been a difficult one for him away from football. Behind only City team-mates De Bruyne and Leroy Sane in the Premier League assist table, Silva’s creativity from midfield has drawn the best from the exquisite selection of attacking team-mates around him this term.
RW – Mohamed Salah | Liverpool
PFA Player of the Year. The Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year. Premier League record-breaker, with the most goals in a single season. The highest-scoring African player in bother the English top-flight and in Europe. Most Premier League Player of the Month awards in a single season. Potential Champions League winner. Need we go on?
CAM – Roberto Firmino | Liverpool
“It’s unbelievably important news for us,” Jurgen Klopp said of Roberto Firmino signing a new Liverpool contract. “He’s absolutely a big factor in our future.” Firmino, who had scored 27 goals in 50 appearances for the Reds at the time of penning his new deal, has bought into his manager’s ethos as well as anyone else at the club, and his relentless pursuit of possession and, indeed, his fine record in front of goal this term has endeared him to the Liverpool support and earned him the recognition they feel he deserves.
LW – Raheem Sterling | Man City
Raheem Sterling was left out of the PFA Premier League Team of the Season, despite the Manchester City forward enjoying the most prolific season of his career to date. Usually operating from the right of attack, with Leroy Sane on the other flank, Sterling has, at the time of writing, 18 goals and 11 assists to his name in the Premier League. Another four goals came in the Champions League, and another assist to boot, though, rather remarkably, Sterling could have easily inflated those numbers. “The moment he can improve his average chances to score a goal, he will become one of the best players in the world,” Guardiola said earlier in the season. Just how good can the England international become?
ST – Harry Kane | Tottenham
Harry Kane, despite pushing the 30-goal mark in the Premier League this season, looks unlikely to be awarded the 2017-18 Golden Boot, such has been the impact of Mohamed Salah at Liverpool this season. Kane, however, has again proved one of the finest strikers in European competition, though without any silverware to show for it once the season comes to a close. Is it time for the 24-year-old to leave Tottenham in search of trophies, or should he lead Spurs into their sparkling new stadium next season?
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