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Trent Alexander-Arnold in, Mohamed Mane out? The Eurosport Premier League Team of the Year

Welcome to the Eurosport Premier League Team of the Year.

It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year, reading what someone thinks and then yelling at them on the internet.

Ahead of the final weekend of the season everyone at Eurosport HQ has gotten together and tried to come up with the team of the year, in our eyes at least.

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Ultimately this is a very thankless task, you’re never going to make anyone happy and some of the margins when it comes to player selection are as fine as it can get.

Nevertheless these are the players we’re happy with. We’ve got 11 players in a 4-3-3 formation with each position having either one or two (or in one instance three!) honourable mentions to allow us to pay tribute to more than just the starters.

So without further ado, let’s get on to the yelling!

Goalkeeper – Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Alisson’s step forward this season has been impressive, the Brazilian has become more consistent and although he has had some hairy moments with the ball at his feet (whilst remaining mostly excellent) he is the best goalkeeper in the league. He is now firmly in the discussion with Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois for the best in the world. It’s between those two.

Alisson Becker

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Image credit: Getty Images

Honourable mentions: Roberto Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion) and Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

We could have put Ederson here but he’s made more mistakes this season than last and we wanted to shine some light on Sanchez and Sa, both of whom has been absolutely outstanding. The quality of defending in the Premier League is not exactly the highest right now (only three teams have conceded fewer than forty goals) but both of these goalkeepers have been instrumental in their sides finishing in the top-half.

Right-back – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

“bUt hE CaN’t dEfenD”

Firstly, he can, stop kidding yourselves. Is he as good as some other defenders? No. But it doesn’t matter. Alexander-Arnold is so good going forward that it puts him on a different level to pretty much every other full-back. His ability to deliver into the box from open play and from set-pieces is astonishing as is his deep passing either through defences or onto the opposite flank.

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool

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Image credit: Getty Images

Honourable mention: Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Honestly this was one of those where we’d have been really happy either way. Walker’s growth from his days at Tottenham to Manchester City has been remarkable. He has always been a force going forward, but he is so advanced in terms of tactical knowledge now that he has evolved into a totally different player. It’s pretty close to a toss-up here.

Centre-backs – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) and Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Are you surprised? These two are the best in the league and they are probably the best in the world right now. As we mentioned earlier, defending is at a low ebb, this pair are doing their best to try and change that. There’s not much more to say.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool with the EFL Carabao Cup trophy

Image credit: Getty Images

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Honourable mentions: Joel Matip (Liverpool), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) and Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Very much the cream of the crop here in terms of the tier just to below Dias and Van Dijk. Matip has gone from a worry for Liverpool to one of the players they can rely on, after injuries he finally looks completely comfortable in this Liverpool team. Antonio Rudiger has proven every single doubter wrong since Chelsea signed him and he will now get a big pay-day at Real Madrid along with a new challenge. Big kudos for Guehi for believing in himself rather than sit on the bench at Chelsea, he is one of the best players out outside of the top seven already and will only get better.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

This shouldn’t need too much explanation. Cancelo does things as a full-back that we just haven’t seen full-backs do. The Premier League is home to a set of truly special full-backs at Liverpool and Manchester City and they are an absolute joy to watch.

João Cancelo

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Honourable mentions: Andy Robertson (Liverpool) and Marc Cucurella (Brighton & Hove Albion)

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Robertson didn’t have his best season (by his own stupidly high standards) but he remains one of the best in the world at this position. Cucurella was named Brighton’s player of the year and with good reason. Not only was he versatile (playing centre-back, left-back and wing-back) he worked tirelessly for his team. He will be playing Champions League football soon one way or another.

Defensive midfield – Declan Rice (West Ham)

There’s a reason that someone might pay £100m for Rice in the summer. Rice is the heartbeat of a West Ham team that has firmly established itself as one of the best in the league. He reads play brilliantly, is great driving forward and a threat from set-pieces. What makes Rice special is his ability to shift through the gears and perform a number of different roles within one particular set-up.

Declan Rice of West Ham United dejected during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One match between West Ham United and Eintracht Frankfurt at Olympic Stadium on April 28, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.

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Honourable mention: Yves Bissouma (Brighton & Hove Albion)

If Rice costs somewhere between £70-100m then someone might get a real bargain with Bissouma at £40-50m. Bissouma is the perfect embodiment of Brighton’s scouting (which is one of the best around) and he is one of the better ball-winners in the division. Brighton know that he is likely going to leave in the summer but he has more than played his part in a record-setting campaign.

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Central midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Mason Mount (Chelsea)

As you will see in the honourable mentions this was the hardest position to choose. De Bruyne is the only lock, such is the Belgian’s form. But who partners him is a real debate, there’s probably somewhere between five-10 players who could warrant the selection. We’ve gone for Mount, his goal and assist contribution is stellar and it can often feel as if he’s the one dragging Chelsea through games.

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-4 during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at Molineux

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Honourable mentions: Thiago (Liverpool), Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), James Maddison (Leicester City), Martin Odegaard (Arsenal) and Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace).

You could put any of the players in this list into the starting two positions and you could feel very happy. Creative and dynamic midfielders were in full force in the Premier League this season and whilst they offer something slightly different they are all dangerous to opposing teams in their own right.

Right-wing – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Twenty two goals, 13 assists. Honestly there isn’t much more to be said. Salah’s danger as an attacking threat is more or less unmatched, especially in England.

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Mohamed Salah

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Honourable mentions: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) and Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

If Salah wasn’t in the league this would have been a really great debate. Both Bowen and Saka have become key cogs in the way their respective teams play and the former who has more than shown that he belongs at this level. Assuming Salah signs a new contract and stays put for at least one more year it’s going to be interesting to watch how these two try and push to his level.

Striker – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

This was a bit tricky as no striker has really dominated the league. The top goalscorers in the league are both wider players. The top-scoring striker will most likely be either Kane or the honourable mention, Cristiano Ronaldo. Again, either of these two are a fine choice. We’ve gone for Kane purely because of the way he links up with the rest of his team-mates, particularly Heung-min Son.

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/T

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Honourable mention: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

As we discussed just above, you could put Ronaldo in ahead of Kane and that would feel fine. Ronaldo has undeniably scored some important goals this season but at times he can disappear, and ultimately that’s why we gave Kane the edge.

Left-wing: Heung-min Son (Tottenham Hotspur)

We really need to be talking more about Son being one of the best players in the world. It’s not that anyone thinks he’s not fantastic, but he’s not coming up enough in the discussion of best wide forwards. Not to say he’s the definitive best, but he needs to be in the conversation. This season is the first he’s gone past 20 league goals, it won’t be the last.

Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his side’s third goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

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Honourable mentions: Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

It seems unbelievably harsh not to have Mane in the team but he hasn’t played centrally enough to warrant being picked there. A few more goals and it might have been a very interesting discussion. He and Jota both warrant mentioning given they each have 15 goals, although perhaps that hurts them with regards to the individual selection.

Manager: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) and Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Ultimately this will come down to whichever manager finishes top of the table but they remain a class apart, over 15 points separates them and the rest of the league.

Jurgen Klopp (L) shakes hands with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

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Honourable mentions: Graham Potter, David Moyes, Patrick Vieira, Thomas Frank, Bruno Lage, Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta.

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There a lot of managers doing some excellent work with limited resources (well limited compared to the top of the table, not the rest of Europe). Potter in particular feels as if he’s destined for a bigger job one day.

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