Premier League Team of the Season so far
A three-way title fight, a seemingly never ending battle for that last Champions League spot, and as ever, a close-fought relegation scrap - the 2021/22 Premier League has delivered again.
With shock results such as Crystal Palace’s 2-0 away win over champions Manchester City, and more predictable, but still outlandish, ones like the champions’ own 7-0 thrashing of Leeds United, the table is shaping up nicely.
But, approaching the halfway stage of the season, who makes FootballTransfers’ Premier League Team of the Season so far?
GK: Jose Sa - Wolves
Now, plenty of shot-stoppers have received deserved praise this season, and the likes of Edouard Mendy, David de Gea, and Aaron Ramsdale may count themselves unlucky to miss out, but Jose Sa is deserving of his place. Like Ramsdale, he arrived at a new club this summer, and the way he’s transformed Wolves has been immense.
Replacing Rui Patricio in between the sticks at Molineux, Sa has commanded his box, been fearless in possession, and ultimately has helped Bruno Lage’s side keep pace with the top half.
Wolves have only conceded 14 goals this term, and that’s mostly down to Sa. He has the highest post-shot expected xG minus goals conceded in the entire Premier League with 6.8. Essentially, Wolves should’ve conceded nearly seven goals more than they have - Sa is the sole reason they haven’t.
Not only that, but he currently has the highest save percentage in Europe’s top five leagues, at 85%. Sa has been a man mountain, and the best ‘keeper in the English top flight this season.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool
As usual, Alexander-Arnold is providing the creativity of a No.10, but from right-back.
With eight league assists he is second only to team-mate Mohamed Salah in the Premier League assist charts, and looks on course to top that ranking yet again. Not only that, but according to Understat, Alexander-Arnold’s xA of 7.71 is far and away the highest in the division.
He’s added two goals as well, to top off an incredible start to the season.
CB: Ruben Dias - Manchester City
The 2020/21 PFA Player of the Year has continued where he left off last campaign.
He may have struggled at the Euros, but Ruben Dias has shown his class this season.
Commanding no matter who he’s playing alongside, his positional sense allows Joao Cancelo to burst forward from his full-back base in the knowledge Man City are still solid defensively.
With just nine goals conceded, Pep Guardiola’s side have the best defensive record in the league, and it’s no coincidence with Dias marshalling things with expert ease.
A second Premier League title in just two seasons at City could be on the way.
CB: Antonio Rudiger - Chelsea
His team-mate Thiago Silva has defied the ageing process this year, but Antonio Rudiger just edges him out to make our XI.
The German could be on his way of Chelsea, but he’s certainly not playing like a man without love for the club. It’s not often a centre-back grabs a game by the scruff of its neck, and carries his team forward, but Rudiger has certainly done that this season. He won two penalties against Leeds in early December, without which Chelsea would’ve succumbed to an embarrassing home defeat.
Aggressive as ever, Rudiger is a stalwart at the back, while his driving runs forward provide the attacking impetus often missing at Stamford Bridge. He’s also one of very few Blues players to stay fit and healthy throughout this season, and has played the joint-most minutes in their squad.
LB: Joao Cancelo - Manchester City
The best full-back in the league this season, Joao Cancelo has grown into his role under Guardiola immensely over the past few months. After an average first year, he found his feet last season, and this campaign he has exploded.
One of the most active full-back defensively - he ranks in the top 10% for interceptions of full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues - Cancelo is also an animal going forward. His recent goal against Newcastle demonstrated everything he’s about. An effortless run forward saw him beat three Magpie defenders before netting a wonder strike from outside the box.
He’s Man City’s creative hub from deep, and while his four league assists pale in comparison to Alexander-Arnold’s total, it’s worth noting he’s scored two and assisted three in just five Champions League appearances this season.
CDM: Rodri - Manchester City
Unlike West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who is constantly praised for his incredible performances this season, Rodri has managed to go under the radar in 2021/22, despite playing some mesmerising football.
The Spaniard doesn’t possess Rice’s ability to drive forward and advance with the ball, but instead effortlessly controls the tempo of every Man City game.
Not a flashy player in any regard, Rodri has managed to escape the media attention, and instead focus on delivering win after win after win for Guardiola’s side.
He may have initially struggled to fill the Fernandinho role, but Rodri has made the position his own recently, and there’s a reason Man City appear to walk through games while they demolish opponents - Rodri is the answer. Nobody has made more passes than him in the league this season.
CM: Bernardo Silva - Manchester City
Now, Rodri’s often languid style wouldn’t be possible if City didn’t have someone to do the hard yards next to him. Step up, Bernardo Silva.
There was plenty of talk of a Man City exit for Silva over the summer, with a move to Barcelona seemingly on the cards. However, with Kevin De Bruyne often unfit this campaign, the Portuguese maestro has delivered the goods.
Only Ederson, and the aforementioned Cancelo have played more league minutes for City than Silva this season, and it’s for good reason.
With seven goals he is City’s top scorer in the league, but his impact is far greater than his composure in front of goal. He, alongside Rodri, helps City tick, and without him, they wouldn’t be in trouble, but they wouldn’t look so dominant.
Helping to provide the link between defence and attack, Silva has been priceless in the second half of 2021.
CM: Mason Mount - Chelsea
Criticised for his lack of final third output, Mason Mount has proved those doubters wrong with seven goals and four assists in just 11 league starts.
The England international had a slow start to the season, but has stepped up ever since he netted that hat-trick against Norwich, and just as Chelsea needed him.
With big-money signings misfiring, it’s been Mount who has kept Chelsea in the title fight throughout their injury and COVID crisis; for that, he deserves major praise.
He’s needed to step up as well, with Conor Gallagher so impressive on loan at Crystal Palace.
RW: Mohamed Salah - Liverpool
The Premier League’s top scorer and the Premier League’s top assister - Mohamed Salah has arguably been the best player in the world at the start of this season.
Liverpool have been truly magnificent this season, and Salah has been the shining light. He’s in a class above everyone else in the league right now, and could well break his own record for Premier League goals in a single season (32).
ST: Emmanuel Dennis - Watford
Emmanuel Dennis was never one of the Jupiler Pro League’s best players. In fact, he wasn’t close. During his time at Club Brugge, he never scored more than seven league goals in a single season, amassing just 29 strikes in 116 appearances for the Belgian outfit.
But, since arriving on English shores, he’s found a system, and a team that works.
Watford are, as expected, in a relegation fight, but Dennis has helped them stay clear of the dropzone, so far, with seven goals and five assists in his 14 league starts.
He’s almost single-handedly dragged them to safety, and has done so in some style. Only Salah has provided more goals and assists in the entire division than Dennis’ 12, and if he carries on at this rate, then a move away to a bigger club could be in his future.
LW: Diogo Jota - Liverpool
Now, Diogo Jota may have played the majority of his minutes through the middle for Liverpool this season, but as a traditional left winger, he fills this slot perfectly.
Excellent at Wolves, the Portuguese international has transformed into a world class forward this season. Only Salah has scored more Premier League goals than the 25-year-old.
Salah’s excellence has ensured Jota has slid slightly under the radar this campaign, but his ability to score with either foot or his head is quite simply remarkable, and he could prove pivotal in the title run-in.