The FOUR new signings in Neville and Carragher’s Premier League Team of the Season
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher revealed their respective Premier League Team of the Season line ups on Monday Night Football, and four new signings featured across both squads.
In the final MNF of the season, the pair of Sky Sports pundits were asked by host Dave Jones to select their Team of the Season, and as usual, there were some disagreements.
Gary Neville’s Premier League Team of the Season:
Starting with Neville’s team, and the former Manchester United full-back went heavy on players from his home city, with five Manchester City players and four from Man Utd featuring.
His team in full: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea); Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United); Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United); Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).
A perhaps surprise inclusion was Maguire, but Neville defended his choice saying:
“I think Harry Maguire is the outstanding centre-back other than Dias in the league and that’s nothing to do with him being Manchester United. I think he’s been reliable, he’s been consistent, he’s started to show authority and I think Manchester United have got a very good player there. If City had him and Dias together, they would be almost unstoppable.”
Jamie Carragher’s Premier League Team of the Season:
Carragher still selected six players from the two Manchester clubs, but was far less reliant on the league’s top two, and his team featured players from six different clubs, as opposed to Neville’s four.
Carragher’s team in full: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa); Vladimir Coufal (West Ham), John Stones (Manchester City), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Luke Shaw (Manchester United); N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United); Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Heung-min Son (Tottenham).
The first new signing to be included, Mendy has been in exceptional form since joining Chelsea, and in particular since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival.
Neville included him because: “I think, with the goalkeeper they had, Chelsea had massive issues and would not be where they are now. Since Thomas Tuchel has come in, their fortunes have changed defensively and he’s been a big part of that.”
With 16 Premier League clean sheets to his name, Mendy is just two behind Ederson in the race for the Golden Glove, and has also conceded two goals less than his counterpart.
Making 1.9 saves per 90, Mendy isn’t put under immense threat, but as his penalty save against Man City proved, he is as reliable as they come.
For £21 million, Chelsea have found a bargain.
Staying in between the sticks, and it’s interesting that the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the league in Ederson doesn’t make either squad. However, Martinez’s inclusion is totally justifiable. After finally breaking into Arsenal’s starting XI at the back-end of last season, following Bernd Leno’s injury, Martinez was sold for £15m, with the potential to rise to £20m, to Aston Villa, and like with Mendy, it’s been a steal.
He’s kept 14 league clean sheets, which is the third most in the division despite playing for a side currently in 11th. He’s conceded the same amount of Hugo Lloris and with 3.6 saves per 90 he ranks fourth in the league for ‘keepers with over 10 appearances; only Sam Johnstone, Illan Meslier and Aaron Ramsdale make more.
He’s been a safe pair of hands at Villa Park, and for the fee, it’s been a masterstroke to bring him in.
The West Ham right-back is as solid as they come, and again for such a cheap price, just £5.4m, he’s been arguably the best value for money signing in the Premier League this season.
The Czech Republic international has been a vital cog in David Moyes’ side and their push for Champions League football. They may have conceded 45 goals, the most in the top nine, but Coufal has been a rock defensively.
This season he’s making 3.7 tackles and interceptions per 90, the second most of regulars in the Hammers squad behind Declan Rice, whilst also laying on six league assists. He’s been an unbelievable signing.
Now onto the best of them all, Ruben Dias. The Portuguese centre-half was signed for £65m in the summer, and it was a fee that most saw as excessive. He had been good in his homeland, but it seemed yet another expensive defensive signing that City didn’t need to make.
Roll around to May, and it’s proven to have been an inspired decision. City have conceded just 26 league goals this year and Dias is a huge part of that. His form has revitalised Stones, and their partnership has been one of, if not, the best in Europe this campaign.
Selected by both Carragher and Neville as their Player of the Season, the Liverpool legend said this of Dias: “They never replaced Vincent Kompany and last season that was a huge blow for them but he has come in and been the best defender in the league – and for me the best player.
“He’s like Puyol. The amount of blocks he made in the Champions League game the other day, it reminded me of John Terry. Also, his leadership qualities for such a young player. To go into that big a team and look like the leader of the team, I think that’s pretty special.”
A centre-half is hard to quantify using underlying numbers, but Dias’ impact is clear for all to see. He’s helped guide them to the title, and if they can win the Champions League as well, he’ll go down as one of the club’s best signings ever.