The Alternative Premier League Team of the Year
It’s likely by now that you’ve seen the PFA Team of the Year and formed your own opinions on the final selection.
Most will be questioning how Marcos Alonso has gotten in over Andrew Robertson or how Jan Vertonghen has earned a place ahead of Burnley duo James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
Fernandinho’s absence in midfield is also dubious after his superb season anchoring Manchester City’s star duo of David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne.
Questions are also plentiful about Sergio Aguero’s inclusion over teammates Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
As usual, the team is made up solely of players all playing for sides currently residing in the top six of the Premier League table, despite there being plenty of worthy players outside of that position.
With that in mind here’s how an alternative Premier League Team of the Year, featuring only players from outside the top six, would look.
Formation - 4-4-2
Nick Pope – Called in after Tom Heaton dislocated a shoulder in September, there were worries that Pope would struggle in the Premier League. They proved to be foolish and instead he has been nothing short of excellent. As a result he is now on the verge of heading to the World Cup with England this summer.
Aaron Cresswell – It may seem strange to include a player whose team have been fighting relegation but despite West Ham’s struggles Cresswell has been solid. The fact he has the same number of assists as Sadio Mane, Willian and Roberto Firmino deserves more credit.
James Tarkowski – Tasked with replacing Michael Keane following his move to Everton, Tarkowski had big shoes to fill. He has done that and more as a key component of a Burnley defence that has conceded just 29 goals all season, the second-fewest in the league.
Harry Maguire – Maguire has enjoyed a strong season in the heart of Leicester City’s defence and is now a regular in the England squad as a result. Links with a move to Manchester United and Manchester City this summer show just how good a campaign he has had.
Matthew Lowton – Another key member of that excellent Burnley defence, Lowton has enjoyed another solid campaign.
Riyad Mahrez – Mahrez may have had a mid-season meltdown after failing to join Manchester City in January but it has still been another solid campaign from the Algerian, who has eight assists to his name so far.
Pascal Gros – Quite how Brighton secured Gros for £3m last summer is anyone’s guess. The German has been nothing short of superb all season with eight assists, the same as Mesut Ozil, and a key reason why the Seagulls have not been in relegation trouble at any point. Gros is easily the bargain signing of the season.
Wilfried Ndidi – In an inconsistent season for Leicester, Ndidi has been the opposite. The giant midfielder has impressed many with his performances, including the likes of Liverpool if rumours are to be believed.
Wilfried Zaha – Had Zaha been fully fit for more games this season there is every chance Crystal Palace would be nowhere near the bottom three. Of the ten games he's missed, they've managed zero victories. In the games he has played in the forward has been nothing short of sensational and almost single-handedly dragged the Eagles out of relegation trouble. If they stay up, it will be because of him.
Glenn Murray – Amid the goalscoring exploits of other players, Glenn Murray’s superb season has been largely overlooked but not here. 12 Premier League goals, the same as Eden Hazard and Son Heung-min, for a 34-year-old is nothing short of sensational.
Jamie Vardy – Vardy’s personality may split opinion but there is no denying his quality. His 17 goals have him joint fourth in the top scorer list and is an excellent haul that will see him deservedly heading to the World Cup as the first choice back up to Harry Kane.