With the second half of the Premier League season well underway, it’s only fitting to review first half results and choose our team of the season. Criteria for judging was based solely off of this year’s performance, so players such as David de Gea and Vincent Kompany were excluded, despite the caliber of their ability. The team is presented in a 4-4-2 variant, and selection is organized into three tiers; First Team, Second Team, and Honorable Mentions.
First Team: Jack Butland, Stoke.
Butland’s contributions have been immense for Stoke this season, propelling the club to compete for a top-half finish despite lackluster overall form. While playing behind a patchwork Stoke defense, Butland has registered 9 clean sheets in 24 games, tallying an incredible average of 4 saves per game in the process.
Second Team: Hugo Lloris, Tottenham.
The centerpiece behind the league’s best defense, Lloris has continued his legacy of extraordinary form and provided Spurs with 9 clean sheets in 24 games. With just 19 goals allowed on the season, the Tottenham captain has let in an average of less than a goal a game, cementing his status as one of the league’s best goalkeepers.
- Petr Čech, Arsenal.
- Heurelho Gomes, Watford
Nacho Monreal, Arsenal.
This season, Monreal asserted his position as one of the league’s best defensive fullbacks. A rock on Arsenal’s left side, the Spaniard’s career has been rejuvenated in recent months, leading Arsenal to the joint second best defensive record in the league.
Hector Bellerin, Arsenal.
Monreal’s right-side counterpart, the 20-year old Spaniard has emerged as one of the most complete fullbacks in the league. With lethal speed and agility, Bellerin has solidified himself as a powerful attacking threat with a stout defensive record.
Bacary Sagna, Manchester City.
Entering the twilight of his career, the 32-year old Sagna has produced an incredible season for City. Displaying an unyielding defensive aggressiveness and three assists on the season, Sagna has proven himself to be one of the most capable and versatile fullbacks in the league.
Christian Fuchs, Leicester.
Relatively unknown before last season, Fuchs has been the hallmark of consistency for Leicester, becoming one of the league’s best creative fullbacks in the process. A crucial cog in Leicester’s counter-attacking style of play, his passing contributions have given way to Leicester scoring the joint-most league goals.
- Matteo Darmian, Manchester United.
- Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City.
- Cédric Soares, Southampton.
- Aaron Cresswell, West Ham.
Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham.
The best defender in the league’s best defense, Alderweireld’s signing has been immense for Spurs and is arguably the basis for their season’s success. Last season, Tottenham had one of the league’s worst defensive records. Now, they lead the league with less than a goal a game allowed.
Chris Smalling, Manchester United.
Smalling has truly entered his prime and blossomed into one of the league’s best defenders. Displaying profound strength and technical poise, the 26-year old is having the best season of his career, becoming the anchor of a United side allowing the joint second fewest goals in the league.
Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal.
The cornerstone of Arsenal’s defense, Koscielny has been the perfect example of skill and consistency in recent years. This season is proving no different, with Kosc leading the Gunners to the joint second best defensive record in the league.
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton.
The Celtic signing has served as an important addition to a Saints defense ravaged by outgoing transfers. The summer losses of Toby Alderweireld and Nathaniel Clyne threatened to cripple a once-stout Southampton defense, but van Dijk has performed incredibly as a replacement.
- Scott Dann, Crystal Palace.
- Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham.
- Jose Fonte, Southampton.
- Robert Huth, Leicester.
Mesut Özil, Arsenal.
Arguably the player of the year, Özil’s form has been extraordinary for Arsenal. Özil has displayed a profound level of vision and tactical ability, cementing himself as one of the league’s most fearsome attacking threats. With 16 assists and 4 goals on the season, he is poised to shatter Thierry Henry’s single season record of 20 assists.
Riyad Mahrez, Leicester.
The Algerian international has been a revelation for Leicester this season. Mahrez possesses an obscene level of ball control and vision, allowing him to put up fourteen goals and ten assists on the season. Both he and Özil are the clear frontrunners for POTY.
N’Golo Kanté, Leicester.
A somewhat overlooked member of Leicester, Kanté has proven himself to be as important to Leicester’s title hopes as both Mahrez and Vardy. A workhorse in midfield, Kanté has shown the ability to secure possession and create counter-attacks as well as anyone in the league. His efforts have been essential in allowing Leicester to play with a 4-4-2 formation variant, as opposed to the popular 4-2-3-1.
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City.
Few doubted De Bruyne’s ability at Wolfsburg, and his form thus far has been extraordinary for Manchester City. With five goals and nine assists in starts limited by injury, De Bruyne is quickly asserting himself as one of the league’s best attacking talents
Mousa Dembélé, Tottenham.
The engine of Spurs’ midfield, Dembélé has been an absolute force this season. Dembélé boasts a 90% pass completion rate on the year, and has displayed both immense tactical and physical strength. His play has been integral for a Spurs side boasting one of the league’s most dominant and complete midfields.
Dimitri Payet, West Ham.
If not for injury, Payet would have easily been featured in the First Team. Nevertheless, Payet’s transfer from Marseille has been arguably the league’s most impactful summer signing. Payet has carried a somewhat lackluster West Ham side to be in direct contention for a top-5 finish and potential European qualification.
Yohan Cabaye, Crystal Palace.
The backbone of Crystal Palace, Cabaye has solidified himself as one of the league’s most complete midfielders. Cabaye possesses an incredible tactical awareness on both the defensive and attacking sides of the ball, and has managed to keep an overall weak side in top-half contention.
Ross Barkley, Everton.
This year, Barkley has played a crucial role in one of the league’s best attacks. His efforts have contributed directly to the successes of both Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu, and he has been integral to an Everton side producing the second most goals in the league. With eight goals and seven assists on the season, the 22-year old is one of England’s brightest young talents.
- Dele Alli, Tottenham.
- Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal.
- Willian, Chelsea.
- Yaya Touré, Manchester City.
- Gareth Barry, Everton.
Romelu Lukaku, Everton.
At just 22 years old, Lukaku is proving himself to be one of Europe’s best young talents. With 16 goals and 5 assists on the season, his presence has been crucial to an Everton side with the fourth highest goal tally in the league.
Jamie Vardy, Leicester.
Three years ago, no one would have predicted that a chav from Sheffield would be leading the league in goals. Possessing a profound level of aggressiveness and poise, Vardy has had one of the most outstanding seasons in recent memory. His impressive form puts him in the running for POTY, and his contributions have propelled Leicester to compete for a title run.
Harry Kane, Tottenham.
Called a ‘one season wonder’ by many last year, Kane has proven the critics wrong. With 15 goals on the season, Kane has established himself as the centerpiece of a fearsome Spurs attack. With a unique level of tactical awareness and finishing ability, Kane’s skillset has allowed him to become one of the league’s best strikers.
Odion Ighalo, Watford.
The Nigerian international’s success has been immense for Watford. Despite their recent promotion, the side has shown little sign of inexperience or immaturity. Ighalo has been crucial to this success, tallying 14 goals and 3 assists on the season. Ighalo’s strengths have been representative of Watford’s as a whole- a combination of both hard-nosed aggressiveness and technical flair.
- Gerard Deulofeu, Everton.
- Sergio Aguero, Manchester City.
- Anthony Martial, Manchester United.
- Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal.