The Professional Footballers' Association announced its Team of the Year this morning with four players each from both Leicester and Tottenham making an appearance. However with the team's announcement, there is one standout omission- that of Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil who has conjured up an astonishing 18 assists this Premier League campaign. Here's how the TOTY 2016 lines up:
Goalkeeper: David De Gea- Manchester United
The Spanish keeper has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few seasons after a slow start to his United career in 2011-12. However his consistent form in the Premier League has been more consistent than any of his team-mates or the talk constantly surrounding Louis Van Gaal's dismissal as manager. De Gea has managed 14 clean sheets out of his 30 appearances and has made 77 saves all season with many of them keeping his side in down-to-the-wire matches including a 1-0 triumph away to Liverpool.
Right Back: Hector Bellerin- Arsenal
After flying into the starting lineup midway through last campaign, the 21 year old defender hasn’t let up and fallen victim to second season syndrome, rather improving by the week. Bellerin possesses speed, flair and strength – that are always desirable in wide defenders while he’s capable of creating goal-scoring opportunities, 21 this season to be exact.
Centre Back: Wes Morgan- Leicester City
The tall, stocky rock of a centre back, Wes Morgan, displays the passion and drive required to be a part of the Leicester monster that has developed this season and his match-winning goal against Southampton at the beginning of April only reinforced that fact. Morgan’s thrived alongside Robert Huth in the line of defence and it’s showed with the Jamaican making 200 clearances and making 36 blocks while only conceding one error that lead to a goal.
Centre Back: Toby Alderweireld-Tottenham
Alderweireld spent his first Premier League season with Southampton before completing the permanent move to Tottenham last year where he has formed a formidable partnership with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen. Alderweireld’s impact on his team clearly warrants his spot here, contributing a staggering 1308 forward passes thus far, while adding some threat in attack, scoring four goals and creating nine chances. In defence though, he hasn’t conceded any lethal errors leading to a goal while making well over 200 clearances.
Left Back: Danny Rose-Tottenham
Making the team of the year with just 21 league appearances out of a possible 34 so far is no mean feat, and with competition in the quality of Ben Davies, Rose has done extremely well to outshine his team-mate and make a crucial difference to his side. Rose can excel in attack and defence, managing 3 assists and a goal to his name while winning 47 tackles all season – more than his fellow defenders in this line-up.
Right Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Leicester City
Mahrez was relatively unknown last season and was in and out of the starting side while failing to perform consistently. This season, Mahrez has become a contender for PFA Player of the Year after scoring 16 goals and setting up eleven in Leicester’s charge for the title. Mahrez has also made 38 key passes this season and currently maintains a 73% pass accuracy too. Mahrez’s combination with striker Jamie Vardy has been the eye-rubbing highlight of Leicester’s stunning campaign with the duo scoring a total of 38 goals.
Central Midfielder: N’Golo Kante- Leicester City
Leicester were suggested to have a higher chance of relegation with the departure of veteran, Esteban Cambiasso at the end of their 2014-15 Premier League survival. The diminutive Frenchman has been a revelation, running all over the park in every one of his appearances, Kante uses more energy than what humans should be capable of containing in every match, acting as his side’s engine in midfield and is constantly making brilliant tackles (108 this season) and thoughtful passes (1043 passes with 81% accuracy). Let’s not forget he was trotting around in the French third division in just 2013!
Central Midfielder: Dele Alli- Tottenham
The other central midfielder chosen for this team was also unknown when the season began. Brendan Rodgers failed to bring him to Liverpool and the Reds have watched on as Alli has helped take the Spurs to within reach of the Premiership with four games still to play. An attack-minded, box-to-box creator, Alli has assisted nine goals and scored ten his self in his debut EPL season after the 20-year-old’s signature from MK Dons in 2015.
Left Midfielder: Dimitri Payet- West Ham United
A very smart piece of business by manager Slaven Bilic at the beginning of this season, Payet had made a huge name for himself in the French Ligue 1 with successful spells at St Etienne, Lille and Marseille between 2007 and 2015. Payet’s brilliant performances have taken the Hammers to within contention for a valuable Champions League spot after his tally of nine goals and nine assists have turned heads all season long while he’s also created 100 chances for his team-mates.
Striker: Jamie Vardy- Leicester City
Led the goal-scoring chart before eventually being usurped by Harry Kane, Vardy has still ‘banged’ in 22 goals including strikes against Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool while he also made Premier League history, beating Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record to score in 11 consecutive league games. Vardy was signed for cheap quid from Fleetwood Town in 2012 and now Vardy’s form has suggested talk of a big-money move after making his first caps for England and winning the October player of the month award in the Premier League.
Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham
There were concerns that Kane wasn’t going to live up to the hype after his breakout season in 2014-15 when he went the first six games of 2015-16 without scoring. Now though, Kane has rushed to 24 goals in a hurry while not missing a game on the way. Kane’s physical stature has been instrumental in becoming a great striker and a player well and truly in the fold of the England national team, being preferred to Wayne Rooney and injury-ravaged Daniel Sturridge while he’s bettered Jamie Vardy’s shot accuracy this season, with 63%.