The half-way point in the Premier League is fast approaching and we already have a clear indication of who the star players are this term.
Manchester City may very well become record-breaking champions come May, but there are a number of stand out performers from numerous clubs this campaign.
Here is the team of the season (so far):
1. David De Gea – Manchester United
Manchester United currently top the list for highest number of clean sheets, and it’s largely down to David De Gea this term.
Notably his best performance came against Arsenal in November, as the Spaniard made a joint-record 14 saves in a single Premier League game; most of which were simply jaw dropping.
2. Ashley Young – Manchester United
Ashley Young has become Mr Versatile at Old Trafford over the last few years, but it’s only now that Mourinho seems to have found the perfect position for the Englishman at left-back.
Young’s boundless energy, defensive nuance and fantastic end product in the final third, have made him an integral member at United. The outstanding goals are just a bonus.
3. James Tarkowski – Burnley
Averaging 8.1 clearances per game, James Tarkowski has been as solid this season as Michael Keane was in 2016 following his departure from the club.
The 25-year-old Englishman tops the Premier League charts for blocks; is top two for clearances, and is in the top ten for headers won, reflecting his no nonsense approach to defending.
4. Nicolas Otamendi – Manchester City
Nicolas Otamendi has completely turned his fortunes around under Pep Guardiola. Many believed the centre back was overrated upon his arrival at the Etihad, but is now a vital cog in the Manchester City machine.
The Argentine has completed the third most passes in the league this year, ahead of the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, and has scored four league goals; while also defending resolutely and reliably.
5. Antonio Valencia – Manchester United
Manchester United’s new skipper Antonio Valencia has arguably become the Red Devils’ most consistent performer this season.
The veteran defender’s marauds forward, quality delivery and physical prowess, make him a seriously tricky customer at both ends of the field and a fan favourite at Old Trafford. Mourinho has gone as far as describing the Ecuadorian as “the best right-back in the world.”
6. Nemanja Matic – Manchester United
Nemanja Matic – whom Antonio Conte described as a “massive loss” upon his departure – has provided much needed steel and control to Mourinho’s side from defensive midfield.
The big Serbian have been an ever-present in the team, screening the back four and making close to 40 interceptions, while boasting 160 ball recoveries early in his career at Old Trafford. It’s only now since his departure, that Chelsea realise the impact of the 29-year-old.
7. David Silva – Manchester City
Arguably Manchester City’s best player of all time, David Silva is back to his brilliant best under Guardiola.
The Spaniard embodies City’s footballing philosophy and makes the whole side tick with his technical ability and footballing intelligence, seemingly running entire matches. Silva is also once again contributing greatly in the final third, having scored five and assisted eight so far this term.
8. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Putting in outstanding performances on a weekly basis in the Premier League, Kevin De Bruyne looks to currently be in a two horse race for Player of the Year.
Boasting the highest number of successful through balls in the league – 21 – the Belgian international’s crossing and passing has been reminiscent of David Beckham in his prime this season. De Bruyne has also already scored an impressive six and assisted eight.
9. Leroy Sane – Manchester City
Leroy Sane is a nailed down starter these days and it’s thanks to his electric performances on the left, scoring six and assisting eight.
The 21-year-old is a vital member of the side that boasts the longest winning run in English top-flight history. His blistering pace, close control and understanding of when to make runs in behind, have made the German indispensable to Pep Guardiola.
10. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
The other half of the two horse race for Player of the Year as it stands, is Liverpool’s most influential player this season and the Premier League’s current top scorer on 14 goals: Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian international has been nothing short of a revelation since arriving at Anfield and boasts the accolade of being the fastest to score 10 goals for the Reds. Playing wide-right or as a false-nine the Egyptian international is terrorising defences this campaign.
11. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
No one in the Premier League has scored as many important goals than Raheem Sterling this season, with the winger single-handedly amassing over 10 points for his side.
The Englishman is currently the top scorer for the Citizens on 11, plying his trade from the right-flank, and looks sure to be on his way to his finest season in the Premier League.