It’s hard to argue with the PFA Premier League Team of the Year released Thursday.
Hard, but not impossible.
So rather than nitpick one or two spots, which is really easy, what if we argued for an entirely different XI, one that would certainly rival the winners.
Look, there’s little debate that both Kane and Vardy deserve their honors, but Aguero is having a historically productive year at Man City while Lukaku is setting Everton records with his striking boots. Lukaku was never going to get on the Team of the Year with Everton so low, but Aguero has a right to be peeved: He just may yet win the Golden Boot for a team possibly finishing third.
Three of the four are irreplaceable on this list, but can we pour one out for Mesut Ozil here? The Arsenal midfielder had an incredible start to the season and has racked up 18 assists to go with 6 goals. I realize Dele Alli is young and English, but his numbers don’t measure up (10 goals, 9 assists).
As for the rest, Barkley might’ve cruised to a first half Team of the Season, but his offensive production has dipped considerably down the stretch. He had 6 goals and 7 assists on New Year’s Day. Since then, he’s added just two goals. Dier and Dembele are solid parts of Spurs’ run.
Were it not for table standing, we’d be begging you to consider Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman and Aston Villa’s Idrissa Gueye. If there’s any justice in the world, there will be a bidding war for the latter that helps Aston Villa start anew in the Championship.
Center back might be the hardest position to pick in the entire league, as even with the four named between the real team and our selection you’re omitting Robert Huth and Jan Vertonghen amongst others. Pieters has been a veritable Ironman for Mark Hughes at Stoke, while Van Dijk would be the Premier League newcomer of the year — if there were such an award — if not for Kante. Smalling’s done well for United, while Clyne has been a bullet down the right side and looks well-suited for a Jurgen Klopp team.
Winner: David De Gea
Alternate take: Petr Cech
With Fraser Forster and Jack Butland having missed large stretches of time, this would go down to Cech and Spurs’ Hugo Lloris. I hate making the choice, but I’m giving the edge to Cech because of a less impressive back line in front of him.