The Professional Footballers’ Association announced its Best XI on Wednesday without a lot of controversy.
PST editor Joe Prince-Wright covers his biggest “snubs” here, but there’s one in particular that drives me absolutely bonkers.
Here’s a hint: He’s the only one of the PFA’s nominees for Players’ Player of the Year to miss out on the XI.
Watching Manchester City this season is to watch a masterclass in preparation, sure, but there’s little doubt which players matter the most to what Pep Guardiola requires from his men.
Sergio Aguero, when healthy, is the clinical finisher. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva take turns as midfield maestros, and Ederson proved why Guardiola believed he needed fancy feet between the sticks.
But the straw that stirs the tactical drink is one Leroy Sane, whose 12 assists are second in the Premier League and nine goals aren’t too shabby either.
So often, the plan is to get the ball to Sane near the left touch line, facing defenders and about five yards beyond the corner of the 18. His crossing is reliable, and his dribbling is perhaps responsible for any freedom De Bruyne receives in the center or right of the attack.
Sane may be slighted because he didn’t feature as much as his teammates, but in a way that makes his accomplishments even more impressive. The 22-year-old played 700 less minutes than De Bruyne and about 200 less than Silva and Raheem Sterling.
The question would be who do you remove from the list? Well, for one, I’d easily go to a back three. And secondly, as good as Christian Eriksen has been his 10 goals and eight assists are behind Sane.
Who would be on my all-snub team, you almost certainly haven’t asked? Well, I’m glad you didn’t, but…
Van Dijk — Tarkowski — Azpilicueta
Kante — Fernandinho — Matic
Sterling — Willian — Sane