We had a nearly year-long Premier League season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and in some ways it feels like we had two seasons.
There was the one that saw a dominant Liverpool run away with the league, Leicester City cruise into the top two, and Manchester United search for form.
Then there was the mini-season called Project Restart in which the Reds laid claim to the league but the two Manchester sides looked the best, Leicester fell off a cliff, and Southampton surged up the table.
[ MORE: Grades for every club ]
So before we dig into the incredible challenge of naming a Best XI for the 2019-20 Premier League season, let’s take a moment to laud the men who crushed the restart.
Premier League Project Restart Best XI
Even though Van Dijk had a dud against Arsenal and wasn’t legendary against Man City, the Dutchman was still one of the best to do it since the league returned from the coronavirus pause. But there were so many attackers to fit into this, so…
Southampton had the fourth-most points of any team during the restart and Ings and Ward-Prowse were the key parts to their solid play.
Everton stumbled but it was impossible to pin it on Keane and (until late in the restart) center back mate Mason Holgate.
This is hard on Michail Antonio, but it was him or Ings.
Project Restart Best XI
E. Martinez (Arsenal)
— Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) –Keane (Everton) — Azpilicueta (Chelsea) —
— Ward-Prowse (Southampton) — Fernandes (Manchester United) — De Bruyne (Man City) —
— Pulisic (Chelsea) — Ings (Southampton) — Rashford (Manchester United) —
Premier League 2019-20 Best XI
This was the year of the attacker and there are a bevy of incredible talents who will not make the Best XI, Second XI, or even Third XI if you don’t cheat with positions.
Liverpool had Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah combine for almost 40 goals and 20 assists, while Man City’s Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were electric. Heck, Riyad Mahrez had one of the best minute-for-minute seasons in the league when he managed to get field time.
Then there are Kane, Vardy, Aubameyang, and Willian. There are Ings, Rashford, Jimenez, and Traore.
It’s bonkers. So we’re prepared for your anger as we roll out our teams.
Ederson (Man City)
— Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) — Van Dijk (Liverpool) — Maguire (Man Utd) — Azpilicueta (Chelsea) —
— Henderson (Liverpool) — Ndidi (Leicester City) —
— De Bruyne (Man City) —
— Traore (Wolves) — Aubameyang (Arsenal) — Salah (Liverpool) —
Premier League 2019-20 Second XI
Not being able to find places for Aguero, Jimenez, and Rashford is really difficult, and both Alisson Becker and Dean Henderson fans will feel aggrieved by the inclusion of Pope.
Maybe most upset will be Spurs supporters, as they Kane loses out to Golden Boot winner Vardy and Hugo Lloris was simply wonderful down the stretch but missed too many games with an elbow injury.
Moutinho just gets in over teammate Ruben Neves, and Georginio Wijnaldum was considered here as well.
One thing’s for sure: We’d bet on two of these teams looking very different next season, and let’s hope that the first XI named on this post isn’t required.
— Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd) — Tarkowski (Burnley) — Soyuncu (Leicester City) — Digne (Everton) —
— Fabinho (Liverpool) — Rodri (Man City) — Moutinho (Wolves) —
— Mane (Liverpool) — Vardy (Leicester) — Sterling (Man City) —Follow @NicholasMendola