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2019-20 Premier League Best XI so far

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With the coronavirus shutdown of all major European soccer, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize the players who have stood out to this point as the table begins to truly take shape. Liverpool is just a hair away from securing the 2019/20 title, but not everything is about the Reds – although a lot of it still is.

[ MORE: Possible end dates | PST roundtable ]

With that in mind, here’s the frontrunners at each position for Premier League Team of the Season, with the players who could also make a leap into the conversation with a strong finish to the campaign, if they ever get the chance.

Premier League Best XI

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson
Also considered: Alisson Becker

Harsh on Alisson, who is leading the way for one of the best back lines in Premier League history, but Dean Henderson has been just as brilliant in far more difficult circumstances. The Manchester United loanee has starred at Sheffield United, prompting talk that the Red Devils should cut his loan short and instill the 23-year-old’s loan short and bring him on to take over for a struggling David De Gea. While many have labeled the shot-stopper “England’s future number one,” it’s entirely possible that Henderson would have been the starter had Euro 2020 not been postponed until next season, and it’s certainly fathomable that the youngster could still be first-choice once the tournament arrives. There are recent rumors among English tabloids that Manchester United is preparing a new contract for Henderson worth nearly $120,000 a week, which would be more than backup goalkeeper Sergio Romero currently makes and about equal with new midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

Ederson is normally considered part of this list as well, but he just hasn’t performed up to the level required this season considering how he sparkled in Manchester City’s title campaign last time around.

Left-back: Andrew Robertson
Also considered: Ben Chilwell, Lucas Digne, Jonny

While Robertson doesn’t burst off the page like his fellow full-back teammate Alexander-Arnold (more on that in a moment), he is still far and away the best left-back in the league. The former Hull City man who joined Liverpool for just $9 million back in 2017 has flourished into one of the world’s best, and his chemistry with Alexander-Arnold is growing the two into a legendary pairing. He is a long-ball master, delivering 2.4 per game, the most of any left-back in the league and third among full-backs to just Kyle Walker and Alexander-Arnold.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Also considered: Ricardo Pereira, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did you know the Premier League was absolutely stacked at right-back? If not for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is quickly establishing himself as the best full-back in the world and has a shot at a place among the greatest of all-time should he maintain this form for a number of years, the likes of Ricardo Pereira and Aaron Wan-Bissaka would actually have a legitimate shot at this award. Pereira’s performance this season has been so good he’s earned himself links to Real Madrid, and both he and Wan-Bissaka are tackle masters who are blowing away the rest of the league in that category (both are the only men not named Wilfried Ndidi to average over 4 successful tackles per match). Throw in Kyle Walker and wing-back Matt Doherty, and the ranks of Premier League right-backs are loaded. Too bad TAA trumps them all, with a gargantuan 12 assists this season and 2.6 key passes per game, more than double the total of any other right-back.

Center-Back: Virgil Van Dijk, Harry Maguire
Also considered: Caglar Soyuncu, Wily Boly, James Tarkowski

Selecting one of these players is a no-brainer. Virgil van Dijk is far and away the best center-back in the Premier League, and maybe the world. Selecting his partner is far more difficult.

WhoScored’s second-highest rated player at the position this season is Wily Boly, but like Scott McTominay, thanks to injuries he has not played enough this season to qualify. Caglar Soyuncu is another popular choice, and the youngster no doubt has been a pleasant surprise next to Jonny Evans at Leicester City, one of the league’s rising stars at the position. But Harry Maguire lived up to his price tag this season and that’s no small feat as the world’s most expensive defender. His positioning is exquisite, and while he hasn’t displayed van Dijk levels of domination – a slight slip in form through the months of October and November prove that – he has done fabulously at Manchester United, racking up a complete 2,610-minute Premier League season to this point and playing significant minutes through the other Cup competitions as well while the Red Devils struggle with injuries all over the pitch.

Defensive Midfield: Wilfred Ndidi
Also considered: Scott McTominay, Declan Rice, Jorginho

Wilfred Ndidi is a midfield destroyer the likes of which we haven’t seen since…well, since N’Golo Kante did it first at Leicester City just a few short years ago. But that doesn’t take away from the otherworldly performance that Ndidi has put forth this season, given that Kante earned himself Ballon d’Or nominations for his performance in Leicester City’s title-winning season. See this from November:

Ndidi is completing 4.4 successful tackles a game, only second to Crystal Palace’s James McCarthy who has only appeared in 12 games this season. He is doing so in a vicious pressing system that centrals around the Nigerian’s ability to cover an insane amount of ground, easing the pressing load on the other players as to not tire them out. Need an idea how important Ndidi is to the team? Of the five matches he missed in 2020 due to a knee injury, Leicester City won exactly zero of them, with three losses and two draws. He’s so important to the squad that Pep Guardiola game-planned for him successfully.

Scott McTominay has been a revelation this season, taking the next step into one of the league’s best defensive midfielders, but he missed too many games due to injury. Declan Rice continues to push forward as one of West Ham’s best assets, but has been unable to assert the same table-climbing effect on his side that Ndidi exerts on Leicester City.

Central Midfield: Jordan Henderson, Kevin De Bruyne
Also considered: Joao Moutinho, John Fleck

Kevin de Bruyne is everyone’s first choice on this squad. Leading the league 17 assists and producing scintillating displays nearly every week. The Belgian has displayed positional flexibility, often best sitting behind the striker in an attacking midfield role but also moving back into central midfield to receive the ball deeper or shifting out wide to make use of his crossing technique. De Bruyne will likely battle with van Dijk for Player of the Season should the awards eventually end up given out.

On the other end, Jordan Henderson is a perfect foil for de Bruyne. The Liverpool captain has been gargantuan this season, moving from cult hero to widespread household name. Henderson is a lynchpin of the highest order, calming the side and bringing structure to the buildup while helping defensively when Liverpool is hit on the counter.

The others considered from this position deserve to be mentioned. Joao Moutinho, along with midfield partner Ruben Neves, has turned the Wolves midfield into a dominant force no matter who they play. While they don’t necessarily hold the ball for endless spells of possession, they have been vicious when moving forward and relentless when shielding the back line. John Fleck, meanwhile, has been the other Sheffield United standout this season alongside Henderson, and his performance this season must be mentioned given where the Blades sit in the table.

Attacking Midfield: Jack Grealish
Also considered: James Maddison, Mason Mount

As far as players who are the most important to their team, Jack Grealish is unquestionably tops of that list. The Aston Villa midfielder has produced spectacular performance after spectacular performance this season, often the best player on the field despite Villa’s overall struggles. With his current club potentially going down should the season be concluded, Grealish is being linked with teams scattered across the top of the Premier League table and rightly so. At just 24 years old, Grealish has grown into a flourishing attacker who excels at taking players on and creating chances out of nothing.

Mason Mount has been fabulous for Chelsea this season, but injuries have hampered his campaign. The Blues should nonetheless be encouraged about the bright future of their young star. James Maddison has been equally fantastic for Leicester City in a similar role with freedom around the pitch, but he doesn’t quite carry his team like Grealish does. The youth on this list should be encouraging for the long-term health of attacking systems in the English top flight.

Forward: Sadio Mane, Jamie Vardy
Also considered: Sergio Aguero, Mohamed Salah, Adama Traore

Absolutely the most difficult choice of any position here, some high-profile players have missed out on a place in the team, but there’s just no way to leave out the two men at this spot. Jamie Vardy leads the league in goals, and while things have dried up somewhat until his brace against Aston Villa last time out, his goal conversion rate is still at historic levels. The dry spell has lowered his xG that at one point sat above the +6 mark, but he still has converted chances at a +4.76 rate this season, bagging 19 goals on a 14.24 xG mark. While Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah have also been prolific goalscorers, they just haven’t finished at the absurd rate that Jamie Vardy has produced.

Those two also just don’t equate to the importance that Sadio Mane presents to Liverpool. The presence of Gabriel Jesus means that Sergio Aguero could be missed and Manchester City hardly misses a beat, and while that shouldn’t take away from what the Argentine means to the heartbeat of that squad, it just doesn’t stack up to Mane’s vital presence at Liverpool. Adama Traore has burst onto the scene the second half of the campaign, injecting life into an occasionally stagnant Wolves attack and earning himself a place on this list, but he still struggles with consistency and doesn’t quite equate to the massive stature of the Liverpool winger.

Fleck artistry gets Sheffield United point at Arsenal

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John Fleck‘s perfectly lashed side volley gave Sheffield United a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

The Emirates Stadium saw a wasteful first hour from the Gunners give way to a resurgent Blades side and a share of the points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for the Gunners, who sit 10th with 29 points. The Blades move to 33 points and sit seventh.

The match was Mike Dean’s 500th Premier League match, and not without controversy. Dean neglected to award a penalty when Nicolas Pepe was chopped down in the box, but VAR stayed with him.


Three things we learned

1. Blades are for real: There’s a reason Chris Wilder is getting linked with plenty of jobs and got a new contract: Sheffield United’s men are bought into a system about as well as anyone not named Jurgen Klopp. Granted Arsenal let early United errors slide, but once the Blades took hold of momentum it rarely felt like the Gunners would score the game’s second goal

2. Aubameyang absence glaring: It’s no surprise that missing one of the world’s best scorers is a not good, but you’d peg Arsenal’s talented group of attackers to sort it out. Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette had their moments and Martinelli did get his goal, but there was an Auba-sized hole in both the aura and composure of the Gunners in the final third. That red card is stinging like a fresh cut.

3. Xhaka, Torreira steady: Mikel Arteta has found better play from Swiss hard man Granit Xhaka, while Lucas Torreira is working well with his center midfield mate. Their play allows Mesut Ozil to do whatever he wants, more or less. Throw in a fine day from Shkrodan Mustafi, and the Gunners were a Maitland-Niles 50-50 battle away from a clean sheet

Man of the Match: Give it to Fleck for the goal plus four tackles and another day of committed challenges.


Lacazette sent Nicolas Pepe down the right flank, and the Ivorian sent a terrific cross for Gabriel Martinelli. The youngster volleyed across goal and wide of the far post.

Lucas Torreira popped a dipping shot that Dean Henderson smothered in the 32nd minute.

Martinelli didn’t miss his second, punching home a 45th minute deflected cross from Bukayo Saka. The latter had a terrific first half for the Gunners.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Blades didn’t quit, and Arsenal was forced into a goal line clearance in the 56th.

Pepe could’ve won a penalty when he was chopped down on a dribble into the box, but VAR upheld Mike Dean’s initial judgment.

Sheffield United scored an equalizerr in brilliant fashion, Fleck slashing a bounding side volley past Leno in the 83rd minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles blocked a shot and Leno made a tremendous save in stoppage time to keep the hosts’ point.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Your final Premier League player Power Rankings of 2019 are here.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

With games on Boxing Day and Dec. 28/29 since our latest rankings were revealed, there has been plenty of movement as stars from Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Everton dominate.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
3. Danny Ings (Southampton) – Even
4. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – Even
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – New entry
6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
7.  Harry Kane (Tottenham) – New entry
8. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
9. Troy Deeney (Watford) – New entry
10. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
11. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Up 4
12. Riyad Mahrez (Man City) – Down 6
13. Adama Traore (Wolves) – New entry
14. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) – Down 3
15. Rui Patricio (Wolves) – Up 2
16. Aaron Mooy (Brighton) – New entry
17. John Fleck (Sheffield United) – New entry
18. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
19. Richarlison (Everton) – Up 1
20. Ben Foster (Watford) – Down 2

Man City battle past Sheffield United

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Manchester City rode their luck to beat Sheffield United 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Second half goals from Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne led City to victory as the Blades were unlucky throughout with a tight offside VAR call going against them, the referee pretty much grabbed an assist on City’s opener and they hit the woodwork and missed several glorious chances.

With the win Man City move to within one point of second place Leicester City but are 14 points behind leaders Liverpool who also have a game in hand on them. Sheffield United are in eighth place on 29 points, six points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Unlucky Blades finally lose away: The almost went halfway through the season unbeaten away from home. What a season the Blades are having and they were so unlucky to lose this. Lys Mousset‘s first half goal was ruled out, just, by VAR for offside and City’s opener arrived in incredibly unlucky fashion as the ball hit referee Chris Kavanagh. City had the extra quality but Sheffield United gave them an almighty scare as Billy Sharp hitting the inside of the post with a header in stoppage time summed up their luck.

2. City react positively: Following their brave display away at Wolves, which saw them play with 10 men for over 80 minutes but blow a 2-0 lead late on thanks to some terrible defending, it took a lot of guts for City’s players to stand tall and go again less then 48 hours later. Guardiola brought in Garcia and Zinchenko to the lineup, with Bravo also replacing the suspended Ederson, and they didn’t look too comfortable defensively. City should be applauded for picking themselves up and even though they are 14 points behind leaders Liverpool, they have shown they will keep battling away.

3. De Bruyne on a different planet: He set up Aguero for the opener, scored a sublime goal of his own late on, was running around everywhere and even if Man City don’t pull of a miraculous comeback to win the title this season, the main positive will be that KDB is back to his best. De Bruyne has remained fit for most of this season and City are a totally different team when he’s firing on all cylinders.

Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne –


The first big chance of the game arrived for Sheffield United as Mousset nodded wide under pressure from Zinchenko, who put his boot up high.

Riyad Mahrez was played in by Rodri but his shot was deflected wide at the near post as Man City clicked through the gears in the first half.

Mousset looked to have given Sheffield United the lead after John Fleck‘s superb through ball but after he smashed home VAR intervened to rule out the goal for a marginal offside on the Blades striker.

John Egan headed over the bar as the Blades continued to look dangerous with Mousset again going close on the break, while at the other end Dean Henderson kept out Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva at the near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Aguero dinked an effort just over at one end, then Muhamed Besic smashed just wide at the other as the game opened up.

Huge controversy then arrived as Man City took the lead. Sheffield United tried to play the ball into midfield but referee Chris Kavanagh was in the way and although the ball didn’t touch him, he caused a turnover which led to De Bruyne setting up Aguero to slam home. There was nothing the referee could do as the Blades were incredible hard done by.

De Bruyne whipped a free kick over the bar late on and although Sheffield United continued to threaten on the break, City doubled their lead  as KDB combined with Mahrez and whipped home a shot at the near post to grab all three points.

Fleck leads Blades to easy victory against Villa

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Sheffield United beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday as John Fleck was the hero for the Blades.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Scotsman struck twice in the second half as Villa struggled throughout.

With the win Sheffield United moved up to fifth and have 25 points, while Villa stay on 16 points.


3 things we learned

1. Blades get the job done: For most of this season Sheffield United have been really good to watch. They were dangerous when they got the ball wide but this wasn’t one of their better displays. Chris Wilder wants to get to 40 points as soon as possible and they are now 15 points away from that target. The Blades are solid defensively and force opponents to play their game with their wide players causing all kinds of problems. George Baldock in particular was brilliant and the Blades have taken the PL by storm.

2. Villa lackluster in attack: Villa have lacked cutting edge all season long and this game summed it up. Wesley was anonymous in this game and Grealish headed wide and hit the crossbar with a penalty kick. Villa have lost six of their last eight with just one win in that run and Dean Smith‘s side are in a relegation scrap. There’s no doubt about that.

3. Sheff United dreaming of Europe: This win moved them up to fifth, momentarily, and the Blades have now given themselves a huge lead over the teams stacked up in the bottom half. Their aim at the start of the season was to stay out of the bottom three but now it should be about pushing on for a seventh-place finish to qualify for Europe.

Man of the Match: John Fleck – Two great finishes and his midfield running caused Villa problems all game long. He keeps popping up in dangerous spots in the box. A real unsung hero.


A slow start in the Steel City saw the home side have plenty of the ball, with John Fleck and Lys Mousset linking up well.

The Blades dominated the ball as Villa struggled to get going in attack in a tight, tense first half at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United put in plenty of crosses but Villa dealt comfortably with the wide threat as Kortney Hause blocked one effort well.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Oliver Norwood whipped in a lovely cross at the start of the second half but David McGoldrick got his finish all wrong.

The home side then got the goal their dominance deserved as John Lundstram crossed and Fleck flicked home his third goal in his last four home games, as the Blades scored with their first shot on target.

A rare Villa attack saw Wesley go close as the visitors finally got going late in game, with Jack Grealish heading a chance just wide at the back post.

Hause then caught McGoldrick with a high challenge as he was booked, and moments later Sheffield United doubled their lead. Fleck ran into the box and McGoldrick flicked a brilliant ball over his own head to pick out the Scotsman to slot home his and Sheffield United’s second.

Villa were then awarded a penalty kick after a lengthy VAR check for handball, but Grealish smashed it against the bar to sum up a terrible outing for Villa.

McGoldrick could have finished a few chances late on but it was a deserved win for the Blades as they continue their fine return to the top-flight.