Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Image

PST’s Top Ten Premier League defenders and goalkeepers

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ProSoccerTalk quizzed its staff on the best players of the 2017-18 Premier League season, broken up into eight categories.

Goalkeepers, left backs, center backs, right backs, center mids, attacking mids, wingers, and center forwards/strikers were slotted 1-10 (with wing backs lumped in with the fullbacks).

[ MORE: The Premier League season in statistics ]

In this first of two posts, we handle the goalkeepers and backs. First-place votes are in parenthesis.

Goalkeeper

10. Mat Ryan, Brighton and Hove Albion

9. Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City

8. Martin Dubravka, Newcastle United

7. Jack Butland, Stoke City

6. Jordan Pickford, Everton

5. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur

4. Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea

3. Nick Pope, Burnley

2. Ederson, Manchester City (1)

  1. David De Gea, Manchester United (3)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Left backs/left wing backs

10. Patrick Van Aanholt, Crystal Palace

9. Charlie Daniels, Bournemouth

8. Leighton Baines, Everton

7. Ryan Bertrand, Southampton

6. Nacho Monreal, Arsenal

5. Andy Robertson, Liverpool

4. Fabian Delph, Manchester City

3. Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur

2. Marcos Alonso, Chelsea (2)

  1. Ashley Young, Manchester United (2)
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Right backs / right wing backs

10. Seamus Coleman, Everton

9. DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United

8. Hector Bellerin, Arsenal

7. Matthew Lowton, Burnley

6. Cedric Soares, Southampton

5. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

4. Victor Moses, Chelsea

3. Kieran Trippier, Tottenham Hotspur

2. Antonio Valencia, Manchester United (1)

  1. Kyle Walker, Manchester City (3)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Center backs

10. Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United

9. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City

8. Lewis Dunk, Brighton and Hove Albion

7. Harry Maguire, Leicester City

6. Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham Hotspur

5. Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City

4. Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

3. Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool

2. James Tarkowski, Burnley

  1. Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham Hotspur (4)

Man United 3-0 Stoke City: Clinical Red Devils drops Potters

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  • Antonio Valencia scored on return from injury
  • David De Gea made an important save before halftime
  • United collected three goals on nine shots on target

Manchester United was clinical as they dispatched Stoke City with ease at Old Trafford 3-0 on Monday. Antonio Valencia started things less than 10 minutes in, while Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku were the men to see the scoreline out.

The Red Devils opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Valencia received the ball at the top of the box on a square pass from Paul Pogba, and he cut into the box and to his left to create space, and when the incoming defender over-committed, he belted a curler inside the far post, leaving Jack Butland with no chance. The goal is Valencia’s first since December 2nd, coming on his return to action from a hamstring injury suffered against West Brom in mid-December.

[ MORE: What to do with the emaciated Arsenal squad ]

Xherdan Shaqiri tried an audacious overhead effort minutes later hoping to get Stoke City back on level terms, but his shot was weak and straight at David de Gea from a tight angle. Steven Ireland came inches from tying things back up on 21 minutes, but as he unleashed his effort from the penalty spot with space to shoot, he slipped on the wet surface and yanked it wide left.

After Ireland’s miss, Stoke became the more attacking team, and it put Manchester United on its heels for a period of time as they were sloppy in possession. They failed to capitalize, and by the 35-minute mark, the hosts were back on top, and profited.

In the 38th minute, Romelu Lukaku used his strength on the right edge to get the ball centrally for Pogba, who cut left for Anthony Martial. The 22-year-old hit the ball first-time, and ripped it into the top corner just past the fingertips of a diving Butland.

On the stroke of halftime Shaqiri forced an important save from David de Gea down to his left off a volley, but the Spaniard was there to keep the two-goal lead intact. In the second half, United had a few half-chances early on. Martial nearly had a second just before the hour mark, but Butland smothered the chance on the doorstep. Juan Mata pulled the trigger two minutes later and fired just wide of the far post, and then again rifled over soon after.

Lukaku put the game away with 18 minutes to go as he received the ball from Martial with his back to goal and turned past two defenders and slid the ball into the bottom corner for a 3-0 lead. The win puts Manchester United clear into second place, three points above Liverpool and twelve behind Manchester City, who lost for the first time this season last time out. Stoke City, meanwhile, will hand the reigns to Paul Lambert who was in attendance for today’s game, taking over for the fired Mark Hughes.

Lingard, De Gea lead Man Utd past Arsenal

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  • Valencia, Lingard put United up 2-0 early
  • Arsenal has 71 percent first half possession
  • Lacazette makes it 2-1 after break
  • Pogba sets up Lingard for 3-1, then sent off
  • Arsenal out-attempts United 33-8

Jesse Lingard bagged a brace as Manchester United took its chances in a 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Antonio Valencia also scored for the Red Devils, who moved to within five points of Manchester City before the Premier League leaders play Sunday.

Arsenal got its goal from Alexandre Lacazette, and sits fifth with 28 points.

Paul Pogba was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Hector Bellerin with just over a quarter hour to play in North London.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Valencia looked to have been denied by his extra touch off a Paul Pogba through ball, but spun the ball through Petr Cech‘s legs to make it 1-0.

It was off a bad giveaway, and Arsenal had a second one moments later. United clinically finished again, with Anthony Martial‘s incredibly deft flick meeting Lingard’s impressive side-footed finish inside the far post.

Arsenal liked to attack down the right, and Chris Smalling defended well earn a goal kick in the 20th.

The Gunners were thwarted in a chance to pull one back when David De Gea stopped Alexandre Lacazette at close range before Granit Xhaka laced the rebound wide of the frame.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lacazette hit on a 49th minute rebound to make it 2-1, with both playmaker Aaron Ramsey and the goal scorer in acres of space.

United saw a ball hit the far post moments later in a bid to restore the two-goal lead.

De Gea made an amazing pair of stops on Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez in the 56th minute.

It was 3-1 after the hour mark thanks to another Arsenal giveaway, with Pogba turning Laurent Koscielny inside out before passing through the six for Lingard to tap home.

But the smiles turned to frowns when Pogba went studs up into Bellerin’s ankle, an easy red card and a huge obstacle for Jose Mourinho in the Manchester Derby.

Manchester United 4-0 Everton: Red Devils ruin Rooney return

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  • Lukaku goal, assist, celebration
  • Valencia scores stunner (video)
  • Toffees continue road woes
  • Martial, Mkhitaryan also score

Ex-Everton striker Romelu Lukaku helped ruin Wayne Rooney‘s return to Old Trafford, picking up a goal and an assist against his former team as Manchester United topped Everton 4-0 on Sunday.

Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored for United, which has the joint-most points in the league but sits behind Man City by alphabetical order alone.

Starting up top, Rooney provided several clearcut chances for Everton, but Lukaku had an assist before punching in an 89th minute goal and celebrating wildly at Old Trafford.

The ex-Toffees striker was also a threat, picking up a late assist, and will rue chipping a simple finish wide of the goal in the first half.

Everton is now winless in 11-straight away PL matches, a league-high, and remains 17th with four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jordan Pickford didn’t have much of a chance on Valencia’s wonderful opener. A quick free kick was played short to Nemanja Matic, who hit a ball across the arc of the 18 for Valencia to smash home.

Romelu Lukaku snapped into action against his former club as the match neared the 20-minute mark, just shades away from providing a goal or assist as United looked to build on its lead.

That’s when Rooney nearly tied it up. Playing up top, he cut Cuco Martina‘s pass across his body but wide of the far post.

Lukaku then let Everton off the hook when he opened up 1v1 with Pickford and shot it wide of the far post.

Tom Davies was rightly deemed offside on a 29th minute chance that ended up in the back of the goal.

With all the focus on Lukaku, it was another former Toffee who nearly made it 2-0 when Marouane Fellaini challenged Pickford for a 50-50 ball but saw his effort miss the mark.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rooney almost bulled his way to an equalizer in the second half’s first minute, sliding to win a shot that De Gea blocked with his right leg.

A Pickford giveaway led United to a free kick and Ashley Williams to a yellow card when the defender shouldered Juan Mata to turf in the 63rd minute.

Mata’s left-footed free kick wrapped around the wall to clank off the post, and United couldn’t do anything with the ensuing corner.

Left back Ashley Young set Jesse Lingard up for a left-footed chance, but the attacker’s shot was rushed by Ashley Williams and skied over the frame.

Williams stopped Lingard from getting full purchase on a point blank shot in the 78th minute, but no penalty call arrived after Pickford stooped to collect the tame effort.

Mkhitaryan provided the much-sought equalizer in the 84th minute with Williams giving the ball away to Lukaku, who cued up the ex-BVB man for a finish past Pickford.

That’s when Lukaku scored, continuing United’s penchant for piling on late goals. And Morgan Schneiderlin gave away a penalty to Anthony Martial that the Frenchman finished to make it 4-0.

WATCH: Valencia smashes volley to give Man Utd lead

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Jordan Pickford didn’t have much of a chance on Antonio Valencia‘s wonderful opener.

Manchester United took a 1-0 lead on visiting Everton on Sunday thanks to a fourth-minute marker from the Ecuadorian national team captain.

[ STREAM: Manchester United vs. Everton ]

A quick free kick was played short to Nemanja Matic, who hit a ball across the arc of the 18 for Valencia.

The 32-year-old then smashed a near side volley past a flying Pickford, the keeper’s dive making the goal look even better.