Manchester City players dominate RealSport’s Team of the Season

With only a few games to go in the latest edition of the Premier League, the RealSport team select their performers of the season and Player of the Year.

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(Photo credit: Norio Nakayama)

Only six full rounds of games remain in this year’s Premier League campaign and choosing which players have been the best in their positions since August is no easy task.

Ahead of another weekend of jam-packed top-flight action, the RealSport football writers have their say on their preferred XI.

With all the votes counted, the most popular players selected were placed into the most suitable formation. For the 2017/18, the RealSport football writers went with a 4-3-3.

Goalkeeper

David de Gea

The Spaniard has once again been in inspired form for Jose Mourinho’s side all season long. 

David de Gea just about got the nod into this team ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson, who came a close second choice. In terms of individual importance to his team, he probably edges it. 

The Manchester United stopper currently leads the league with 16 clean sheets and is largely responsible for his team conceding only 25 goals at this stage.

No stranger to speculation on his future, de Gea will be preparing for another summer of questions as Europe’s elite attempt to acquire his services. 

Defence

RB – Kyle Walker

The Manchester City fullback has had an enjoyable campaign. 

Often spending more time in the opponents half than his own, Walker has hit the ground running in his first season at the Etihad Stadium.

An obvious target for Pep Guardiola last summer, Walker’s arrival from Tottenham was a signal that things were changing in the blue half of Manchester. 

A member of a team that has captivated the football world for the vast majority of the season, Walker’s inclusion is almost a given.

CB – Nicolas Otamendi

Alongside Walker in the centre of a rejuvenated Manchester City defence is Nicolas Otamendi.

The Argentinian has been an ever-present in a City defence that has this season had its fair share of injury issues.

Otamendi’s performances and reliability have been a key factor for Guardiola who has, at times, been forced into experimenting with several defensive combinations.

Otamendi has brought consistency to the back-four, and has also paid his dues at the other end, chipping in with four goals.

CB – Jan Vertonghen

Similarly to Manchester City, Tottenham have also had their fair share of defensive injury problems.

Regular rock Toby Alderweireld has been absent since the 11th game of the season and Danny Rose has had a torrid time on the treatment table.

Along with the regular rotation and sharing of playing time between the full-backs on both sides, Spurs’ backline is far from what you might call ‘settled’.

Vertonghen has been tasked with running the show at the back, usually alongside youngster Davinson Sanchez, and has done his job brilliantly. 

Spurs have only conceded 27 goals this season, only three more than Manchester City – a statistic that has gone somewhat unnoticed. It’s a testament to the job that the Belgian has done.

LB – Andrew Robertson

While perhaps not as clear-cut a selection as some other players in this list, the Scott’s inclusion is merited. 

Robertson had to make do with watching much of the beginning of the season from the bench as manager Jurgen Klopp regularly elected Alberto Moreno as his left-back.

His chance finally came 15 games into the campaign as Liverpool thrashed Brighton 5-1 at the Amex Stadium. Robertson impressed, and he hasn’t looked back since.

While getting forward regularly to support the potent Liverpool attack, Robertson never forgets his defensive duties – his work-rate is admirable. 

A consistent, reliable, no-frills fullback.

Midfield

CM – Kevin De Bruyne

You’d struggle to find any ‘team of the season’ compilation that doesn’t have Kevin De Bruyne’s name on it.

After a brilliant season, the Belgian is an automatic inclusion. Seven goals and 17 assists are outstanding numbers that are just a gloss, the cream, on top of what has been an incredible season for the Belgian.

Regularly picking apart defences with his vision, creativity and passing ability, De Bruyne has been a joy to watch all season long.

CM – Fernandinho

The unsung hero of a Manchester City midfield that has, for the vast majority of the season, controlled games with ease.

The attacking nature of the team he plays in forces Fernandinho to take responsibility of the required defensive duties of the midfield.

The Brazilian does this brilliantly, and his performances are often overshadowed by his sides attacking brilliance.

CM – David Silva

The creative Spanish midfielder completes a full Manchester City midfield line-up.

Together with De Bruyne, David Silva has been instrumental in making the chances and opportunities flow for Guardiola’s men.

Despite missing a handful of games, Silva still boasts eight goals and 11 assists in the 26 games in which he has featured. 

Attackers

RW – Mohamed Salah

Much like De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah’s inclusion was almost as sure as the sun setting. 

The Egyptian has been nothing short of incredible this season and currently leads the race for this season’s golden boot. 

With 29 strikes, Salah has over double that of Roberto Firmino, on 14, in Liverpool’s scoring charts. He also leads in the assist column with 11. 

Alongside Sadio Mane and Firmino, Salah has spearheaded an Anfield attack that has amassed 75 goals so far this campaign.

CF – Harry Kane

Much like Salah on Anfield, Harry Kane has once again been the focal point of a Tottenham attack that has scored the third-highest amount of goals in the league.

With 25 goals currently to his name – after having Spurs’ second at Stoke City eventually awarded to him – Kane trails Salah by four with only a few games remaining.

The Englishman will be keen to close the gap in his quest to win a third-straight golden boot accolade.

With favourable fixtures in his final run-in, Kane will be eager to break the 30-goal mark – a milestone he agonisingly missed by one goal last season.

LW – Raheem Sterling

The young English forward has been a player re-born under the stewardship of manager Pep Guardiola.

After a disappointing campaign in the 2015/16 season, Sterling has fired in 23 goals and contributed with 26 assists since the arrival of the Spaniard at the Etihad Stadium. These figures could have been higher, with a little more composure and clinical finishing. 

Sterling is rapidly developing under Guardiola and his ability to read the game and get into the right positions is forever improving. 

Still only 23 years of age, one has to feel that Sterling could be destined for the very top.

Substitutes

GK – Ederson: Narrowly missing out to De Gea by one or two votes, Ederson firmly secures a spot on the bench – a revelation in Manchester City’s goal.

CB – James Tarkowski: Tarkowski has been an integral part of a typically stubborn Burnley defence this season that has shipped only 28 goals this campaign. He was also rewarded with his first England call-up.

RB – Cesar Azpilicueta: The versatile defender has been a bright light in what has been an uncharacteristically unconvincing Chelsea backline. Has only missed one game all season.

CM – Christian Eriksen: The Danish playmaker narrowly missed out on a spot in the starting XI over the entire season. In recent weeks though, he is surely one of the league’s in-form players.

RW – Heung-Min Son: Son joins teammate Eriksen on the bench. The Korean has had a great impact at Tottenham this season and picks up the slack from others.

LW – Leroy Sane: The German youngster has had a great second season at Manchester City and, with a few more consistent appearances, could well have earned a place in the starting XI.

CF – Sergio Aguero: The Argentine has to play second-fiddle to Harry Kane this time around but his 21 goals have been the focal point of an extraordinary City side. 

Do you agree with our picks? Who should be in the team of the year? Let us know in the comments below.

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