December 30, 2017

The Premier League top XI of 2017

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It can be a bit tricky to come up with a list or squad like this because in the calendar year of 2017, you have to account for two different seasons.

Very few players from below the top teams made the list, but that’s the thing about being a top team: Your players are generally better than those amongst the relegation battlers. And some that I would’ve liked to have included, like Burnley’s Tom Heaton, have missed too much time due to injury.

And, yes, I know that nobody really uses a 4-4-2 anymore, but it was the easiest way to get in our selection of players.

GK – David De Gea, Manchester United

It’s hard to imagine where United would be without De Gea guarding the net, but it certainly wouldn’t be in second place right now. De Gea’s shot-stopping heroics should have him near the beginning of any goalkeeper debate.

RB – Kyle Walker, Tottenham/Manchester City

His fine play earned him a massive transfer to City in the summer and he hasn’t slowed down. Capable of defending and getting forward with pace, Walker is an ideal fullback in today’s game.

CB – Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

The man they call Dave moved to a more central role after the Blues’ switch to a back three and didn’t miss a beat. He has been a rock at the back for the 2016-17 champs and remains one of the league’s best defenders.

CB – Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City

He has had his rough patches since arriving in Manchester, but has been a class player this year and the key to Pep Guardiola’s league-leading defence. City has allowed just 12 goals this season and need a representative here. It also doesn’t hurt that Otamendi has scored four goals himself this season.

LB – Marcos Alonso, Chelsea

Perhaps the best offensive defender in the league, Alonso’s play on the wing provides width in the attack for the Blues and leads all defenders in scoring.

CM – N’Golo Kante, Chelsea

His hard work rarely shows up on the scoresheet, but Kante was a deserving winner of last season’s player of the year. He’s a terrier in midfield, chasing down passes and snuffing out scoring moves.

CM – Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

How crazy is that moving him a bit back in the formation has made him perhaps more dangerous? Sitting a bit further back this season, De Bruyne has been picking out passes to set City’s array of attackers in motion. KDB is undoubtedly among the world’s best midfielders.

LM – Eden Hazard, Chelsea

The Belgian regained his all-world form to help guide Chelsea to the title last season and, while he has taken a bit of a dip, he remains one of the most dangerous scoring threats in the Premier League.

RM – Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

This was the hardest choice to make. Salah only came to the Premier League in the summer from Roma, but he has been absolutely fantastic in this short span. The Egyptian has 15 goals and seven assists so far this season and has become the focal point of Liverpool’s vaunted attack.

ST – Harry Kane, Tottenham

He set the Premier League record for most goals in a calendar year and his eight hat tricks are more than Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Aguero and Cavani have combined (seven). He won the golden boot last season and could certainly do it again.

ST – Romelu Lukaku, Everton/Manchester United

While he has been known to struggle against top sides, you can’t ignore the raw numbers he puts up. He has 35 league goals since the start of last season and has been an apt replacement up front for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Oh, and he’s only 24 years old, still.


We’d be remiss to not hand out some honourable mentions. Here’s how we would round out the squad.

Hugo Lloris, Tottenham – Burnley’s Tom Heaton would’ve gotten this spot if it weren’t for injuries, but Lloris did backstop on the league’s best defences.

Ben Mee, Burnley – With Michael Keane gone, Mee has been the constant for the Clarets’ rock-solid defence.

Hector Bellerin, Arsenal – One of the fastest players in the world, the Spaniard is more than capable of bombing down the wing to help out on offence.

Christian Eriksen, Tottenham – The creative fulcrum for Spurs. One of the league’s best playmakers.

Dele Alli, Tottenham – Has slumped a bit this season, but you can’t deny his talent and a good showing in early 2017.

Paul Pogba, Manchester United – The only thing holding him back are injuries. Pogba has proven to be a world-class talent in his return to Manchester.

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal – His holdout to start the season hurt his stock, reputation and his team. But his scoring record can’t be assailed.

Raheem Sterling, Manchester City – His development as a scorer this season under Guardiola has been outstanding. He has already surpassed his career high with 13 goals this season. And to think that City were willing to swap him for Alexis – and put up some cash for the Chilean – this summer.

Sadio Mane, Liverpool – Where Mane left off in the summer, Salah picked up. If not for a few extended absences, he would’ve been in the starting XI.

Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City – The young Brazilian can’t stay off the scoresheet. Until last month, Jesus was averaging either a goal or assist per game played.

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City – It wouldn’t take much to convince me that he deserves Lukaku’s spot. Aguero is one of the EPL’s best scorers ever.

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