Premier League 2017-18, like every other campaign, had its own highs and lows, occasions to celebrate, junctures of jubilation and also moments of misery. Players offered their level best to meet the expectations – some exceeded, some underperformed.
The names we have enlisted for our ‘Team of the Season’ are not entirely based on statistics but the impact they made for their respective outfits to achieve season objectives.
We have come across some astounding custodians who were impressive throughout the season. Nick Pope of Burnley has been a revelation between the sticks since replacing injured Tom Heaton and his majestic form earned him a place in England’s 23-man squad for the prestigious World Cup event. Ederson in Manchester City goal had an impressive Premier League debut but the best of the lot has to be Manchester United’s David De Gea as the Spaniard once again protected the Red Devils with sheer excellence all season.
Kyle Walker, the former Spurs right-back had a shocking home debut of his Manchester City career when he received a marching order against Everton. But the fullback came back strongly and proved himself a seasoned performer in City’s comprehensive title triumph. Nicolas Otamendi, too, had a stunning spell in central defence and registered himself as league’s best centre-back for his towering defensive display.
However, we have preferred Burnley’s James Tarkowski in our ‘Best XI’ due to his upsurge as Michael Keane’s replacement who left for Everton in summer. Jan Vertonghen had an outstanding campaign as well, but Tarkowski pioneered the Clarets to qualify for Europe following an incredible seventh-placed Premier League finish. Andrew Robertson, the Liverpool left-back, had to wait for his opportunities, but the sensational form he exhibited since being introduced in the first-team action is good enough to seize the left-back role in our ‘Team of the Season’.
We encountered massive selection dilemma to pick out only three names out of many worthy candidates. The contribution of N’Golo Kante, Jonjo Shelvey, James Milner, Pascal Groß and Christian Eriksen must not be denied, but the brilliance of Mousa Dembele in Spurs midfield along with the league-winning duo David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne were absolutely stand out, hence, make it to our three-man midfield ahead of the other close contenders.
Mohamed Salah, the Red-hot Liverpool winger, enjoyed an incredible return to Premier League circuit as he netted 32 goals to become league’s highest ever scorer in a 38-game season. Roberto Firmino, Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy had a scintillating campaign, but Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur maintained his dominance, continued his great scoring form and finished the season with 30 goals.
Manchester City winger Leroy Sane had a blistering spell, therefore, became league’s Young Player of the Season. These three form the lethal attacking third of our carefully crafted ‘Best XI’ of the 2017-18 Premier League season.
We witnessed the mastery of Pep Guardiola who broke multiple records to become the Champions, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettinho entertained all with eye-soothing football despite budget restrictions, Chris Hughton and David Wagner inspired minnows Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town to maintain ‘top flight’ status defying the odds whereas Rafael Benitez’s masterclass guided an ordinary Newcastle United side to finish in top half of the league tally.
However, the achievement of Sean Dyche has to be the most motivating one who led Burnley to a seventh-placed league finish, thus, snatched a place in Europe alongside league’s big boys.