Written by Henry Clark
We’ve seen some great moments thus far in the Barclays Premier League; some absolute screamers, many terrible referee decisions and frequent moments of magic. It’s what we love about the biggest and best league in the world. Although this is a contentious subject, one that will split fans across the leagues, here is my team of the 16/17 season so far;
Goalkeeper – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Spurs fans were relieved to say the least when their captain committed himself to north London until 2022. In what has been so far a fairly lacklustre campaign compared to last season’s title challenge for Spurs, the Frenchman has once again proved why he is such a sought after ‘keeper. Not only has he kept six clean sheets so far this season his distribution of the ball has vastly improved in the last few seasons and he rarely makes crucial mistakes to cost his side. Always reliable.
credit dom fellowes
Defender – Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Chelsea reject? Most fans would’ve probably said that last season about the Nigerian international. But since returning from his spell on the loan carousel (Moses has been loaned out to 3 different clubs in his time with the Blues) he has thrived under Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation and has earned many plaudits from fans and pundits, particularly from his improved defensive work. Perhaps the surprise of the season so far.
Defender – Joel Matip (Liverpool)
Despite making nearly 200 appearances for Bundesliga giants Schalke, little was made of Liverpool’s recruitment of the Cameroonian. Probably because of his price tag – he cost the Merseyside club nothing, joining on a free transfer. He has been a rock in a Liverpool defence that hasn’t look completely convincing despite their league position and although he has missed a couple of games through injury his impressive displays are enough to warrant inclusion in this team.
Defender – Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
The Dutchman could be regarded as one of the most wanted players heading into the January window after his impressive start this season on the south coast. Despite rumours of big money moves to the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea the Saints centre-half has relished the opportunity playing in Europe and being a mainstay in Claude Puel’s side. His no-nonsense style has impressed many, so much so that Southampton reportedly value their man at a whopping £60 million.
Midfield – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Life in England has treated Kante well so far; not only did he play a meteoric part in Leicester’s ‘impossible’ title success but he also heads into the New Year at the top of the tree, this time with Chelsea. His big money move has failed to faze the reserved midfielder as he has continued to do what captivated the millions last year. The Frenchman continues to put in a good shift week in, week out for the Blues and although he may not get the headlines every week on the back page his contribution to Conte’s team shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.
Midfield – Idrissa Gueye (Everton)
Another name that perhaps has gone under the radar this season. An ill-fated start to life in the Premier League with Aston Villa saw Everton snap-up Gueye over the summer. Sharing many qualities as Kante, Gueye’s combative nature has seen him win nearly 500 duels this season and make nearly 200 interceptions at this stage. One of the first names on the team sheet for the Toffee’s.
credit Ben Sutherland
Right wing – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
He’s back. After an abysmal season last year Antonio Conte has seemingly revived the Belgian back to life. His running at pace at defenders is almost impossible to stop and he’s got that bit of magic in the locker to produce something special. The one criticism of Hazard has been his lack of goals but heading into the New Year we can see he’s been right amongst it with nine goals already to his name. He potentially could lead Chelsea to their sixth Premier League come May.
Attacking midfield – Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
I’ve always felt that Lallana was an under-used player at Anfield – perhaps more than anything due to his long spells out injured. But under the more attacking style of Jürgen Klopp the Englishman’s game has blossomed and he is now regarded as one of the best in his positions in the country. With seven assists and seven goals from midfield it’s not hard to see why the Reds have only lost twice with Lallana in the side. His fitness will be crucial for a Liverpool title challenge.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
Left wing – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
The Chilean is Arsenal’s big player. He is there go-to-guy. And with a start like this to the current campaign you can see why he’s so highly regarded. With 12 goals and seven assists already Sanchez is a manager’s dream. He gives 100% every time he pulls on a Gunners shirt and wants to play every minute of every game. Many argue that Arsenal lack a world-class player; this guy may be the closest they have to it.
Striker – Diego Costa (Chelsea)
The Premier League’s top scorer this season has been in scintillating form as part of a Chelsea side that have won 12 consecutive league matches. His 14 goals have fired Chelsea to the top of the league heading into 2017 and the arrival of Conte has re-ignited Costa. His discipline is also much improved as he looks as if he’s going to let his feet do the talking this time around.
Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimović (Manchester United)
Too old? Zlatan is never too old. His move to the Premier League raised many eyebrows in the summer and after a slow start he has begun to find his feet in Manchester. Bettered only by Costa, his 12 goals have kept Manchester United and Jose Mourinho in the title picture and you have a feeling that a man with his quality has a lot more to offer in the coming months for the Reds.
Do you feel anyone missed out on a place in this side? How key will Diego Costa be to Chelsea’s push for the summit? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @alloutfootball_ @HClark_hcafc.
featured image by dom fellowes