Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is the only non-Manchester
City or Liverpool player to be named in the Professional Footballers’
Association’s Premier League team of the year on Thursday.
The 26-year-old French World Cup-winning midfielder’s
inclusion is a surprise after an indifferent season, although he hit a purple
patch after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at Old Trafford as interim manger.
City and Liverpool have been locked in an enthralling duel
for the title, with Guardiola’s City going top again on Wednesday after beating
United 2-0 at Old Trafford, with Pogba unable to inspire his side to a
City provide six of the 11 players – goalkeeper Ederson,
centre-half Aymeric Laporte, midfielders Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho and
forwards Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.
The remaining four places are filled by Liverpool players —
full-backs Andrew Robertson and Trent-Alexander Arnold, central defender Virgil
van Dijk and forward Sadio Mane.
Van Dijk and Sterling are believed to be in the running for
the player of the year award.
There is no place, though, for Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mo
Salah, who has scored 19 Premier League goals this season, Spurs pair Harry
Kane and Son Heung-min or Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard.
The PFA Team of the Year is voted for by members of the
Professional Footballers’ Association.
Manchester City had five players in the 2017-18 side but
only Argentine star Aguero retains his place from the team of 12 months ago.
PFA Team of the Year: Starting XI
Ederson Moraes (GK – Manchester City)
Ederson Moraes encapsulates everything a modern goalkeeper
should be; adding to his terrific shot-stopping abilities with excellent
distribution and confi dence with the ball at his feet. The 25-year-old has
been a vital part in Pep Guardiola’s style of football at the Etihad. The
Brazilian is set to improve on the 17 clean sheets he collected last season and
seems sure to play a prominent role for years to come at Manchester City.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB – Liverpool)
Alexander-Arnold exploded on to the domestic scene last
season and has built on those displays this term, performing admirably in
Liverpool’s Premier League title charge, as well as opening his goalscoring
account for England in November. The 20-year-old academy graduate has excelled
under Jürgen Klopp with his pinpoint crossing accuracy and superb defensive
work, the latter helping Liverpool’s defence become one of the meanest in the
Virgil van Dijk (CB – Liverpool)
The all-action Dutch defender has been outstanding for
Liverpool throughout this campaign as the defensive rock in a back four who are
well on their way to 20 clean sheets for the Premier League season. As well as
his superb performances in helping keep the ball out of Liverpool’s net, Van
Dijk has chipped in with some important goals, and launched moves that have led
to goals with his raking long passes.
Aymeric Laporte (CB – Manchester City)
The January 2018 signing has excelled in his first full
season at the Etihad Stadium as City look to clinch a second successive Premier
League title. The 24-year-old Frenchman has excelled in a team with over a
dozen clean sheets this season. The former Athletic Bilbao defender’s combative
style and composure on the ball are hallmarks of Pep Guardiola’s team.
Andrew Robertson (LB – Liverpool)
The former Dundee United and Hull City full-back has become
a cult hero amongst the Anfield faithful, and he has been a linchpin in the
Liverpool side as they search for a maiden Premier League title, his rapid
bursts up and down the left fl ank highlighting his energetic style. The
24-year-old Scotland captain has notched up more assists than any other
defender in the Premier League this campaign via his astute passing and
Paul Pogba (MF – Manchester United)
A World Cup winner last summer, Pogba has enjoyed the best
goalscoring season of his career, racking up over a dozen goals as United
battle for a Champions League spot. Possessing stunning ballstriking and
passing abilities with both feet, along with a tremendous work rate, the
26-year-old has thrived under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and can be expected to have
a stellar end to the 2018-19 campaign.
Fernandinho (MF – Manchester City)
The combative Brazilian has played a crucial role in
Manchester City’s success over the last six seasons, his no-nonsense approach
being matched by a delightful passing ability and creativity. As he approaches
200 league appearances in England, the 33-year-old can boast two Premier League
titles as well as four League Cups and he will be in the hunt for more domestic
and European success.
Bernardo Silva (MF – Manchester City)
Whether operating as a No.10, out wide or in midfield,
Bernardo Silva has been immense for City this season. He has taken his
opportunities this season becoming a regular fixture in citys starting eleven
delivering outstanding performances. His famous 13.7km performance in the 2-1
defeat of Liverpool in January typified the Lisbon-born star’s attitude and
work rate. “There’s nowhere else I want to be,” he said, after signing a new
deal last month.
Raheem Sterling (FW – Manchester City)
Manchester City and England’s speedster has had another
fabulous campaign under Pep Guardiola, racking up more than a dozen goals to
help his club in the thrilling Premier League title battle. Fast becoming a
model of consistency anywhere in the defending champions’ forward line,
Sterling has earned praise from England boss Gareth Southgate, who has
described his season so far as “phenomenal”.
Sergio Aguero (FW – Manchester City)
The prolific Argentina striker has secured a place in the
PFA Premier League Team of the Year after another tremendous campaign as
Manchester City’s leading marksman. Back-to-back Premier League hat-tricks
against Arsenal and Chelsea launched the 30-year-old into Golden Boot
contention, a prize he is looking to win for a second time, and his deadly
marksmanship could well be the crucial factor in this season’s title race.
Sadio Mane (FW – Liverpool)
A vital member of Liverpool’s outstanding attacking trio, Mané
has earned a second PFA Premier League Team of the Year nomination in three
seasons after a campaign marked by decisive goals for the Anfi eld club. With a
Champions League brace in the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, as well as
strikes against Arsenal and Manchester United under his belt, the Senegalese
attacker will no doubt have a major role to play as Liverpool aim to win a fi
rst league title since 1990.