It has been quite the year in the world of football; a three-month break from action due to the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK in March meant we saw the longest season in Premier League history, lasting from the 9th August 2019 all the way up until the conclusion of the league on the 26th July 2020. The 2019/20 season saw Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years and their first such win of the Premier League Era. With this extended season and just 2 to 3 weeks off given to the players before they returned for pre-season for this 2020/21 championship, many people predicted a season like no other, with a lack of consistency to be prominent for most sides. That has turned out to be the case as games have become more unpredictable than ever in this first half of the season. However, over the course of this year, some players have still stood out more than others with their remarkable consistency and quality, and that’s why we’re here today, to bring you Sports Obsessive’s Premier League Team of the Year for 2020.
The pick at goalkeeper was a no-brainer. Without Alisson, Liverpool would not have won the Premier League. Granted, their defence was phenomenal, but just take one look at a Liverpool game that Alisson missed last season and you’ll see just how frail that defence was without him. Adrian would be the man to replace him in those games, but he proved to be a liability the more he played, being a big part in Liverpool’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid. Alisson is without a shadow of a doubt the most well-rounded goalkeeper in English football. He’s a brilliant shot-stopper, he’s excellent with the ball at his feet and he is a calming influence on his team. He conceded just 23 goals in 29 league games last season, a phenomenal record, keeping 13 clean sheets in the process. He has found clean sheets harder to come by this year, with just 3 in 11 appearances, but he has been by far the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this year, and he has turned out to be worth every penny of the club record fee Liverpool paid for him.
Is there a right-back in Europe as talented going forward as Trent Alexander-Arnold? Easily one of the best crossers in the game, Alexander-Arnold delivers pinpoint crosses on a regular basis, almost always finding his target in the box. He’s also a threat from set-pieces, with his dangerous crosses from corner kicks and long-range free-kicks, but he also has an eye for goal which he has shown with some stunning free-kicks. He is one of Jurgen Klopp’s key creative outlets, providing 13 assists last season and creating 18 Big Chances for his side. He also chipped in with 4 goals as Liverpool strolled to the Premier League title. His defensive ability has been called into question previously but he continues to improve in that respect, and at just 22 years of age, the sky is the limit for the local lad.
Centre-Back—Virgil Van Dijk
What can we say about Virgil Van Dijk that hasn’t been said before? He is simply the best defender in the Premier League, and one of if not the best central defender on the planet. His impeccable tackling, magnificent range of passing and his general leadership on the field, as well as his goalscoring threat from set-pieces, make him a nightmare for attackers and defenders alike. His signing took Liverpool to that next level they needed to reach so as to be able to catch up to and eventually overtake Manchester City, and he continued to dominate throughout last season. He will likely miss the rest of the season following his terrible knee ligament injury in the Merseyside Derby earlier this season, but there is no doubt he has been one of the best defenders in the world in 2020.
In the other centre-back position, I’ve gone for someone who I believe to be underrated, and that is Leicester City’s Jonny Evans. His centre-back partner Caglar Soyuncu was the one receiving all the plaudits early last season, but when his form began to drop off in the second half of the season, it was Evans who stepped up in the Leicester backline. His experience at this level was crucial to the Foxes’ push for European football. Although they ultimately missed out on Champions League qualification on the final day of the season, they look to be well in the hunt again this season, with Evans once again looking to play a crucial role in the Leicester City defence as they challenge for those Champions League spots, while they will also be thinking that they’ll have a chance of winning the Europa League too with the quality at their disposal.
The fourth of five Liverpool players in this team, Andy Robertson is another no brainer in this side. He has shown time and again over the last two years that he is, like Trent Alexander-Arnold, one of the best attacking full-backs in the game today. What makes Robertson so good, though, is his phenomenal work rate. He never stops running and gives 100% in every single game, and he has the attacking and defensive capabilities to go alongside it. He may have a lot of competition throughout European football, but he is, without doubt, the best left-back in the Premier League.
Central Midfielder—Mateo Kovacic
This was one of the toughest choices of the entire team. There have been a number of excellent midfielders in the Premier League over the last twelve months but I decided to go for someone that I believe to be one of the most underrated players in the league, Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic. His first year at the club under Maurizio Sarri saw him greatly restricted in his midfield role, unable to showcase the ability that allowed him to earn his move from Internazionale to Real Madrid in 2015. However, over the last 18 months, Frank Lampard has gotten Kovacic back to his best. In Chelsea’s now more aggressive midfield three, he has been able to showcase his best talents, his mind-blowing resistance to an opposition press and his mazy dribbling, which kickstarted many an attack last season for Lampard’s side. He has been in and out of the team so far this season, making 10 appearances in all competitions, but his unique skill set will certainly see him in Chelsea’s starting eleven more often than not. Overall, it has been a very impressive year for the Croatian international, but Chelsea fans will be hoping he improves even more in 2021.
Central Midfielder—Jack Grealish
Now, I am not a fan of Jack Grealish the man by any stretch. His attitude off the pitch, if not improved, will almost certainly hinder his career in future if he doesn’t change his ways, but that is a subject for another time. Jack Grealish the player, however, is someone you have to respect. He almost single-handedly kept Aston Villa in the Premier League with his performances towards the back end of last season, and his performances so far this season have helped his hometown club up to 9th in the league at Christmas, with 22 points from 12 games, including a 7-2 drubbing of champions Liverpool, in which Grealish produced a truly top-class performance. If he keeps himself in check off the pitch, and gets rid of his diving on it, he’ll be a Premier League and international star for sure in the future.
Central Midfielder—Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is a model of consistency when it comes to the Premier League’s top players. 13 goals and 20 assists for Man City’s talisman last year, and even though it was a poor year for City, whose only trophy last season was the EFL Cup win over Aston Villa, De Bruyne still put in performances that put him in the conversation for the best player in the league once again. His creativity hasn’t been lacking this season either, with 7 assists to his name already and 10 Big Chances created. De Bruyne is almost guaranteed to put in top performances every time he plays—now his Man City teammates have to remember how to do the same after a very poor year from them comes to a close. One thing is for sure though, this time next year, Kevin De Bruyne will still be one of the best midfielders the Premier League has to offer.
Right Winger—Mo Salah
Mohamed Salah is simply a goal machine. Year after year there are doubts over his game and whether he’ll be able to match the form of his attacking teammates and year after year he delivers. He has been one of the key ingredients to Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp. He scored 19 times and assisted 10 as the Reds stormed to their first league win in 30 years, and he already has 13 goals in 13 games this season. He is an unstoppable force when he’s on top form like he has been this season, and that spells danger for the rest of the league.
Harry Kane has found a new lease of life at Tottenham following Jose Mourinho’s arrival at the club late last year. After many doubted his ability to perform at the top level following a series of ankle injuries, Mourinho has gotten Kane back to his best, returning to the ruthless creative outlet that he was at the peak of Pochettino’s Spurs in 2016 and 2017. He had that goalscoring touch back towards the end of last season, finishing up with 18 goals, but just 2 assists to his name. this season though, he is back to the all-rounder that Spurs fans know and love, with 9 goal and 10 assists in just 14 games. If his form continues throughout the season, Spurs will be guaranteed a top 4 spot. Harry Kane is back to being the Premier League’s most feared striker once again, and with the right additions to the squad, Mourinho could have another title-winning team on his hands.
Left Winger—Heung Min-Son
As good as Kane has been, he wouldn’t be as dangerous without his partner in crime, Heung Min-Son. They have such tremendous chemistry on the pitch that it is unmatched throughout European football. On numerous occasions this year they have made ridiculous passes in behind opposition defences on the assumption that the other would be there, and they almost always are. Like Kane, Son also had a tough year last year but the arrival of Mourinho seemed to rejuvenate him. He already has 11 goals and 4 assists this season, and in the calendar year has a shot conversion rate of 27%, with 17 goals scored over the course of 2020. When on top form, Son is one of the most talented and clinical forwards in the world, and he has shown that this year. The continuity of his and Kane’s form in 2021 will be the key to any title aspirations they may have.
So there you have it, folks! The Sports Obsessive Premier League Team of The Year 2020. So what are your thoughts? Who should have been in and who should be left out? Let us know in the comments section below or on our social media.