Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
While most Premier League Team of the Season selections are almost certain to be mishmash of sky blue and red, with line-ups composed of players from either champions Manchester City or runners up Liverpool, we decided to approach things from a different angle here at FST.
Pep Guardiola’s City team and Jugen Klopp’s Liverpool side were so achingly better than the rest in this season’s Premier League, that the teams’ domination would understandably extend to the bulk of the hypothetical “best elevens” spat out by fans and media outlets alike.
For variety’s sake, we thought it would be a little more interesting to compile a Premier League Team of the Season without using any players from the competition’s most exceptional pair of teams.
Check out our selection below:
Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
Polish stopper Lukasz Fabianski had an outstanding first season between the sticks for the Irons, after moving to the London side from Swansea for £7m last summer.
Fabianski was an ever present for West Ham in 2018/19, starting each of the Hammers’ 38 Premier League fixtures during his fabulous campaign.
The 34-year old made more saves than any other keeper in the top flight this season (148), and the Polish international was named the Betway Hammer of the Year for his acrobatic displays, adding the award to the Swansea Player of the Year accolade he picked up last year.
Right Back: Matt Doherty (Wolves)
In was a close-run thing between Doherty and Crystal Palace star Aaron Wan-Bissaka for our right back slot, though the Wolves wingback edged out his Eagles’ counterpart largely thanks to his excellent attacking output.
In his first Premier League campaign with a newly promoted Wanderers side, Doherty started 35 of Wolves’ 38 matches in 2018/19, finishing the season with 4 goals and 5 assists for his club.
Centre-Back: Shane Duffy (Brighton)
Towering centre-half Shane Duffy was named Brighton’s Player of the Year last month for his brilliant performances at the back for the Seagulls, winning 41% of the total votes for the award.
The aerially dominant defender completed more clearances (243) than any other player in the Premier League in 2018/19, and Duffy simultaneously enjoyed the best ever goalscoring campaign of his club career, netting 5 times for Albion in 35 league starts overall.
Centre-Back: Michael Keane (Everton)
Everton finished the 2018/19 season with the best defensive record outside the league’s top 4, and their always reliable central defender Michael Keane played a major role in helping to keep their numbers down.
Keane made more clearances on average per game (5.5) than any of his Toffees teammates this season, and the 26-year old’s calmness in possession allowed him to contribute greatly to the Blues’ build up play right throughout their impressive campaign.
Left Back: Lucas Digne (Everton)
Keane is joined in our Best XI by defensive teammate Lucas Digne. The former Barcelona employee enjoyed a stellar season on Merseyside, and the 25-year old looks a shoe-in for the club’s Player of the Year Award later this month.
Digne appeared in all but 3 of Everton’s Premier League fixtures in 2018/19, racking up 4 goals and 4 assists during a brilliantly consistent season.
Midfield: Joao Moutinho (Wolves)
While his younger midfield teammate and compatriot Ruben Neves generally received more attention this season, most Wolves fans would agree that Joao Moutinho outperformed him for Wanderers over the course of the 2018/19 season.
Moutinho finished the campaign with the highest pass completion rate (84.8%) at the club, and the classy 32-year old notched more assists (8) than any of his Wanderers’ teammates.
Midfield: James Maddison (Leicester City)
22-year old creative midfielder James Maddison revelled in his first Premier League season for Leicester City in 2018/19, ending the year with 7 goals and 7 assists for the Foxes.
Maddison’s powers of invention maintained their potency for the entire campaign, and remarkably, the former Norwich City star played more key passes per game on average (2.8) than any other player in the Premier League this season.
Midfield: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
Although Ryan Fraser was deployed as a left sided winger for the majority of Bournemouth’s season, we’ve used a little creative licence to squeeze the 25-year old into our Team of the Year.
The Scottish international is well worth his place after he contributed to 21 of the Cherries’ 56 goals in 2018/19. Fraser’s 14 assists placed him second on the list of the league’s most prolific goal providers for the season behind Eden Hazard (15), and the Aberdeen academy graduate also chipped in with 7 goals himself.
Attack: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
If 2018/19 tuns out to be Eden Hazard’s last season in the Premier League, the diminutive Belgian winger certainly signed of in style for Chelsea, amassing 16 goals and 15 assists during an insanely productive year.
The talismanic forward completed more dibbles (3.7) and played more key passes (2.6) per game on average than any other Chelsea player this term, and the Blues are going to looks a completely different team without Hazard’s match-defining skill set next season.
Attack: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
29-year old Arsenal frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished as the Premier League’s joint top scorer this season, though the Gabon international hit his 22 goals in fewer starts (30) than his fellow leading marksmen Sadio Mane (35) and Mohamed Salah (37).
Aubameyang’s goal total meant that he had passed the 20-league goal mark in 6 of his last 7 seasons. The former Dortmund and St. Etienne attacker also laid on 7 goals for his Arsenal teammates in 2018/19.
Attack: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Jamie Vardy’s 18 goals for Leicester City this season allowed him to finish as the Premier League’s highest scoring English player in 2018/19 season ahead of his international teammates Harry Kane (17 and Raheem Sterling (17).
Vardy’s incessant work-rate and his penchant for hitting the net in the Foxes’ toughest fixtures combined to make him one of the league’s most difficult forwards to play against, and the 32-year old hit 5 goals in games against the division’s “Big 6” overall this season.
Ben Foster – The Watford stopper enjoyed a fine season in goal for the Hornets, and in February he became the goalkeeper with the most saves in the division since records began in 2006.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – The Icelandic midfielder finished the season with 13 goals and 6 assists in the Premier League for the Toffees after a terrific individual campaign.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – The Crystal Palace right-back enjoyed a breakout season for the Eagles, starting 35 of the club’s 38 Premier League fixtures, hardly putting a foot wrong along the way.
Luka Milivojevic – Even though a good chunk of his 12 Premier League goals were from the penalty spot, Palace’s combative midfielder Milivojevic deserves a spot on our bench for his productivity this term.
Felipe Anderson – The Brazilian winger was West Ham’s best outfield player this season, ending his first Premier League campaign with 9 goals, 4 assists and some stunningly skilful performances.
Son Heung-Min – With 12 goals and 6 assists, the explosive attacker delivered plenty of end-product to go with his all-action performance across Tottenham’s frontline.
Sol Bamba – In an ultimately disappointing season that ended with relegation, Sol Bamba was a shining light in Cardiff’s team. The centre-back’s 4 goals made him the club’s joint 3rd highest scorer for the year.
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