It seems that when the PFA Team of the Year is announced every year, a debate ensues. This year is no different. The 2016/17 PFA Team of the Year consisted of: David de Gea, Kyle Walker, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose, Eden Hazard, Dele Alli, N’Golo Kante, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane, and Romelu Lukaku.
While it is certainly a talented bunch of players, there is a select group that were, perhaps, more deserving. It must also be said that voting and the announcement of the team is premature, as there was still a month remaining on the season fixture list. Listed below, in no particular order, are four players that can make a strong case to have been snubbed from the team.
Although Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had an extremely impressive freshman season on Merseyside, the Arsenal attacker was absolutely spectacular throughout the entire campaign. No one in the Premier League has had more of a direct impact on goals for his team than Sanchez. The Chile international currently has 23 goals and 10 assists on the season, which happens to be significantly better than Mane’s 13 goals and 5 assists for the Reds.
Sanchez was not only the biggest snub in the Team of the Year, but he also should have been N’Golo Kante’s biggest threat to Player of the Year as well. Per Squawka.com, Sanchez beats the aforementioned Mane in goals, assists, key passes, chances created, successful passes, take on percentage, duel percentage, and even tackles.
Danny Rose made the Team of the Year despite playing just 18 total Premier League matches on the season. While Rose is certainly a talented left back for Tottenham, a more worthy option would have been Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso. The Blues are regularly praised for bringing in defensive midfielder Kante, and rightfully so; however, Alonso was also a brilliant buy for the Blues.
The 26-year-old wing back is a perfect fit in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation with Chelsea. He can go forward just as well as he can defend. Alonso managed to rack up more tackles, interceptions, clearances, goals, assists, and successful passes than Rose.
Somehow still a bit underrated at the ripe age of 31, Koscielny is arguably the most well-rounded center back in the Premier League. The France international has pace, is a superb tackler, and is also solid in the air. Although Arsenal’s defense has been shaky during a large part of the current campaign, Koscielny has been the team’s only consistent defender.
Along with his physical attributes, Koscielny is also an extremely smart defender. He reads the game impeccably well (as noted by his 91 interceptions). While Chelsea’s defensive record this season is certainly impressive, the Gunner appears to have better numbers than David Luiz. During Premier League play, Koscielny has more tackles, interceptions, goals, and a higher passing percentage, total duel percentage, and aerial duel percentage than the Brazilian.
Somehow forgotten in Chelsea’s defense was Azpilicueta. The Spain international is a versatile defender, as he can play any defensive position on the pitch. Reportedly costing Chelsea less than £10 million back in 2012, Azpilicueta has been an absolute steal for the Premier League club. And much like Koscielny, is one of the more underrated players in Europe.
While his Chelsea teammates made up the middle of the Team of the Year’s defense, Azpilicueta probably deserved the bid more than both Cahill and Luiz. The 27-year-old has more tackles, interceptions, and has made fewer defensive errors (per Squawka) than the two defender chosen instead of him. I’d personally take Koscielny and Azpilicueta over Cahill and Luiz any day.