Big Premier League clubs get all of the attention. While all 11 of the players chosen in the 2016/17 PFA Team of the Year came from clubs inside the top seven, there are still plenty of good players in the lower half of the table. In fact, most of the players included in the XI below could easily make a switch to the big boys. Although their clubs are not performing well this season, here is the team of the season from clubs currently sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League standings.
Fellow Englishman Tom Heaton could have been chosen here, but Pickford beats the Burnley keeper in saves, distribution accuracy, and pass percentage. At 23, Pickford is one of the highest-rated young keepers in the Premier League, and will be subject of transfer offers this coming summer.
Michail Antonio, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, and Christian Fuchs
West Ham’s Antonio and Burnley’s Keane were pretty easy choices. However, the second center back slot was possibly the toughest call of this XI. Maguire edges Steve Cook, Ben Gibson, Gareth Mcauley, and Ben Mee due to the Hull City defender’s 38 tackles, 58 interceptions, and winning 63% of his total duels.
Fuchs gets the nod at left back because the former Austria international has had a solid campaign, despite Leicester City’s fall back to reality. The now 31-year-old defender racked up more tackles than Leighton Baines, more interceptions than Marcos Alonso, and more blocks than Nacho Monreal.
Wilfried Zaha, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Harry Arter, and Manuel Lanzini
Zaha has been absolutely brilliant this season for Crystal Palace. His nine assists are currently tied for fourth in the Premier League (and more than Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez combined). One of the three players that has more assists in the league is Sigurdsson (12). Much like Pickford, the Swansea midfielder will surely attract interest from bigger clubs in England, and perhaps even other leagues as well.
Arter and Lanzini complete the well-rounded four-man midfield. The Bournemouth midfielder’s story is quite amazing. Signed when the club were in League One (for€140,000), Arter has stuck with the Cherries and has been an integral part of the team’s relative success to the Premier League. West Ham’s Lanzini was picked over Andros Townsend due to having superior goals + assists, key passes, and pass completion.
Josh King and Christian Benteke.
Probably the easiest choice out of the lot. King has been a revelation since his teammate Callum Wilson suffered a serious injury on the last day of January. In Wilson’s absence, King has netted 10 goals in 11 Premier League matches. This includes scoring versus Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and a hat-trick against West Ham.
Benteke has enjoyed a solid freshman season with Crystal Palace. His 14 league goals are ninth-best in England’s top flight, and more than Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Theo Walcott, and Jamie Vardy. Still just 26, Benteke is entering his prime and looks to be done with his disappointing Liverpool form.
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