It’s that time of the season again!
As another Premier League season waned last weekend, here, we view the whole season and try to figure out and note down the interesting details with opinions for you folks. Today, I try to single one player from each team who rose above the ranks and the bars set by the peers to make a name for them:
- Manchester City: Kevin de Bruyne
Manchester City cruised away to the title this season, but everything was possible because of the presence of a certain Belgian maestro. De Bruyne was at his creative and efficient best as City’s attacks flew through him and he also recorded an astonishing 16 assists throughout the course of the season.
- Manchester United: David de Gea
The Spaniard was United’s saviour numerous times this season, as de Gea notched up saves that defied physics. His reflexes were supreme, and he often turned up to perform in the big matches; such as the save against Joel Matip at Anfield, against Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates and the time when he denied Sergio Aguero at Etihad. Three top clubs, three away venues, and three excellent saves! Classic Dave…
- Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane
Though Kane had to face great competition from Christian Erikson, the truth is that Kane instils a level of confidence and belief that no other player is capable of doing in this Spurs’ side. He even scored 30 league goals and missed the Premier League’s Golden Boot just by a whisker.
- Liverpool: Mohammed Salah
Salah was not even expected to make it to the starting XI regularly, let alone the fact that he would become the best forward in the country! The Egyptian turned a new chapter in his career as he demolished teams with his extraordinary skills, footwork and the efficiency in front of the goal. He scored 32 league goals and even assisted ten times too.
- Chelsea: Cesar Azpilicueta
In an extremely volatile Chelsea team, only Cesar Apilicueta can be revered as someone possessing a calm head over shoulders. The Spaniard was cool, composed at the back and led the other defenders with his safe yet crucial performances.
- Arsenal: Nacho Monreal
Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League yet again and endured a disappointing season as their ambitions failed to match up to that of their best player Alexis Sanchez, who later parted ways with the Gunners in January. Amidst the storm, Monreal was unrealistically classy and elegant at the back; as he even found his goal-scoring boots and notched five goals throughout the course of the season.
- Burnley: James Tarkowski
Burnley defied all odds and punched well above their weights to achieve European football for the next season. Tarkowski was the centre, the focal point of the rigid, compact defensive structure that Sean Dyche employed at Turf Moor. He was aerially strong, well-positioned and won duels at crucial moments in the game.
- Everton: Idrissa Gueye
In a largely disappointing season this time around, most of Everton’s big stars’ performances did not match up to expectations. Gueye was a menace at the centre of the park and broke attacks regularly. He won the second most number of tackles in the league, and can surely keep his head high.
- Leicester City: Riyad Mahrez
Though Jamie Vardy was the highest goal-scorer with an impressive 20 goals in the league campaign, Mahrez was the one who made Leicester tick with his flair and creativity. The Algerian scored 12 goals and assisted 10 times; despite being troubled with transfer speculations for major portions of the season.
- Newcastle United: Jamaal Lascelles
Newcastle’s return to the Premier League was met with regular doubts over their survival. However, a tenth place finish was achieved, and a whole lot of credit for this goes to their stylistic captain Jamaal Lascelles. The central defender was a leading figure in the team, as he commanded the box with authority and used all aspects of defending to thwart attacks at a regular rate.
- Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha
The Eagles will be the ultimate definition of a one-man team as Roy Hodgson ’s side desperately struggled without their star Ivorian. He scored a career-high nine goals and almost single-handedly carried Palace’s attack with his dribbling prowess and constant offensive impetus. It was the best season in Zaha’s young career.
- AFC Bournemouth: Nathan Ake
Eddie Howe was incredible yet again this season, but it was the transfer of Nathan Ake that had garnered all the headlines early in the season. Ake certainly added more quality to Bournemouth’s defence, as his pace, game-reading and a quite unnatural and ignored aerial strength certainly helped the Cherries to sustain their impressive run in the Premier League.
- West Ham United: Marko Arnautovic
Seen by many as a risky buy, Arnautovic took his own share of time to settle into the new surroundings. However, he later became the talisman under the tutelage of David Moyes, as the manager shifted him to a more central position and accordingly built the team around the Austrian. He did not disappoint and scored 11 goals and notched six assists to keep the Hammers in the Premier League.
- Watford: Abdoulaye Doucoure
To be honest, Watford did well enough to survive in the Premier League despite possessing a mediocre squad of sorts. Doucoure was the sole source of creativity at the centre of the park and finished the season as the team’s highest goal-scorer too, highlighting the importance of his presence in the side.
- Brighton & Hove Albion: Pascal Gross
Gross was undoubtedly the signing of the season for me, as the German performed tremendously well to keep the Seagulls in the Premiership. He scored seven goals, assisted eight times and was constantly energetic and busy in the midfield. He was, quite remarkably, amongst the best players of the season.
- Huddersfield Town: Christopher Schindler
David Wagner’s primary objective was to extend his side’s stay in the Premier League and it would not have been possible without Schindler, who led the team well from the back in his debut season. He appeared in 37 matches throughout the course of the season and was proactive, vocal and busy in defence.
- Southampton: Oriol Romeu
Romeu can be singled out as the only player from Saints’ team who maintained a certain level of appreciable consistency in his performances. Though Dusan Tadic stepped up to perform in the crucial dying weeks of the season, Romeu deserves this place as he was the only notable presence in the midfield.
- Swansea City: Alfie Mawson
Mawson was a rock at the back, as he used his physicality, aerial strength and tackling abilities to great effect in the three-man central defensive formation. He earned an England call-up too, but unfortunately missed the plane to Russia owing to a knee injury.
- Stoke City: Kurt Zouma
The Chelsea-bound midfielder had a productive loan spell in an otherwise hugely disappointing campaign for the Potters. Zouma drove the team ahead with strength and precision and should return to the top-flight as the lad is well too good for the Championship.
- West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster
The Baggies had a hopeful late surge to safety under Darren Moore, but Foster is one player who was constantly trying to lift up the team from seemingly hopeless situations. His shot-stopping was excellent, but neither the defence nor the midfield supported him enough. Foster’s best performance was at his old home Old Trafford, where the custodian pulled out an array of amazing saves to gift Manchester City the title.