The Financial Express

Premier League 'Team of the Year' 2021

| Updated: January 08, 2022 15:12:49

Premier League 'Team of the Year' 2021

2021 was another strange year in the world of English top-flight which had almost everything - the return of the fans to the stadium, a great transfer window, shock results here and there and of course a lot of football. 

Manchester City won the title for the third time in the last four years (finishing 12 points ahead of second-placed Manchester United), and Guardiola’s side is sitting pretty comfortably at the top of the premier league summit this term again. 

Here are the 11 players who have performed consistently in the past 1 year. The team is made with a 4-3-3 formation.

Goalkeeper: Ederson Moraes (Manchester City)

Winner of the Golden Glove for the second straight season, no other keeper kept more clean sheets (23) in the PL than the Brazilian shot-stopper. 

It’s easy to forget just how good the Brazilian is, with a team full of stars playing in front of him. Alongside his supreme shot-stopping ability, he’s arguably the best goalkeeper in the world with his feet, a tailor-made goalkeeper for modern-day football. 

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Aside from a couple of nervy outings at the beginning of the year, Trent was the most consistent RB in the division in 2021. 

A superb crosser of the ball, Liverpool is a completely different side with Trent in the team. No wonder he’s leading the division this season in every key attacking matric. 

Centre-back: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Arguably the best CB in the division although he has only been here for just over 15 months tells a lot about how much of an impact Ruben Dias has had at Manchester City. 

He is a perfect modern-day ball playing CB. The towering Portuguese has added some much-needed steel at the back for the Citizens who have been shaky at the back since the departure of club legend Vincent Kompany. 

Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

A surplus to requirements under club legend Frank Lampard, PL has seen a completely transformed Antonio Rudiger at the heart of the Chelsea backline since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel. 

One of the best CBs in the world (clubs like Real Madrid and PSG circling around to get him), Rudiger rampaging forward from the back with the ball at his feet was one of the most consistent sights of 2021. 

Left-back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

What has been the weakest position on the pitch under Pep Guardiola throughout his Manchester City tenure, Joao Cancelo excelled at LB, even though he is an RB naturally. 

The Portuguese lit up the PL with his marauding runs from the back, chipping in excellent deliveries in the box. He has been one of the most crucial cogs in Manchester City’s juggernaut, playing most of his games around the opposition box. 

Midfield: Declan Rice (West Ham)

Probably the best ball carrier in the division, Declan Rice hit a different level in 2021. He has turned into one of the most complete midfielders in the league with excellent composure on the ball, forming a superb midfield partnership with Tomas Soucek that has been competing with the elites in the division. 

No wonder he has got a hefty price tag of around £100 million on him and it won’t be surprising if Chelsea or a Manchester United snaps him up sooner rather than later. 

Midfield: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

Arguably the best player in the division this term, Bernardo Silva has been ever-present in Pep Guardiola’s otherwise hugely rotating roster. 

A relentless workhorse both on and off the ball, Bernardo just adds a different dimension to a City team that has been dominating teams for fun. 

Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Ilkay Gundogan had to fill a Kevin De Bruyne sized hole at the heart of the City midfield last season and the German midfielder passed the test with flying colours, often chipping in with important goals. 

The diminutive midfielder had the best season of his Manchester City tenure last season and rightly deserves a place here.

Right-wing: Raphinha (Leeds United)

It could be either of Raphinha or Bukayo Saka of Arsenal but the Leeds United man gets the nod here because he was more consistent throughout the year and has almost single-handedly kept an injury-hit Leeds United side away from the scraps of the relegation battle. 

The Brazilian winger is a joy to watch, an excellent dribbler, lighting up the premier league with samba magic. No wonder he has been heavily linked with the likes of Bayern Munich and Liverpool. 

Striker: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

As there hasn’t been many who have lit up the league from a striker position, Mohamed Salah gets the nod here. 

The Egyptian King has been one of the best players in the division for some years and now he has hit a different level this term. He was a menace to the defenders throughout the year, running down the wing with explosive pace and trickeries, scoring goals for fun. 

He is arguably the best player in the world right now; that’s how good he has been, unplayable at times. 

Left-wing: Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Probably the most exciting young player in the division alongside the Hale End graduates Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, Phil Foden was immense for Manchester City in 2021. 

Guardiola once said that Phil Foden is the most talented player he has ever worked with and that man has worked with well, Lionel Messi. That just proves how good Phil Foden can be and for whom the sky is the limit. Premier League just saw glimpses of it in 2021. 

Gaffer: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

It might sound like a cliché at this point but Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world and for a reason. He proved again in 2021 just why he has been above the rest for such a long period of time. 

His Man City team crushed teams left and right throughout the year and that too without an out and out striker, while consistently playing the most beautiful blend of football in the world.

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