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2021 Premier League Team of the Year

Tue 18 January 2022 | 11:30

Now that the dust has settled and we are well into 2022, let’s take a look at the year that is behind us and find out who are on our 2021 Premier League Team of the Year:

The 2021 was an eventful year for football all around the globe. We saw the long-awaited return of the football fans to stadium, although on a reduced capacity, and we got a semblance of normalcy again which saw the Premier League on its way to reach its best again. There was also an increase in young player development in the Premier League as well as English football in general being at its best, with an all English Champions League final as well as England reaching the Euro 2020 final.

But as far as the Premier League goes, Manchester City dominated the league both in the first 6 months of 2021 that was part of last season and the last 3 or 4 months that belongs to this current season. However, as always there were standout players from all over the league which we will try to find out below. So let’s see which players combine to make our

2021 Premier League Team of the Year

:

Best Premier League Players of 2021

One thing to note here is that we are not picking a team from any specific season but rather the entirety of 2021 which falls into two seasons. We are also using a 4-2-3-1 formation here. Now let’s find out who were best Premier League players of 2021:

Goalkeeper: Ederson (Manchester City)

Ok so let’s start with an obvious pick, Ederson as the goalie for our 2021 Premier League Team of the Year. Some may argue for Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy but the fact is that Ederson was simply consistent all throughout the 2021 including this season as well while Mendy’s form has slightly dipped since the start of this season. nonetheless, while discussing the best modern goalkeepers in the game, especially the ones that engage in the buildup play, there are simply no goalkeeper that is better suited to Manchester City’s style of play than Ederson.

The Brazilian started his career in Sao Paolo and

Benfica

youth academies before making his senior debut for Ribeirao and then later playing for Rio Ave in Portugal. He then got the attention of Benfica again and it was there that he established himself as a talented goalkeeper. He then transferred to Manchester City in 2017 for a price of £35 million and has been one of the top goalkeepers in Europe since.

The thing that sets Ederson aside from most of his peers is his ability to join the buildup play, with the Brazilian having 3 assists to his name since he joined Manchester City, which is just incredible for a goalkeeper. His distribution is just top-notch and coupled with his great reflexes as well as the immense defensive unit that is in front of him, makes Ederson almost impossible to score against.

The Brazilian shot stopper has 23 assists to his name in 2021 which is 5 more than his closest competitor, Edouard Mendy. With the most amount of minutes played in 2021 among all Premier League players (3690), Ederson had a big hand in Manchester City’s title from last season as well as the one they will eventually win this season which makes him one of the best Premier League players of 2021.

Right Back: Reece James (Chelsea)

One of the players that have been on a serious upwards trajectory in the past couple of years has been

Chelsea

’s Reece James. Lampard’s reign at Chelsea may have been short and without any silverware but the legacy he left behind was the introduction of players like James, Mount and Abraham to Chelsea’s first team, who are all becoming great players. In the case of Reece James, the dynamic right back has become one of the best full backs in the world as well as being one of the best Premier League players of 2021.

Reece James is quite a well-rounded player, having both defensive and attacking capabilities that all the great fullbacks have. While

Frank Lampard

tended to deploy him more in the role of a wing back, since he was a midfielder in his earlier academy days, Thomas Tuchel reign as the manager of Chelsea in 2021, saw Reece James fully develop as a full back, taking on more defensive duties which he once again excelled at and improving his attacking abilities.

James’ improvement under Tuchel was obvious and this led to some great performances by the 22-year-old, culminating in his outstanding performance against Manchester City in the Champions League final where he completely neutralized City’s left wing and helped Chelsea win its 2nd Champions League title.

After establishing himself in Chelsea’s first team during the 2019-20 season, James really came onto his own in his second season and especially in 2021. We already spoke about his impact on Chelsea’s Champions League title but since the start of this season he has been one of Chelsea’s most important players, helping the Blues win the European Supercup as well as contributing to 5 goals and 6 assists which is rare for a defender, making him one of our picks for the 2021 Premier League Team of the Year.

Left Back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

Left back

,

right back

, a winger or a midfielder, no matter where you put Joao Cancelo he will outperform any opponent that is in front of him. The Portuguese fullback has simply been at his peak ever since he joined Manchester City, especially since the start of 2021, which is why he is, in our opinion, one of the best Premier League players of 2021.

Despite him being 27, Joao Cancelo has already played for several big clubs starting with Benfica where he trained as a youth before making his senior debut in 2014. He then joined

Valencia

where he spent several seasons before joining the two Italian Giants, Inter Milan and Juventus in quick succession spending a season with each club. but it wasn’t until he joined Manchester City that he proved himself one of the best in his position.

In Guardiola’s ever-flowing Manchester City side, Cancelo played various roles as a full back. First as an overlapping wing back and now as more of an underlapping full back who joins the midfield to use his considerable amount of technique and creativity to Manchester City’s attack, becoming one of the main playmakers of City in a team that is full of creative players.

Joao Cancelo has started every Manchester City game this season except one and has already 3 goals and 8 assists in all competitions. That alongside the couple more he had  in the tail end of last season as well as the role he played in Manchester City’s success in 2021 make Cancelo the only choice as the left back in our 2021 Premier League Team of the Year.

Center Back: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

When talking about improvements and great performances in 2021, there are a few teams that could match what Chelsea did last year. The club and every single player in it, massively improved in 2021 as opposed to the time they had under Frank Lampard in a season and a half before it. this was in huge parts due to the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as manager but also in equal measure due to some of Chelsea’s squad stepping up and meeting the challenges head on. And no one did it better than Antonio Rudiger.

The

German

defender was scarcely used during Frank Lampard’s tenure as manager but when his countryman, Thomas Tuchel, took the reins at Chelsea, it was like he became a totally different player. Aggressive and precise in defending, Rudiger took charge of Chelsea’s defensive line alongside the skipper Azplicueta and with Edouard Mendy at their back, Chelsea seemed almost impossible to score against.

The German led Chelsea to the Champions League final after some heroic performances leading up to the final but his best performance was yet to come as Chelsea’s defense became a fortress against the attack-minded Manchester City in the final and Rudiger and co. managed to keep a clean sheet and win the prestigious title. he has since continued his impressive performances and was a big part of Chelsea’s earlier title challenge this season which is why he totally deserves the nod to be in the

2021 Premier League Team of the Year

.

Center Back: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

The inclusion of the player that won the 2020-21 Premier League Player of the Season (Ruben Dias) is a must in any discussions about the

best Premier League players of 2021

. The Portuguese venter back is simply one of the best if not the best center back in business right now and totally deserves all the acclaim he has gotten over the last few months. Manchester City is simply more intact and organized while Dias is in their side and that is exactly what Guardiola was looking for when he brought him in.

A reasonably tall defender whose good physique make him very tough to play against in one on one situations, Ruben Dias has the most important quality that Guardiola looks for in a player and that is his passing. A calm distributor of the ball, Ruben Dias is usually the start of Manchester City’s attacks as his passes tend to often cut through the lines and put city on the offensive. But perhaps it is his consistency that is his most important quality. Manchester City’s high defensive line is just safer with him in their side.

Along his impressive defensive contributions, Ruben Dias also tends to chip in some goals and assists, having 2 goals and 3 assists to his name this season which usually comes from set pieces and aerial attacks, and this just adds to Manchester City’s terrifying attacking force. There are simply few defenders on the level of Ruben Dias which makes him one of EPL’s best and honestly, one of the contenders for Premier League team of the season 2021/22.

Central Midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Even since he joined Manchester City, Ilkay Gundogan has stepped up his game big time to the point that he is now not only one of the best Premier League players of 2021 but this past two seasons however he has finally taken that extra step and seems to have become a leader on the pitch for a Manchester City that is full of leaders and highly talented players. The

German midfield

maestro was exceptional last year but this year he has continued his form and is a great contender for being among Premier League team of the season 2021/22.

With David Silva leaving

Manchester City

in 2020 and Aguero leaving this summer, it has fallen to the likes of Gundogan, Sterling and De Bruyne to take up the mantle of eadership in the squad and they seem to have welcomed that role.

Gundogan in particular have been excellent since he does his usual job as well as always but has also added an extra attacking threat to his game which is a welcome addition to the side that lacks a natural striker. Gundogan has now fully reached his potential of being a complete midfielder excelling in passing, creativity, defense as well as becoming a genuine goal threat.

Gundogan’s form since the start of 2021 has been excellent with him leading the charge as De Bruyne suffered multiple injuries during the year. The German took his team to all 3 finals available to them, winning one as well as the Premier League title itself by scoring 15 goals in 2021 alone, being only behind world class strikers like Mohammed Salah and Harry Kane. Which makes Ilkay Gundogan’s inclusion in our 2021 Premier League Team of the Year a no brainer. In fact, he should be included in

World Team of the Year of 2021

!

Central Midfielder: Declan Rice (West Ham United)

At 23, Declan Rice is already a leader for

West Ham United

and vice-captain of the club which is a testament to his maturity as a player. The holding midfielder has been integral to West Ham’s resurgence under David Moyes in the last couple of seasons and even played a pivotal role for England in the Euro 2020 on their way to the final. A classic number 6 that has a sweeper element to his game, Declan Rice’s performances last season helped West Ham United have one of their all-time best finishes in the league by finishing 6th which is why he is in our 2021 Premier League Team of the Year.

A product of Chelsea’s youth academy, Rice departed from the Blues in 2014 to join West Ham United. He was given his debut at the age of 17 and since his debut, Rice has increasingly become an important figure at West Ham, with the likes of his old club Chelsea and Manchester United being desperate to sign him back in every transfer window.

Rice could play as a central midfielder or even a defender but he is most comfortable when he is deployed as a defensive midfielder. As a DM he can sweep up in front of defense as well as carry the ball forward, which he displayed perfectly both last season and in his performances in the Euro. In fact his ball-carrying capabilities and shooting ability is often overlooked because of how organized and efficient he is defensively.

Perhaps one of the most reliable midfielders among the best Premier League players of 2021 that tends to perform excellently on a consistent basis, Declan Rice is the perfect embodiment of an English midfielder, someone who has quality with the ball at his feet but is also extremely physical and reliable. There will undoubtedly be a move to a bigger club in Rice’s future but for now his destinations seems unclear.

Left Winger: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)

One of the

best Asian players of all time

, Son Heung-Min is a player that does not seem to stop improving. Ever since joining the Spurs or even before that when he was playing in the Bundesliga, Son seemed to improve his game match after match and now he is hitting his absolute best as he is teaming up with Kane to create one of the greatest attacking partnerships that the Premier League has ever known.

Capable of playing on the wings as well as up front or even behind the striker, Son Heung Min excels on the left wing where he can use his blistering pace and exceptional dribbling abilities to their fullest extent. His specialty is cutting inside from the left and shooting, often scoring, from the left corner of the oppositions box.

Son and Kane always had a good understanding of each other and their relationship on the pitch was the basis of

Spurs

’ relative success under Pochetinho but last year these two were electric and their partnership resulted in almost half of Spurs’ goals in 2021, more than dozen of which they assisted each other.

Together the duo has scored 32 goals in 2021 (Son with and Kane with 18) which is almost half of Tottenham’s goals in 2021. Add to that their assists and their contribution goes way above that making them the two most important players in that club. Son finished last season with 17 goals and 10 assists and has 8 goals and 3 assists this term as well making him one of the best players in EPL or around the world!

Right Winger: Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)

The King of Egypt’s inclusion on this list comes as a shock to absolutely no one as he is arguable the best player in the world right now. Ever since he joined Liverpool, Salah has consistently been in that conversation of being the best player in the world and he is certainly the most important reason on Liverpool’s resurgence to being a top club again. While the Reds haven’t been able to mount a significant challenge last season or even this current one, Salah has never lowered his standards and has been scoring and assisting constantly.

Even at their best when they won the Premier League after 30 years,

Liverpool

’s front three with the exception of Salah seemed in dire need of recruitment and with the addition of Diego Jota who joined them from

Wolves

, Salah and Co. seemed rejuvenated again. Although as always Salah seems to be the main man when it comes to scoring goals. in fact, there are no better partnerships in the Premier League in 2021 who have scored more goals than Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota combined.

With Salah scoring 24 and Jota 14 goals the duo has scored almost half of Liverpool’s goals in 2021. Salah is also the league’s top scorer in 2021 as well as being the 2nd best assister with 11 assists behind Alexander-Arnold. Salah is currently leading the top goal scorer list with 16 goals and may very well end up winning his third Golden Boot in the Premier League which is why he will probably feature in the

Premier League team of the season 2021/22

.

Attacking Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

It’s not an overstatement to say that Bruno Fernandes has transformed Manchester United from a mid-table side to one that competes for European places as this is exactly what the Portuguese playmaker has done since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in January of 2020. After helping

Manchester United

finish 2nd last season, Fernandes has more or less performed the same way he had last season.

Manchester United as a club have been looking for a creative midfielder ever since their beloved Alex Fergusen left the club and although many thought that player would be Paul Pogba, it seems that Fernandes is the one to fill the role.

The Portuguese midfielder has the ability to break the deadlock of a game with his well-placed passes, strategic dribbling or even clever dives which earns Manchester United penalties so often. His experience as a leader and a captain in Sporting Lisbon has also helped galvanize United's attack into a genuine threat, which is only amplified with the inclusion of Ronaldo.

Although a lot of his goals has been from the penalty spot, Fernandes has managed to score 13 times in 2021 as well as his several assists. Although he didn’t win the Golden Boot last season, the fact that he was competing with the likes of Kane and Salah for the award is an achievement for a midfielder like him. He finished last season with 18 goals and 12 assists and he has currently 7 goals and 3 assists this season as well making him a genuine contender to be in 2021 Premier League Team of the Year.

Striker: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

No one ever really doubts that Harry Kane is Tottenham’s or even England’s best player currently as the marksman has shown time and time again what a wonderful player he is but 2021 in particular saw a different side of his playing style as well, with Kane becoming a provider as well as a striker that scores bags of goals.

It is safe to say that Tottenham has had a few rocky seasons recently. Since their appearance in the 2018-19 Champions League final, the Spurs have seen 3 managerial sackings and in total 4 managers at the helm of the club but one thing that they all shared was that they all built their teams around Harry Kane. The English marksman has always performed well for Tottenham but lately, especially during last season he seemed to have expanded his role to not only be the finisher but also the provider as well.

This comes at the perfect time as Dele Alli, who was one of the main sources of creativity at Tottenham, has all but vanished from first team action. Kane’s great connection with Son on the pitch is almost telepathic as the pair are assisting each other on almost every goal that they score. With 18 goals in 2021, Harry Kane is only behind Mo Salah in terms of goals scored.

Last Season Kane scored 23 goals and assisted 14 times, picking up both the Golden Boot and Top Assister trophy in the Premier League but weirdly enough he wasn’t awarded the Player of the Season award. Kane helped England reach the Euro 2020 final by scoring 4 goals but have since underperformed a bit mainly due to Tottenham blocking his move to Manchester City in the summer. Nonetheless, there can be no other striker in our

2021 Premier League Team of the Year

other than Harry Kane.

 

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source: SportMob

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