Overlooked & Underappreciated: Picking the Best Alternative 2017/18 Team of the Year

The 2017/18 PFA Team of the Year has been officially unveiled, and it’s hard to argue against the 11 stars who were selected by the panel of judges.

There will be other Premier League players who may feel slightly hard done by over not being included, however, and it’s only right to rectify this in some way.

With that in mind, here’s an alternative lineup of those who could have been picked due to their ¬†outstanding displays this term.

1. Ederson (Manchester City)

Eyebrows were raised when Pep Guardiola sanctioned a big-money move for the Portugal international last summer, particularly with question marks over his arrival due to his, well, goalkeeping attributes.

But Ederson has been superb when called upon (with both his hands and feet) for the Premier League winners, keeping 14 clean sheets as he helped City storm to a third league crown in seven seasons.

Only David De Gea has kept more shut outs than Ederson – not bad for a first season in England.

2. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

It’s been an underwhelming season for all concerned with last season’s league winners, but Mr Steady has continued his impressive form despite Chelsea’s struggles.

Azpilicueta has admirably taken up residence at centre-half and right wing-back throughout the current campaign, and hasn’t let anyone down with his typically robust displays for Antonio Conte’s men, while also registering six assists.

3. Ben Mee (Burnley)

Burnley have been the feel-good, underdog story of the season, and Sean Dyche has earned plenty of plaudits for putting them in a position to qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Part of that has been down to Burnley’s defensive resiliency, and none more so has been deserving of that accolade than Mee.

The centre-back’s 42 blocks and headed clearances have helped the Lancashire side to their lofty position in the table, and he’s arguably been deserving of an international call up as a result.

4. Shane Duffy (Brighton)

Much like Burnley, Brighton have their defence to thank for giving them the best chance of keeping the top flight status for another term, and in Shane Duffy they have a towering defender who has aided that fight against the drop.

The Republic of Ireland international’s haul of 50 blocks, 290 clearances and 215 headed clearances make him one of the best defenders this season and, if he’d have been playing for a more reputable side, may have snuck his way into the actual PFA Team of the Year.

5. Ben Davies (Tottenham)

Signed as an understudy to Danny Rose initially, Davies has made the left-back berth at Spurs his own this season.

The Welshman’s runs down the left, succinct crossing ability and bravery in the tackle have helped his reputation in England grow exponentially – so much so that Tottenham may elect to sell Rose in the summer.

If Davies can continue his fine form into next season, other clubs may start sniffing around him.

6. Fernandinho (Manchester City)

The midfield enforcer who allows the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to weave their magic, Fernandinho has quietly gone about his business again.

The veteran Brazilian is so vital to City’s fortunes that Guardiola is already on the lookout for a long-term replacement for when he eventually calls time on his career.

If City can keep Fernandinho fit then there’s no reason they can’t replicate this season’s title success again next season.

7. Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester City)

He’s picked up two red cards for Leicester this season – only Jonjo Shelvey has earned just as many – but Wilfried Ndidi’s growing importance to the Foxes is underlined by how many tackles he has won.

No other player in the Premier League this term has amassed more than the 129 successful challenges that Ndidi has made.

With the likes of Manchester United tentatively watching him, it’s not a surprise to Ndidi in our alternative side.

8. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Raheem Sterling is definitely someone who can feel extremely hard done by not be included in the PFA Team of the Year.

The winger has been a man transformed under Guardiola in 2017/18, with 17 goals and 12 assists chalked up for the Citizens to help them on their way to the title.

Instrumental in every City attack this term, Sterling would be a shoo-in if not for the form of other candidates.

9. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)

With Dele Alli having a less productive campaign this time around and Harry Kane absent for a few games, Son Heung-min once again stepped into the breach to help Spurs’ Champions League push.

The South Korean has weighed in with 12 goals and five assists for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, but it is his skill, work rate and movement that have also earmarked him out as a potential match winner.

Much like last year, he’s a cert for our list at least.

10. Leroy Sane (Manchester City)

Like City teammate Sterling, Sane can feel extremely unfortunate not to make the official PFA Team of the Year.

The German forward’s haul of nine goals and 12 assists isn’t as good as his counterpart’s, but his overall performances did earn him a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year.

11. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

The departure of Philippe Coutinho in January could have seen Firmino’s form drop off a cliff – but the Brazilian has only gotten better throughout the season.

The Liverpool star’s work rate is remarkable given how many games he’s played, and his record of 15 goals and seven assists in 33 league matches isn’t to be sniffed at.

As important to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics as Mo Salah, Firmino would have surely made it into the team if not for the form of his teammate and City striker Sergio Aguero.

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