FromTheSpot journalists name Premier League Team of the Season

With the curtains now drawn on yet another enthralling Premier League season, FromTheSpot journalists have cast their vote on the Premier League Team of the Season, in addition to two Player of the Season awards.

How did voting work?

FromTheSpot journalists were asked to nominate their top three players in each position. First-choice selections were awarded three points, second-choice players earned two points and third-choice players received a single point.

These scores were added together, with the highest-scoring players slotting into a 3-4-1-2 formation.

The Breakthrough Player of the Season award was voted for in the same manner, while journalists were asked to nominate one player for the standard Player of the Season award.

FromTheSpot’s Team of the Season

David Raya [26 pts]

Words by Lucas Chambers

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The first name in the FromTheSpot Team of the Season is David Raya, after an impressive debut season in North London, following a loan-move with option to buy, from fellow London side, Brentford. 

The Spaniard claimed the Premier League’s Golden Glove for the campaign, despite missing six games. He recorded an impressive 16 clean sheets – three more than second-place Jordan Pickford, who still deserves an honourable mention for another great season at Everton. However, unlike previous winners of the award, who dramatically save their teams with picturesque acrobatics, or fingertip saves, Raya’s impact is less surface level than those prior to him. 

It’s easy for fans and pundits to claim that he has one of the world’s best defences ahead of him, but his main impact on the side is the things you don’t see: his calmness in build-up, his high-starting position, and the ideas that teams can no longer exploit against Arteta’s side due to Raya’s wide range of strengths. 

Although Spain’s EURO2024 squad is yet to be announced, Raya will feel he has done enough to earn a spot on the plane, and possibly a starting spot on the pitch.

Virgil van Dijk [17 pts]

Words by Owen Smart

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Looking back to his best, Virgil van Dijk concluded his first season as Liverpool captain with a Carabao Cup victory (scoring the decisive goal), a top-four Premier League finish, and perhaps most prestigiously, a FromTheSpot Team of the Season award.

Many had written off the Dutchman after what was, by his high standards, a disappointing previous campaign. However, he has rebounded impressively, becoming the only constant in a frequently altered Liverpool backline. His leadership has been crucial in mentoring young defenders, including Ibrahima Konaté and Jarell Quansah.

Van Dijk’s impact on Quansah has been particularly noteworthy. The young defender’s rapid development under his guidance has earned him a spot in England’s provisional squad for EURO2024. Quansah’s inclusion in Southgate’s 33-man squad is a testament to Van Dijk’s effectiveness as a mentor, helping to shape the youngster’s defensive skills and overall game awareness.

Unbeatable both in the air and on the ground, the Dutch colossus has led Liverpool in Jürgen Klopp’s final season with incomparable class and consistently high-level performances. Van Dijk’s defensive prowess was complemented by his excellence in ball distribution, boasting a 91.3% pass completion rate and averaging 5.59 progressive passes per match – putting him in the 91st percentile. These statistics highlight his vital role in both defence and attack for the Reds.

As Van Dijk heads to EURO2024 this summer to captain the Dutch national team, he aims to continue his fine form and possibly lift another trophy, this time with the Oraanje. His influence both on and off the pitch remains pivotal, and his leadership continues to inspire and elevate those around him.

William Saliba [21 pts]

Words by Jonny Lambe

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William Saliba makes up one of the three centre-backs in the FromTheSpot Team of the Season, picking up the most votes for a defender after playing a pivotal role in a record-breaking defensive campaign with Arsenal. The Frenchman became the first player in Arsenal history to play in every single minute of the Premier League season, in just his second year in the English top flight. 

With 18 clean sheets in 38 matches, partnered with the equally impressive Gabriel at the heart of the Gunners defence, the 23-year-old centre back has shown a level of composure and defensive assurance way beyond his years. The way in which Saliba rarely looks strained or stretched under pressure is one of the reasons he has become one of the best defenders in the league.

Despite Saliba’s standout performances this season, it is still yet to be decided the level of impact he will have on France’s EURO2024 campaign with Didier Deschamps not favouring the Arsenal defender in previous tournaments. If his inclusion in the 25-man squad results in playing time, his defensive ability and anticipation in 1v1 situations could be crucial in the latter stages of the competition. 

Gabriel Magalhães [17 pts]

Words by Lucas Chambers

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After receiving an awaited Brazil callup for the forthcoming Copa America tournament this summer, Gabriel Magalhães beats the likes of Micky van de Ven and Jarrad Branthwaite to the third centre-back spot in the FromTheSpot Team of the Season. Despite initially being benched by Mikel Arteta, Gabriel proved the doubters wrong throughout the season, stepping out of William Saliba’s shadow to finally gain the plaudits he has long deserved. 

Starting 34 games in the league campaign, the defender registered an impressive 15 clean sheets. His aggressive nature, which has earned him the title ‘el Monstro’, has benefited Arsenal when suffocating teams, and has provided stability Arsenal’s erratic pressing structure. The 26 year-old has also revealed himself as a surprise package from set-pieces, as he has registered three goals since the New Year after earning a hard-fought point in a 1-1 draw at Anfield just days before Christmas.  

With Saliba alongside the Brazilian, the Gunners’ defence has been tipped as the best defensive partnership of this Premier League campaign. The formidable pairing could be pivotal in the North London side’s title quests next season, as Arteta has finally found his long-awaited salt and pepper, his cheese and wine, his Tony Adams and Martin Keown. 

Phil Foden [21 pts]

Words by Rhys Webb

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Phil Foden has excelled for Manchester City this season, already accruing a number of personal accolades to go alongside the Cityzens fourth consecutive Premier League title. The Stockport Iniesta is just one of three players to make the FromTheSpot Team of the Season though – perhaps testament to the narrowing gulf in quality at the top of the table,

With Kevin de Bruyne plagued by injury throughout the 2023/24 campaign, Foden was left with the impossible task of replacing the Belgian playmaker in the heart of the City midfield. He made it look easy, registering 27 goal contributions in the Premier League alone in just 31 starts.

There was no doubt that Foden would be included in Gareth Southgate’s preliminary EURO2024 squad – but if his fine form continues into the summer, he may just be a nailed-on starter for the Three Lions as they strive to be crowned as European Champions for the first time in Germany.

Rodri [30 pts]

Words by Harvey Hodgson

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Where would Manchester City be without Rodri, eh? In a season in which they broke yet another record, becoming the first team to win four consecutive Premier League titles, it’s hard to understate the importance of their Spanish midfield general. 

He’s a tricky player to pin down, too. Sometimes, he has the deftness of Sergio Busquets. Sometimes, he can rifle in a fierce shot from long range or pick out a perfect diagonal pass like Toni Kroos. Get on the wrong side of him, though, and, as Nottingham Forest found out, there’s a ruthless streak not dissimilar to Gennaro Gattuso. Rodri is, in many ways, the quintessential holding midfielder of the modern era. 

But he’s also the perfect Pep Guardiola player. He completed 3,633 passes in the league this season – over 400 clear of second place. He has the league’s most touches and he completed the most tackles for Manchester City. But he’s not shy of getting in on the goals, either. With 17 goal contributions from the heart of midfield, he truly can do it all. 

More important, though, is the impact he had on the best team in the land. City lost three games in the league this season and Rodri was absent for all of them; they didn’t lose any of the rest. In fact, he hasn’t lost a game in 90 minutes with City since the 5th of February. Last year. 472 days ago. 74 matches ago.

Manchester City wouldn’t be champions without him. There was no way he wasn’t getting in our team. 

Declan Rice [13 pts]

Words by Jamie Spangher

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After captaining West Ham United to victory in the UEFA Europa Conference League, all eyes were firmly situated on the future of England star Declan Rice as his tenure with the Irons became ambiguous. The conclusion of the 2022/23 campaign saw one club emerge victorious in the race for Rice, as Mikel Arteta’s army splashed a mountain of a sum on securing the midfielder’s presence in London Colney.

Despite the £100m+ fee seeming ludicrous on paper, it would only take a matter of minutes before the Red and White army were certain that Rice was the missing piece in the puzzle, if their side hoped to go one step further in the 2023/24 Premier League season. Securing his spot in the FromTheSpot Team of the Season with certainty, Rice continues to prove why he is one of England’s brightest stars.

Championing the Gunners as both a 6 and an 8 throughout their league campaign, Rice’s ability to gain the territory by both ball and foot allowed Arteta to fill a gaping hole with a player of the highest calibre. Combining in brilliance with Martin Ødegaard within the central third, Arsenal had finally located their defensive-minded midfielder, rich with composure and strong in stature.

Despite Arsenal falling short at the last hurdle, the campaign from the Gunners shows drastic improvements in the maturity and composure of a side the third-youngest in the Premier League. A primary catalyst of course: the introduction of Declan Rice to North London. Registering seven goals and eight assists, all with a passing accuracy of 90.75%, Rice continues to shape into a colossus midfielder amidst a highly competitive Premier League.

As England look to avenge their final hurdle loss in the European Championships of last, Declan Rice will prove pivotal for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side as they eye up a potential trophy lift at EURO2024.

Bukayo Saka [19 pts]

Words by Lucas Chambers

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Bukayo Saka’s recordbreaking season in North London sees him obtain the right-wing position in the Team of the Season. The winger has had a campaign to remember, as he broke numerous records in red and white – perhaps contrary to popular belief that he had an underwhelming season.

The winger scored 16 goals and registered nine assists, ranking him seventh for total goal involvements in the league. Havertz’s tactical shift to centre-forward allowed more freedom for the winger – but it was quickly snatched straight back off him by defenders who, somewhat flatteringly, doubled, or rarely tripled, up on the ‘starboy’. 

Away from the pitch however, the characteristics of Saka’s newly released Nando’s sauce, PERi PERi Saka, have seemed to follow him onto the turf. Whilst he does spice up the game, and he definitely brings the heat, opposition players have begun to imitate the same kick the sauce gives when the tricky youngster finds a way to prevail over them. 

After shouldering the weight of his teammates for numerous seasons, Saka has found himself eclipsed by the rapid improvement of this Arsenal squad, as he has evolved into a mere, yet important, cog of an excellent masterpiece. With the EURO2024 campaign on the horizon, England fans will be understandably eager to watch him in Germany alongside the likes of Phil Foden and Cole Palmer.

Cole Palmer [28 pts]

Words by Christopher Heath

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Arguably single-firing Chelsea into the UEFA Europa Conference League when it appeared an impossibility that the Blues would be playing in Europe next season with ten matches left of the campaign, it would have been a travesty if Cole Palmer had not made FromTheSpot 2023/24 Premier League Team of the Season.

Only Erling Haaland netted more goals than the former Manchester City academy graduate – and while the Spaniard may not admit it, there’s a high chance that Pep Guardiola is still kicking himself after letting the latest talent break onto the scene in English football leave the Etihad for the mere fee of £42.5m at the beginning of September.

With Christopher Nkunku missing the majority of the campaign through injury and fellow new recruit Nicolas Jackson not living up to his reputation from La Liga, it was down to Palmer to spectacularly step up and produce 33 goal contributions – 14 more than his nearest teammate.

Back-to-back hat-tricks at Stamford Bridge against Manchester United and Everton helped the Englishman even eclipse Didier Drogba’s jaw-dropping club record of 32 goal contributions in the 2009/10 season.

With a new manager in the Stamford Bridge dugout next season – following the unforeseen departure of Mauricio Pochettino – whoever owner Todd Boehly hires, they must surely work to build their team around Palmer.

Erling Haaland [27 pts]

Words by Owen Smart

Embed from Getty Images

Two seasons, two league titles, two golden boots – and 63 goals. The clear choice for the centre-forward role in the FromTheSpot Team of the Season, the Norwegian was once again prolific and assiduous in front of goal, notching another 27 goals this season to finish five ahead of the next best goalscorer, Cole Palmer.

Despite criticism for his link-up play, famously compared to the level of a League Two player by a certain pundit, Haaland’s goal-scoring prowess remains undeniable

Admittedly, his 2.05 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes (27th percentile), coupled with poor progressive passing and carrying numbers (15th and 45th percentile respectively), are uncharacteristic for a Pep Guardiola side. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for Erling, beauty lies in goals – lots of them. His ability to find the back of the net with remarkable consistency overshadows any perceived shortcomings in his all-around play.

Although he missed 7 games through injury, Haaland still averaged a goal involvement every 79 minutes this season – even during periods without his talisman, Kevin de Bruyne. This level of efficiency underscores his value to the team and his exceptional knack for being in the right place at the right time. His presence on the pitch commands attention and creates opportunities for his teammates, further highlighting his importance beyond just goal-scoring.

2023/24 was another stunning season from the Nordic striker, and he’ll be looking to continue his form after a long summer break, with Norway unfortunately not qualifying for EURO2024. Haaland’s focus will be on maintaining his fitness and returning even stronger next season, ready to add more accolades and goals to his already impressive career.

Ollie Watkins [23 pts]

Words by Christopher Heath

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Invigorated by Unai Emery, who recently signed an extension to his contract to keep him at Villa Park until 2029 to the delectation of everyone associated with the club, Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins deservedly takes his place in FromTheSpot’s 2023/24 Premier League Team Of The Season.

With Erling Haaland, Cole Palmer and Alexander Isak finding the back of the net on more occasions than Watkins over the course of the season, an argument could have been made that Villa’s top scorer shouldn’t have made it into this end-of-season squad with his 19 goals.

However, considering that the England international also contributed the most assists (13) in the league and became the first player since the legendary Peter Withe to score 19 goals in a top-flight campaign for Villa since 1980/81, he fully deserves his inclusion.

Every time Watkins received the ball in the final third, there was a very high chance that he would at the very least work the goalkeeper, if not make them retrieve the ball from the back of their nets – just pose that question to the likes of Brighton, Arsenal and former club Brentford.

Transformed from a winger into an out-and-out striker by Emery following the conclusion of last season, the former non-league striker – who was playing for Weston-super-Mare in December 2014 – heavily assisted in Villa qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time as well as reaching the semifinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

One of the first names on Emery’s team sheet, most believe it will be between Ivan Toney and Watkins for a seat on the plane to EURO2024 with Gareth Southgate and co next month.

Player of the Season

Phil Foden [38.4% of votes]

Words by Harvey Hodgson

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In December 2018, as it was said, Phil Foden signed a contract with Manchester City that would see him sit on the bench for six years. Well, it’s been nearly six years since then, and he’s been doing some pretty revolutionary bench-warming.

With five Premier League titles to his name before a ball was kicked this season, he had already achieved more with his boyhood club than most could even dare to dream of. Making at least 25 league appearances in each of the last three seasons prior to this, he was no longer a fringe player looking for his big break; he was the real deal. 

His talent has always been obvious for all to see. Pep Guardiola called him the best player he’d ever seen of his age group, and he’s a man who has coached some pretty special players in that bracket: there’s a little Argentinian that immediately comes to mind. 

But while Foden had spent much of his Premier League career being easy on the eye, he was yet to really convert style into substance at a truly world-class level. That was until this season. 19 goals and eight assists put him in a bracket of player that, talented as he always had been, he hadn’t yet breached. And it came out of the blue (if you will); no one really saw it coming.

Except him, of course. 

Back in September, he prophesised his own rise with an almost frightening degree of accuracy. In an interview with Football Focus, he said, “I want to be one of the best players in the Premier League this year. I want to show people what I can do, whether it’s in a central role or out wide.”

“I want to get a run of games, get in the flow and show people what I’m about. That’s my aim.”

Well, aim achieved. The ‘Stockport Iniesta’ reinvented himself this term, transforming himself from a talent in a Guardiola system, to a star upon whom the Guardiola system depended. 

Big moments have been his M.O., whether it be his long-distance firecracker against Manchester United, his stunning hat-trick against Aston Villa, or his brace on the final day to secure the title against West Ham. If there was ever a moment with the potential to define City’s fourth consecutive league title, odds are Phil Foden was in the thick of it, either slaloming through defenders or pulling the trigger himself. 

In many ways, he’s the player England have been crying out for. His versatility, his flair, talent, and now, finally, his end product, paint the picture of a player who seems more Brazilian than English. 

Today, he’s not in the shadow of someone else, or donning the mantra of some former great. Now, as Premier League Player of the Season, he’s a great in his own right: a boyhood blue getting to live the dream of thousands of others watching him every single week, wondering if they’ll be the next Foden. 

The Stockport Iniesta is no more. It’s just Phil Foden now. 

Breakthrough Player of the Season

Kobbie Mainoo [27 pts]

Words by Sam Lowen

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Kobbie Mainoo is FromTheSpot’s Breakthrough Player of the Season. The English international has had a sensational campaign with Manchester United in his first season for the club – he has played 24 matches, scoring three goals in the process. The 19-year-old has bagged some important goals for the Red Devils this season, with goals against rival Liverpool and Newcastle United to name just a few.

Competition for this award was rife, but Mainoo beats the likes of Adam Wharton to claim the award in part due to his experience with the senior England squad at such a young age. Mainoo has shown why he is a leader at a club of United’s stature, a perfect emphasis of his current capabilities that will only develop further in the future.

He will want to continue this breakout season with an Emirates FA Cup win on Saturday against Manchester City before striving to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s finalised 26-man EURO2024 squad, for he could be a key player for the Three Lions in Germany this summer.

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