With the Premier League season having resumed following the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the team here at FromTheSpot.co.uk have cast their votes as to who they view as the standout performers as we approach the halfway point of the top-flight season.
Goalkeeper: Nick Pope – Newcastle United
With 18 games played, Newcastle have very much exceeded expectations this season, currently sitting at 3rd in the table having kept the most clean-sheets in the league. It’s safe to say that the project spear-headed by Eddie Howe is well on its way – thanks in part to a phenomenal contribution from Nick Pope.
Arriving from relegated Burnley in the summer, the Magpies new number-one has been nothing short of spectacular in his new colours. With a save success rate of 82% and 10 clean-sheets in 18 appearances, Pope instils confidence in the entire team knowing they have the safest (and perhaps biggest) hands in the league behind them. He commands his area, he commands his defenders and he has commanded his place in this team.
Left Back: Joao Cancelo – Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s Portuguese starlet was the best full back in the league last season, and he seems to have carried that form into to this current season as Manchester City look to repeat the success of the previous campaign.
Adding dynamism and quality as an inverted full-back, Cancelo has redefined his left-back position whilst also retaining his ability to play on the opposite flank. Being a capable contributor in all phases of play, Cancelo is now the closest thing to a guaranteed starter in a squad rich in quality and depth.
Left Centre Back: Lisandro Martinez – Manchester United
Much was made of Manchester United’s acquisition of the Argentine centre-half following his £50 million move from Ajax in the summer; most notably his physical profile.
Standing at a mere 5 foot and 9 inches, many fans and pundits questioned Martinez’s physical ability to compete in the Premier League, but fast forward 6 months and it’s safe to say he has silenced those same critics. Nicknamed ’The Butcher’, Martinez has transformed a once porous United defence into a solid defensive unit.
“No matter what anyone says, being 5ft 9in is a problem”Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher when asked about Martinez on Sky Sports in August 2022
Right Centre Back: John Stones – Manchester City
John Stones has often gone under the radar when discussing the league’s elite defenders, but this season he has become an immovable object in the city back 4 and is getting the recognition he has long deserved.
Being deployed at both centre back and right back this season, Stones has shown both adaptability and quality in both positions. With Ruben Dias picking up an injury upon returning from international duty, Stones has stepped up to become the main man at the heart of the City defence. With a 75% tackle success rate and 0 errors leading to goals, the England defender has earned his spot in our team of the season so far.
Right Back: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle United
By far the least contested vote between us here at FTS, Kieran Trippier was the unanimous decision at right back. With Reece James and Kyle Walker spending a fair amount of time on the treatment table and usual recipient Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling for form, Kieran Trippier has risen to the top of an esteemed list.
The Newcastle man has been instrumental this season in both defence and attack, having been part of the best defensive unit in the league, whilst also being 2nd in the league in big chances created (13). Since returning from a spell in Spain, the Englishman looks to be right at home in the North East of England.
Central Defensive Midfielder: Casemiro – Manchester United
After a big money move to Old Trafford in the summer, the Brazilian has been the catalyst in Ten Hag’s revival effort on the red side of Manchester.
Sitting at 4th in the table, United have looked transformed with the experience of Casemiro to steady the ship in the difficult moments. His influence on the team is widespread, from breaking up play and controlling the tempo whilst also chipping in with the odd goal or assist, and it’s clear that the 5-time Champions League winner has settled nicely at the base of the United midfield.
Left Central Midfielder: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal
With 12 goal involvements in 16 games so far this season, the young Arsenal captain has been instrumental to the success of Arteta’s men.
After falling short of the top 4 last season, the Gunners have well and truly bounced back this season, leading the league by 5 points with 17 games played – you’d be searching a while before finding someone that saw this form coming. Thanks in no small part to the Norwegian international, Arsenal are back in the title race for the first time in over a decade. What remains to be seen is whether or not Odegaard and Arsenal can continue this form and raise the coveted Premier League trophy come May!
Right Central Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – but the Manchester City talisman retains his place in the team of the season. Leading the league in assists (9), the Belgian midfielder is once again bossing the centre of the park up and down the country.
After a disappointing World Cup which saw De Bruyne at the centre of tabloid gossip for his comments on the age of the Belgium National Team, he has returned to Manchester and continued his stellar form in a sky blue shirt. Having created the most big chances in the league this season, his creativity hasn’t faltered in the slightest.
“We have a good team, but it is ageing”Kevin de Bruyne when asked about Belgium’s chance of winning the 2022 World Cup
Left Winger: Marcus Rashford – Manchester United
After a turbulent season in the United camp last season, the young Englishman has journeyed on a redemption arc that many had been anticipating in 2022/23.
With 10 goal contributions this season in just 17 games – a marked improvement on last season’s return of 6 goal contributions in 25 games – Rashford seems to have regained his edge and his confidence, improving in almost every department this year.
Fans of the Red Devils are revelling in Rashford’s revival, but can he keep it up as United hope to bring Champions League football back to Old Trafford next season?
Striker: Erling Haaland – Manchester City
There aren’t many superlatives left to describe the accomplishments of the young Nord, and you don’t have to look too far into the stats to see why City’s number 9 is our pick at centre forward.
Haaland has found the back of the net an astonishing 21 times already this season, and to put that into context, in 2008/09, he would have already have won the golden boot with over half the season still left to play. In the 6 months since arriving in Manchester for what now looks like daylight robbery at just under £53 million, Pep’s new main man has broken numerous records, with many tipping him to break the goal record – previously set at 32 by Mohammed Salah in 2018 – in his first year in England.
Right Winger: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
The final player in our team is the brilliant Bukayo Saka, the magician on the right side of Arteta’s front line.
With a conversion rate of 18.2%, the young attacker has scored 6 times in the league this season, whilst equalling that total in assists. This diverse skill-set has separated Saka from a pool of extremely talented players in this position. Much like his skipper Odegaard, Bukayo’s form will be crucial to the Gunners’ title charge this season, but at only 21 years old, the left-footed phenom showcases ability and decision-making well beyond his years.
Manager: Mikel Arteta – Arsenal
We’ve picked Mikel Arteta to be the man in the technical area for this Team of the Season So Far. The Spaniard’s Arsenal outfit are currently five points clear at the top of the table, with Pep Guardiola’s City held off for the time being.
Could Guardiola be outwitted by his former understudy and assistant manager? Only time will tell…
So that is our pick of the bunch in the Premier League this season – we’d like to think we’ve smashed it, but football is a game of opinions. Think we missed anyone out? Let us know in the comments.