The English Premier League wrapped up its season yesterday, as Manchester United defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in extra time in the FA Cup Final. Wayne Rooney put in a true captain’s and man-of-the-match performance. He hoisted the Cup for the first time in his long, illustrious career.
The real story of the season, though, was Leicester City wining the League. The odds on them accomplishing this were 5,000-1 at the beginning of the season.
I’ll have more to say about the Leicester fairy tale when I recap the season. But I know there are up to half a dozen readers eagerly awaiting my EPL all-star selections. Here they are:
David de Gea — Manchester United
Hector Bellerin — Arsenal
Christian Fuchs — Leicester City
Toby Alderweireld — Tottenham
Virgil Van Dijk — Southampton
N’Golo Kante — Leicester City
Mesut Ozil — Arsenal
Dimitri Payet — West Ham
Riyad Mahrez — Leicester City
Jamie Vardy — Leicester City
Harry Kane — Tottenham
Petr Cech — Arsenal
Kyle Walker — Tottenham
Danny Rose — Tottenham
Laurent Koscielny — Arsenal
Chris Smalling — Manchester United
Danny Drinkwater — Leicester City
Mark Noble — West Ham
Marko Arnautovic — Stoke City
Dele Alli — Tottenham
Alexis Sanchez — Arsenal
Sergio Aguero — Manchester City
Jack Butland — Stoke City
Craig Dawson — West Bromwich Albion
Patrick van Aanholt — Sunderland
Wes Morgan — Leicester City
Ashley Williams — Swansea City
Yohan Cabeye — Crystal Palace
Ross Barkley — Everton
Kevin De Bruyne — Manchester City
Willian — Chelsea
Phillippe Coutinho — Liverpool
Odion Ighalo — Watford
Player of the Year: Mahrez
Everton player of the year: Barkley
(I didn’t present my fourth team, but rest assured that it contains all of the players you think were criminally omitted from the first three).
Note that my first team has as many French players (Kante and Payet) and Spanish players (de Gea and Bellerin) as Englishmen (Kane and Vardy). English players are better represented on the second and third teams, but the trend in favor of “Johnny Foreigner” continues.
Only de Gea (whom I somehow identified as a Chelsea player last year) and Kane made both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 first teams. Others who were received recognition both seasons are Koscielny, Sanchez, Aguero, Coutinho, Morgan, and Williams.
The small number of such players speaks to the fluidity (last year’s champions Chelsea finished tenth this year and Leicester were 14th) and large talent pool of the EPL, which is also suggested by the fact that 16 of the 20 teams placed players in my top 33. Or perhaps it’s a sign that I may not know what I’m talking about.