DAVID DE GEA (Man United): Only Spurs conceded fewer goals than United in the 2016-17 season, while De Gea has continued to excel this year, most notably in the 3-1 win over Arsenal, when he produced a string of fine saves.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea): A key part of Chelsea’s title-winning team that conceded just 33 goals last season, the 28-year-old continues to enhance his reputation as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham): Part of the Premier League’s meanest defence in 2016-17, Alderweireld recently suffered a long-term injury and has been conspicuous by his absence at times, most notably in Spurs’ 4-1 loss to Man City.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham): A very modern defender in that he is good on the ball while also being skilled at some of the less eye-catching parts of the game, Vertonghen has been a revelation for Spurs since joining the club in 2012.
Antonio Valencia (Man United): A somewhat unlikely success story given that Valencia originally made his name as a winger, the 32-year-old Ecuador international has thrived at United under Jose Mourinho, holding off competition from Matteo Darmian, with his pace, power and energy enabling him to become a regular at full-back.
Mo Salah (Liverpool): Generally, we’d be reluctant to include a player in this team based on half a season’s worth of performances, but Mo Salah has been so good for Liverpool that he is impossible to ignore. The Premier League’s current top scorer, the initial €42 million fee that Liverpool paid for him in the summer raised eyebrows at the time due in part to his previous struggles to attain first-team football at Chelsea, but that price already looks a bargain in light of the Egypt international’s consistently influential performances for the Reds.
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City): An integral player in Manchester City’s incredible winning run, De Bruyne is top of the Premier League assists charts this season, as he also was last season. Not only that, but — as Pep Guardiola says — he “runs like a conference player”.
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea): The reigning PFA Player of the Year, arguably no individual was more integral to Chelsea’s Premier League triumph, which meant he became part of a quite select group of players to win back-to-back titles with different clubs. Kante has continued to shine this season, even if his team haven’t always been at their best.
David Silva (Man City): A major player in Guardiola’s all-conquering City side, at 31, Silva is showing no sign of slowing down. He has been an important part of previous title successes since joining the club in 2010 — indeed, it is hard to think of many (if any) Premier League players who have been more influential over the past seven years.
Harry Kane (Tottenham): The 24-year-old is without question the standout Premier League striker of 2017. He finished last season as the top flight’s top scorer, and he is very much in contention to emulate that feat again in the 2017-18 campaign.
Sergio Aguero (Man City): There’s a case to include Lukaku, who scored a few more goals than Aguero last season while playing for a lesser team in the form of Everton, but the Argentina international pips him to a place in the side owing to his superior all-round play.
Valencia Alderweireld Vertonghen Azpilicueta
Salah De Bruyne Kante Silva
Subs: Thibaut Courtois, Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku.
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