PFA Premier League Team of the Year in Opta numbers

The PFA Premier League Team of the Year was released on Wednesday, prompting the usual arguments over who should and should not be included in the XI.

Champions Manchester City predictably dominate the selection with five representatives, but could have had even more, with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane possibly unfortunate to miss out.

Liverpool fans would surely make cases for forward Roberto Firmino and left-back Andrew Robertson, while no players from outside the league's top-five sides have got the nod from their peers.

Here, we analyse the 11 men who made the cut with the use of Opta numbers - and suggest who else could have made the team.

 

DAVID DE GEA

Spain's number one is included for the fourth year running. De Gea has conceded 24 league goals this season - stripping out own goals - but Opta numbers suggest the average goalkeeper playing for United facing the same shots would have let in 38. This is the biggest xG differential by a Premier League goalkeeper in 2017-18.

Unlucky to miss out: Nick Pope (Burnley), Ederson (Manchester City)

KYLE WALKER

The decision to leave Tottenham for Manchester City has been rewarded with EFL Cup and Premier League medals for Walker. He has provided six assists in the Premier League in 2017-18, his best ever return in a top-flight season.

Unlucky to miss out: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

JAN VERTONGHEN

Vertonghen, without usual partner Toby Alderweireld for much of the season, has featured in 13 of Tottenham's 14 Premier League clean sheets this season, demonstrating his importance to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Unlucky to miss out: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United), Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion)

NICOLAS OTAMENDI

The Argentina international may still be prone to some bizarre decisions, but Otamendi has made 2,665 successful passes in the Premier League this season, at least 300 more than any other player, showing how the champions play the ball out from the back.

Unlucky to miss out: James Tarkowski (Burnley), Harry Maguire (Leicester City)

MARCOS ALONSO

The Spaniard has scored more goals than any other defender in the Premier League this season - six - with his delightful free-kicks a rare plus point for the Blues in another poor title defence at Stamford Bridge.

Unlucky to miss out: Ashley Young (Manchester United), Ben Davies (Tottenham) 

DAVID SILVA

Playing a decisive part in 19 Premier League goals this season - eight goals and 11 assists - Silva could beat his most productive campaign of 21 goal involvements in 2011-12. That Silva has maintained his performance levels despite regularly heading home to Spain to care for his prematurely born son is particularly impressive.

Unlucky to miss out: Pascal Gross (Brighton and Hove Albion), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)

KEVIN DE BRUYNE

Star man for the champions, De Bruyne has provided more assists than any other player in the Premier League this season - 15. The Belgium playmaker has also recorded seven goals, including the winner at former club Chelsea, and competes with Mohamed Salah for the players' award.

Unlucky to miss out: Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

Denmark international Eriksen has created 35 goalscoring opportunities for Harry Kane in the Premier League this season, which is the most from one player to another in 2017-18, and their partnership could fire Spurs to the FA Cup.

Unlucky to miss out: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)

HARRY KANE

A contender to captain England at the upcoming World Cup, Kane is one of three players to score at least 25 Premier League goals in at least three successive seasons, following in the gilded footsteps of Arsenal icon Thierry Henry and the top flight's all-time top scorer Alan Shearer.

Unlucky to miss out: Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

MOHAMED SALAH

The Egypt star is the first Premier League player to score 40 goals in all competitions since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007-08. Salah is also on track to break the record for the most prolific campaign from a Premier League player in an incredible first Anfield season, which may yet end in Champions League glory.

Unlucky to miss out: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

SERGIO AGUERO

Aguero, who will miss the rest of the season after knee surgery, became City's all-time leading goalscorer this term and he is now just one away from 200 strikes for the club after another typically prolific campaign.

Unlucky to miss out: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

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