Who is almost unplayable? Garth's Team of the Season

Published on: 29 May 2023

At the end of the Premier League campaign, BBC football pundit Garth Crooks is on hand to give you his Team of the Season.

Who has made his starting XI? Take a look and then pick your own team below and share it on social media.

Ederson (Manchester City): It's not often I ignore the winner of the Golden Glove award but on this occasion I think I must. David de Gea has played his part in an impressive Manchester United recovery this season but much of that has been down to the way United have organised their defence rather than the sort of heroics we have seen from De Gea in the past.

This season belongs to Ederson, who has quietly, but very effectively, played a blinder for Manchester City. The Brazilian goalkeeper is almost as good with the ball at his feet as he is with it in his hands.

This sets him apart from all the other keepers in the world. Any team that retains possession as well and as often as City has to have a keeper whose concentration is almost unbreakable. He is a superb number one who has been central to City winning the title this season.

Kieran Trippier (Newcastle): I'm not entirely sure what Kieran Trippier was hoping to achieve when he arrived at St James' Park but whatever it was it couldn't have been better than qualifying for the Champions League.

The Newcastle United captain has been more than an inspiration to a team that has slowly but surely believed at every turn that a top-four finish was not just possible but achievable. The team have been aided and abetted by the brilliance of Eddie Howe, my manager of the season. He was appointed by Amanda Staveley and her consortium and they have taken the club where the previous owner Mike Ashley could not - and that is into the Champions League after a 20-year absence.

William Saliba (Arsenal): The loss through injury of William Saliba in the latter part of the season almost certainly cost Arsenal the title. The games against Southampton at home and West Ham away were ones the Gunners would have won under normal circumstances, but these were fixtures fuelled with pressure and expectation and Arsenal's defence buckled under the weight of them.

When Saliba came into the Arsenal side in the early part of their campaign he looked immense, and the bigger the game the more composed he appeared. The impact of the Frenchman's injury to Arsenal's title chances was there for all to see and they simply had no-one in their ranks good enough to replace him.

Ruben Dias (Manchester City): He has been so effective since his arrival at Etihad Stadium that no-one mentions how much Manchester City miss Vincent Kompany any more. Is it any wonder they call Ruben Dias 'Pep 2' in the dressing room?

The Spain international must be Guardiola's first selection on the team sheet, especially in the big games. Even when he is rotated and rested for the occasional fixture he returns and slots right back into the side as though he was never left out.

When he first arrived on the scene I thought he could be bullied and that the physicality of the Premier League might be a little too much for him. Now he is doing all the bullying and City are the beneficiaries.

Manuel Akanji (Manchester City): What a season this lad has had. Strong, powerful and quick, I can't think of three better qualities in a defender and Manuel Akanji is equipped with all of them.

He also has enough ability to handle the ball in difficult areas, which is essential if you are a defender who has any ambitions to play regularly for Pep Guardiola. What is amazing about Akanji is that he only cost City around £15m from Borussia Dortmund - how is that possible in this day and age?

Manchester City do have a habit of finding these gems and Akanji is definitely one of them.

Casemiro (Manchester United): I'm convinced the arrival of the Brazilian saved Manchester United's season. Before Casemiro appeared on the scene they were in freefall.

Cristiano Ronaldo was making demands of the club that were nothing short of outrageous and there was nobody who seemed capable of doing anything about it. Suddenly Casemiro came along and showed Ronaldo how a superstar should really conduct himself. Casemiro put his reputation to one side, rolled up his sleeves and dug in.

He gives everything for the team. In fact Casemiro did the one thing Ronaldo couldn't do and that was take United back into the Champions League. A world-class player with a reputation to match.

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City): This is my player of the season and his biggest accomplishment has yet to be achieved. He has already won the Premier League title, the FA Cup final awaits and the biggest prize of all and the one that has eluded him and Manchester City - the Champions League trophy - sits in Istanbul waiting to be lifted by their captain.

Should Ilkay Gundogan and City do the Treble, it would be the most magnificent achievement. However, they have to beat Manchester United in the FA Cup before they can do that and there can't be any greater motivation for their neighbours and arch-enemies than to destroy City's dream.

Martin Odegaard (Arsenal): For so much of this season Arsenal looked like they were going to make it. The reason they appeared so convincing was due to their captain Martin Odegaard.

The Norwegian playmaker brought a calm sophistication to the Gunners' performances that the Premier League title suddenly seemed doable. The Arsenal captain clearly talked some sense into Granit Xhaka, who was no longer wanting to fight everyone and suddenly was looking like a player who was engaged, like the rest of his team-mates, in winning the title.

Sadly for Arsenal they ran out of steam but not without giving Spurs and Chelsea fans weeks of destroyed weekends and sleepless nights. That must give them a little satisfaction.

Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City): You can't leave Kevin de Bruyne out of any team. If this player turns up and is not nobbled by either Manchester United in the FA Cup final or Inter Milan in the Champions League final I am convinced City will achieve the Treble. Erling Haaland might score the goals but it is De Bruyne who is the team's artistic director.

The challenge for De Bruyne is that he must get through these games without injury and his team-mates must protect him.

This could be De Bruyne's defining moment and one that could establish him as the best player in the world.

Harry Kane (Tottenham): I thought long and hard about this selection considering the poor season Tottenham have had, but I couldn't hold Harry Kane responsible for that.

Kane has hardly had a mention this season due to the goalscoring exploits of Erling Haaland. Regardless, the England striker has scored 30 league goals again for Spurs, which under the circumstances is quite remarkable.

The big question for Kane now is what does he do next? He is the most extraordinary professional and a player of his calibre deserves to have a cabinet full of medals. Meanwhile Spurs remain in a mess - how else would you describe a club who has had five managers in four years? Another season without a trophy is not just a bad look for Kane it plays into the hands of his critics who will start to question his ambition.

Erling Haaland (Manchester City): Manchester City's biggest problem when Erling Haaland arrived was getting him to fit into their team without it causing too much disruption to the way they played.

Once they worked that out the Norwegian superstar has almost become unplayable. His goals speak for themselves, however you would be doing the striker a great disservice if you were to consider him nothing more than a goalscoring machine.

For a player who has scored so many goals he is actually one of the most unselfish strikers I've ever seen. He shows a decent touch when the ball is occasionally fired into him and can play people in with his back to goal. His greatest strength of course is putting the ball into the back of the net and he seems to love the big occasion. That is why I will be amazed if City don't do the Treble.

No more playing the wretched false number nine. City now have a proper centre forward and he makes all the difference.

Pick your team of the season

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

    Select formationConfirm team

      Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before - follow your team and sign up for notifications in the BBC Sport app to make sure you never miss a moment

    Source: bbc.com

    This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
    Learn more