Salah, Kane, Van Dijk: Predicting the 2020/21 Premier League Team of the Season


The new Premier League season is just around the corner and we can't contain our excitement.

So what if it's only been a few months since the last campaign finished, there's something special about the beginning of a new season that's guaranteed to produce thrills and spills aplenty.

Besides, it's that time of year where everybody is fussing over their fantasy football teams, wondering if it's their club's big year and of course, predicting the final league table.

2020/21 Premier League

But that's why we're here really, because you could probably close your eyes, swing a golf club and you'd probably hit somebody's prediction for the 2020/21 Premier League table.

Look, we made our own forecast a few weeks ago, so trust us when we say we're guilty as charged also, but we wanted to stretch our predicative powers even more this week.

That's right, we've decided to make our prediction for the 2020/21 Premier League Team of the Season before the first ball in the first game has even been kicked.


Predicting the Team of the Season

If you think we've lost the plot, then you're not far wrong, but don't pretend as though it won't be funny to laugh at these shouts when they inevitably prove to be miles wide of the mark.

But enough defending ourselves ahead of time, let's get to the nitty and gritty, so check out the starting XI that we think will be the Premier League's finest during the 2020/21 campaign.


GK: Ederson

Let's get one thing clear from the start: the key to predicting this team means you have to predict the table, too, in your head and I'm envisaging a world where Manchester City regain their title.

As a result, I'm expecting the impeccable Ederson to retain his Golden Glove, produce a number of stunning displays in the big games and establish himself as the league's best 'keeper.

That being said, I still expect his fantastic compatriot Alisson Becker to be in contention, while Dean Henderson and David de Gea's constant competition could mean they hold each other back.


RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

It's baffling to me that Alexander-Arnold isn't often touted as one of the Premier League's top three players, because he ought to be and his place is one of the most straight forward picks.

I simply can't see a world where one of his rival Premier League right-backs possibly outperforms him, particularly when I imagine Liverpool will run City incredibly close in the title race.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Alexander-Arnold went all the way and won next year's PFA Player of the Year award and built on his own Premier League record by surpassing 15 assists.


CB: Kalidou Koulibaly

Ah, yes, this prediction could turn out to be a complete disaster because Koulibaly might struggle to make the Premier League Team of the Season if, erm, he isn't even in the Premier League.

But there are enough reports suggesting that Koulibaly has at least agreed personal terms with the Citizens for me to feel confident about a partnership with Aymeric Laporte during 2020/21.

Marry that to the fact Koulibaly is within world football's top five centre-backs and I can easily imagine a scenario where he hoovers up the clean sheets to earn himself a place in this XI.


CB: Virgil van Dijk

A bit like Alexander-Arnold, it's tough to imagine Van Dijk producing a season that would finish far short of being one of the best in the Premier League, so he's a pretty safe bet in the back four.

As much as I envisage City having a marginally better defensive record, I still predict that Van Dijk's performances will be a little more eye-catching than those from Laporte.

That's not to say that Van Dijk will necessarily outperform the Frenchman, rather that his eye for goal, dominance in the area and incredible leadership will probably seduce the voters a little more.


LB: Luke Shaw

The first selection that is going to have people rolling their eyes - I know, I know - but the Premier League is so unpredictable that predicting it requires some unpredictability. You follow?

Ok, even if you don't catch my drift, Shaw showed glimpses of truly world-class performances during United's six-month unbeaten run in the league and they badly missed him during the Sevilla defeat.

So, with United destined to finish fourth at the very, very least, I can easily see a world where Shaw continues to build on his strong 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns to earn himself a spot.


RM: Mohamed Salah

I can possibly forgive Salah being left out of the 2018/19 Team of the Season, I can maybe even forgive him missing out on the 2019/20 version, but to be snubbed for both of them is scandalous.

For whatever reason, Salah doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves in England, even from some of his own fans, so I'm inclined to think a strong 2020/21 campaign could encourage a course correction.

Falling just short of a third Premier League Golden Boot, bagging over 20 goals, with Liverpool surpassing 90 points for the third consecutive season is exactly why I see Salah getting the nod.


CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Look, unless De Bruyne decides he's had enough being a world-class footballer or somebody breaks his leg within three weeks, the Belgian might as well ask the PFA for this accolade now.

The simple fact of the matter is that De Bruyne is the best player in the Premier League and you only need to look at his astonishing mixture of 13 goals and 20 assists last season to see that.

I anticipate him falling short of breaking Thierry Henry's record once again, but in a City team that I reckon will win the title, you'd be mad to bet against De Bruyne slotting into this starting XI.


CM: Allan

This is a pretty wild shout, I know, but there's no fun in making a paint-by-numbers selection and besides, when has a Premier League best XI ever been comprised of just the top six clubs?

The season before last, you say? And the season before that... ah well, sue me, we're going for glory with this one.

So, sure, take your screenshots and inevitably laugh at me when 2021 comes around, but I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I generically airdropped Bruno Fernandes here.

Besides, I'm inclined to think that Allan will prove to be a better signing than James Rodriguez at the very least and could become one of the league's top midfield generals under Carlo Ancelotti.


LM: Christian Pulisic

I'll hold my hands up and say that I didn't think Pulisic would set the world alight at Chelsea, but boy did the American look like a world-beater during the final months of the season.

As a result, while the big signings of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz adapt to English football, I'm anticipating that Pulisic will hog the headlines with a stellar second campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Expect more than 10 goals and 10 assists apiece in the league to make him a real hit with the statisticians as well as some crucial goals against the top six to help fire Chelsea to third place.


ST: Aleksandar Mitrović

I have more than one brain cell, I promise. I actually think Fulham could go down this season, but the voters love nothing more than a player who performs inordinately well in a struggling team.

You only have to look at the hype around Jack Grealish last season and Scott Parker, of all people, winning the FWA Award in 2010/11 to see that's the case, so Mitrović could well follow in their footsteps.

The Serbian has proven Premier League pedigree, so I wouldn't be surprised if he smashes home 15 goals and doing so within the context of a difficult season at Craven Cottage may earn him the slot.


ST: Harry Kane

But although Mitrović is something of a renegade prediction, I'm actually feeling pretty confident about Kane because you know what happens during Jose Mourinho's second seasons at clubs.

There's just too much history when it comes to the 'Special One' nailing his second campaign for me to back against Spurs doing well in 2020/21 and that means goals, goals, goals for Kane.

It's staggering to think Kane amassed 18 league goals last season with his injury troubles, so I expect him to bag 25+ this time around to win his first Premier League Golden Boot since 2017.


So... will the XI come good?

If steam is emanating from your ears right now, find solace in the fact I'll probably look like a complete mug when the actual Premier League Team of the Season rolls around in May.

I feel pretty confident with the straightforward picks of De Bruyne and Alexander-Arnold, but I'm all for 'go big or go home', so it would have been rude not to make some wildcard selections.

That being said, this is coming from the man who correctly predicted Marcus Rashford would outscore Sergio Aguero in the league last season, so Mystic Meg ought to be very, very scared...

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