2020 has been the most bizarre year in living memory.
In the Premier League, there was a three-month hiatus to contend with the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a summer programme in June and July to make up for lost time and then a brand new season that is proving more impossible to predict than ever.
Taking into account the calendar year as whole, which includes performances in the second half of last season as well as the first half of this season, here’s a look at the Premier League team of the year for 2020…
Alisson (GK): Liverpool missed Alisson during his recent injury absence, especially with an injury ravaged back four. Got his reward with a Premier League winner’s medal last season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB): Although still defensively suspect at time, Alexander-Arnold has further underlined his status as the world’s best attacking right-back over the last 12 months.
Conor Coady (CB): Of all the clubs in the Premier League for the whole of 2020, only Spurs and Manchester City conceded fewer than Wolves – but neither had a settled defence. Coady has been a constant for Wolves and has played himself into the England squad.
Virgil van Dijk (CB): Top centre-backs have been a relative rarity in 2020 as good defending has gone out of the window. That is why Van Dijk is still up there, despite a poor start to this season before succumbing to a long-term injury.
Andrew Robertson (LB): Like Alexander-Arnold on the right, Robertson has continued to thrive on the left and has been arguably more consistent than his friend and teammate.
Jordan Henderson (CM): 2020’s Premier League winning captain, FWA Footballer of the Year, a runner-up in BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and the man once more spearheading another Liverpool title challenge in 2020/21.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM): It is 15 Premier League assists this calendar year for De Bruyne, whose role as Manchester City’s chief creator has become even more pronounced since David Silva left.
Bruno Fernandes (AM): The comparisons with Eric Cantona are increasingly appropriate because of the scale of impact Fernandes has had at Manchester United in 2020 – a direct contribution to just over half of the team’s Premier League goals in that time.
Mohamed Salah (RW): On top of helping Liverpool get over the line in the second half of last season, Salah has scored 13 goals in 14 appearances so far in 2020/21. Overall, the Anfield hero has 23 Premier League goals and nine assists to his name this calendar year.
Jamie Vardy (ST): Capped off last season with the first Premier League Golden Boot award of his career and has recorded the same number of direct goal involvements (26) as Harry Kane in 2020 – but Vardy’s team is higher in the table at the time of writing.
Jack Grealish (LW): Aston Villa had talisman Grealish to thank for staying in the Premier League last season and are thriving in the relative comfort of mid-table because of his impact so far in 2020/21.