The world was a very angry place this week, what with Game of Thrones sex scenes, Avengers: Endgame spoilers and James Bond’s continued existence.
But nothing boils the piss of a certain type of person like the PFA Team of the Year announcement, especially when it features Paul Labile Pogba.
That the PFA Team of the Year is voted for by fellow professionals didn’t quell the tidal wave of raging gammon demanding to know WHICH IDIOT VOTED FOR THIS!!!!!!???????
One more Team of the Year wouldn’t hurt, would it?
To make it slightly more challenging than closing my eyes and selecting Liverpool and Man City players at random, Dream Team’s Team of the Year can only feature a Premier League side once.
If that means agonising over Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre from Huddersfield, or Jean Michael Seri and Maxime Le Marchand from Fulham then so be it.
Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
West Ham have been typically West Ham this season, lurching between sublime and shocking, but Fabianski has been a constant pillar of authority and xG-defying saves.
Ageing like a fine jar of Polish pickled vegetables, the 34-year-old is having the best season of his 12-year Premier League career.
If he can add the odd Cruyff turn or nutmeg to his locker he’s in with a genuine shout of being the best goalkeeper in the league.
Right-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace)
Man United Crystal Palace right-back Wan-Bissaka was actually around the first-team squad last season, but Frank De Boer and then Roy Hodgson went with Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Martin Kelly and Joel Ward instead.
Woy has since seen the error of his ways, allowing Wan-Bissaka to set about ruining the hopes and dreams of wingers up and down the country with his insatiable love of a tackle.
Only England’s abundance of elite right-backs, and Kieran Trippier, has stopped Wan-Bissaka from becoming a full international.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Van Dijk has already done the impossible at Liverpool and helped fans erase memories of Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Ragnar Klavan and Mauricio Pellegrino.
But even that feat will be a mere footnote in Van Dijk’s Liverpool legend if he is able to head, block and tackle his way to a Premier League title at the end of the season.
A tantalising Champions League meeting with Lionel Messi is exactly the sort of match-up that we
illegally stream pay our BT Sport bills for.
Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs)
You came for Toby Alderweireld switches of play but you stayed for Vertonghen’s left foot passes into midfield.
The 32-year-old is a defender you set your watch to.
Injuries have limited Vertonghen’s outings this season but whenever he’s played he’s been typically classy.
Left-back: Ben Chilwell (Leicester City)
No matter how many times Chilwell charges up and down the left, his hair never changes. Not a strand is displaced.
When not representing the virtues of Brylcreem, Chilwell can be found putting in displays so impressive that he’s now England’s first-choice left-back.
Spare a thought for Everton’s Lucas Digne who can count himself unlucky to miss out on the left-back slot. I’m sure he’ll survive.
Defensive midfield: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)
Never has a man been subjected to as many Welcome to Arsenal- Skill, Tackles & Goals HD YouTube uploads as Doucoure, the key to everything good in the heart of Watford’s midfield.
Despite playing as the defensive pivot in Javi Gracia’s midfield, Doucoure has still managed to chip in with five goals and six assists this season, as well as leading Watford for passes per game.
Sure to be the subject of a Steven N’Zonzi-esque England approach if France continue to ignore the 26-year-old.
Central midfield: Ruben Neves (Wolves)
Neves hates going into the opposition penalty box, to the extent that he somewhat ludicrously has more goals than touches in the opposition penalty area this season.
Those four goals have been complimented with a supreme range of passing, an excellent positional sense and a partnership with Joao Moutinho worthy of its own Netflix documentary.
No wonder he wakes up to 25 missed calls from Pep Guardiola every morning.
Central midfield: Paul Pogba (Man United)
Pogba’s manager has repeatedly described him as a leader in the dressing room, a fact seemingly backed up by all the footage of the 26-year-old during France’s World Cup win.
Pogba’s goals and assists have earned United an additional 22 points this season, without which they’d be level on points with Crystal Palace in 12th.
Yet @Beckhamesque and @GiggysChestHair don’t rate him because he doesn’t have an enthusiastic running style. They’re probably right.
Right winger: Raheem Sterling (Man City)
No one has done more off the pitch this season than Sterling. The same can be arguably be said between the white lines.
With 17 goals and 10 assists in 28 starts Sterling has had a tour de force of a campaign, driven by his sixth sense of where the space is when one of City’s creative cast pull the ball back across the box.
He deserves all the plaudits coming his way at the moment, not least being City’s sole representative in this Team of the Year. The award is in the post.
Left winger: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
That Hazard plays the game with a smile on his face is testament to his character given he’s carrying a faltering Chelsea team and spends half of his time picking himself up off the ground after being fouled by a bamboozled opponent.
Hazard has that rare ability to make professional footballers look like grown men strapping on skis and taking to the slopes for the first time.
Spare a thought for the tobacconists of south-west London when Maurizio Sarri is forced to work out how to take a Hazard-less Chelsea forward next season.
Striker: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
Lacazette’s 13 goals won’t be keeping Alan Shearer up at night worrying about his Premier League record being broken.
But the Frenchman is more than goals. His first touch is velvety soft and his link-up play with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is as good as any attacking combination in the Premier League when it clicks.
Plus, if I’m being honest, I picked a striker last and I’ve run out of teams to choose from.
Teams not used: Everton, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Burnley, Southampton, Brighton, Cardiff, Fulham, Huddersfield
- READ MORE FROM THE WORLD OF DREAM TEAM:
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- Underappreciated in a highly-rated team; how about some love for Ilkay Gundogan?
- Virgil van Dijk’s former team-mates discuss the Dutchman’s early years at FC Groningen