This is no normal Team of the Seaon, oh no.
Here we have assembled the best XI possible using only players attached to clubs who finished in the bottom half of the Premier League in 2019/20.
Not only that, we insisted that every team from 11th to 20th was represented, meaning only one club would have two featured players.
We weren’t ultra strict on positioning but we tried to keep a realistic balance — it’s blatant cheating if you try to stick Michail Antonio, Emiliano Buendia and Wilfried Zaha in a three-man midfield.
Those are the rules, this is the result…
GOALKEEPER: VICENTE GUAITA
Like the rest of Crystal Palace’s squad, the Spaniard has been on the beach since March.
The Eagles didn’t show much fight once their top-flight status was assured but they proved to be stubborn opposition prior to that with Guaita’s reflexes helping to keep opponents at bay.
Ben Foster and Martin Dubravka were also in our minds but we decided to use our Watford and Newcastle players elsewhere…
RIGHT-BACK: MAX AARONS
There wasn’t much for Norwich fans to cheer this season outside of Teemu Pukki’s bright start and their win over Man City at Carrow Road.
The fear now is that their notable individuals will be plucked before they return to the mad world of the Championship.
It speaks volumes about the potential of 20-year-old Aarons that the two clubs reportedly battling for his signature are Spurs and Bayern Munich.
CENTRE-BACKS: LEWIS DUNK & NATHAN AKE
A few contenders here but we’re happy with the end result.
Ake has often fought a solo battle in defence since joining Bournemouth.
Only Norwich and Aston Villa conceded more goals than the Cherries this season but who knows how bad it could have been if it weren’t for their Dutch international.
Again, the rumours linking Ake to Man City are evidence of his quality and he will be hoping to replicate his compatriot, Virgil van Dijk, by switching the south coast for a north west powerhouse with trophies to follow.
Dunk has been a reliable performer for Brighton for the best part of a decade now and is rightly in Gareth Southgate’s mind when it comes to England squads.
As is Tyrone Mings, who we were forced to omit for reasons that will soon become clear…
LEFT-BACK: LUCAS DIGNE
Surely no complaints with this one?
Patrick van Aanholt, Diego Rico and big Dan Burn were also on our shortlist but Everton’s Frenchman has been a class above, finishing the season with seven assists — Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only defender to have created more chances.
You could argue another Toffee deserves a spot in such a team, we’ll see about that…
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: DECLAN RICE
West Ham’s anchor has his sceptics with some questioning whether he deserves to be England’s linchpin.
However, with the restrictions in place for this exercise, Rice is almost certainly our best option.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: ABDOULAYE DOUCOURE & JACK GREALISH
Grealish was the first name on our imaginary team sheet — and the reason were forced to look for alternatives to Mings in defence.
The Villains’ No10 inspired his boyhood club’s survival, fittingly scoring on the final day to reach 14 goal involvements for the season.
Sure, he’s prone to a dive, but he also takes a kicking and his efforts this campaign have been talismanic.
Doucoure has never received the plaudits or attention paid to someone like Grealish but the Watford midfielder is a proficient technician in midfield.
With apologies to the Vicarage Road faithful, we’d love to see what he could do in a better team.
WIDE FORWARDS: RICHARLISON & ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN
Genuinely stiff competition for places here and we’re still annoyed we couldn’t squeeze Buendia in somewhere.
Many of you would instinctively mention Zaha in this conversation and while Palace’s central figure would undoubtedly feature in a similar team if we were to take the last few years into consideration, we’re only interested in 2019/20 right now.
The Ivorian hasn’t enjoyed himself this season when compared to previous campaigns and so we went for Saint-Maximin instead, who actually matched Zaha for goal involvements while catching the eye more often.
It’s Everton who have the honour (that may be exaggerating it) of being the only team with two inductees.
Richarlison scored 13 goals and gelled well with Dominic Calvert-Lewin despite Everton’s overall inconsistencies.
The Brazilian is a top-half talent who will be hoping Carlo Ancelotti can whip one or two of his team-mates into shape.
STRIKER: DANNY INGS
The aforementioned Calvert-Lewin was in the running for this spot, along with Michail Antonio, Neal Maupay and Jordan Ayew, but how could we look past Ings?
Only Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy outscored Southampton’s No9 in 2019/20.
The fact that only one of Ings’ 22 goals came from the penalty spot makes his campaign even more remarkable.
There’s a case to be made that he deserves a spot in the official Team of the Season and so he’s absolutely cemented in our alternative version.
Here’s the team in full…
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