Team of the Season: Five Manchester City players join record-breaker Salah
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Manchester City capped off a record-breaking season by becoming the first team in Premier League history to reach 100 points with a last-gasp victory over Southampton on Sunday.
A sensational climax to the season - with substitute Gabriel Jesus scoring with virtually the last kick of the season - ensured the champions set a new record of points in a season, goals scored (106) and 32 games won. Earlier in the campaign they won a record 18 games in succession including 11 away from home, both Premier League records.
So it is no surprise to see five of Pep Guardiola's all-conquering side make our Team of the Season.
Defender Kyle Walker is joined by midfielders Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane. Some questioned Walker's fee when he joined last summer. Rather fewer criticised the £50 million (Dh249m) spent when they saw the difference the former Tottenham Hotspur player made to the right side of City's defence.
Sterling is perhaps the most improved player of the season. Arguably, no one has scored more important goals this campaign, and both he and Walker are shoo-ins to be named in England's World Cup squad on Wednesday.
Belgian midfield metronome De Bruyne would have been Footballer of the Year in most other seasons but for the sensational goalscoring exploits of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Silva's class and distribution were a calming influence on City. The fact the mercurial Spaniard maintained his excellence amid concerns about his son’s health is testament to his professionalism.
Sane fought a private battle with De Bruyne to end the season with most assists. Speed, skill and some stunning displays brought the Germany winger 15 assists, three shy of De Bruyne, along with 10 goals.
Liverpool, who finished fourth to secure Uefa Champions League football next season, are next best represented with three players in the best XI.
Andrew Robertson is in as part of a back four. Relegated with Hull City last year, headed for a Champions League final this. The Scot has been superb since displacing Alberto Moreno at left-back.
Salah's strike after 26 minutes in Sunday's 4-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion set a new Premier League record for most goals in a season in a campaign of remarkable consistency and potency. The Egyptian's 32 league goals earned him multiple individual awards, including Premier League, players and football writers' awards. A sensation.
He is partnered in attack by another of Liverpool's attacking triumvirate. Roberto Firminho is Salah’s selfless foil. The Brazilian has scored more goals than ever before (15 in the league), created plenty and helped reinvent the striker’s role with relentless pressing.
Further back, David de Gea's clean sheet against Watford saw him win the Premier League's Golden Glove award with 18 shutouts and named Manchester United's Player of the Year for a record fourth time.
James Tarkowski has gone from substitute last season at Burnley to revelation this. Burnley’s defensive record was brilliant as Sean Dyche's side finished seventh. The eminently dependable Tarkowski was a reason why.
He is partnered in the heart of the defence by Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen. So often overshadowed by compatriot Toby Alderwiereld in previous seasons, the Belgian emerged as arguably the best centre-back in the division.
Published: May 14, 2018 11:16 AM