Predicting the 2022/23 Premier League PFA Team of the Year and disappointment for Harry Kane
Only one player will retain his place in the PFA Team of the Year by our reckoning. Harry Kane should miss out and the centre-backs will be interesting.
Here’s who we reckon the players will vote for to make up the PFA Team of the Year.
GK: Nick Pope (Newcastle United)
Alisson was last season’s PFA Team of the Year No.1 and, if it weren’t for him, Liverpool would be even deeper in the sh*t. But because of Liverpool’s woes, it’s hard to envisage many pros thinking beyond ‘who’s conceded fewest goals this season?’. That line of thinking would lead them to Pope, who has been hugely impressive in his first season since Newcastle snared a £10million bargain from Burnley. The England keeper has shipped considerably fewer goals than any other stopper and being the mild-mannered chap he seems to be, he won’t have p*ssed off many of his fellow pros like Aaron Ramsdale.
RB: Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)
It’s a similar story for Trippier at right-back, who has been one of the leading presences in Newcastle’s superb season. Not long ago, the veteran was viewed as arguably the fourth-best right-back available to England, behind Trent Alexander-Arnold – last season’s PFA team of the Year right-back – Reece James and Kyle Walker, but this season Trippier has been the best in the Premier League.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)
Luke Shaw has had a stellar season but Zinchenko’s impact at Arsenal has been similar to Trippier’s when he joined Newcastle. The Ukraine star has added technical quality but also leadership and title-winning know-how. So much so that Kieran Tierney is struggling to get a game.
CB: Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)
The centre-back positions are a tough call. Last season it was Virgil van Dijk and Antonio Rudiger. This term, there are few stand-out options but Martinez is certainly one. Despite being thought to be too small for the Premier League, Martinez has transformed United’s defence alongside Raphael Varane.
CB: William Saliba (Arsenal)
With few other obvious stand-outs, many pros will probably default to Arsenal, but even that vote could be split between Saliba and Gabriel. We’ll go for the former, but we’re certainly not convinced. One of Newcastle’s centre-backs, Fabian Schar especially, could consider himself unfortunate to miss out but an Arsenal defender will likely nick one of the two central spots.
MF: Casemiro (Manchester United)
A shoo-in for the holding midfield place, Casemiro has transformed Manchester United from a team with barely a midfield to speak of to possessing one of the best engine rooms around. The well-deserved clamour around the Brazilian will surely mean he’s the professionals’ obvious pick.
MF: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
De Bruyne is the only player from last season’s XI in with a chance of retaining his place. The PFA voters are simple creatures and the fact De Bruyne leads the Premier League for most assists (12) will be enough to get his name on the ballot form once more, even if he’s laid on only three goals since October.
MF: Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
That said, the pros are not so ignorant to ignore Odegaard’s contribution to Arsenal’s title charge. Many of the defenders might recall being tackled by the Gunners’ skipper, who has won possession in the attacking third more often than any other player. With the ball, Odegaard has 10 goals and six assists and is one of the contenders to win the individual award, as is this lad…
RF: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Saka has the same goals tally as Odegaard and has created 10 more making him the only player to hit double figures for both goals and assists. If the individual gong doesn’t go to the ridiculous Norwegian smashing them in for City, it’ll most likely be handed to Arsenal’s brightest star. Or…
LW: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
The PFA voting used to be wrapped by the end of February, which would have seen Rashford in all the voters’ thinking since he was on fire through the winter after the World Cup. Even if the process has changed, the Manchester United forward will still occupy the left-wing spot after his best-ever season, with 27 goals in all competitions, including 14 in the Premier League.
CF: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Much to Harry Kane’s misfortune, there can only be one centre-forward, unless they tweak the format. Which, for England’s captain, is entirely possible. But even he, after scoring goals for Spurs and claiming the club’s all-time record, would have to cede his place to Haaland after 427 goals in his first season for City.
Read more: Carragher edges Rashford over Haaland for Player of the Year award due to one key factor