Premier League team of the season features Arsenal trio but no Saka or Odegaard

Jason Soutar
Premier League team of the season features Cole Palmer and no Bukayo Saka
Premier League team of the season features Cole Palmer and no Bukayo Saka

The Premier League season is over and we have some business to address before we get into our Euro 2024 groove.

One of the most important post-season features is our team of the season. It includes as many Manchester City players as Arsenal, with seven clubs in total represented.


Premier League Team of the Season

GK: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
England’s No. 1 had his best Everton season to date, keeping a superb 13 clean sheets and making 117 saves along the way.

On the whole, it has been a positive season for Everton and Sean Dyche, and Jordan Pickford has been the Toffees’ best player, although he has had a decent centre-back partnership of James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite to protect him.

David Raya might have won the Golden Glove but that feels more like a team award given the incredible defensive strength of Arsenal as a whole. Pickford, on the other hand, earned many of his clean sheets from his individual brilliance. He is a worthy inclusion in our team of the season.


RB: Benjamin White (Arsenal)
Ben White was one of four Arsenal players we said Mikel Arteta should be looking to upgrade on. Jurrien Timber joined in the summer and might have been that guy in Arteta’s eyes, but if he never got the chance to show it thanks to an ACL injury on matchday one.

After the season White has enjoyed, right-back is definitely not a position we think Arteta needs to address. He has been bloody brilliant.

‘Ben White is playing as well at right-back as Ben White can play at right-back. And because Ben White’s playing well and is playing at right-back it doesn’t require much of a leap for people to suggest Ben White is an excellent right-back. But Ben White is not a right-back and therefore not an excellent right-back.’

That’s what Will Ford wrote last January. It turns out Ben White is an excellent right-back.


CB: William Saliba (Arsenal)
Arsenal have been outstanding defensively this season and William Saliba has played every single minute, the first time an outfielder has done this for the Gunners in a Premier League campaign.

There is a small debate about who is superior between Saliba and his partner-in-crime Gabriel Magalhaes, but the Frenchman gets the nod this time. It was bloody close, for what it’s worth. Gabriel is very underrated.


CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
The winner of over 80% of his aerial duels in 2023/24, Virgil van Dijk has been a monster in the Liverpool defence this season, reinvigorated from earning the full-time captaincy following Jordan Henderson’s controversial move to Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq, managed by the greatest Reds player of all time, Steven Gerrard.

A lot of people thought Van Dijk was finished at the top level after failing to reach the same level he was pre-ACL injury. He probably deserved more slack than he received, in fairness, and his form this season has shut up any doubters. He is still one of the best defenders in the business.


LB: Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City)
Unarguably the weakest position in the team, the choices for left-back were not great. Andy Robertson has the best rating on WhoScored, while Antonee Robinson and Vitaliy Mykolenko both had stellar campaigns. After a shaky start following a big-money transfer from RB Leipzig, we have gone for Josko Gvardiol, who proved to be crucial for Man City during the run-in.

Not only have his goals been crucial for City during the second half of the season, but Gvardiol has looked a lot more comfortable in possession, solid defensively, and has, in the grand scheme of things, adjusted to Pep Guardiola’s style of play pretty quickly.

We said he had a shaky start, but he adapted a whole lot quicker than Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips, and many others.


DM: Rodri (Manchester City)
For some bizarre reason, Rodri was not even nominated to win Premier League Player of the Year. Winning the damn thing over team-mate Phil Foden would have raised not a single eyebrow. Yet, he wasn’t even bloody up for the award. Crazy.

It has been another historic campaign for the Spanish defensive midfielder, who scored a crucial goal on the final day of the season against West Ham.

Not only is Rodri ridiculously talented on the ball with his press-evasive play and positioning, but he is incredible defensively and has added goals and assists to his game, which takes the piss quite frankly. There is nobody on the same level as him in his position. Not even…


DM: Declan Rice (Arsenal)
Our signing of the season, Declan Rice has been outstanding for Arsenal, joining England team-mates Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale in north London after guiding West Ham to Europa Conference League glory in Prague.

Arsenal have greatly missed this presence in the middle of the park during Mikel Arteta’s reign and there are not many better than Rice who, like Rodri, has popped up with some big goals to boot.

A £100m bargain, Rice was signed to play as a No. 6 but has thrived playing in the role Bundesliga winner Granit Xhaka vacated last summer.

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AM: Phil Foden (Manchester City)
A fabulous performance in the title-clinching victory over West Ham on the final day put the cherry on top of the cake for Phil Foden, who proved why he was named Premier League Player of the Year.

Nineteen goals is a fabulous return for a player Gareth Southgate has to start at the Euros. Shifting him to the left with Jude Bellingham behind Harry Kane has been the most logical plan for a while but Foden has excelled playing through the middle for City. Anywhere else and he feels wasted. Anyway, that is a problem for Southgate to solve, not us.

Some great players are omitted from our TOTS due to Foden, namely Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, who is getting better and better by the week.


RW: Cole Palmer (Chelsea)
Bukayo Saka has the best WhoScored rating out of every Premier League player after scoring 16 goals and providing nine assists for Arsenal. Despite that, it is simply impossible to look past Cole Palmer – who we are unequivocally not saying should start over Saka for England this summer as a result of a slightly superior league campaign.

To join a disjointed Chelsea team and take things by the scruff of the neck – carrying a bunch of expensive disappointments to a sixth-place finish – is an outstanding achievement for any footballer, let alone a 22-year-old playing consistent first-team football for the first time in their career.

Palmer scored 22 goals and made 11 assists in 33 Premier League games for Chelsea this season and deservedly won Premier League Young Player of the Year.


LW: Anthony Gordon (Newcastle United)
The left-wing position was one up for debate as there have not been any outstanding candidates this term. Shifting a striker out here was tempting but we are not Garth Crooks.

The best left-winger in the Premier League this season was Anthony Gordon. The Newcastle United star is a player we were very wrong about. He is excellent and showed as much in 23/24, scoring 11 goals and providing 10 assists, something we, and many others, did not think he had in his locker when the Magpies spent £45m on him.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Do you agree with our team? Join the debate here.


ST: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
This might be a controversial selection to some but a league-high assist tally (13) and 19 goals? What a season for Ollie Watkins. And we couldn’t have zero Aston Villa players in our team of the season. That would have been ludicrous.

The best campaign of Watkins’ career might not be enough to see him start for England in Germany this summer but it helped Villa qualify for the Champions League.

He gets in ahead of Erling Haaland and his 27 league goals, as well as 21-goal Newcastle star Alexander Isak, but Watkins’ inclusion is well deserved.

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