And we’re talking regulars here, so all these players have played in at least 20 of their club’s Premier League games in that position. We have used WhoScored’s ratings as a guide…
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
After Frank Lampard once again dropped Kepa for what was a crucial final-day clash with Wolves, Chelsea are reportedly ready to listen to offers of £50m for their beleaguered blundering goalkeeper. If that doesn’t work out, then they’ll consider sending him out on loan. Sending him out on loan it is, then. Which realistically means the Blues still paying a hefty chunk of his £150,000-a-week wages. Chelsea really shat the bed on this one.
Right-back: Max Aarons (Norwich)
WhoScored hates Norwich, as will become clear. It’s frankly just mean. Like kicking a puppy. A puppy that keeps losing football matches and returning eye-wateringly bad stats. Anyway. Aarons potentially won’t have to worry about WhoScored’s despicable anti-Canary bias much longer with Spurs among a host of apparent suitors for the relegated right-back.
Centre-back: Ben Godfrey (Norwich)
Maybe WhoScored hates mustard. Or doesn’t find Alan Partridge funny. Still, hard to argue with the numbers plummeting for a centre-back who played 90 minutes of a 3-0 defeat to Southampton, a 4-0 defeat to Arsenal, a 4-0 defeat to West Actual Ham and a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City. And that’s just since the restart. Poor Norwich.
Centre-back: Conor Coady (Wolves)
That’s more like it. Algorithm giving the reliable Wolves stopper an absolute shoeing here for his refusal to have so much as a single shot on goal all season. Feels very harsh on a player who has played every minute of another very decent Wolves season. He has strikingly low aerial duel numbers for a centre-back, winning only 0.9 of the things per 90 minutes. The only other 20-game centre-backs with a number below two are Mason Holgate (1.7) and banter’s David Luiz (1.6). Do more duelling, Conor. And have the occasional shot, man. Come on. Live a little.
Left-back: Jamal Lewis (Norwich)
Straight back to Norfolk to complete our back line. Lewis probably shouldn’t be too worried about appearing here. It’s a blip in what promises to be a fine career for the upwardly mobile Northern Ireland international. Every chance he’ll be back in the Premier League next year even though Norwich won’t – Leicester could certainly do worse if Ben Chilwell decides to clear off – and he’ll not be in this team next year if he is.
Central midfielder: Alex Tettey (Norwich)
There’s something endearing about Tettey, a player who has now racked up over 100 Premier League games and three relegations for Norwich. While most of the other Norwich players here will be linked with moves back into the top flight all summer, Tettey will just keep on keeping on. He’ll probably win a third promotion to the Premier League with Norwich. Got a lot of time for that. He’s found his place in the world, and that is being good enough that Norwich can’t improve on him but flawed enough that nobody higher up the food chain is all that interested.
Central midfielder: Kenny McLean (Norwich)
The WhoScored algorithm has almost no interest in players who celebrate promotion by declaring themselves “Mayor of Norwich”, donning a comedy hat and drinking a bottle of MadDog 2020. The WhoScored algorithm is, in short, an idiot.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) May 6, 2019
Attacking midfielder: Daniel James (Manchester United)
Finally, we are able to leave Norfolk behind and head north to Manchester and what has undoubtedly been a topsy-turvy first season for James at Old Trafford. Scoring three goals in his first four games after a £15m move from Swansea may, in hindsight, have been an error. It created expectations that could never be met and left him vulnerable to a backlash when the slump inevitably came. Has been a bit more worryingly crap since the restart, mind, with pretty much all United’s most positive and encouraging moments coming in his absence. Worth remembering that he remains a very young 22-year-old; he has just 66 league appearances to his name, while Marcus Rashford is only a fortnight older yet has squeezed in 142 league games as well as becoming a doctor and being Prime Minister. Busy fortnight ahead for young James if he plans to catch up, to be honest.
Attacking midfielder: Todd Cantwell (Norwich)
The most controversial of the Norwich lads to make it, surely. Even more iffy than the mayor himself. In what has been a largely uninspiring attempt at Premier League survival, Cantwell has provided many of the few pulse-quickening moments there have been. Will spend the summer being linked with absolutely everyone and then sign for Sheffield United.
Attacking midfielder: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Hahaha. Wut? Really? Take it up with the WhoScored parameters and a definition of attacking midfielder simultaneously strict enough to produce only 12 players who meet our 20-game criterion but also loose enough to include Aubameyang’s assorted wide-forward forays. As Cantwell has already demonstrated, sometimes the number boffins can be very harsh on an excellent player in a rubbish team. Still. At least the Arsenal fans unhappy about him missing out on the Top 10 Players of the Year can celebrate his inclusion here, especially as he narrowly edges out Spurs’ Son Heung-Min to get in. That’s the real St Totteringham’s Day.
Striker: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
Another relegated player being linked with Spurs, where he would be the latest poor sap charged with the task of Taking Some of the Goalscoring Burden off Harry Kane. Replicating his eight Premier League goals from this season would actually sort of fit the bill, albeit from maybe a third of the 32 games it took him this time around.