Premier League team of the season: Trippier, Haaland and Saka make our best XI
By Jim van Wijk, PA
It has been another memorable Premier League campaign, with plenty of fine individual performances.
Here, we pick out 11 players who have impressed over the 2022-23 season.
Gunners stopper Ramsdale has enjoyed a stand-out campaign. The 25-year-old, who recently signed a new long-term contract, produced a string of fine saves to help rescue positive results which would otherwise have seen Arsenal’s title bid fade much earlier. England international Ramsdale has kept 13 clean sheets heading into the final weekend to rank among the Premier League’s best goalkeepers.
Signed from Atletico Madrid during January 2022, full-back Trippier, continued his integration this season to become one of the key voices in the Magpies dressing room as Eddie Howe’s transformed squad pushed towards a top-four finish. As well as offering a threat from free-kicks, the England defender also provided an outlet on the overlap to supply Newcastle’s marauding forward line. Trippier, voted Newcastle’s player of the season, also topped the statistics for crosses.
Frenchman Saliba – who had loan spells at former club Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille – enjoyed a superb debut season in the Premier League before a back injury curtailed his progress in mid-March and in turn perhaps also derailed Arsenal’s title drive. The Gunners won almost 80 per cent of the 27 league matches in which Saliba played, conceding an average of just under a goal per game, which showed how much of a key part of the defence he was.
Long-serving club captain Dunk played an integral role in the progress under new Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi, which resulted in his recall to the England squad for the first time in five years. Revelling in a quarter-back role at the centre of defence, Dunk has proved a key link in Brighton’s fast transition style which won so many plaudits. The 31-year-old has produced more than 3,200 completed passes this season – which set him top of the overall league statistics – as Brighton secured European qualification for the first time in the club’s history.
England left-back Shaw has excelled under new United boss Erik ten Hag this season. Shaw’s consistency and versatility has also seen him deployed in the centre of United’s defence when required.
Gunners captain Odegaard has led by example this season, both creatively and clinically as he weighed in with 15 Premier League goals. The Norway playmaker was always on the front foot looking to make space for those around him or often finding a slide-rule pass when nothing appeared on.
The Irons may have been scrapping for points to stay clear of the relegation battle for much of the Premier League campaign, but midfielder Rice tackled every game full on as if they were in a title charge. The England midfielder also played an integral part in helping David Moyes’ side reach the final of the Europa Conference League.
Belgium captain De Bruyne passed a century of Premier League assists this season, becoming only the fifth player to do so. The 31-year-old again tops the domestic statistics so far with 16 as his regular supply line to City’s forwards continued to pay dividends. De Bruyne also played a central role in City’s run to the Champions League final, scoring a fine equaliser away to Real Madrid the first leg of the semi-final.
Another instrumental player in Arsenal’s drive to the top of the table which had looked to set them on course for a first title since the ‘Invincibles’ 2003-04 campaign. However, the 21-year-old’s influence drifted over the final weeks of the campaign as the Gunners’ championship dream faded, with the last of his 13 league goals coming in the 3-3 draw against Southampton. Nevertheless, Saka was still one of the stand-out players of the season.
While it may have been another turbulent season for Tottenham, Kane continued to try to push the team on with 28 Premier League goals. Kane became Spurs’ all-time record scorer when his 267th strike for the club in the 1-0 win over Manchester City during February saw him pass the long-standing mark of Jimmy Greaves. The 29-year-old also went ahead of Wayne Rooney as England’s leading scorer and overtook the former Manchester United striker in total Premier League goals, sitting now behind only Alan Shearer.
Haaland has enjoyed a remarkable first season after moving to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund. Any questions over how the 22-year-old would adapt to the hustle and bustle of Premier League football were soon put to bed as he scored a record nine goals in his first five games, with hat-tricks against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. Haaland’s staggering return – his current tally of 36 in the Premier League is another record – helped fire City to the title once again as well as into the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League, with Pep Guardiola’s side now chasing the treble.