Premier League XI 2020/21 (So Far)
By Leonard Solms
The 2020-21 Premier League season has been different to any in recent memory. From the lack of supporters in the stands to the bizarre results, we have seen several twists and turns which would have been unfathomable a year ago.
In our early team of the season, there may be some surprise starters, but there is also space for some heroes of seasons past who have maintained or even improved their level of performance under challenging circumstances.
GK: Edouard Mendy
Mendy is a recent arrival at Chelsea from Stade Rennais, but in terms of sheer impact, nobody can come close to matching the Senegal international.
The Blues were haemorrhaging goals with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero failing to offer Frank Lampard’s side security between the sticks. Mendy has brought an air of calm, conceding just one goal in four Premier League appearances.
RB: Tariq Lamptey
This selection might raise eyebrows, but Tariq Lamptey has been absolutely all over the park for Brighton & Hove Albion in their first few matches this season. He has one goal and one assist, but his impact in the Seagulls’ build-up play has been immeasurable.
Lamptey still has some way to go before he can convince the world that he is a match for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James, but Lamptey has been the outstanding right-back in the early weeks of the Premier League season. So impressive have his performances been that it came as little surprise to see him linked with Bayern Munich.
CB: Thiago Silva
If anyone believed that Thiago Silva’s best days were behind him, the Brazilian colossus has made them eat their words. His first two Chelsea appearances saw him struggle somewhat on the ball at key moments, but he adapted tremendously well after that and has played a critical role in shoring up a once leaky backline.
At 36 years of age, the former Paris Saint-Germain captain packs composure on and off the ball and appears to be vital for Chelsea not just on the field of play, but also in terms of their dressing room culture.
CB: Jannik Vestergaard
The great Dane has been titanic at the back for Southampton, while also chipping in with two goals. The Saints have picked up five wins and a draw in the six games he has started against and sit fourth in the Premier League after eight matches.
LB: Ben Chilwell
Another player who seems to be at the heart of just about everything his team does, Chilwell has been vital in Chelsea’s quest to find a balance between defence and attack.
The former Leicester left-back has two goals and two assists from his five Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, but has also been involved in keeping three clean sheets in that set of matches.
CM: James Ward-Prowse
The heartbeat of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side, Ward-Prowse has contributed three goals, an assist, and 2.3 tackles per game in eight Premier League matches this season, as per WhoScored.
One need not be a stats guru to appreciate how truly central he is to the Saints, whether it be due to his creativity, his knack for goals, or his workmanlike contribution in defence. All one needs to do is watch.
CM: Jack Grealish
There are hardly enough superlatives to describe how sublime this Aston Villa stalwart has been in 2020-21. The first word which comes to mind is Hazard-esque. It appears, at times, as through the only way to prevent the tricky midfielder from gliding through the heart of defences at will is to hack him down and concede a foul. Creative, clinical and dynamic, Grealish has made the Premier League his playground.
LW: Son Heung-min
The South Korea international has reached a new level of superstardom this season with eight goals and two assists in eight Premier League matches.
Son was prolific last season with 11 goals and 11 assists in the league, but his season was hampered by injury. If he can keep fit in this campaign, there is a high chance it will be his most impressive yet.
RW: Mohamed Salah
Mo Salah has arguably been the star of the Premier League since signing for Liverpool in 2017 and he has not tailed off by an inch even in a particularly challenging campaign.
Salah has chipped in with eight goals in as many matches and the defending Premier League champions are only a point off the top despite a myriad of challenges. Having tested positive for COVID-19, Salah’s absence will surely be felt for as long as he is out of action.
ST: Harry Kane
Kane has starred for Spurs in a somewhat new role this season. Not only has he been clinical with seven goals in eight games, but he has also racked up an astonishing eight assists.
With goals in each of his last three appearances for José Mourinho’s men in all competitions, the England captain shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to lead from the front in Tottenham’s bid for silverware.
ST: Jamie Vardy
Vardy walked away with the Golden Boot last season, and at 33 years of age, his fairytale story shows no sign of drawing to an end.
Leicester top the Premier League after eight fixtures and Vardy’s eight goals in seven games have given the Foxes cause to dream of another grand party at the end of the campaign.