Friday 23 March 2018

Do you agree with this Premier League team of 2015?

Jason Burt

Jason Burt picks his Premier League XI of 2015, plus a manager. It's a 4-1-3-2 formation. Which team do you think has the most representatives?

David de Gea

The only blip has been his state of mind at the start of this season, as he hoped to move to Real Madrid, and was left out by Louis van Gaal, but that might say as much about the manager as the player. De Gea has been a brilliant goalkeeper making outstanding saves throughout the year for Manchester United. Where would they be without him?

Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Clyne (L) vies with Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (R) during the match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London

Nathaniel Clyne

Edges out Hector Bellerin in, to be honest, not an outstanding field for the right-back position. But has done well since his move from Southampton and the 24-year-old has been singled out by Jurgen Klopp as one of Liverpool’s most important players. Needs more consistency for club and country.

Toby Alderweireld

Does what it says on the tin. The Belgian is a no-nonsense, powerful defender who has been the galvanising force in the Spurs back four having done the same for Southampton. Makes others around him look better with his organisational skills as well.

John Stones is going nowhere in January

John Stones

Has come in for recent criticism given Everton’s poor defensive record but is a Rolls-Royce defender. England’s best defender. Barcelona are already casting covetous glances and that says it all. A wonderful ball-playing centre-half who needs to be cherished.

Nacho Monreal

A year ago he was not even first-choice and appeared lightweight. Now, as my colleague Paul Hayward has dubbed him, “Macho Nacho” is a good, old-fashioned, aggressive left-back who is not afraid to get physical as well as get forward, although he can be caught out too far up the pitch at times. No nonsense and all the better for that.

Francis Coquelin

On loan at Charlton Athletic and in the wilderness, the 24-year-old was brought back to Arsenal in December 2014 and has not looked back. Transformed the team with his disciplined aggression in that key holding-midfield role, especially with a signature performance away to Manchester City when he shackled David Silva. Sorely missed at the moment through injury.

Manchester City must try to stop Leicester duo Riyad Mahrez, left, and Jamie Vardy, right

Riyad Mahrez

The most skilful player in the Premier League. Bought for a pittance from Le Havre, the Algerian has been outstanding. As much as Jamie Vardy has grabbed the headlines, Mahrez is Leicester City’s best player, most creative player. Without question. Destined for great things with that wonderful left-foot of his and eye for goal. A joy.

Mesut Ozil

Has had his critics and still needs to be more influential in the very big games. But what a beautiful footballer, what a creator, an architect of chances – no-one has more assists – and now the German is starting to impose himself more as he needs to do. No-one should have doubted his ability but let us see him do it against Barcelona in the looming Champions League tie.

Alexis Sanchez

A study in perpetual motion with a voracious appetite for the game, for the goals, for the glory. The Chilean has dragged Arsenal forward – a one-man pressing, scoring machine at times – and is their most influential player and a wonderful asset to the Premier League. He has seemed born to it. Just as he is born to play and compete.

Harry Kane scored twice in Tottenham's 3-0 win over Norwich on Saturday

Harry Kane

Has actually been even more impressive this season than last. Which is saying something. No-one has scored more Premier League goals in 2015 than Kane who has defied expectation throughout his career and has a steely determination to succeed. A good team-player, captain material, as well as a striker. Tottenham Hotspur will have to fight to keep him.

Jamie Vardy

Was still not a regular in the Leicester City side until late into last season but has grasped his opportunity for club and country. Has a talismanic quality, a charisma, that appeals and an incredible desire to succeed and make the most of what he has been given after bursting late onto the scene. Fit, fast and robust, he is loving life in the top-flight.

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has opened talks over a new contract

MANAGER - Alan Pardew

Closely run by Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino but Pardew has been skilful and sure-footed in the way he guided Crystal Palace out of the relegation zone and helped transform them into an upwardly-mobile, exciting, established Premier League team while also working hard to improve the club’s infrastructure.

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