No room for Ronaldo or Van Dijk in a Premier League team of the year based entirely on stats

Manchester City and Liverpool provide five of the XI, while Wolves have two in there but there's only room for one Manchester United player when you pick the best of the top flight on stats alone.

It's almost that time of the season when the Premier League's 11 best players are put into a virtual world-beating team by their fellow pros.

Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne are shoe-ins and there are unlikely to be many surprises among the remaining nine, either.

However, what if the team was picked not on reputation, media standing and the profile of their club but stats alone.

Planet Sport pores over the statistics to select our team of the season.

Goalkeeper - Jose Sa

When it comes to goalkeepers, you would have thought this would be a toss up between Man City's Ederson and Liverpool's Alisson.

Both have kept a league-topping 16 clean sheets and have conceded an identical amount of goals - 18. Alisson has a superior shot save percentage of 74% compared to the 70.8% of his fellow Brazilian.

However, the best keeper in the division is surely the one who saves the most shots. After all, that's what they are paid to do. And that honour goes to Jose Sa of Wolves who tops the save percentage charts with 78%.

He has featured in every minute of Wolves' season, conceding an average of just 0.87 per match and has made a monstrous 98 saves.

Defence - Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool Mar22

Although injury has recently struck for the England right-back, Alexander-Arnold leads the assist charts, perhaps unsurprisingly and has excelled in a multitude of areas for Jurgen Klopp's Reds.

Alexander-Arnold has set up 11 goals in 2021/22. That is on the back of 213 crosses, a total only bettered by Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, who has swung in 230 balls.

He also ranks in the top 10 for passes made with 1,740 and has had the second most touches with 2,490.

Just as importantly, he has helped shut out the opposition 16 times in the 26 games he has played for the Merseyside club.

Defence - Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo Man City Feb22

Cancelo can't live up with Alexander-Arnold's number of assists, posting five, but he trumps him in the passing stats (2,263) and touches (2,972) to top the charts in both those areas.

The Portugal utility man has 15 clean sheets, with table-topping Manchester City conceding just 17 goals in his 27 appearances.

Cancelo has made the most tackles inside the attacking third of the field with 18, putting him some way ahead of the next best defender, Everton's Seamus Coleman with 11.

Defence - Mohammed Salisu

After signing from Spanish outfit Real Vallodalid in 2020, Salisu has nailed down a first-team spot at St Mary's and has arguably been Saints' top performer this season.

In his 27 league appearances he averages 10.30 pressures per 90 minutes and tops the percentage of successful pressures with 41%, while 1.73 tackles won puts him in the top 3% and 5.46 tackles and interceptions have him inside the top 5%.

He also has 161 clearances (fourth in the league) and 12.3 ball recoveries per 90 minutes.

Midfield - Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva Man City2 Jan22

A huge part of Man City's success this season has been down to this man. Employed as either a midfielder or winger, Silva has outstanding stats considering the tight areas he works in.

The Portugal player has completed 1,395 passes, which is by far the most by an attacking midfielder or attacker. He has completed 93.6% of the 839 short passes he has attempted and 88.2% overall.

Silva has shown his worth to Guardiola, in a side that is regularly rotated, by appearing in 28 matches, starting 97% of games and playing 92% of his team's minutes.

Midfield - Bruno Fernandes

Fernandes may find himself overshadowed by another Portuguese Red Devil but he is still creating an unbelievable amount of chances for his team-mates.

Per 90 minutes, the Portuguese playmaker has created 2.59 chances and is second only to Alexander-Arnold in terms of total chances created, with 76.

Fernandes only trails the Liverpool right-back when it comes to big chances created, having made 14 and he sits in the top 10 in the assists chart with six.

He has also scored a respectable nine goals.

Midfield - Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne Man City Jan22

Whether it be based on stats or opinion, there's no denying this man a space in the team.

Manchester City's creative heartbeat, KDB has made an average of 5.16 shot-creating actions per match, second only to fellow City player, Jack Grealish (5.29). He tops the goals minus expected goals chart with 4.5, meaning that he has scored double the number of goals he has been expected to (9).

He has had 752 touches in his opponents' final third and has an expected number of assists of 5.5, putting him in the top 10 in that category, while creating 10 big chances.

Midfield - Declan Rice

Declan Rice West Ham Mar22

The cornerstone of the midfield, Rice has some impressive stats, especially when it comes to forming a shield in front of the Irons defence.

Rice has completed 1,623 passes for West Ham this season, at an average of 90% and has played the eighth highest percentage of minutes in the league of any outfield player.

He has had the sixth most touches in the middle third of the pitch with 1,240 and has travelled 10,179 yards with the ball, second only to Laporte.

The England midfielder has also made 63 tackles in 28 matches and a league-high 84 interceptions, seven clear of nearest challenger Christian Norgaard.

Midfield - Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka Arsenal Dec21

With a tireless workrate and the stats to back it up, Arsenal's young Englishman has bounced back from his Euro 2020 heartbreak in the best possible fashion.

Saka has featured in every Arsenal match this season, highlighting his importance as they push for a Champions League spot.

As well as registering nine goals and five assists, he has fired off 68 shots with 99 shot-creating actions, underlining his billing as one of the most exciting attacking players in the top flight.

Defenders are only too aware and have committed 58 fouls on the England international, putting him joint fifth in those rankings.

Attack - Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah Liverpool Dec21

A no brainer. Twenty goals, 0.8 goals per match, 18.9 expected goals, 10 assists, 8.5 expected assists, 0.4 assists per match, 884 touches in the attacking third, 50 successful dribbles and 62 carries into the box.

Need I say any more?

Attack - Hwang Hee-Chan

Hwang Hee-Chan Wolves Feb22

Because you need the striker with the best shot conversion rate and the South Korean attacker is top of the tree when it comes to goals per shot ratio, with 0.28.

From just 18 shots, eight of which have been on target, the former RB Leipzig man has netted five goals, marking him out as the most deadly striker in the Premier League this season.

Hwang also has the best goals per shots on target for an attacker with a figure of 0.63, demonstrating that if this man is put through on goal, you'd back him to hit the back of the net.

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