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English Premier League

TBR’s Premier League Team of the Year

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That time of the year is upon us again; discussing which players have performed above the rest for the duration of the current season.

I’ll go straight into it with the position of goalkeeper. There has not been a stand-out candidate in my view, with each demonstrating a degree of inconsistency at some stage. After his return to permanent first team action, Joe Hart has certainly not let anyone down. Both Petr Cech and Simon Mignolet have pulled off brilliant performances in some games, but these would be often followed by moments of indecision. David Marshall has also impressed behind a shaky defence at best with some eye-catching saves. However, I think the overall winner should be David de Gea who, in an entirely mediocre season by Manchester United, has been one of the very few shining lights.

Not wasting much time at right-back, Seamus Coleman has been simply outstanding every time I have seen him and has added a goal-scoring touch to his game. The obvious choice for me.

Jack Linley's Premier League team of the year selection

Jack Linley’s Premier League team of the year selection

Left-back holds slightly more competition I believe. Leighton Baines has played well whenever fit but has not quite reached the heights of last season where he would maraud down the left flank better than most wingers. No, I think the best left-back this year has been Luke Shaw. He has announced himself on the Premier League scene with a frighteningly mature head on such young shoulders. His efforts are destined to earn him a bumper switch to a Premier League juggernaut should he so desire.

The vast numbers of goals that have been scored this year are testament to a less than vintage year at the heart of many defences. Mertesacker and Koscielny have performed admirably in a usually leaky Arsenal back line which has been surprisingly solid for most of the year. Skrtel has been his brutal best while contributing 6 goals at the other end. However, his shirt-grabbing style lacks the panache of an award winner. Curtis Davies has been a commanding captain for Hull City; aggressive when necessary but primarily a calming influence.

I however believe that John Terry and Vincent Kompany deserve the award. Their teams look so much more secure with their presence as they marshal team mates through matches. Terry has rolled back the years to produce displays of a much younger man and Kompany’s front foot style is incomparable.

To go along with recent trends, I’ll pick three central midfielders. This leaves me with a fairly simple choice I believe. Praise should be given for Henderson’s relentless drive and energy, Huddlestone’s sense of control that he lends his side, and Lallana’s constant searching for killer balls. But none of these three can find a place in my final team.

Purely for his form until his hamstring injury at West Ham on Boxing Day, Aaron Ramsey deserves to be in. He gave Arsenal’s midfield something different; lung-busting runs that nobody else could provide, and of course his multitude of goals. Steven Gerrard’s game intelligence and adapting to a more restrained role has been magnificent. Prowess from the penalty spot has also not gone amiss. Finally Yaya Touré, the Ivorian beast. The best box to box midfielder in the world. Need I say more? Another dead-ball specialist and has influence on Manchester City should not be underestimated.

Wayne Rooney’s effect on any good Man Utd performance has been clear to see and Sergio Aguero has been scintillating when fit but injury has ravaged him a little too much to make the final three. I believe these places should go to Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Eden Hazard.

The lightning quick feet of the Belgian have frightened defenders all year as he well and truly established himself in English football. He certainly has the skills but you rarely see him relying on step-overs like a young Cristiano Ronaldo. He can shift the ball between his feet quickly enough to dazzle his man and simply glide past before you know he’s even gone.

Daniel Sturridge has taken to life at Liverpool like a duck to water. He has reached 30 goals for the club in no time and despite a degree of injury disruption, has always come back firing immediately. This is epitomised by his return to action against Stoke City when he came off the bench to show his pace and determination to secure the 3 points for Liverpool in a crazy 5-3 victory. His partnership and understanding with Suarez has been telepathic at times, and it is indeed the second member of the SAS who is my Player of the Year.

No words can describe some of Luis Suarez’s performances this year. Returning from suspension at the start of the year as sharply as if he had never been away, he started like a storm and never let up for one minute. He may have the ability to nutmeg an opponent at will and score every type of goal from a 40 yard volley to a scrappy tap-in, but it is his desire and work-ethic which sets him apart. Defenders can never rest when he is prowling as they know the slightest stumble will be capitalised upon.

No player will have given more opponents nightmares as frequently as the prolific Uruguayan this year, giving all the justification required to be named Player of the Year.

Do you agree with my selections? Join the debate by commenting below with Match Chat.

I am currently at university studying Mechanical Engineering, but in my spare time I'm into all things football. I'm an avid Liverpool fan but always try to remain impartial. My other interests include gaming and Formula One.

West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes

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Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack

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Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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