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Top Five Premier League Right-backs 2015/16 feat. Spurs and Man City stars

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In the second part of The Boot Room’s series to find the Premier League Team of the Season, we move to right-backs – the first of the outfield positions examined. Read on to discover the top five contenders, and don’t forget to pick your choice in the poll at the end of the article.

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Kyle Walker

The Spurs stalwart has overcome injury problems that have plagued him somewhat in recent times and now appears to be a much better-rounded player than at any point before his prolonged lay-off. Progressing from his more tender years and approaching the peak of his career, Kyle Walker is much more defensively sound than in seasons past and has grown immensely in terms of maturity and decision making. Walker’s searing pace is still employed to get his side out of trouble but is just as potent in the opponent’s half too, if not even more so than in the past because of a significantly improved final ball.

Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, and Heung-Min Son have all played on Spurs’ right flank for spells this season, and none of them are a natural wide-man who aspire to hug the touch-line, instead preferring to come in-field. Therefore, Walker’s ability to work up and down the right flank is crucial in maintaining the North Londoners’ balance. He provides an option for team-mates in possession and stretches the opposition’s defensive cover, leaving them with a difficult choice to make – leave Walker unmarked or increase the space available in the middle of the park. Kyle Walker’s displays for Spurs have been no less important than any other during their title-chasing campaign, and will probably head into Euro 2016 as Roy Hodgson’s preferred option on the right of the defence.

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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.

Everton

Michael Keane is vulnerable at Everton after Mason Holgate’s weekend performance

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Photo: Getty Images

With Everton captain Phil Jagielka suspended for the Toffees’ weekend clash against Southampton, Marco Silva opted to hand youngster Mason Holgate a start in the heart of defence.

Paired alongside Michael Keane, the 21-year-old gave a mature performance in victory over the Saints and there is now a very good chance that he will be given future first team opportunities.

This could leave Keane very vulnerable, with the likes of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma yet to be considered for the starting XI.

Keane hasn’t done anything near enough to live up to the reputation that followed him after his £30 million move from Turf Moor two summers’ ago.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

After a difficult start to life in Merseyside under Ronald Koeman, he has since fallen out of contention for Gareth Southgate’s England side.

The former Burnley man has looked sluggish and error prone and there is a feeling around Goodison Park that he will become drastically exposed against some of the more menacing top flight sides.

With £27.19 million summer signing Mina on the verge of full fitness, following the World Cup, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him replace Keane in the first team in the coming weeks.

This change would pave way for a young, fresh and exciting centre-back partnership of Holgate and Mina – a solid platform for Silva to build his new team around.

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West Ham United

Is Pedro Obiang the answer for Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham?

The Spaniard is yet to feature this season.

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Obiang
Photo: Getty Images

Something is yet to click for new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, with the London outfit falling short in their first two Premier League games of the 2018/19 season.

This weekend saw an opening day away defeat to Liverpool followed up by a 2-1 comeback victory for Bournemouth at the Olympic Stadium, accompanies by a performance that will have disheartened even the most optimistic of fans.

Despite spending over £100 million during the summer window, it is evident from the first two games of the season that the Hammers need a ball-winning central midfielder, capable of bringing balance to the defence and attack.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Sitting on Manuel Pellegrini’s bench is Spaniard Pedro Obiang, who became Slaven Bilic’s first signing for the club, back in 2015. The midfielder was a regular in West Ham’s side up to Christmas last season, but he made just one appearance in the Premier League since February.

Athletic and capable of moving the ball forward, the 26-year-old will be a much more dynamic option than ageing West Ham captain Mark Noble. Meanwhile, he would also improve the spine of the team defensively.

Up next for the Hammers is Arsenal. With a central midfield or Noble and Wilshere/Rice clearly not working, it seems a no-brainer for Pellegrini to promote Obiang to the starting XI for the upcoming clash against Unai Emery’s side.

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Fulham

On this day: Leeds cash in on Wood, Coutinho told he’s staying and Seri’s Barca links

What were the big stories in football a year ago today? Including Leeds United, Liverpool and Fulham.

Mathew Nash

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Chopping Wood

One year ago today and Leeds United lost their talismanic striker Chris Wood to Burnley. After a tumultuous summer of rumours and conjecture, the club’s leading scorer left in a club record £15 million deal.

In his two seasons at Leeds the New Zealand international scored an impressive 44 goals in 88 games for the Whites.

Leeds were desperate not to lose the player and ended up paying for his absence. They failed to replace him, with nearest replica Pierre-Michel Lasogga falling short of expectations.

Wood has since gone on to establish himself at Burnley, scoring 11 goals in 26 games during his first season at Turf Moor.

Leeds now have Kemar Roofe firing and also signed Patrick Bamford this summer.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

No-go Coutinho

A year ago today and Liverpool had managed to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian had been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout last summer.

However, as reported by Sky Sports a year ago, Liverpool made it clear Coutinho was going nowhere.

In the end, it proved to just be a stall. Coutinho completed the inevitable switch to Barcelona in January for a fee of £146 million.

However, many Liverpool fans would perhaps argue the club are now performing better than they ever did when Coutinho was at Anfield.

Seri-ous money

Signed by Fulham this summer, a year ago today it seemed Jean-Michael Seri was on his way to Barcelona.

Marca suggested that Barcelona had met the apparent £36.6 million release clause in his contract at Nice. Unfortunately, that clause had expired.

With Barcelona not willing to pay more, they moved on.

Seri joined Fulham this summer for a club record fee.

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