So far, Haaland, Saliba, and the Premier League Team of the Season
As the English Premier League takes a break for the World Cup, Dramacoolbd selects the best combined XI from the first few months of the season.
With the World Cup just around the corner, we’ve reached the (almost) halfway point of the 2022-23 Premier League, and so far the season has produced a slew of intriguing storylines.
Are Arsenal legitimate title contenders? How is Newcastle already challenging for a spot in the top four? Is Erling Haaland a robot?
Some Premier League newcomers have taken the division by storm this season, while some of the more established names have taken their game to new heights.
Nick Pope is the goalkeeper.
Newcastle could have easily retained Martin Dubravka this summer after a strong finish to the 2021-22 season.
Burnley’s relegation, on the other hand, provided them with a golden opportunity to acquire one of the Premier League’s most underappreciated goalkeepers at a bargain price.
Pope has helped Newcastle United to one of the best defensive records in the Premier League since joining the club for £10 million ($11.5 million).
He has also addressed a major criticism leveled at him in recent years. Pope has been accused in the past of being unable to play with his feet and sweep up long passes. However, no goalkeeper has completed as many defensive actions outside the penalty area as he has this season. Simply call him Nick Neuer.
Kieran Trippier, RB (Newcastle)
Kieran Trippier, another example of Newcastle’s astute recruitment since their takeover, narrowly edges out the imperious Ben White for GOAL’s Team of the Season so far.
The right-back has recovered well from a metatarsal injury that kept him out for much of the previous season, scoring and assisting at an impressive rate for a defender.
More than that, his experience and leadership have been crucial in guiding the Magpies to a string of impressive results this season. In the absence of Jamaal Lascelles, he has also been named de-facto captain.
William Saliba, CB
Arsenal fans have had to wait an eternity to see William Saliba don the red shirt, and he has wasted no time in making amends.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Frenchman has been the league’s best defender thus far, combining near-perfection on the ball with a reading of the game that belies his young age.
He’s even scored a goal or two, nodding home to give Arsenal the lead against Brentford and adding some gloss to the scoreline against Bournemouth.
Saliba, who is still only 21, believes that the sky is the limit this season. And to think, there was even talk of him leaving Arsenal in the not-too-distant future.
Lisandro Martinez, CB
Lisandro Martinez has only been in the Premier League for a few months, but his redemption story has already concluded.
After a sloppy debut against Brighton, pundits were quick to cut him, with Jamie Carragher famously remarking that short kings like him would never make it in England.
‘The Butcher’, on the other hand, did not let this negativity affect him and has since gone on to calm things down at the heart of Manchester United’s defense. He hasn’t been perfect since joining from Ajax, but the resilience he’s shown deserves a lot of credit.
Joao Cancelo, LB
This season, Joao Cancelo has continued to redefine what it means to be a left-back in the Premier League.
The spaces he takes up make him a complete nightmare for opposing defenses to deal with.
While much is made of Cancelo’s abilities on the ball, it should not be forgotten that he is also an accomplished defender, with a tackle vs dribblers percentage comfortably above 70 thus far.
Kevin De Bruyne is the captain (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne, the best passer in the world, is increasingly regarded as deserving of a place in the all-time great Premier League XI.
De Bruyne has been even more lethal than usual this season, thanks to the arrival of a certain Norwegian center-forward. All he seems to have to do these days is hang the ball up by the back post, and Erling Haaland will find a way to force it into the net.
This is likely to be his final World Cup, and he is in top form heading to Qatar.
James Maddison is the CM (Leicester City)
Given Leicester City’s hysterical start to the season, it’s nothing short of a miracle that James Maddison has continued to improve his reputation in the run-up to the World Cup.
Four goal assists in his first six games, none of which the Foxes won, set the tone for a season in which the midfielder has desperately tried to help his side out of a terrible rut.
Nowhere was his influence more visible than in Leicester’s 4-0 derby thrashing of Nottingham Forest, a result that has brought their season back from the brink of disaster. Maddison scored twice, including an inch-perfect free kick, and assisted on another in a performance that no doubt prompted his call-up to England’s squad for Qatar 2022.
Miguel Almiron, RW (Newcastle United)
Be truthful. Who could have predicted this?
Since a p*ssed-up Jack Grealish used Miguel Almiron as a punchline during Manchester City’s title parade, the Paraguayan has been on a vengeance tour worthy of Beth Mead.
Almiron has gone from a fun figure to the most productive wideman in the Premier League after scoring eight goals in just 15 Premier League games.
To be fair, the threat of being replaced by your club’s new super-rich owners will motivate you more than anything else.
Gabriel Martinelli, LW (Arsenal)
Because of unfortunate timing and shaky form, Gabriel Martinelli’s hype-train had been more of a rail-replacement bus service since he burst onto the scene.
However, this season, the Brazilian has been one of the main beneficiaries of Mikel Arteta’s footballing revolution, and he is on course to record his best-ever season goal tally for the Gunners.
Martinelli has consistently remained one of Arteta’s most reliable attacking options, scoring in each of Arsenal’s first two games, with his match-winning performance against Liverpool standing out as a moment when he truly arrived as a Premier League superstar.
Harry Kane, Sr (Tottenham)
This season, Harry Kane’s metronomic scoring has continued, with the England captain’s finishing rescuing Antonio Conte’s side from more than one sticky situation.
Spurs’ talisman had to hit the ground running after Son Heung-min had a poor start, and he has done just that, reclaiming his status as the top dog in north London.
A top-four finish would represent success for Spurs this season, and Kane’s goals will be crucial if they are to qualify for the Champions League again.
Erling Haaland, ST (Manchester City)
There has been so much written about Erling Haaland’s otherworldly performances that it is difficult to find a fresh perspective on his brilliance.
Haaland is currently on pace to score over 50 goals in a Premier League season, and while that figure may be a stretch, it would take a brave person to bet against him breaking the single-season scoring record by the end of the season.
Impossible to defend against and now receiving the best service of his career from Foden, De Bruyne, Cancelo, and others, who knows what other statistical anomalies he will make reality in the coming months?