Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

No Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba picked, Man City and Liverpool dominate: PFA Team of the Year talking points

A look at the selection for the PFA's Premier League Xl for 2018-19

The Premier League's team of the 2018-19 season has been announced and there are plenty of talking points.

It is unsurprisingly dominated by Manchester City and Liverpool players, the two sides fighting for the title race, with City boasting six players and Liverpool four.

The only player from outside those clubs picked in the selection, which is made from votes by members of the Professional Footballers' Association, being Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

Here are some talking points.

Liverpool's defensive progress rewarded

The bulk of the backline is made up of Liverpool players. Manchester City's Ederson wins out in the goalkeeper stakes from Alisson, while centre-back Aymeric Laporte joins his teammate in the team. Apart from that, it's all Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk making up the rest of the defence.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have improved greatly at the back over the past 12 months. They shipped in 38 goals last season and have almost halved that total with three games remaining.

It may still not be enough to win a first title since 1990 but clearly the placing of four players in those roles is an acknowledgement of how much Liverpool have raised their game on that score.

Only three sides represented

Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are the only sides with players in the team.

This is the smallest number of teams to be represented since it was first created in 1974.

It arguably could have been two, given the surprise at Paul Pogba's inclusion for Manchester United.

City and Liverpool have dominated this season and both have produced truly great sides and one of them is going to miss out on the league title with a record points total.

So, why it feels extreme to have so many of the other 17 sides not recognised, this has been a special season led by two great teams and it is only right they take centre stage.

Paul Pogba's surprise inclusion shows voting flaw

On his day the Frenchman can be sensational. Running the show in the Manchester United midfield and a vital conduit between the centre of the park and the forward line.

The problem is his days are irregular and this has been a wildly inconsistent year.

Seven of his 13 league goals have been penalties and he was dropped under Jose Mourinho in December before the Portuguese manager was fired.

His form picked up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but Pogba's inclusion clearly highlights the flaw of the vote for this team happening so early in the year, with voting reportedly starting as early as February, if it is to be judged on past years.

It was clearly done before Pogba's form dipped again as he has been anonymous for the past month and it is no coincidence that United's campaign has imploded at the same time.

Mohamed Salah misses out

Sadio Mane is the lone Liverpool forward in the side, meaning Mohamed Salah misses out.

If anything the Egyptian has been a victim of being unable to match up to his stunning 2017-18 season.

He is joint top scorer this season in the league with 19 goals, a pretty strong year by anyone's reckoning. But it is still some way short of the 32 league goals he netted the campaign before.

He also had his longest goal drought for the Merseyside club since joining them as he went scoreless for eight games in all competition.

Salah can consider himself unfortunate to make the line-up given he has returned to form in April. Just in time to possibly help Liverpool end their trophy drought but too late for his own inclusion in team of the year.

Updated: April 28, 2019 05:21 PM

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