Alan Shearer has chosen his Premier League Team of the Season so far with the 2020/21 campaign approaching the halfway stage.
After 16 games played, defending champions Liverpool are battling to keep hold of their crown and currently occupy first place. Manchester United are just three points behind with a game in hand while Leicester City, Everton, Aston Villa and Chelsea make up the rest of the top six.
Two players from seventh-placed Tottenham feature in Shearer’s side but zero from Manchester City, who sit down in eighth spot, make the cut.
In goal, Shearer has opted for Villa’s Emiliano Martinez, who has been a revelation since making the summer move from Arsenal, keeping eight clean sheets in 14 Premier League games.
‘He has injected pace and energy from right-back, overlapping brilliantly time and time again and putting in crosses that strikers love,’ Shearer added.
‘The 20-year-old has adapted remarkably quickly to the demands of the league.
‘He reads the game so well and is very reliable.
‘He has been a rock at the back while also chipping in with goals for a Southampton team who are pushing for Europe.
‘Liverpool’s left-back has looked more dangerous than ever and is on course to beat Trent Alexander-Arnold for assists this season.’
In Shearer’s top-heavy side, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes form an attacking duo in midfield.
‘Villa’s captain has reached another level, already getting into double figures for combined goals and assists,’ Shearer remarked.
‘He has continued the superb form he showed in the second half of last season, providing Manchester United with an attacking spark.’
The Newcastle legend went for a four-pronged attack including Son Heung-min and Harry Kane of Tottenham, Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
‘He has been brilliant on the break for Jose Mourinho’s side, combining brilliantly with Harry Kane and finishing clinically,’ Shearer continued.
‘He keeps getting better. The Egyptian looks set to beat his goal tallies from the last two seasons and could eclipse his 32 in 2017/18.
‘He is realising his potential now, scoring all kinds of goals. He holds the ball up well and is in the race for the Golden Boot.
‘Kane has shown what a complete player he is, dropping deep to provide assists, scoring goals and working hard defensively.’
Jurgen Klopp was picked as manager of the season so far given that his Liverpool side are still top despite losing first-choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to serious knee injuries earlier in the season.
‘Liverpool have been beset by injuries this season but have coped admirably and look determined to retain their title’ the ex-England striker said. ‘They will take some stopping.’