Three Arsenal players in Premier League XI of the season so far

Saving two penalties in a season will do that. But in general play, Areola has been kept awful busy by a poor West Ham defence. It’s telling that he is in the 100-save club with the likely-relegated trio of Wes Foderingham, James Trafford and Thomas Kaminski this season.


RIGHT-BACK: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Creates marginally more chances than Kieran Trippier, even if he lags behind in terms of actual Premier League assists. But most importantly, he is part of one of the Premier League’s best defences, even if they do pretty well without him thanks to Conor Bradley, who would make this XI if we didn’t have an appearances bar to clear.


CENTRE-BACK: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Had an absolute ‘mare v Arsenal but it was so hilarious precisely because it was so rare. His form is a major reason why Liverpool are still just about top of the Premier League. Two Premier League goals and two assists help the algorithm.


CENTRE-BACK: Gabriel Maghalhaes (Arsenal)
There absolutely should be an Arsenal defender in this XI and it’s Gabriel over William Saliba because he tackles more, intercepts more and makes more clearances. He also has a not-inconsiderable four Premier League goals to his name.


LEFT-BACK: Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
Nobody intercepts more in the Premier League. And he’s also got five assists. It’s little wonder that Liverpool are among the clubs sniffing around.


CENTRE MIDFIELD: Rodri (Manchester City)
The best in the world in his position? Quite possibly. Casually added goals to his repertoire while posting a 93% pass completion rate and doing all the dirty defensive work too. He is unbeaten since forever. He is the favourite for the PFA award.


CENTRE MIDFIELD: Declan Rice (Arsenal)
One of five Arsenal players to have logged a combined 10 Premier League goal contributions or more. He also does a lot of the dirty work in that central midfield. Imagine if City had signed him and paired him with the man above.


RIGHT WING: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Thirteen goals and eight assists this season but it’s defensive work that keeps him ahead of Mo Salah here; nobody in the Premier League makes more tackles in the final third. The player of the season according to the WhoScored rankings.


ATTACKING MIDFIELD: James Maddison (Tottenham)
Logged his seventh assist of the Premier League season v Crystal Palace, keeping him ahead of Martin Odegaard here. He is the Premier League’s most creative player.


LEFT WING: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham)
Thirteen goals and six assists for the Tottenham captain. One of the best finishers in the Premier League.


STRIKER: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
You just cannot argue with 18 Premier League goals in 22 games. Nor with all these other ridiculous statistics. Though he’s nowhere near the best finisher this season.

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