As another year draws to a close, we bring you the Premier League’s best team of 2016. It’s a big kick in the stomach to Manchester United…..
Following Liverpool’s dramatic 1-0 win over Merseyside rivals Everton, the Premier League is now set for Christmas. Chelsea top the table, while Sunderland, Swansea and Hull occupy the relegation places.
With the festivities upon us, now’s the time to take stock of an eventful year and take a closer look at WhoScored.com’s Premier League team of 2016 of those to make 20 or more appearances over the calendar year…
Kasper Schmeichel – Leicester (WhoScored.com rating 6.94)
The Premier League winning goalkeeper understandably tops the list having starred for Leicester as they ended top of the pile back in May.
Kasper Schmeichel’s WhoScored.com rating this year (6.94) is better than any other goalkeeper using the above parameters, with his save success rate (77.9%) also the best this calendar year of those to make 20 or more appearances.
Kyle Walker – Tottenham (7.36)
England’s starting right-back for good reason, Kyle Walker’s inclusion comes as little shock. Now considered by many as the best in his position in England’s top tier, the 26-year-old has starred under Mauricio Pochettino in 2016, with an average of 2.8 tackles and 2 interceptions per game contributing to a WhoScored.com rating of 7.36.
Meanwhile, only Christian Fuchs (52) played more key passes than Walker (46) of all defenders this year as the Spurs man thrived for the north London side.
Nicolas Otamendi – Manchester City (7.59)
Manchester City’s defence may require strengthening at the next possible opportunity, but the backline is more solid with Nicolas Otamendi available.
The Argentine is the no-nonsense defender most Premier League teams require and he’s shown this having made the fifth most tackles and interceptions combined (196) in 2016, while only three centre-backs have played more accurate passes than Otamendi (1376) this calendar year.
Virgil van Dijk – Southampton (7.63)
One of the Premier League’s best defenders, of that there is no doubt, Virgil van Dijk is an unsurprising inclusion having shone for Southampton over the last 12 months.
He’s made the third most clearances (275) and second most headed clearances (175) in the Premier League in 2016 to highlight both his proactive approach to defending and aerial dominance.
He has won seven WhoScored.com man of the match awards so far this year – one of the better returns – and you wouldn’t bet against him adding to that against Spurs later this month.
Danny Rose – Tottenham (7.45)
Making up the other half of arguably the Premier League’s strongest full-back pairing, Danny Rose – like Walker – has enjoyed a super 2016 under Pochettino at White Hart Lane.
He’s routinely exhibited his offensive output, with six clear-cut chances created bettered only by Christian Fuchs (9) of defenders. Three tackles per game is also a highly respectable return for the left-back, who continues to impress.
N’Golo Kante – Leicester/Chelsea (7.63)
N’Golo Kante’s fine form for Leicester earned him a big money summer switch to Chelsea and it comes as little shock that his WhoScored.com rating this year (7.63) is enough to earn a place in the XI.
No player has won possession in the midfield third more times than the Frenchman (167) in 2016, while only Idrissa Gueye (291) has made more tackles and interceptions combined than Kante (279) this calendar year.
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal (7.82)
The Premier League’s highest rated player in 2016 with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.82, Alexis Sanchez routinely excels for Arsenal. Only Christian Eriksen (86) has played more key passes from open play than the Chilean (79) in 2016 as the Gunners strive to tie Alexis down to a new long term deal.
He’s completed 100 dribbles, registered nine assists and scored 19 league goals this year and is comfortably Arsenal’s most important attacking player.
Dimitri Payet – West Ham (7.69)
On the back of a superb Euro 2016 campaign, many tipped Dimitri Payet for a big money move away from West Ham in the summer. They can count their blessings the Frenchman didn’t look to force a move away, with he playing more key passes (135), creating the joint-most clear-cut chances (15) and winning more WhoScored.com man of the match awards (9) than any other Premier League player in 2016.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool (7.66)
There’s no denying that Liverpool’s attack is all the stronger with Philippe Coutinho available having posted a WhoScored.com rating of 7.66 from 23 Premier League appearances this year.
The Brazilian’s willingness to go for goal from distance has seen him score more goals from outside the box (5) than any other player in 2016, with his influence alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane helping forge arguably the most fluid attack in the Premier League at present.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea (7.66)
Antonio Conte’s appointment as Chelsea manager has seen Eden Hazard return to his peak in a Blues shirt and after ending the 2015/16 campaign strongly, the Belgian has maintained his fine form this season.
He ranks third for dribbles (105) in 2016, while only Wilfried Zaha (97) has been fouled more times than Hazard (83) in the Premier League this year as opponents continue to struggle to limit the 25-year-old’s influence without resorting to foul play.
Diego Costa – Chelsea (7.61)
With Diego Costa suspended for Chelsea’s Boxing Day meeting with Bournemouth, and a possible doubt for the welcome of Stoke, the striker’s year could already be finished.
He started 2016 by scoring in a win at Crystal Palace and may be ending the calendar year in the same vein having netted in a victory at Selhurst Park. He’s been directly involved in more goals (30 – 20 goals, 10 assists) than any other Premier League player in 2016, contributing to a WhoScored.com rating of 7.61 this year.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.