The Premier League best XI of 2021-22, according to WhoScored
The 2021-22 Premier League season has been consigned to the history books and the best players across the campaign have been picked out by WhoScored – with Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham featuring heavily.
WhoScored, the renowned football analytics website, compiled their XI from the best player in each position as determined by the highest average matching ratings which are determined by an algorithm of their statistical performance data.
And here’s the full line-up, which would surely guarantee Champions League glory in real life, arranged in a Pep Guardiola-baiting 4-4-2 formation.
GK: Alisson – 6.9
While there were no goalscoring heroics this season, Alisson put in another season of assured performances between the sticks as Liverpool came within an ace of stealing the title from Manchester City.
Joint winner of the Premier League’s Golden Glove award alongside Ederson, the Brazil international expressed his frustration at Liverpool’s second-place finish.
“With 92 points you’d be champions in pretty much all the leagues in the world, he said. “But here you aren’t. Sometimes you have to do more.”
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5
Some people still say Alexander-Arnold cannot defend. That’s just wrong.
While he’s not as defensively sound as previous incarnations of leading right-backs, his attacking qualities more than compensate for that. Alexander-Arnold created a league-high of 90 chances for his team-mates and he operates on a different level to most of his counterparts.
CB: Joel Matip – 7.4
Matip’s reputation has undergone a renaissance this season.
The Cameroon international has gone from liability in the Liverpool backline to one of the players Jurgen Klopp can rely on; he made the most interceptions (44) and the joint-most blocks (14) of any Liverpool player this season.
After injuries stalled his progress at Anfield, Matip finally looks comfortable and produced his best set of performances over the 2021-22 campaign.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7.2
Does Van Dijk’s presence here surprise anybody?
After a horrific season-ending injury the previous year, Van Dijk wasn’t quite at his pre-2020 pomp in the Liverpool backline. But he was still miles better than almost every centre-back in the Premier League.
It’s hard to imagine how Liverpool will eventually replace him. Badly, we’d guess.
LB: Joao Cancelo – 7.4
A Fantasy Football staple for millions, Cancelo has been a consistently excellent component of City’s latest title-winning side.
The Portugal international made more tackles than any other City player (83) and, considering the embarrassment of attacking riches at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, his club-leading 56 dribbles should boggle the mind.
Plus, there are the assists we’ve rarely seen from a full-back. A shoo-in for this XI.
🗣 "Absolutely sublime!"
The assist by Joao Cancelo 😍
The finish by Raheem Sterling 🔥
Watch Manchester City vs Everton live on Sky Sports Premier League 📺 pic.twitter.com/7I0dnoZ6Nb
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 21, 2021
RM: Mohamed Salah – 7.5
Re-purposed as a right midfielder for this line-up, Salah’s early-season form had pundits falling over themselves to declare him as the ‘best player in the world’.
The Liverpool talisman couldn’t quite maintain that form – double international heartbreak with Egypt had a visible impact on Salah – but he still ended the season as the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer (23) and produced the most assists (13).
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 7.6
Forget everybody else, De Bruyne was deservedly named the Premier League’s Player of the Year – and we can prove it.
CM: Rodri – 7.4
He may not attract the same headlines as some of his City team-mates but Rodri had another excellent campaign at the heart of Guardiola’s midfield.
His absence is noticeable on the occasions he doesn’t play and the Spain international’s late winner at Arsenal on New Year’s Day was one of the most memorable moments of City’s campaign.
Gary Neville summed it up perfectly on Monday Night Football; “Rodri has been City’s best player all season, outstanding.”
LM: Son Heung-min – 7.5
Joint-winner of the Premier League Golden Boot (23, without a single penalty) and the creator of the most Tottenham chances (72), Son performed consistently throughout the whole season, whether under Nuno Espirito Santo or Antonio Conte.
The South Korea captain even scored seven goals more than expected, according to xG data. He’s simply one of the best footballers in the world.
ST: Harry Kane – 7.5
Kane made a slow start to the 2021-22 season. While he’s never the quickest out of the traps in August, a combination of heartbreak at Euro 2020, a failed move to Manchester City and spearheading Nuno’s stodgy Spurs took it out of the England captain.
But Kane recaptured his form under Conte – only Son scored more than Kane’s 16 efforts since the Italian took over last November and his nine assists were more than any other Spurs player.
Even when not at his very best, Kane was still a cut above the rest.
ST: Sadio Mane – 7.3
While Liverpool couldn’t quite overhaul City in the Premier League, Mane has won every other honour available to him this season – including the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
Fifteen goals were plundered by the Liverpool forward, who only grew with importance as the league campaign progressed. While Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota will push him hard, Mane remains an integral part of Klopp’s side.