The alternative Premier League team of the season - including Aston Villa, West Ham and Newcastle stars
We recognise some of the performances that may have gone under the radar in the Premier League this season.
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A long and draining Premier League season will come to a close on Sunday afternoon and bring down the curtain on one of the more unique campaigns in the competition’s history.
The stories have been plentiful, with Arsenal’s unexpected but ultimately unsuccessful push for the title, Manchester City’s successful defence of their title, Newcastle’s return to the top four and underwhelming performances from Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have dominated the headlines throughout the last nine months.
But there have been some remarkable performances from players at all levels of the league and some that have gone without recognition. So in honour of some of them, may we present the 3AddedMinutes Alternative team of the Premier League season.
Goalkeeper: Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
The former Porto and Olympiakos stopper has been in fine form this season and has been integral in helping Wolves produce a much improved run of form since Julen Lopetegui’s arrival at Molineux. The 30-year-old sits in fifth place in this season’s clean sheet rankings, with only David de Gea, Alisson, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale battering his tally of 11.
Right-back: Ben White (Arsenal)
It may seem strange selecting a defender that has more than played his part in Arsenal’s unexpected push for the Premier League title - but White’s work in an unfamiliar position at right-back has largely gone without recognition. The former Brighton and Hove Albion man has been in consistent form throughout the season and can count himself unfortunate not to be involved in the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 internationals.
Left-back: Pervis Estupinan (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Replacing Marc Cucurella was never going to be an easy task given the Spaniard’s impact at the Amex Stadium - but Estupinan have surpassed his predecessor on the left-hand side of the Seagulls’ defence with a remarkably consistent level of performance. Solid in defence, integral in attack, the Ecuador international has been yet another impressive addition for the Albion.
Centre-back: Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Possibly one of the most under-rated defenders in the Premier League, Dunk has been outstanding throughout the season as he led the Seagulls into European competition for the first time in their history. Comfortable on the ball, his style of play fits into Roberto De Zerbi’s demands to near perfection. His fine form has earned him a long overdue England recall, too.
Centre-back: Ben Mee (Brentford)
Signing a defender from a recently relegated side that had a far from impressive defensive record may well have been viewed as a risk but Mee has repaid Brentford’s faith by slotting into their side with ease. His solid performances have helped the Bees secure a top half finish and he will hope to improve even further next season.
Midfield: Declan Rice (West Ham United)
Rice should be under consideration for a place in the Premier League season because his performances for his beloved Hammers have proven why he has so many admirers ahead of the summer transfer window. A leader in every sense of the word, the England star may well land some major silverware before what would not be a surprise departure this summer.
Midfield: Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest)
Eyes were raised when Forest handed over £42.5m to secure the services of Gibbs-White - but he has repaid their faith by leading them to safety against the odds. The England Under-21 international has ended his first season at the City Ground with a record of five goals and seven assists in 39 appearances in all competitions - but his drive and ability far surpass those figures in proving his importance to Steve Cooper’s side.
Midfield: Michael Olise (Crystal Palace)
With all due respect to Crystal Palace, Olise feels like a player primed to join one of the Premier League’s leading lights - although it would take a sizable offer to persuade the Eagles to part ways with the talented 21-year-old. A total of 12 goal contributions in 36 Premier League games is an impressive return and show why Roy Hodgson placed so much importance on Olise when he returned to the club.
Forward: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
Watkins has been a divisive figure at Villa in the past but he has proven his worth with one of the most impressive seasons of his career. The England international moved on from his disappointment at missing out on a place in the Three Lions World Cup squad by posting an impressive return of 15 goals and six assists in 39 appearances in all competitions to give Gareth Southgate a gentle nudge over his clear ability - not enough to make the latest squad, however.
Forward: Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
Many had expected Wilson to be pushed out of the scene at Newcastle when the Magpies paid a club record £63m for Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak. But the former Bournemouth and Coventry City star has risen to the challenge by producing a run of form that has helped the St James Park club return to the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
Forward: Ivan Toney (Brentford)
Much of the recent talk has surrounded Toney’s activity away from the pitch, but it should not detract from what has been a fine season on the field after he scored 21 goals and provided five assists in 35 appearances in all competition for the Bees.
Manager: Gary O’Neil (Bournemouth)
Not for the first time in his career, O’Neil was thrust into the role of caretaker manager in challenging circumstances after taking temporary charge of the Cherries in the aftermath of a 9-0 hammering at Liverpool. Already tagged as pre-season favourites for relegation, the defeat at Anfield only enhanced belief an immediate return to the Championship was on the cards. But O’Neil’s cool and calm exterior and his attention to detail on the training ground has helped guide his side to safety and left him to plan for his first full season as the club’s permanent manager.