Premier League Matchday 35: Tricky Away Trip For Manchester United
In line with this series, it’s now time to bring you the Midfielders in our Team of the Year for the 2018/19 season.
There has been plenty of mercurial midfield talent shown in the Premier League, but three players have stood out for the best part of the campaign with still a few more weeks to come.
Here are my three midfielders:
Signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers from AS Monaco last summer, the 32 year old Portugal international has been a breath of fresh air to their midfield.
João Moutinho’s quick-wittedness and ability to be one step ahead of everyone else gives him the foresight to pick his passes and execute them nine times out of 10. With seven assists in the Premier League this season to date, the Portuguese midfielder is ranked fourth in the list and will be looking to close that gap on the top three.
The midfielder’s technical ability is there to see for all, which is why he feels so comfortable on the ball dictating play. Along with Ruben Nevés, who has also been superb this season, Wolves have a midfield that can unlock any defence in the league – as they showed against Manchester United twice in two weeks.
He was signed for a measly £5 million and, by the showing this season, still has plenty left in the tank for years to follow.
While this season has not been plain sailing for Paul Pogba, especially for the first few months under José Mourinho, the France international has turned things around drastically with Ole Gunnar Solskjær in charge.
Playing deeper than predicted from August until December, Pogba only recorded three goals and three assists in 15 games that he featured in. Since the sacking of Mourinho, the Frenchman has eight goals and six assists in the same amount of appearances.
While there has been a small drop off in-and-around the international break, Manchester United would not be challenging in Europe or for a top four qualification spot without Pogba’s involvement. At times, he has single-handedly dragged the Red Devils through matches and demanded others around him to raise their level.
For the time he remains in England he will divide opinion, but stats don’t lie. He is ranked second in the Premier League’s goals scored from all midfielders, third for assists and sixth for most passes made. By all accounts, Pogba has had a terrific season.
The remarkable attribute Christian Eriksen has in his locker is the consistency of his performances.
Season after season, Eriksen rises to the occasion and is paramount to Tottenham’s progression under Mauricio Pochetttino. His numbers – six goals and 11 assists in the Premier League – are superb, as well as his influence over his side.
Eriksen is one of Pochettino’s trusted lieutenants on the moment and, more often than not, arrives on the scene with a goal, assist or key pass in important matches. The attacking midfielder has six goals and assists in eight appearances against the traditional ‘top six’, showing just how important he is to Spurs and why they value him so highly.
#thfc maestro Christian Eriksen has now assisted 59 goals in 200 @PremierLeague matches – only Dennis Bergkamp (60), Thierry Henry (61), David Beckham (62) and Cesc Fabregas (66) provided more in their first 200 appearances in the competition. [BBC] pic.twitter.com/jDk4aw6ouR
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) April 4, 2019
If it’s not for Eriksen’s key passes that cut open opposition defences, it’s his spatial awareness that leaves the spectators in awe. The way the former Ajax player drifts in and out of space, either ready to commit to a cross or drag defenders away to mark him, is truly wonderful. It is a characteristic that comes naturally and should be admired.
The Denmark international has graced the league with his presence for six years now, which is why speculation over his future is so rife, but for as long as Spurs keep him, the fans will continue to chant his name. Yet again, Eriksen has had a season to remember.