Salah, Kane, Van Dijk: 2022/23 Premier League Team of the Season predicted | OneFootball

Salah, Kane, Van Dijk: 2022/23 Premier League Team of the Season predicted

Logo: GiveMeSport


The 2022/23 Premier League season is upon us and predictions have been raining in left, right and centre.

If you haven’t already read or watched your favourite YouTuber, pundit or journalist’s full table forecast for the upcoming campaign, then what are you doing with yourselves?

It’s always great fun to chance your arm by predicting how a Premier League season will play out when you fully know that it’s never going to work and you’re inevitably going to be left with egg on your face.

2022/23 Premier League predictions

However, if you thought that predicting the full table, Golden Boot winner or first manager to be sacked was hard, then just imagine how difficult it would be to forecast the entire Team of the Season.

Well, each year, we do exactly that so you don’t have to with your humble GIVEMESPORT writer staring deep into their crystal ball and rustling around in the tea leaves to see what the strongest combined XI of all will truly look like.

And it’s fair to say that I’ve had mixed success because although I dare say that my 2020/21 prediction was an absolute masterclass, the less we talk about my 2021/22 effort, the better.

Predicting Team of the Season

First time out, I correctly predicted five out of 11 players – which, trust us, is easier said than done – with my choice of Luke Shaw proving to be a masterstroke having initially been panned in the comments section.

However, last season wasn’t so rosy with Sadio Mane enduring as the only player I actually got right with Romelu Lukaku, Emiliano Buendia, Harry Maguire and Donny van de Beek all featuring in my horror show.

So, here we go again, standing at the footballing precipice, ready to take a leap of faith in front of thousands of people knowing full well that I’m either going to look like a sporting guru or an absolute mug.

Let’s face it, though, I’ll probably get no end of banter either way in the mean time, but remember that you won’t ever get a prediction right if you don’t chuck in any wildcards along the way.

2022/23 Team of the Season prediction

But enough chit-chat because we all know that you’re here to take your screenshots that you can mock me with in nine months’ time, so without further ado, here’s our predicted 2022/23 Premier League Team of the Season.

GK: Nick Pope (Newcastle United)

As we saw last season with Jose Sa taking Alisson Becker all the way in the 2021/22 Team of the Season hunt, the goalkeeping position is an area of the pitch where it’s slightly easier for a non-title-challenging player to make the grade.

And that’s why I’m swinging for the fences early doors with my only player who doesn’t currently call a ‘top six’ club his home.

Coming off the back of a stellar season at Burnley despite the club’s relegation, Pope is all set to reach new heights at St. James’ Park with a bolstered defence led by Sven Botman in front of him and the coaching of Eddie Howe to fine tune his distribution skills.

I can see Pope dropping several Man of the Match performances against clubs competing in Europe, featuring some eye-catching saves, that make him the big name on everybody’s lips before and after the 2022 World Cup.

RB: Reece James (Chelsea)

In slightly more familiar territory now because although most people are in agreement that Chelsea are in flux at the moment, I can only see James’ stock continuing to rise and if he can replicate his 2021/22 form while staying fit this year, then the world’s his oyster.

I foresee the England star having a bigger individual influence on Chelsea’s season than Trent Alexander-Arnold will do on Liverpool‘s, amassing 10 league assists for the first time and winning the Blues’ Player of the Year award.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

However, that’s not to say that Liverpool won’t have any players in the XI because yours truly is inclined to think that a second season back with a clean bill of health is exactly what Van Dijk needs to return to his truly world-beating best.

Although, spoiler alert, I’m predicting both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to finish higher in the table, I can’t picture either one of those teams’ centre-backs dominating more than a fully fit Van Dijk channelling his 2018-2020 form.

CB: Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)

So, allow me to put my cards on the table by saying that I’m being just as Barry Basic as most every Premier League predictor out there right now by forecasting City to win the title. Shock horror, I know.

However, this is a very important detail to consider when going on to predict a ‘Team of the Season’ because the club that lifts the trophy come May always tends to have at least three or four players in the XI.

As such, I’m nailing my colours to the mast by saying that Ederson will win the Golden Glove yet again and that City’s subsequent defensive solidity sees Laporte – though you could just as easily nominate Ruben Dias – swagger into the line-up.

LB: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

By the same token, Cancelo just feels like a given at left-back because it’s going to take something special from Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell and even Andrew Robertson to stop the Swiss Army knife behind City’s last two title wins from hogging the spotlight.

It’s not hard to see the swashbuckling playing style of Cancelo where he bombs forward with mazy dribbles and ambitious long shots wooing the voters as the Citizens once again canter to more than 90 points.

CM: Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur)

Let’s get one thing clear: I think Spurs are launching a title challenge under Antonio Conte this season and are going to finish in second place. Yup, you heard that right.

And whenever a Conte side is doing well, then so too is the double pivot at the midfield heart of it all with Bentancur poised to pick up from where he left off in 2021/22 with either one of Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg by his side.

You only have to look at the fact that N’Golo Kante won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award under Conte in 2016/17 to see that midfielders can really shine individually within that set-up.

Don’t think for one second that I reckon Bentancur will be reaching those dizzying levels, but rather, I’m making the point that a high tide will raise all ships at Spurs and the Uruguayan’s boat will be riding the wave more than most.

CM: Rodri (Manchester City)

It’s about time that people woke up to the fact that Rodri is one of City’s best players because it’s starting to feel criminal how disrespected he is when compared to Kante and Fabinho. For my money, he’s the best of the three right now.

As such, seeing as I’m backing City to win the title and therefore need to populate my XI with a lot of Pep Guardiola’s players given how Team of the Season selections tend to pan out, then Rodri slots into my prediction no questions asked.

CM: Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)

However, it’s not City domination everywhere you look because we’re not blind to the fact that Thiago is looking better and better pretty much every time he pulls on the Liverpool jersey.

Having essentially improved exponentially since a tough debut season, Thiago’s status as one of the most technically-gifted players in the Premier League is a given, so he’s only ever a rich vein of form away from a Team of the Season nod.

As such, you can expect three or four masterclasses in games against other ‘top six’ clubs, as well as going viral every other second for something jaw-dropping, to see him profit from a quieter season by Kevin De Bruyne and make the cut.

RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Look, as much as I bang the drum that the Premier League is only predictable in being unpredictable, I’d be pretty mad not to at least hedge my bets that the division’s best player will have yet another fantastic season.

Even when Salah’s not at the top of his game, he’s still always in the Golden Boot race, so don’t be surprised if another 20-goal haul with some individual stunners along the way secures his spot in the XI before the World Cup even starts.

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Call me boring, call me safe, but just look where picking Van de Beek and Buendia got me last season! As my confidence grows that Spurs will really fly next year, so too does my conviction that Kane will outshine both Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.

If we’re really burrowing down the rabbit role, then I’ll go as far as saying that Kane could become so unstoppable under a full season of ‘Conte ball’ that he could well win the Golden Boot with a career-high total of 31 league goals.

LW: Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

Don’t worry, though, because I am indeed ending on a slightly more ‘out there’ prediction, especially seeing I’ve spent this whole article banging the drum that Tottenham are going to have a great season, only to snub Heung-min Son.

However, I can just see there being a perfect storm surrounding the Grealish narrative where the major improvements he makes in his second season, married to another league title, means that he attracts a lot more hype than Son from similar performance levels.

Often fans can become unfairly indifferent to players being ‘just as good as ever’, so my gut tells me that Grealish rising to something like 10 goals and 12 assists will win more people over than Son ‘simply’ maintaining his high output. You catch my drift?

What can possibly go wrong?

It’s a masterclass, isn’t it? There’s got to be at least one time traveller slowly nodding their head along to my 1,000 IQ prediction that Grealish is about to tear the Premier League apart.

On a serious note, though, I genuinely believe that I have learnt my lesson from last year’s disaster because it’s important to note that each season’s best XI is usually dominated by only two or three sides.

So the rogue shouts of Aleksandar Mitrović and Ricardo Pereira have been put on ice this time around and all my hope is invested in the fact that City, Liverpool and Tottenham will comprise the top three.

But as we saw from my 2021/22 gamble that Chelsea were going to win the league, it only takes Manchester United or Arsenal to cause a surprise and my prediction could easily come crashing down like a house of cards.

Either way, though, it’s going to be fascinating to see just how ridiculous or inspired my latest stab in the dark looks when May 2023 rolls around.

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