Premier League bottom half’s ‘Team of the Season’ so far

Aston Villa

Aston Villa players would dominate the Premier League's team of the season to date if it were only selected from clubs in the bottom half of the table.

Villa arguably have the standout player from outside the top ten in Jack Grealish and he could even be in the conversation for individual honours come the end of the campaign if he helps keep Dean Smith’s side out of the relegation picture.

Alongside him, Villa team-mates John McGinn, Frederic Guilbert and Matt Targett deserve recognition, as do Tim Krul and Teemu Pukki from fellow promoted club Norwich City.

Everton and West Ham were not expected to be in the bottom half at this stage of the campaign and only provide Richarlison and Sebastien Haller as players worthy of inclusion in the bottom-half starting XI.

Bournemouth’s Steve Cook and Crystal Palace’s Gary Cahill can be the experienced heart of the defence for this hypothetical team, with Moussa Djenepo getting in after some superb, but sadly for Southampton, rare appearances in his first season in the top flight.

Goalkeeper: Krul gets the nod in goal after some superb displays for Norwich City. Aside from his penalty-saving heroics, he brings much-needed calm to a Canaries defence that has been badly hit by injuries this season.

Right-back: Guilbert has done admirably in his first season for Villa and contributed two assists from his 12 starts, with Dean Smith’s side losing on both occasions he wasn’t in the starting line-up

Left-back: Targett has been solid for Villa, too, and offers a threat going forward, with one goal and two assists so far from eight matches.

Centre-back: Cahill could be one of the signings of the season as he has at times looked like the old Chelsea version of himself for Crystal Palace, who have the best defensive record in the bottom half.

Centre-back: Cook, another ageless competitor, is averaging 6.9 clearances, 0.9 tackles and 1.8 interceptions – impressive stats for Eddie Howe’s defensive lynchpin at Bournemouth.

Midfielder: McGinn never stops running and has handled the step up from Championship to Premier League with aplomb, netting three goals and adding two further assists.

Midfielder: Grealish can do no wrong at the moment, having heeded his manager’s request for more goals (three) and assists (four) so far this season.

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Midfielder: Djenepo has hardly played for Southampton because of injury but, in just 324 minutes of action, has scored two and assisted one for his struggling side.

Forward: Richarlison has bagged four goals and assisted two more for Everton although it may not be enough to save Marco Silva’s job.

Forward: Haller started the season in great form for West Ham and just squeezes into this line-up based on his four goals and one assist.

Forward: Pukki, with seven goals, is still the surprise package of the lower half and has contributed close to 50 per cent of Norwich’s goals this season.

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