Premier League: Who made Opta’s statistical team of the season?


Statisticians Opta have come up with a Premier League team of the season using their stats from the campaign.

See what they came up with below.

For anyone wondering, seven of them also made Garth Crooks’ team of the year.

Opta toty
Opta’s Premier League team of the season

David Raya (Brentford)

One of only four players to play every minute of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, Brentford goalkeeper David Raya was a huge part of the Bees’ highest top-flight finish since 1938.

The Spaniard made the most saves of any goalkeeper (154) and had the best save percentage (77%) of any goalkeeper to play at least five times across the campaign.

Raya’s ability to play long passes has also suited Brentford, who played the most long passes of any Premier League side in 2022-23. Raya completed 410 long passes, the most by a goalkeeper in a season since 2017-18 (Jonas Lossl, 420 for Huddersfield).

Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)

It has been an incredible season for Newcastle, gaining qualification to the Champions League for the first time since 2002-03, with full-back Trippier the only player to start every single game for the Magpies.

Trippier has been a constant outlet, with only three players having more touches of the ball in the Premier League this season than the England right-back.

Across the last 20 Premier League seasons since 2003-04 (when Opta began collecting this data), Trippier this season has created the most chances from set-plays (76) and played the most passes played into the box (551) by a player in a season on record, while his 138 successful crosses are the most by a player in a season since Jermaine Pennant in 2005-06 (146).

Manuel Akanji (Manchester City)

It has been an excellent first season in English football for Manuel Akanji, lifting the Premier League title with Manchester City and potentially winning the Treble if all goes to plan.

The Switzerland international has ended on the winning side in 24 of his 29 Premier League games this season (83%), with City winning 2.5 points per game with him in the side. In the nine games he hasn’t featured, they’ve won just four (44%).

Akanji is exceptional on the ball, completing 93.3% of his passes, which is the best pass accuracy of any of the 262 players who have attempted at least 500 this season. Between his first (17 September) and final appearances (21 May) this season, only Lewis Dunk and team-mate Rodri completed more passes than Akanji (1,886), while only Dunk had more ball carries than he did (601), with Akanji ranking third for ball carry distance (6,263m) and second for ball carry progression (3,531m) in that time.

Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Ruben Dias has now won the Premier League title in all three seasons in England, with 68 wins in his 87 Premier League appearances giving him the fourth-best win ratio of any player to play at least 50 times in the competition (78%).

This season, Manchester City won 85% of the games he featured in (22/26), compared to just 50% of the ones he didn’t (6/12), with four of their five defeats coming without the Portuguese defender in the team. Of the 33 goals City conceded, more than half (17) came without him on the pitch in those 12 games, conceding just 16 times in his 26 appearances.

Although he missed 12 games, Dias still ranked an impressive seventh on the list of players with the most successful passes (1,921), completing 93% of those. Dias has attempted (93) and completed (87) the most passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, while only team-mate Aymeric Laporte has ever posted higher numbers in a Premier League season among central defenders in the last 20 seasons.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)

Oleksandr Zinchenko maintained his record of finishing in the top two in every season he has featured.

Zinchenko played 27 times for the Gunners, completing the most passes (64), most passes in the opposition half (38), playing the most passes into the final third (26) and having the most touches (92) per 90 minutes of any Arsenal player to play at least 1,000 minutes this season.

He had 16 build-up goal involvements for Arsenal this season, with only four players having more in the Premier League this season, despite him missing 11 games. He also played the most progressive passes of any left-back (121) and ranked fourth for secondary chances created (25) among all full-backs.

Declan Rice (West Ham United)

Midfielder Declan Rice has maintained his high levels of performance, missing just one game and scoring four goals, as many as he had scored in his previous three campaigns.

Rice is coveted by most of the Premier League’s top clubs and it’s easy to see why: the England midfielder’s industrious work is backed up in the stats, winning possession more often than anyone else (334), making the most interceptions (63) and only eight players made more tackles (79) than he did across the campaign. Indeed, that possession won total is the most by a player in a season since 2017-18 (Abdoulaye Doucoure, 345) and the sixth-most in a season on record since 2003-04.

Rice is also prolific in carrying the ball, ranking second for ball carries (702), ball carry distance (7,136m) and ball carry progress distance (3,827m) among midfielders, behind Rodri. Only three midfielders made more successful long passes than Rice (151). Rice also covered the third-most distance in the Premier League this season, a total of 412km, which is almost the distance of running 10 marathons.

Rodri (Manchester City)

For a fourth consecutive campaign, Rodri topped the charts for successful passes by a midfielder in a Premier League season, completing 2,717, his best tally in a campaign. Indeed, in the last 20 seasons, the only midfielder to complete more passes in a season was Jorginho in 2018-19 (2,782). His total of 1,475 successful passes in the opposition half this season is 413 ahead of anyone else.

Rodri is also crucial to City winning possession back to start their attacks. The Spaniard won possession of the ball 301 times, second only to Declan Rice, while regaining possession 187 times in the middle third of the pitch was the most of any player.

On 50 occasions he won the ball back, it started a sequence that ended in a shot, second to Bruno Fernandes (57), although City scored 11 times from those sequences, which was the most of any player.

Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

It is the fourth time De Bruyne has assisted as many as 16 goals in a Premier League season, twice as many times as anyone else has managed that (Cesc Fabregas did it twice). De Bruyne created 98 chances this season, the third-most of any player, but topped the charts for both assists (16) and expected assists (14.1) to enjoy yet another productive season, also chipping in with seven goals.

Undoubtedly one of the main stories of De Bruyne’s season has been his link-up with Erling Haaland. Half of De Bruyne’s assists were for Haaland, the most from one player to another in the Premier League this season and most for a Man City duo in a season in Premier League history.

He created 26 chances for the Norwegian, with only David Silva creating more chances for a team-mate for City in a Premier League season on record (since 2006-07), creating 28 for Sergio Aguero in 2011-12.

Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

With 15 goals and seven assists in 2022-23, Martin Odegaard doubled his goal involvement tally from 2021-22 (seven goals, four assists). The Norwegian ranked fifth for chances created (76), fourth for successful passes in the opposition’s half (1,017), had the joint most secondary assists (nine) and was the Premier League’s highest scoring midfielder (15).

He was involved in two or more goals in three consecutive appearances in November and December, only the sixth Gunners player to achieve that in the Premier League era and first midfielder since Cesc Fabregas did so in 2007.

Odegaard was integral to the build-up of Arsenal’s attacking play, involved in 232 unique shot-ending sequences, the second-most of any Premier League player behind Bruno Fernandes, while 33 of those sequences ended with a goal, with only Erling Haaland involved in more (39).

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Harry Kane began the season 25 goals behind Wayne Rooney in the Premier League scoring charts and three behind him in England’s all-time scoring list and has toppled him in both lists.

Kane’s second 30-goal Premier League season has seen him score in 26 different games (a joint record with Andy Cole in 1993-94), become the first player to score 100 away goals (currently 112), break the record for headed goals in a season (10) and, for a second time, still not win the Golden Boot when scoring 30.

All of this done in a Tottenham team that has finished eighth in the league, with this the lowest in a table a team has finished with a player scoring 30 goals since Ron Davies scored 37 in 1966-67 for Southampton. Kane’s also done it without scoring a single hat-trick, a record for goals scored in a Premier League campaign without one.

Kane had the most shots (130) and shots on target (63) in the Premier League this season, and only seven players created more chances in open play. Kane covered 395km in the Premier League this season, the most distance covered by a striker.

Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

Haaland has broken numerous Premier League records and scared defences and statisticians alike this season. His 36 goals are the most by a player in a season in Premier League history (and most in the top flight since Ron Davies scored 37 in 1966-67), while his eight assists give him 44 goal involvements, equalling Thierry Henry’s total in 2002-03.

Haaland now has the record for the most goals scored in a player’s first five games (nine), 10 games (15), 20 games (25), 25 games (27) and 30 games (34), breaking records that have stood for years. His nine goals in August 2022 has been bettered only once in a month in the Premier League, with Luis Suarez netting 10 in December 2013, while it was the most by a player in their debut month in the competition.

He scored hat-tricks in consecutive games in August against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, the youngest player to achieve that in the Premier League at 22, while he scored his third hat-trick – against city rivals Man Utd – in just his eighth appearance, 40 games faster than any other player has hit three hat-tricks. He ended the campaign with four hat-tricks, one behind the record set by Alan Shearer in 1995-96 (five).

Haaland averaged 27 touches per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, the joint lowest of any player to play at least 2,000 minutes, with just over 5% of the touches he had (830) ending in a goal or assist for a team-mate (44). He scored a goal once every 23 touches on average, the fewest by any player to have had 100 touches in a Premier League season on record since 2003-04, while 27% of his touches were in the opposition box, the highest ratio of any player this campaign.

Here are a couple of alternative XIs Opta came up with too… (Players in team of the season above not included)

Bottom half XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Cresswell, Dwight McNeil, James Maddison, Eberechi Eze, Wilfried Zaha, Rodrigo, Taiwo Awoniyi.

Players aged 23 or younger XI: Gavin Bazunu, Sven Botman, William Saliba, Marc Guehi, Moises Caicedo, Phil Foden, Romeo Lavia, Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli, Alexander Isak, Evan Ferguson.


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