Right Wing-back: Kieran Trippier, Atletico Madrid
Kieran Trippier became the first Englishman to play for Atletico Madrid in 95 years when he joined them back in 2019. While the move itself came as a surprise, Trippier has since justified the Rojiblancos’ decision of signing him.
Trippier is as important to Atletico in attack as he is in defense. He is often the one starting attacks for his side and his combinations with Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez have been key towards the same. He has five assists to his name this season despite missing a chunk of it through suspension. He is back in the squad now, however, and will be looking to make up for the lost time.
Central Midfielder: N’Golo Kante, Chelsea
Whether N’Golo Kante still is the best defensive midfielder in the world is a contentious topic. The Frenchman has been at the center of several arguments in the last few years, mostly focused on his best position on the pitch. While there are many schools of thought about the same, it is evident that he is at his best when deployed in a double-pivot.
Kante is still producing extremely high numbers when it comes to winning the ball back. As per FBref, the World Cup winner has averaged 2.39 interceptions and 2.39 blocks per 90 over the last 365 days. He has also recorded positive tackling numbers during the same period, confirming the fact that he still is among the best at what he does.
Central Midfielder: Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea
Chelsea’s Player of the Year 2019/20 had a slow start to the current campaign. Nonetheless, he is replicating the form which won him the accolade lately and gets the nod over the likes of Thomas Lemar and Koke as N’Golo Kante’s midfield partner. His mutual understanding with the latter is also a key to his selection.
Kovacic usually takes up a deep position while Chelsea build-up from the back. His dribbling ability and progressive passing are important to the Blues breaking the opponents’ lines. The Croat is notoriously difficult to press and slaloms his way past waves of defenders when they try to do the same. While he is not as active as Kante during the defensive phase, he is key to his team retaining and recycling possession.
Left Wingback: Marcos Alonso, Chelsea
Does the system call for wing-backs? Yes, it does. Well then, Marcos Alonso has to be the first name on the team sheet!
The Spaniard is an average left-back at best but transforms into somewhat of a world-class talent when deployed slightly higher up the pitch. He has enjoyed the best spells of his career playing in the left wing-back role, which allows him the room to attack while taking away a lot of defensive responsibilities. His left-foot is a potent weapon for any team looking to break down a tough opposition defense and his delivery from set-pieces is a bonus.