There may have been no fans for the majority of this peculiar Premier League season but that hasn’t stopped us being treated to some brilliant performances.
With the campaign now a third of the way through, Sportsmail has picked the standout players so far and with goals galore, it’s perhaps no surprise that attacking players dominate the line-up.
It’s Chelsea who lead the way in defence, in stark contrast to the 2019-2020 campaign when they conceded 54 goals.
Liverpool and Manchester City have been the teams to beat in recent years but only one of Jurgen Klopp’s stars makes the cut and there’s no room any of Pep Guardiola’s squad. But who joins formidable Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in attack?
Sportsmail has picked the standout players for the 2020-2021 team of the season so far
GOALKEEPER – Alex McCarthy
Southampton’s No 1 is possibly the most improved goalkeeper in the Premier League.
McCarthy has four clean sheets from 11 games. Only Aston Villa’s Emilano Martinez and Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris have kept more but they’ve faced fewer shots and made fewer saves.
His distribution has also got better and he comes in second for most passes completed by goalkeepers – Arsenal’s Bernd Leno is top with 432.
There were a few contenders, but McCarthy’s progress means he gets the nod.
Alex McCarthy has been a rock for Southampton has made huge improvements this season
RIGHT BACK – Reece James
Reece James’ Chelsea career took off when he unleashed a rocket shot on the opening day of the season against Brighton.
Since then, he’s cemented his place as Frank Lampard’s first choice right back, ousting club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, and made his senior England debut in October.
With his dangerous crossing, the 20-year-old would have more than three assists had Chelsea’s forwards been more clinical in front of goal.
James has been just as good defensively, helping the Blues to four clean sheets (they have five in total).
Tariq Lamptey and Trent Alexander-Arnold have also been impressive but James just edges the battle of the right-backs.
Reece James has been solid in defence and posed a huge attacking threat for Chelsea
CENTRE BACK – Thiago Silva
Eyebrows were raised when Lampard signed the 36-year-old on a free transfer in the summer. How would he cope with the demands of the Premier League? Would he be fit enough? Could he get past the language barrier?
If we erase that baptism of fire at West Brom, Silva has been calm, composed and the perfect leader in Chelsea’s defence.
The Brazilian was exactly what the Blues needed and it’s no surprise they’ve faced far fewer shots since his addition to the starting XI.
The centre back averages 93 passes per game – the most of any defender in the league, despite only playing seven of Chelsea’s 11 games. He’s also helped keep four clean sheets and has conceded just two goals since that debut at West Brom.
Thiago Silva has added experience, leadership and calmness to the Blues defence this season
CENTRE BACK – Wesley Fofana
Quick, aggressive and determined, Fofana has looked at home in Leicester’s back three since joining the club in October.
He kept Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet in only his second game, which he followed up with dominant displays against Leeds and Wolves.
He got caught out for the first goal in the defeat by Fulham but has shown an excellent reading of the game for a player so young. The future looks bright for the Frenchman.
Leicester signed Wesley Fofana in the summer and he has quickly settled into their back three
LEFT BACK – Andy Robertson
The only Liverpool defender not to have spent some time on the sidelines this season, Robertson has been Mr Reliable for Jurgen Klopp once again.
The left back has been the Reds’ most creative player with four assists and six big chances produced. He’s also had the most touches of any player in the top flight.
Robertson was one of the few players not at fault for Liverpool’s thrashing by Aston Villa and arguably been one of the club’s most consistent players this season.
Andy Robertson has been reliable for Jurgen Klopp and is Liverpool’s most creative player
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The summer signing of Hojbjerg from Southampton perhaps went under the radar given the excitement around the arrival of Bale and Reguilon from Real Madrid.
But Dutchman has been an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s side this season, providing protection to the back four by breaking up play and getting the ball forward.
Rodri is the only midfielder to have made more passes than Hojbjerg this season but Manchester City have averaged 60 per cent possession in league matches, compared to Spurs who average 50 per cent.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has become an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham team
ATTACKING MIDFIELD – Son Heung-min
The South Korean has been so good this season he would likely get into any team in the world right now.
Son has 11 goals and has already matched his tally for the 2019-2020 campaign.
He’s got Harry Kane to thank for creating most of his goals but his own finishing has been lethal and he’s repaid the favour to his team-mate with a couple of assists of his own.
If Spurs can stay top of the table, he might be battling it out with the Spurs captain for the player of the year award come the end of the season.
Son Heung-min has scored 10 goals and also has three assists in 11 games this season
ATTACKING MIDFIELD – Bruno Fernandes
Where would Manchester United be without him?
Fernandes has carried Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team at times this season. His seven goals and four assists have kept United within touching distance of the top four.
The Portugal international has been directly involved in 14 goals in the league this season.
His contribution from the penalty spot has sometimes led people to overlook his other strengths. Fernandes has created eight big chances this season which is second only to Kevin De Bruyne (10).
Manchester United are within touching distance of the top four thanks to Bruno Fernandes
ATTACKING MIDFIELD – Jack Grealish
The Aston Villa captain has been a joy to watch and his performances are getting the rewards they deserve with five goals and five assists.
Gareth Southgate told the 25-year-old he had to improve his numbers to force his way into the England team. He responded in style and got his chance with three international starts in November.
Only Son and Fernandes have made more contributions for attacking midfielders with Grealish on five goals and six assists.
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has been a joy to watch with five goals and five assists
STRIKER – Harry Kane
With nine goals in 11 games, Tottenham’s captain is as clinical as ever. But it’s a different side of his game that’s earned him the most plaudits this season.
The 27-year-old has 10 assists, which is the most he’s ever managed in a Premier League campaign – with Son being the main beneficiary.
Kane has also made an important defensive contribution to Spurs this season. Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville joked the striker has had more touches in his own penalty area than the opposition’s this season.
While that’s not quite the case, he has made more tackles than centre back Eric Dier this season.
Harry Kane has eight goals ant 10 assists which is the biggest contribution of any player
STRIKER – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Calvert-Lewin and Kane in the same team, are you mad?
We might never see Gareth Southgate play the two together but this team never has to take part in an actual game and it’s impossible to leave out Toffee’s main man.
With 11 goals in 14 games, the striker is only two away from matching his tally for the 2019-2020 campaign.
The 23-year-old is stronger and more clinical than he was last season. He’s had the most shots on target of any player and his aerial ability means he’s always a threat from set pieces.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the division’s leading scorer and has made huge improvements
BENCH: Emilano Martinez; Ben Chilwell; Michael Keane; Tariq Lamptey; Declan Rice; Mohamed Salah; Jamie Vardy