With the World Cup taking us almost to the end of 2022, now is the perfect time to take stock of the Premier League and assess the year’s key figures. And what could be better than formulating a best XI of 2022?
Using the Opta Index – which ranks players on a wide range of metrics – we have formed a team that uses data to support selections. With a plethora of additional information from a database that contains every Premier League touch this year, it’s a resource that helps us rely on more than memory and individual opinion.
There is only one rule: the 11 players selected must have participated in the two seasons that made up 2022.
Sorry, Erling Haaland fans…
Although 2022 may not have gone to plan for Liverpool, their goalkeeper has remained near the peak of his powers. No stopper has recorded more clean sheets than Alisson in the Premier League so far this year (15).
Indeed, using Opta’s Expected Goals (xG) data, Alisson has outperformed any other stopper in terms of prevention goals this year. Based on the quality of the shots on target he faced, the Brazilian conceded 11 goals less than expected (27 goals conceded out of 38 xGs on target).
Right-back: Kieran Trippier
There have been few signings made in 2022 who can rival Kieran Trippier for instant impact. The Newcastle captain has been integral to the team’s rise throughout the year; one they started in 19th position and resumed in December in third place.
Trippier (2.2) is one of only three full-backs to average two or more chances created per 90 in the Premier League this year (min. 900 minutes played), along with Trent Alexander-Arnold (2.3) and Andy Robertson (2.2).
Central defender: Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva, 38, may be the oldest outfield player to appear in the Premier League in 2022, but age hasn’t been a barrier to his performance in a Chelsea shirt. Indeed, Silva has played more league minutes than any other Blues player this year (2,531).
Across the Premier League, the Brazilian has recovered possession more times per 90 than any other centre-back in 2022 (7.2 recoveries per 90 – min. 1,500 minutes played).
Central defender: Gabriel Magalhaes
Gabriel Magalhaes is one of only two players, along with Bukayo Saka, to start every Premier League game for Arsenal in 2022. Indeed, the Brazilian defender has missed just 62 minutes of league action all year .
As part of Mikel Arteta’s vast Arsenal squad, Gabriel has carried the ball further than any other centre-back in the Premier League this year (6,467m).
Left back: Andy Robertson
Liverpool have won 73% of the league games Andy Robertson has started this year and conceded just 0.7 goals per game. In the games he did not start, Liverpool’s winning percentage dropped to 50% and they conceded 1.4 goals per game.
The Liverpool full-back has also had 10 assists in the Premier League this year, which is both the most of any defender in the competition and the most of any Liverpool player.
Defensive midfielder: Rodri
Manchester City’s passing master has stayed true to form in 2022, continuing in his role as the stabilizer of Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. His precise distribution and calming influence on the team now make him one of the top names on Guardiola’s squad roster.
As well as having the most passes (2,590), Rodri has the lowest possession loss rate of any Premier League midfielder this year (min. 1,000+ touches), losing possession with only 9.6% of his total touches.
Central Midfielder: Declan Rice
West Ham captain Declan Rice has been one of the most impactful midfielders on both sides of the ball in 2022, excelling in his defensive duties and combining them with pushing runs in possession.
Rice has completed more progressive 10+m carries (183) than any other player in the Premier League in 2022, while also winning possession the most times of any player (302).
Central midfielder: Kevin de Bruyne
Business has been business as usual in 2022 for Kevin De Bruyne as he continues to reign supreme as the Premier League’s most influential midfielder.
The Manchester City Belgian is the only player to have created more than 100 chances in the Premier League this year (105), of which a league-high 16 have turned into assists. In fact, only Harry Kane (35) has more combined league goals and assists than De Bruyne (29) in 2022.
Right Winger: James Maddison
Few players have raised their level as much ahead of the 2022 World Cup as James Maddison, his form eventually earning him a deserved call-up. With 23 goals and assists combined in 30 league appearances for Leicester City this year, De Bruyne (29) is the only midfielder to have more since January.
Maddison’s 2022 signing was his goal from distance, with his six strikes from outside the box being the most of any Premier League player. Indeed, no one could do better than his direct free kick goal tally (3).
Centre-forward: Harry Kane
The case of Harry Kane is quite simple. The Tottenham striker has scored the most goals (26), goals without penalty (21) and has the most combined goals and assists (34) of any player in the Premier League in 2022.
Additionally, Kane has been involved in the second most streaks that have produced a shot (229) or a goal (36) in the Premier League this year (De Bruyne tops the list with 234). The Englishman has combined his work as top scorer with an all-around contribution to Spurs’ attack.
Left winger: Son Heung-min
The only player to score more Premier League goals than Son Heung-min (18) in the Premier League this year is his Spurs team-mate Kane (26), while Son’s 18 strikes have come without the aid of penalties .
A peculiarity of the goals scored by the Korean this year is that he scored as many goals with his left foot (nine) as with his stronger right (nine). The last player to score 9+ goals with both feet in a calendar year in the Premier League was Jamie Vardy in 2019.