The Premier League season is drawing to an end, despite it feeling as though it’s only just resumed. Who have been the star players in the post-lockdown mini-season? Here are our best Premier League players since Project Restart.
Best Premier League players since Project Restart
Goalkeeper: Nick Pope
Burnley have been one of the form teams in the league since lockdown, with their continued success under Sean Dyche built on the back of rock-solid goalkeeper Nick Pope who has certainly been one of the best Premier League players since Project Restart.
Touted to be promoted ahead of Jordan Pickford and become England’s number one, Pope is also in the running to win the Golden Glove. He delivered a dominant display at Anfield as the Clarets became the first team to avoid defeat to champions Liverpool away from home this season.
Defenders: Matt Doherty, John Egan, Lucas Digne
Our defence is made up of three of the league’s most under-rated defenders.
Matt Doherty has been ultra-consistent for Wolves all season, maintaining his form since lockdown as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side chase European qualification for the second season in a row.
The heart of our back three is occupied by John Egan, one of Sheffield United’s stars this season. The Blades struggled a little when Jack O’Connell was injured but Chris Wilder’s men roared back to their best with a 3-0 demolition of Chelsea. Egan has also scored key goals in positive results against fellow Europe hopefuls Burnley and Wolves in recent weeks.
Everton remain inconsistent despite Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment but they can always rely on Lucas Digne. The France defender has contributed three of the eight assists he has recorded this season since lockdown. Digne is a contender for the Toffees’ Player of the Season award.
Midfielders: Michail Antonio, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden, Christian Pulisic
Despite scoring four goals in an incredible individual performance against Norwich while deployed up front, proving himself as West Hame’s Project Restart hero, we have to shoehorn Michail Antonio in on the right wing. His goals have helped to lift West Ham away from relegation danger, with David Moyes keen to reward the versatile Londoner with a new deal.
Paul Pogba’s return to the Manchester United side has boosted the Red Devils, but we have opted for Bruno Fernandes instead. Since United signed the playmaker in January, no team has collected more Premier League points than the Red Devils. Fernandes’ impact has been transformative, with seven goals and seven assists in just 11 appearances. Undoubtedly one of the best Premier League players since Project Restart and of the season overall.
Alongside Fernandes in our midfield is Phil Foden, who is finally breaking through at Manchester City. Considered by many to be one of England’s great, young hopes, Foden has hit three goals since lockdown, with the starlet netting in big wins against Burnley and Liverpool.
Filling in on the left side of our midfield is Christian Pulisic, whose slow start to life at Chelsea has been long forgotten due to his post-lockdown form. The American has been a creative force and a threat in front of goal, while he looks set to be a key man for the Blues for many years to come. Whether he can step up even further to fill the boots of Eden Hazard remains to be seen.
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Olivier Giroud, Anthony Martial
There were a lot of options in attack but Raheem Sterling is the first forward we have picked. The City and England star was in a bit of a rut before lockdown but since the restart he has looked back to his best, scoring five goals. The clincher for Sterling’s hat-trick in City’s 5-0 win at Brighton will also go down as one of the funniest goals of this Premier League season.
Leading the line in our post-lockdown XI is our second selection from Chelsea, with Olivier Giroud getting the nod. The France striker had forced his way back into the Blues side ahead of the enforced break but he has now nailed down his place ahead of Tammy Abraham. Giroud has hit six goals in his past eight appearances. However, he faces competition from Chelsea’s big new signing, Timo Werner, when he jets in from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig for the next campaign.
Anthony Martial completes our team of the best Premier League players since Project Restart, marginally getting the nod over his United team-mate Mason Greenwood, who looks set for superstardom. Another Frenchman in our side, Martial hit a hat-trick to down Sheffield United a couple of weeks ago and has added a couple more goals since then to take his tally for the season up to 16 in the Premier League. That means the 2019-20 Premier League campaign has been Martial’s most prolific season since he joined United from Monaco back in 2015.