Premier League: Stones, Ndombele and Jota feature in most improved XI of 2020/21


John Stones’ revival at Manchester City has been one of the biggest Premier League talking points in recent weeks. 

The defender has been a revelation alongside summer signing Ruben Dias and emerged from exile to become a firm contender for England selection when Gareth Southgate announces his squad for the next international break in March. 

A player once chastised by the media has eradicated costly lapses in concentration from his game to become an indomitable force for City at the heart of what has been an impenetrable unit of late. 

But Stones is not the only player who has exceeded all expectation this season, and with that in mind GIVEMESPORT have produced a combined XI featuring some of the most improved players of the season thus far. 

Take a look at who makes the cut below…

Goalkeeper: Karl Darlow 

Karl Darlow has firmly capitalised on his opportunity to cement his place as Newcastle’s number one in the absence of Martin Dubravka. 

The 30-year-old didn’t make a single league appearance in the 2019/20 campaign, but he has stepped up to the challenge this season and pulled off some stunning saves to help keep the Magpies clear of the relegation zone. 

That Darlow has been touted as a potential candidate for an England call-up speaks volumes about the scale of his improvement.

Right-back: Serge Aurier


Jose Mourinho has transformed Serge Aurier from a walking disaster to a tactically astute cog in his rigid Spurs system – well, almost. 

Barring a foolish moment of madness that saw him give a needless penalty away against Leicester shortly before the turn of the year, Aurier has stamped out the ill-judgement that has plagued much of his career in north London.

Centre-back: John Stones 

The man of the moment at the Etihad Stadium has underpinned City’s surge up the table in recent weeks. 

Pep Guardiola’s side have conceded just one goal in the ten games Stones has started alongside Dias in what appears to be the beginning of an impervious partnership. 

If Stones continues in this rich vein of form there’s no doubt he’ll be a firm part of Gareth Southgate’s plans for Euro 2021.

Centre-back: Jannik Vestergaard

It’s taken Jannik Vestergaard some time to fully settle at Southampton but he’s finally realised his potential under Ralph Hasenhuttl. 

The Denmark international is the highest rated defender in the Premier League this season with an overall rating of 7.27.

Southampton have made excellent use of his aerial threat, too, with Vestergaard netting three goals in 13 appearances. 

Left-back: James Justin


Leicester City have a reputation for trusting in youth and it’s success stories like James Justin that vindicate their approach. 

The full-back is naturally right-footed but has filled in on both sides of the defence this season to equal effect, providing athleticism, dynamism and defensive nous whenever called upon by Brendan Rodgers.

If the 22-year-old continues in this type of form he might just be a dark horse contender for England selection. 

Defensive-midfield: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Few expected Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to have such a profound impact at Spurs but he’s been a game changer since he signed from Southampton. 

The midfield metronome has provided substantial bite and unadulterated desire in the double-pivot, winning over a besotted fan base in the process. 

Hojbjerg has found another gear in north London. 

Defensive-midfield: James Ward-Prowse


The eye-test alone is enough to appreciate James Ward-Prowse is enjoying best season in English football, but his Whoscored rating of 7.24 backs up our intuition here. 

Ward-Prowse has been one of the stars in what has been a highly impressive Southampton team, providing pinpoint precision from a variety of dead-ball situations.

With four goals and as many assists in 18 appearances so far, the England international has already equalled his best ever return for goal contributions in a single season. 

Attacking-midfield: Tanguy Ndombele

The presence of a third Spurs player in this XI perhaps says something about Mourinho’s man-management ability. 

Tanguy Ndombele was criminally underwhelming for a £63m player during his maiden campaign, though flashes of brilliance did lend reason to believe that brighter days were on the horizon. 

Having been unleashed by Mourinho on a regular basis in an advanced midfield role, Ndombele has found a level of consistency that eluded him in 2019/20, scoring three goals – including a goal-of-the-season contender against Sheffield United last weekend – and providing one assist so far. 

There’s still scope for further improvement, such is the level of his talent, but his transformation has been captivating to watch. 

Right-forward: Diogo Jota


Diogo Jota was impressive at Wolves but found himself struggling to break into the first-team before he moved to Liverpool for £45m in the summer. 

The versatile Portuguese forward has proven to be a revelation at Anfield and threatened to take Roberto Firmino’s place in Liverpool’s fluid front-three before his progress was stunted by injury.

The Reds could have done with Jota during their tepid attacking performances of late.

Left-forward: Pedro Neto

Pedro Neto has a constant source of flair and energy in an otherwise underwhelming season for Wolves, scoring a team-high four goals and laying on three assists. 

With a rating of 7.18 Neto is the highest-rated player in Wolves’ squad this season, and at 20 years of age he looks like a frightening prospect for the future. 

If recent form is anything to go by Nuno Espirito Santo will have a job on his hands trying to keep Neto at Molineux. 

Centre-forward: Dominic Calvert-Lewin


Spearheading Everton’s ascent into the top six has been a striker in Dominic Calvert-Lewin who had been written off by many prior to Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival on Merseyside. 

The 24-year-old has tweaked his movement in and around the penalty area and profited in dramatic fashion, scoring 11 goals in his first 16 Premier League outings to establish himself as a firm favourite amongst Fantasy Premier League players. 

Calvert-Lewin’s ascent at club level earned him his first England cap back in October 2020, and he has already scored two in his first three games for the Three Lions.   

Here’s the line-up in full below: 

News Now - Sport News