As we enter into the Christmas period, the Premier League table has begun to take shape. Chelsea's recent slip up against Newcastle has left Manchester City within three points of the league leaders. At this point in time, the league is undoubtedly a two horse race.
As a consequence of this, my strongest league XI thus far contains seven players from the two top clubs. However, a handful of players have been impressive enough to stake their claim ahead of the two standout sides' performers.
I have chosen a 4-4-2 formation for the best XI, as I believe that it is a flexible formation that allows the most impressive performers of the season to take their position in my side.
GK - David De Gea
In my opinion David De Gea has been Manchester United's best player this season. He single handedly kept United in their match against Arsenal. His first half performance was nothing short of spectacular. However, it was not just in this game he has been impressive - his consistency is world class.
RB - Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic has been an essential Chelsea defender for many seasons now; and this one has been no different. I have picked him ahead of Pablo Zabaleta and Nathaniel Clyne as he has superior defensive qualities, whilst maintaining an attacking presence.
CB - Vincent Kompany
This pick goes without saying. The Sky Blues skipper is, in my view, the best centre-back in the world football. I think that an argument can be made that the only reason Manchester City have never achieved in Europe is that they have never had a second centre back of his caliber to play alongside him.
CB - Toby Alderweireld
Alderweireld has been Southampton's best summer recruit. Koeman's decision to sign him on a season long loan was a masterstroke. The Saints boast the joint fewest goals conceded in the league, with only 13, and Alderweireld has been a major factor in that. His ability with the ball at his feet, combined with defensive stability has earned him a place ahead of John Terry in my lineup.
LB - Cesar Azpilicueta
Mourinho's preference to play a right footed Left Back has allowed Cesar Azpilicueta to flourish. The young Spaniard has grown into the most defensively sound left back in the league, whilst his attacking skill goes without saying.
CM - Cesc Fabregas
With an incredible ten league assists to his name this season, Cesc Fabregas has answered all of his critics. After a supposedly poor stint at Barcelona, the ex Arsenal player has returned to the Premiership with a bang; forming the best midfield partnership in the league, alongside...
CM - Nemanja Matic
Matic has been sensational for Chelsea this season. A walking, breathing reminder that Arsene Wenger desperately needs to spend big on a purely defensive midfielder. Chelsea's first loss of the season happening in a game that did not feature Matic is no coincidence. This Serbian hard-man is the glue that sticks Chelsea together.
RW - Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal's standout player so far this season. With nine league goals to his name, many wonder where Arsenal would be this year without him. Sanchez is one of a few players in English football who appears to be a level above the rest - every time he is on the ball he seems dangerous.
LW - Eden Hazard
Similarly to Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard is on another level. In Hazard Chelsea have a genuine game changer; someone who can make something happen out of sheer individual brilliance. Don't let his surprisingly low goal and assist tally fool you, the Belgian has been unplayable this season.
STR - Diego Costa
Costa is the final piece to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea puzzle. When he was signed over the summer for £32million, Chelsea instantly looked like they'd win the title. The Brazilian born Spaniard international provides Mourinho with his most important player within his tactical ethos; a powerful striker with a lethal finish, who can also hold up the ball well. Boasting an impressive 11 league goals, he has done just that.
STR - Sergio Aguero
In a Premier League that many fans and pundits consider Chelsea's to lose, Sergio Aguero represents a ray of hope for Manchester City. The little Argentine holds the best Goals : Minute Premiership ratio in history at a staggering one goal every 113 minutes; and he's showing no signs of stopping. With 14 league goals to his name, Aguero rightfully earns the final slot in my best XI of the season so far.
Charlie Austin - Eight league goals for a struggling QRP outfit is a hugely impressive tally. However, the sheer excellence of Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero mean that there is no room for Charlie Austin in my best XI.
Saido Berahino - Similarly to Austin, Berahino has impressed for an underwhelming West Brom side. With seven league goals to his name, he makes a strong case for being in the leagues best XI. However, I simply could not look past Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez as the best wingers so far this season.
John Terry - An ever presence at Chelsea and the main reason for the clubs defensive security over the years. However, he is not the player he once was, leading to him missing out to Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Kompany at the back.
Nathaniel Clyne - Made his England debut recently and his call up was entirely deserved. Clyne has gone from strength to strength over the past few seasons and will only continue to improve. However he is not quite yet on the same level as Ivanovic - but I believe he will reach those heights one day.
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