Search icon


20th Dec 2017

Paul Merson has left Mohamed Salah out of his team of the season so far

“My wide players are obvious choices"

Robert Redmond

Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday pundits have picked their Premier League teams of the season so far.

Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas each selected a team. The best player in the league, Kevin De Bruyne, correctly features in every XI. They all selected Mohamed Salah too. Well, all of them except Merson, who doesn’t even mention the Liverpool forward.

That’s right, the one player who appears capable of challenging De Bruyne for the player of the year award at the end of the season, the top scorer in the league and one of the most in-form players in the world doesn’t even get a mention from Merson.

Here’s Merson’s team of the season so far:

David De Gea; Kyle Walker, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Marcos Alonso; Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho; Leroy Sane, David Silva, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane.

Merson said that Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea has been “head and shoulders” above the rest in the league this season, Alonso has been “consistently good” and Walker has justified his £50m transfer fee.

“As a defensive pair, I think Tarkowski and Mee have been the best centre-backs about,” Merson said about the Burnley central defenders.

“It is unbelievable how many clean sheets they’ve racked up. Otamendi should probably be in there but what that pair have done deserves the credit.”

Merson opted for an all-Manchester City midfield, but runs into trouble when it comes to the wide forwards, and the omission of Salah. The Egyptian has scored 14 goals in 18 Premier League appearances, and has become the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals in a season since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge achieved the feat in the 2013/14 season.

Yet, Merson appears to have forgotten about him.

“My wide players are obvious choices again in Sane and Sterling,” the former Arsenal player said

“When you look at how much Sterling has improved under Guardiola it is incredible, especially when you compare to how little Theo Walcott has developed at Arsenal from a similar young talent.

It’s possible to make an argument for any of these players being included in a team of the season so far, but it’s impossible to justify leaving Salah out. It’s also easy to take pops at Merson for his punditry, but sometimes he doesn’t make it easy for himself.