A Premier League season like no other reached an eventful conclusion on Sunday.
Manchester City were crowned champions, Liverpool and Chelsea finished in the top four, and Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United were consigned to relegation.
There was a third Golden Boot for the prolific Harry Kane who also topped the assists chart, while Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandes were among the stars of the 2020-21 campaign,
But how would a purely statistical Team of the Season look? We crunched the numbers to find out...
Goalkeeper: Alphonse Areola
In a season of very few positives for Fulham, goalkeeper Areola stood out.
It’s not easy to judge goalkeepers based on numbers — weaker teams are bound to face more shots and concede more goals, after all.
However, by taking each stopper’s post-shot expected goals conceded figure, which measures the value of the on-target efforts they faced, and subtracting the number of goals they actually conceded, we can see who has over (and under) performed.
In that respect, with an overperformance of 7.6 goals, effectively saving Fulham almost eight strikes throughout the campaign, the Frenchman outperformed his peers.
That Fulham conceded by far and away the fewest goals of the three relegated teams was largely down to the efforts of their on-loan goalkeeper, who now heads back to Paris Saint-Germain after being crowned the Cottagers’ Player of the Season.
Right-back: Luke Ayling
Despite Trent Alexander-Arnold’s impressive run of form late in the season, arguably the standout right-back this season was Leeds’ Ayling.
This was his first experience of Premier League football, but he thrived under the shrewd guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.
Ayling recorded 154 possession regains in the defensive third, far more than any other player in the division.
He also managed a healthy 1,881 completed passes, contributing to Leeds’ build-up play as well as defending superbly.
Centre-back: Lewis Dunk
Brighton’s final league position of 16th and inconsistent form belied their regular eye-catching performances.
And Seagulls skipper Dunk was a key man at the heart of a defence which let in only 46 goals — the fewest in the bottom half of the table, along with Aston Villa.
The England international won possession in the defensive third 142 times, second only to the aforementioned Ayling.
Remarkably, Dunk was second among all centre-halves for completed passes (1,988) with only FWA Player of the Year Dias (2,528) managing more.
Centre-back: Tyrone Mings
Though Aston Villa tailed off during the second half of the season, Mings remained a rock at the heart of their defence.
He has been touted for a place in the England squad for this summer’s European Championships, and it’s easy to see why.
Mings recorded 131 possession wins in the defensive third and 170 completed clearances, which was bettered only by Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo.
Left-back: Aaron Cresswell
Plenty will argue that Luke Shaw was by far this year’s standout left-back, but the stats don’t lie.
West Ham’s Cresswell, with 59 completed crosses and 130 possessions won in the defensive third, was about as complete a full-back as it’s possible to be, and proved a key man in the Hammers’ Europa League qualification.
No left-back in the top-flight could better his eight assists or 12 big chances created over the course of the campaign.
The Manchester City midfielder took some time to adapt to life in the Premier League, enduring a tough first season in the North-West, but he has been a reliable and elegant presence in midfield for the champions this season.
He attempted (2,785) and completed the most passes in the division (2,542), in doing so setting the rhythm for Pep Guardiola’s mesmerising team.
The Spaniard is also in the top two for possessions won in the middle third with 162.
At last, City have a long-term heir to midfield destroyer Fernandinho.
Centre-midfield: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Hojbjerg added real steel to the Tottenham midfield following his move from Southampton last summer and was one of the few bright spots in a forgettable season for the North Londoners.
Like Rodri, the Dane was composed in possession, completing 2,448 passes — second only to the City man among all midfielders.
He set himself apart with his aggression and tenacity though, completing 98 total tackles which was a tally bettered by only two others in the division.
Right wing: Marcus Rashford
It was an unforgettable year for Rashford off the pitch as he fought MPs during the coronavirus pandemic — and a enjoyeed pretty impressive campaign on it, too.
Only three players completed more take-ons than the England international (82) who was second in the entire league for attempted take-ons.
As well as 11 league goals, all from open play, Rashford ranked sixth with nine assists to his name.
Attacking midfield: Bruno Fernandes
The Portuguese went from strength to strength in his first full season at Manchester United, just pipping De Bruyne to a place in this team by virtue of the number of big chances he created — 20 to the Belgian’s 19.
Fernandes also registered 12 assists and 18 goals, proving highly influential again for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
With a total of 30 goal contributions, only Tottenham star Kane (37) could better United’s No18, who also posted the highest expected assists total (11) in the Premier League and came out on top for key passes with 94.
Left wing: Son Heung-min
The Spurs attacker was never likely to grab the headlines with Tottenham team-mate Kane enjoying one of the great individual seasons alongside him.
Son started the season in a remarkable vein of form, scoring eight and assisting two in his first six games, and that was a sign of things to come.
Fourteen big chances created put the Korean third in the Premier League while a return of 13 big chances scored ranks fifth overall.
His 16 open-play goals can only be bettered by, guess who? Kane (19).
Striker: Harry Kane
We already knew Kane was a phenomenal goal scorer — but this year he added another string to his bow by proving he is an elite creator, too
A look through most of the top 10 lists for attacking metrics this season is enough to confirm Kane’s brilliance.
The England captain leads the way for goals (23), assists (14), goal contributions (37), non-penalty goals (19), non-penalty expected goals (17.5), shots (134) and shots on target (47).
If this is to be Kane’s last season with Tottenham then his remarkable personal campaign will make a decent parting gift.
Whoever succeeds Ryan Mason as Spurs’ next full-time head coach will have an unenviable task on their hands replacing the most prolific striker in the Premier League.