Tag Archives: Ilkay Gundogan

Tap Ins & Tap Outs Premier League Team of the Year 2020/21

We’re entering the final weeks of the Premier League season and everything is all but settled already for the first time in a while.

Manchester City are set to be crowned champions for a third time in four seasons, while it’s already confirmed that Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham will be playing their football in the Championship next season.

Top four is the only thing left to play for at this point, although Leicester and Chelsea currently have a decent sized cushion above their rivals with only a few games left to play.

That means it’s time for the awards to come out for the players and managers, including the team of the year. 11 players who have stood out the most in their respective positions to make up the best team to have taken part over the course of the entire season.

There are always a few locks in every team, but there are also always a few positions up for grabs that spark debate. With that said, here is the official Tap Ins & Tap Outs Premier League team of the year for the 2020/21 season.

GOALKEEPER: Edouard Mendy
Honourable mentions: Ederson, Emiliano Martinez

The Chelsea stopper joined the club right at the end of the summer transfer window but has taken to the English game like a duck to water. Using his size well to command his area and claim crosses, Mendy has done well with the ball at his feet and has gone on two long streaks of clean sheets this season including six games immediately after signing.

He has been a huge difference to a Chelsea side that conceded over 50 goals last season, conceding just 23 goals in 29 league games and keeping 16 clean sheets – a tally only bettered by Manchester City’s Ederson.

RIGHT BACK: Joao Cancelo
Honourable mentions: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Vladimir Coufal

Without a doubt the best right back in the country this season, Cancelo has shown why Manchester City were willing to spend around £60m and send Danilo to Juventus in order to sign him.

Flying down the wing all season but also tucking in and taking up a midfield role in possession, the Portuguese international has been a key cog in the reason why the Cityzens are going to be crowned champions this season. His passing, pace, reading of the game and brilliance on the ball has seen him rack up three assists and a goal in the league this season but his overall effect on the team is deserving of the spot more than his numbers.


CENTRE BACKS: Ruben Dias and John Stones
Honourable mentions: Wesley Fofana, Harry Maguire, Lewis Dunk

The defence is very blue up to this point but it’s with good reason because of just how good this duo have been this season. Together they have formed a near perfect partnership, helping City to concede a league-low of just 26 goals this season.

Dias has without doubt been the signing of the season, with his impact likened to that of Virgil Van Dijk, while John Stones has resurrected his career after looking likely to leave last summer.

Brilliant aerially, impenetrable in one-on-one scenarios and tremendous on the ball, these two have been the stand-out defenders in the Premier League this season and deserve all the credit they get after leading their side to another title.

LEFT BACK: Luke Shaw
Honourable mentions: Aaron Cresswell, Kieran Tierney

There was only ever going to be one pick for this position and it had to go to Manchester United’s Luke Shaw.

After a tough spell at Old Trafford since signing back in 2014, Shaw has finally found his groove in the famous red shirt and this season has been absolutely sensational at both ends of the pitch. He’s picked up a career-high six assists this season while also scoring once and has been absolutely vital to the great performances United have managed this season.

He’s stayed fit and worked his way back into the England squad for Euro 2020 too, where he should start based on form.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Tomas Soucek and Ilkay Gundogan
Honourable mentions: Youri Tielemans, Declan Rice, Paul Pogba

It’s been an interesting season in midfield, with games coming so thick and fast that small injuries could see you miss five or six games simply due to the schedule. That has made it hard to choose between some players, but I’m comfortable in my choices of West Ham’s Soucek and Man City’s Gundogan.

Soucek has been a revelation since signing from Slavia Prague and has almost acted as David Moyes’ new Marouane Fellaini. With great defensive awareness and positioning, he has been key to helping West Ham challenge for a top four place and also chipped in with a fantastic nine league goals this season.

Alongside him is the top scorer for the champions elect, as Gundogan has had the best season of his career overall. He has stayed fit throughout the season and while his goals have been incredibly important his overall influence to a City team that played without a striker for the most part has been essential to them winning as much as they have done.

Manchester United v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round : News Photo

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount
Honourable mentions: Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden

Two attacking midfielders who get into the team despite fiercely different numbers in the goals and assists department for their team, but their influence just as big as each others.

Bruno Fernandes continued his incredible impact from last season and has hit a startling 17 league goals with 11 assists in the league this season as of writing, making him one of only three players to have 10+ in both departments. His creativity, leadership, drive and determination have been key in seeing the Red Devils lose a league-low of just four games this season and as the team’s top scorer and arguably most influential player he deserves his spot.

As for young Mount, he has six goals and five assists this season but has been by far and away the best player in a blue shirt for Chelsea this season. His wonderful technique, great vision, creativity and drive have seen him win the hearts of fans and pundits alike and even potentially a starting spot for England at Euro 2020. What he lacks in the final third this season he has made up for with influence and it shows with Chelsea being much worse off without him for the most part. He is well deserving of his spot in this team.

FORWARDS: Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son
Honourable mentions: Mohammed Salah, Marcus Rashford, Patrick Bamford

One of the locks I mentioned earlier in this article is that man Harry Kane, who has hit 20+ league goals for a fifth time but also this season has led the assist charts since the early weeks of the campaign. The England skipper has become the league’s MVP this season and a move away from Tottenham is now likely as he continues to improve in search of trophies.

With his partnership with club teammate Heung-Min Son producing more goals than any other duo in the league this season whichever way you swing it, it was hard to leave Son out with the South Korean front man being the third player to have double digits for goals and assists.

Pace, ability with both feet, great passing, creativity, ability to beat a defender and the composure to finish both these forwards deserve their place among the team of the year and player of the year candidates.


Champions League last 16 predictions: Gladbach vs Manchester City

It’s Champions League time once again as the last 16 is back and the second round of fixtures commences.

Last week we saw the first eight teams compete, with some thrilling fixtures to take us through to the second leg and this week we’ll be hoping for more of the same – as Premier League leaders Manchester City take on Germany’s surprise package Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Pep Guardiola’s side are currently riding a 17 game win streak in all competitions and have pulled away at the top of the Premier League with a ten point lead over Manchester United and Leicester behind them. Gladbach are fighting for a return to Europe’s premier competition next season, with Marco Rose’s side currently in eighth and nine points off the top four.

After plenty of speculation is was confirmed last week that Rose will leave Gladbach at the end of the season to join Borussia Dortmund, but he has promised to fight to leave his current side in the best position possible. They face probably the toughest task in Europe right now though to stop a Manchester City side who are in cruise control and beating everyone that steps in their path.

City have found themselves not only as a free-flowing attacking outfit, but now also one that can hold on to a 1-0 lead and not even think of letting it slip since the addition of Ruben Dias in the summer and the resurgence of John Stones into the starting lineup.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo

Ilkay Gundogan has found some incredible goalscoring form since December to lead their scoring charts while Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all stepped up massively in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is now back from injury too, as is Sergio Aguero, so Guardiola has a near fully-fit squad to choose from.

As for Gladbach, they have won just twice in their last six in all competitions and look open defensively. Going forward they’ve struggled too, with just 38 goals scored in their 22 fixtures domestically. In the Champions League group stages earlier this season they were a different kettle of fish though, scoring 16 times in their six games to pip Inter Milan to a place in this round.

Marcus Thuram, Alessane Plea and Lars Stindl will lead the line and will all need to be on top form if they are to cause City any sort of problems in the form they are currently in.

Borussia Moenchengladbach v 1. FC Koeln - Bundesliga : News Photo

For City, they’ll be looking to keep it business as usual. They’ve been at their brilliant best over the last few months and it’s probably fair to say they’re the best team in the world right now. Guardiola has managed his squad exceptionally well, to the point where they have scored 83 goals in all competitions so far and Sergio Aguero doesn’t have a single one.

Their lineup currently picks itself for the most part, which says a lot considering the manager’s love for rotation. All in all, it’s hard to see anything but a comfortable win for City over the two legs.

Gladbach 0-2 Man City
Man City 3-0 Gladbach
(Man City to progress 5-0 on aggregate)

Ilkay Gundogan deserves player of the season shouts as Man City win again

As Manchester City claimed an 11th win in 13 Premier League games, the praise was once again heaped on a defence that kept yet another clean sheet.

It means City have conceded just twice in those 13 games and they extended their record of having the best defence in the division, while they put Burnley to the sword with two finely worked first half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

But it was once again the performance of German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan that went under the radar, as the 30-year-old grabbed an assist and turned in another masterclass in the centre of the park.

It was the tenth consecutive Premier League start for Gundogan, which is an impressive feat in it’s own right considering Pep Guardiola’s love for rotation – especially in the midfield area. But he has rewarded Guardiola’s loyalty to him with arguably the best run of form of his City career.

He has scored seven goals in those games, plus two assists too to push him up towards the club’s top goalscorers for the season.

But even past his goalscoring contributions, his performances have been in the upper echelons of midfielders across Europe this season.

So far in league games the German international has a 91.3% pass success rate from an average of 64.6 passes per game across 16 appearances. He is keeping the play ticking, ensuring there is a balance to the midfield with Guardiola’s new, more deliberate style of keep ball.

They play a less intense style now, with less emphasis on sprints and even more emphasis on control. It’s something that a man who has obvious physical limitations has dealt with well in the past during his time in Dortmund.

He’s seemingly got over his injury woes from earlier in his career and is now more or less available whenever his manager needs him. That’s a big plus for a manager who rotates so frequently and relies on controlling games with the ball more than anyone else.

Gundogan’s current form has seen City fly up the table and position themselves as favourites to win a third title in four season, and he deserves a big chunk of the credit if they do it.

With no De Bruyne or Aguero, and Sterling blowing hot and cold, it’s Gundogan who has been the main creative spark and he has got Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden playing to his tune to get into form.

When the end of season awards come around, if Manchester City are still in the conversation and Gundogan maintains this sort of level between now and then lets ensure he doesn’t get left out of the conversations for player of the year.