Sports Mole readers' Team of the Season so far

Sports Mole presents the readers' choice for Premier League Team of the Season at the halfway stage of the campaign.

At the halfway stage of the 2017-18 Premier League season we already have a firm idea of which team will be lifting the title come May, with Manchester City dropping just two points over their opening 19 games to build a 13-point lead over the chasing pack.

City are by no means the only team to have impressed so far this term, though, and behind them there is plenty still to be decided during the second half of the campaign, from the Champions League places to the relegation zone.

Surprise packages such as Burnley, Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion will be hoping for a similarly successful second half of the season, while the order of the top six is sure to change on a weekly basis behind Man City.

Over the Christmas period we asked you to vote for your Premier League team of the season so far, and the results are now in! Below is your halfway-stage XI.



GK: David de Gea

David De Gea applauds after the Premier League game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace on May 21, 2017© SilverHub

No surprise with this one. David de Gea has reaffirmed his status as arguably the best goalkeeper in world football so far this season, keeping a league-high 10 clean sheets and helping Manchester United to boast one of the stingiest defensive records in the division.

It has been another campaign full of stunning saves - most notably in big games against Liverpool and Arsenal, the latter of which saw him produce one of the most memorable individual goalkeeping performances in Premier League history.

De Gea garnered 50% of your votes to get the gloves in this team, with Man City's Ederson (22.7%) and Burnley's Nick Pope (13.6%) his closest challengers.



RB: Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on August 12, 2017© Offside

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola spent a huge amount of money on full-backs during the summer and, while the left side has had its problems, Kyle Walker has provided an immediate solution to the right-back position.

The England international has played in all but two of City's matches so far this season, registering four assists to help his side build such a commanding lead at the top of the table.

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta (22.2%) and Antonio Valencia (16.7%) also pushed for a place in this team, but Walker wins the spot having earned 50% of the votes.



CB: Nicolas Otamendi

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi before the Champions League match against Napoli on October 17, 2017© SilverHub

With Vincent Kompany and John Stones both spending time in the treatment room this season, it has fallen to Nicolas Otamendi to be Manchester City's number one centre-back, and it is a role in which the Argentine has thrived.

Otamendi has featured in all but one of City's games this season and helped them to boast the best defensive record in the division while also proving to be a valuable asset at the other end of the pitch, weighing in with four goals.

The 29-year-old was the clear first choice at centre-back with 43.8% of the votes, beating off competition from Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.



CB: Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta celebrates after the Premier League game between Leicester City and Chelsea on September 9, 2017© SilverHub

Cesar Azpilicueta may have missed out on the right-back slot, but the Spaniard is versatile enough to earn a place in this team at the heart of the defence, where he has arguably produced even better form than he did when playing as a full-back.

More used to playing in a back three, Azpilicueta is nonetheless perfectly capable of operating with four in defence and would hold a very strong claim to being the best out-and-out defender in the Premier League.

Azpilicueta won 25% of your votes to leave him behind only Otamendi, with Burnley's James Tarkowski (18.8%) and Chelsea's Andreas Christensen (12.5%) the next in line.



LB: Marcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Everton on August 27, 2017© SilverHub

Another Chelsea defender makes the cut in this team as Marcos Alonso fills in at left-back, where he has been something of a revelation since joining the club last summer.

Alonso is the only outfield Chelsea player to have started every match so far this season, weighing in with four goals and an assist from his 19 Premier League appearances.

The Spaniard won 31.3% of your votes to narrowly edge out makeshift Man City left-back Fabian Delph (25%) and Burnley's Stephen Ward (18.8%).



RM: Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Liverpool on December 17, 2017© Offside

The voting results demand a 4-4-2 formation in this lineup, which means that Mohamed Salah may have to play a little further back than he has been used to during an incredible first half of the season for Liverpool.

The Egypt international is the Premier League's joint top-scorer with 15 goals in his 19 appearances, also contributing three assists as part of Liverpool's feared 'Fab Four' attack.

Salah was the clear winner when it came to the winger selection, garnering 60% of your votes to not only earn a place in this team, but also ensure that he starts on his favoured side.



CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© SilverHub

The central midfield positions were the most fiercely competitive in this team, but even accounting for the world-class players he came up against in the vote, Kevin De Bruyne was the clear winner.

The Belgian has arguably been the Premier League's best player during the opening half of the campaign, contributing six goals and eight assists from his 19 appearances and inspiring Man City to their record-breaking run of form.

De Bruyne's performances were reflected in the results of the vote, with the playmaker boasting 73.3% of the votes whereas no other midfielder earned more than 6.7%.



CM: N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Swansea City on November 29, 2017© Offside

With De Bruyne the clear favourite in the middle of the park, it was left to four other players to fight it out for a place in this team, with Pascal Gross, N'Golo Kante, Philippe Coutinho and David Silva all tied with 6.7% of the votes.

It comes down to us to decide who partners De Bruyne in midfield, then, and in the interests of a balanced team there really is only one choice - reigning PFA Player and FWA Footballer of the Year Kante.

The other three have all enjoyed very impressive campaigns so far, but a defence-minded midfielder is needed in this team and Kante in particular would allow the rest of the midfield to wreak havoc further up the pitch.



LM: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling doth protest too much during the Champions League game between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk on September 26, 2017© Offside

Another who will need to play in a more reserved role than he is used to due to the demand for two strikers, Raheem Sterling has been arguably the most improved player this season and could claim to be Man City's most important too.

Only Harry Kane and Salah have scored more goals than the England winger this season, and crucially some of those have been last-gasp winners to earn City a further seven points from the 82nd minute or later.

Sterling was behind Salah in the winger voting with 15%, although that was still enough to keep him clear of Riyad Mahrez (10%) and earn him a place in the team.



CF: Harry Kane

Harry Kane rues a missed opportunity in Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League match against Stoke City on December 9, 2017© Offside

Harry Kane has perhaps been a little more hit-or-miss this season, but the striker does guarantee goals however they come. A December 23 hat-trick took him up to 15 for the season, drawing level with Salah as the league's top scorer at the halfway stage.

Kane is also now level with Alan Shearer on 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year, and just one against Southampton this afternoon would see him break that 22-year-old record.

Kane garnered 47.4% of the votes to lead the line, and we wouldn't bet against the England international going on to enjoy an even more productive 2018.



CF: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© Offside

Sergio Aguero may have had to share his duties with Gabriel Jesus at times this season, but the Argentine has still managed to score 12 Premier League goals - a tally only Kane and Salah can beat.

Aguero also broke City's all-time goalscoring record earlier in the campaign and remains one of world football's deadliest strikers, helping City to a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive Premier League wins and counting.

The 29-year-old earned 31.6% of your votes, putting him behind only Kane and some way clear of Alvaro Morata, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Roberto Firmino.

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Burnley defender James Tarkowski in action during his side's FA Cup clash with Lincoln City
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