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Premier League midseason best XI: Declan Rice, Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland make the cut

After a stellar start for Liverpool and Aston Villa, it comes as no surprise that players from the Premier League’s current top two sides would dominate a team made up of standouts from the first half of the season.

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Both sides had three players each in the CBSSports.com editorial team’s midseason best XI, a group that is made up entirely of the teams presently in the top five. Golden boot leaders Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah easily cracked the team, with Haaland serving as one of two players from Manchester City in the group.

Here’s a closer look at the full team.

Guglielmo Vicario

TOT • G • #13

The lone Premier League newcomer on the list, Vicario has been a perfect fit for Ange Postecoglou’s intense style of play that can sometimes invite a lot of pressure on the defense. The Italian has made 65 saves this season and kept five clean sheets but notably leads the league in goals prevented with 6.74.

William Saliba

ARS • D • #2

The center back has been a remarkably active participant as Arsenal again aim to contend for the Premier League title. He has shown an impressive amount of precision along the way. He ranks fourth in the league for touches and third for passes attempted and boasts an impressive 92.7% accuracy on those passes.

Virgil van Dijk

LIV • D • #4

Liverpool’s reliable leader has shown no signs of slowing down this season, especially as the Reds average less than one goal against per game so far this season. Van Dijk’s also up there with Saliba in a handful of categories — the Dutchman ranks fifth for passes attempted and has a passing accuracy of 90.5%.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

LIV • D • #66

Alexander-Arnold has been in fine form this season as a conduit for Liverpool’s attacking plans and has combined well with Salah as the forward remains in the thick of the golden boot race. The right back has four goals and two assists so far this season, showcasing once again that he can score and provide.

The versatile Konsa has been one of several breakouts as Villa makes a surprise, but earned, run at the title and is a true competitor for a Champions League berth. He’s also a high passer and has been clinical going forward, too — his passing accuracy in the final third sits at 87.7%.

Foden’s been a crucial player for City for years now, but his importance seems to be growing this season. He has five goals and six assists this season and has outperformed his expected assists tally of three and ranks 10th in the league for chances created with 38.

Declan Rice

ARS • M • #41

One of two players here who’s new to his team, Rice has slotted in exceptionally for Arsenal. He ranks within the top 10 for touches and passes and is past 90% on passing accuracy overall and in the final third. He has three goals to add to his solid first few months with the Gunners.

A veteran who is finally getting his due at age 29, McGinn’s been a notable attacking outlet for a Villa team that’s scored 43 goals so far. McGinn has five of them off of just 2.74 expected goals and has put 11 of his 25 shots on target this season.

Ollie Watkins

AVL • F • #11

Watkins has been an important part of Villa’s steady rise for some time now but this season has been a career best. He has nine goals and eight assists so far and is tied for first with Salah in the latter category.

Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous

LIV • F • #11

There’s little to say about Salah’s talents that hasn’t already been said but long story short — he’s still got it. He’s joint top for assists and goals this season, having scored 14 times already and is a narrow second to Haaland on expected goals, too.

Erling Haaland

MCY • F • #9

Last season’s breakout talent has only been slowed down by injury, but with five fewer games than Salah in his Premier League account this season, Haaland still leads the golden boot race. He’s going to be the person to beat again this season, and for the foreseeable future.

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