We take a look at the combined XIs of the top performing players in each of Europe’s top 5 leagues, based on data from Wyscout’s Ranking indexes
As we near the halfway point in Europe’s top 5 leagues, it provides the perfect opportunity to look back and take stock of the best performers of the season so far.
Using Wyscout’s Rankings indexes, which sorts and rates players in a competition for each position based on their stats, we are able to see who has made the combined best XIs from each of the respective leagues.
For every position, there is a set of parameters that is used to calculate a final ranking purely based on Wyscout data. For example, a central midfielder’s ranking will be determined by key metrics such as goals, chances created, loose ball duels won, assists and pressing attempts, as well as a plethora of other positionally-relevant statistics.
If you want to learn more about which specific metrics are relevant to each position, click on the link here.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into the findings.
Barcelona top the table at Christmas, leading eternal rivals Real Madrid by two points, so it’s no surprise to see the big two in Spain contributing a number of players to the XI.
Robert Lewandowski has hit the ground running since his move from Bayern Munich and leads the race for the Pichichi with 13 goals and 4 assists. No player has had more shots (46) than the Pole and the veteran striker has been directly involved in 51.5% of Barcelona’s league goals.
At the other end of the pitch, Barcelona boast the best defensive record, conceding just 5 goals in 14 games, and as such Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Eric Garcia also make the cut.
The German shot-stopper has a 70.97% success rate on reflex saves this season and has prevented the most goals (4.84) in the league. Meanwhile, Garcia, the youngest player on the list, has averaged 6.77 defensive duels per 90 while also boasting a 94.14% pass accuracy.
Alongside Garcia in central defense, Real Madrid’s Eder Militao has enjoyed a stellar season, ranking in the top five for shots blocked (12). The Brazilian has also made an impact going forward too with a league-best of 3 goals from corners.
The second Real Madrid inclusion is another Brazilian, Vinicius Junior, who has continued his excellent form from last season. The electric 22-year-old has contributed 6 goals and 3 assists for Los Blancos and has made more dribbles (146) than anyone else in the league.
There is also a strong showing from Espanyol, providing two players to the XI despite languishing in 16th place in the league. The aerially dominant Joselu has netted 7 goals and earns a place up front, while Sergi Darder’s mix of progressive passing (7.95 per 90) and counterpressing (3.34 recoveries per 90) sees him claim a spot in the midfield.
Another eye-catching inclusion is Mallorca right back Pablo Maffeo. Making the Team of the Season for the second year in a row, the 25-year-old has impressed for the league’s fourth meanest defence (13 goals conceded) and has given Javier Aguirre’s low-scoring side a vital attacking outlet, as demonstrated by his 7.19 offensive duels and 3.75 dribbles per 90.
Also retaining their place in the combined XI is Brais Mendez. His classy performances for Celta Vigo last year caught the eye of Real Socieded in the summer and Mendez has not let up for his new club, with 6 goals from midfield. His thrust, passing range and set pieces have been key in propelling Sociedad to third place in the league.
Reigning champions PSG lead the chasing pack by five points and fittingly their triumvirate of world class attackers take pride of place in the Ligue 1 combined XI.
Lionel Messi (7), Kylian Mbappe (12) and Neymar (11) are responsible for 30 of Les Parisiens 43 goals this season, while Messi and Neymar have also each contributed 9 assists. If that wasn’t enough, Mbappe ranks highest for progressive runs (62), Messi tops through passes (76) and Neymar is number one for key passes (21).
Alexandre Lacazette makes up the final attacking spot, thanks to his combined 12 G/A for boyhood club Lyon. The ex-Arsenal man has been one of the bright spots for Les Gones in what has been an otherwise underwhelming start to the season so far.
An interesting feature of the XI is the appearance of the Lens centre back partnership of Kevin Danso and Massadio Haidara. Currently sitting in second place, surprise package of the season Lens have built their success on solid defensive foundations, conceding just 10 goals, only one more than league leaders PSG.
Another notable trend is the presence of a number of highly-rated youth prospects, primarily in attacking full backs Nuno Tavares (22) and Malo Gusto (19). Tavares ranks in the top five for dribbling (92), while Gusto has delivered the most crosses in the league (85).
22-year-old Enzo Le Fee also features after his performances have helped transform Lorient from relegation candidates to outside European contenders. The busy midfielder is in the top five for defensive duels (141) but adds creativity going forward too, having provided three assists.
Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and Gianluigi Donnarumma round off a youthful Ligue 1 Team of the Season, highlighting the scouting benefits provided by Wyscout Ranking indexes for clubs on the lookout for up-and-coming stars.
Napoli finished the year as runaway Serie A leaders, despite a high turnover of players in the summer, but somewhat surprisingly only two of their players make the Team of the Season.
Top scorer Victor Osimhen leads the line thanks to his 9 goals, whilst his 4.22 shots per 90 is also the highest average in the league. A potent threat in the air too, the Nigerian striker has the most headed attempts in the division too.
Teammate Kim Min-jae earns himself a starting berth at centre back after making an instant impact following his transfer from Fenerbahce. The imposing South Korean is among the top five for aerial duels (79) and shots blocked (15) and has also popped up with a couple of goals and is second in the league for ball progression (5.58).
Interestingly it is actually fourth-place Lazio that contribute the highest number of players to the XI. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - the only player who retains their place from last year - tops the assist charts with 7 to his name, as well heading up the through pass (35) and smart pass (30) metrics too.
Lazio stopper Ivan Provedel starts between the sticks thanks in no small part to ensuring that the Blancocelesti have the second tightest defence in the league, while winger Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson also make the cut.
Zaccagni narrowly beats off competition from Napoli’s Khvica Kvaratskhelia thanks in no small part to his trickery on the wing and end product in the final third. The 27-year-old is also the most fouled player in the division (3.64 per 90) and has a 67.07% dribble success rate. Zaccagni’s 8 G/A is already close to a personal best, a tally he will no doubt better with more than half the season remaining.
Both halves of Milan are also represented in the combined XI. Inter duo Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella have a combined 17 goals and assists between the two of them, while cross-town rivals’ flying French full back Theo Hernandez also features.
It is perhaps the other full back spot which raises a few eyebrows. Veteran Antonio Candreva is enjoying an Indian summer to his career on loan at Salernitana and has provided the second highest number of crosses (85) and through balls (24) in the division.
Going into the Winterpause, the Bundesliga’s winter break, Bayern Munich retain their stranglehold on the league, leading surprise package Freiburg by 4 points. Despite their dominance, the Team of the Season draws from a refreshingly diverse range of clubs and Bayern only account for two of the XI.
Dayot Upamecano may be part of the meanest defence in the league, having conceded just 13 goals, and ranks second in defensive duels but he makes the team for his contribution on the ball as much as anything. No player has made more passes (1155) than the young Frenchman and he is second for passes into the final third (166) and ball progression (6.45 per min).
The centre of midfield provides a certain sense of symmetry with two 19-year-olds, both of whom grew up in England but are now thriving in the Bundesliga. Bayern’s Jamal Musiala and Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham have shown that they are not just talented prospects but are already among the best players in the division.
Musiala is both scorer and creator as he leads the combined goals and assist chart with an impressive 16 G/A, as well as placing highly in other metrics such as touches in the penalty box (6.24 per 90) and deep completions (31). Meanwhile, Bellingham’s all action displays see him among the best midfielders when it comes to offensive duels (12.5 per 90), shots (28) and dribbling (4.69 per 90), as well as being the most fouled player in the league (45).
Right back Jeremie Frimpong is another youthful face in the lineup. An ever present for Leverkusen, the attack-minded defender tops the division for progressive runs (73) by quite some distance and his 13.16 offensive duels per 90 are not matched by any full back. He has also found the back of the net 5 times, a stat matched by fellow Team of the Season player Ramy Bensebaini.
Marcus Thuram makes it two Monchengladbach players in the combined XI and the 25-year-old striker has been on fire, with 10 goals and 2 assists. No player has had more shots (51) or had more touches in the penalty box (76) and his form earned him a place in France’s national team squad.
Partnering Thuram up front is burly striker Niclas Fullkrug, who also has 10 goals and 2 assists to his name. Something of a late bloomer for Werder Bremen, Fullkrug is one of the most dangerous players in the air, with joint most headed goals (3) and second highest number of aerial duels (157) in the league.
One of the undoubted stars of the campaign has been Vicenzo Grifo, whose 9 goals have helped Freiburg keep pace with Bayern at the top of the table. It’s not just his goals, however, as Grifo brings plenty of creativity, ranking in the top 5 for through passes (36), deep completions (27) and key passes (13).
Another of the stories of the season has been Union Berlin building on last year’s showing and coming into the winter break in 5th position. Danish goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow has been key to Union conceding just 20 goals so far this season and his 0.18 prevented goals per 90 is third best in the league.
Arsenal have made their best-ever start to a Premier League season, sitting 5 points ahead of reigning champions Manchester City and both sides are represented well in the Team of the Season.
Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard have all been key players in Mikel Arteta’s dynamic and youthful side and make the cut for the combined XI.
Magalhaes has been an ever present in the joint-best defence in the league and has topped aerial duels in his own box (22), while Martinelli has 5 goals to his name and brings pace and directness, as demonstrated by his 91 dribbles so far this season.
Odegaard has also weighed in with 6 goals but it is mainly in the construction of play where he shines. The Norwegian orchestrates Arsenal going forward with an average of 6.35 progressive passes and 1.83 smart passes per 90 while also being one of the best attacking players when it comes to recoveries in the final third (2.62 per 90).
Arguably the easiest name on the list to predict is another Norwegian, Erling Haaland, who has terrified defences up and down the country and has already amassed an eye-watering 18 goals from 14 games. The unstoppable striker averages more touches in the box than anyone else (7.43 per 90) and only Harry Kane has more shots so far.
A large part of Haaland’s phenomenal record in front of goal has been the service from Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian midfielder has 9 assists to his name, almost double the amount of anyone else in the league, and he leads the division in key passes (24), smart passes (40), crosses (96) and deep completions (35).
Another of the most notable trends in the Team of the Season is the inclusion of four Newcastle players. The Magpies have gatecrashed their way into the established top 6, largely based on their solid defence, which has conceded only 11 goals. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see goalkeeper Nick Pope and defenders Fabian Schar and Kieran Trippier all feature.
Newcastle also dominate the right flank thanks to the excellent partnership built up by Trippier and Miguel Almiron. As well as impressing defensively, Trippier has three assists and an xA of 5.14, second only to Kevin de Bruyne, while also ranking highly in progressive passes (197) and crosses (58). Almiron has hit his best form of goalscoring, with 8 goals, and tops the league rankings for second assists (4).
Leandro Trossard is an interesting inclusion at left back, no doubt thanks to his versatility in both attacking and defensive roles, and the Belgian ranks in the top 5 for touches in the penalty box (72). Striker Ivan Toney also makes the XI thanks to his impressive 12 G/A for Brentford this season.