Garth Crooks' team of the year: Ederson, Rudiger, Rice, Saka, Antonio

It has been another great year in the league.

Manchester City reclaimed the title fromLiverpool in impressive fashion last season, finishing 12 points ahead of Manchester United, and are still sitting pretty at the summit.

This year has had a lot of things, including shock results, great signings and the return of fans to stadiums.

You can make your own team at the bottom of my team of the year.

Ederson is a goalkeeper for Manchester City.

Ederson, who won the Golden Glove in both 2020-21 and 2019-20, is having another impressive season in goal for Manchester City, though three goals flew past him againstLeicester.

One can easily forget how good Ederson is when there is a bunch of stars around him. I can't think of a better goalkeeper in the world with the ball at his feet, his saves between the sticks, and his incredible distribution.

The perfect goalkeeper for the modern game.

Did you know? Ederson has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ruben Dias, and Antonio Rudiger.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was included in my team of the year because of the fact that they conceded eight goals in four games in February and March 2020.

The ridiculous argument as to whether he is good enough for England's starting line-up or not was the focus of the England full-back. There's no doubt about that.

This kid is good enough to play for Real Madrid, and he makes my team for the second year in a row.

Did you know? Alexander-Arnold was the only player in Europe's big five leagues to create more chances in the Premier League in 2021.

Ruben Dias is the best centre-half at Manchester City. City have been unable to find a replacement for their former captain, but they have found a defender in Dias who is more comfortable on the ball and who possesses the same capacity to defend.

Some of the other centre-backs lacked steel, which was brought by Dias. John Stones and Nathan Ake are not bullied.

Did you know? In the 32 games in which Dias and Silva were on the winning side, they were the joint-most of any outfield player.

Frank Lampard's biggest mistake was not playing Antonio Rudiger. Since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, the German international's presence in a shirt has proved to be valuable.

The defender was surplus to requirements under the previous manager, but since the arrival of Tuchel, he has become one of the most sought-after defenders in the world. When Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid want to sign you, it qualifies.

Did you know? The most clean sheets by a defender in the premier league in the year 2021 were by Rudiger.

Quarterbacks: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), and Declan Rice (West Ham).

He's my man of the season so far, but he makes my team of the year. The boy has been playing with his skin. Silva has been a junior partner in the firm for two years.

There was a suggestion that the Portugal international's services were no longer required at City. The injury to Gundogan was the reason for the change.

Silva has been outstanding in their absence.

Did you know? Silva was involved in 16 goals in the premier league in the year of his career, the most of any year in his top flight career.

The way he has been playing, he is destined for a bigger club. For a young man of his age, he has been the perfect replacement for Mark Noble as captain of West Ham.

David Moyes invested a lot in Rice. The player is one of the reasons the Hammers are playing European football this season.

I wouldn't be surprised if he was the first one on the teamsheet.

Did you know? Rice was the most advanced in the league in the year of 2021.

He carried the can very well when De Bruyne missed the best part of the season because of an injury.

The German scored some memorable goals during their title-winning season.

Gundogan's goals seemed to have a bit of the spectacular about them, but his role in Manchester City's set-up proved to be far more influential than his scoring abilities.

Did you know? Gundogan scored 15 goals for Manchester City in the Premier League in 2021.

The most improved player in the league this year is Reece James. Strong, balanced and can hit the ball with both feet. He's very competitive.

There is no telling where this kid will end up if he can raise his level of consistency. There is no reason for the player to leave a club of that size.

Did you know? James created more chances than any other player in the league, but he assisted more goals than any other player.

The forwards are: Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, and Michail Antonio.

He handled the disappointment of his penalty miss brilliantly. The support from fans all over the country helped to make this possible.

The star has been the best player in the team all year. His two goals at the Canaries were a testament to how well the team is playing and how well they are situated in the top four.

He's too young to be the captain's captain, but it's only a matter of time.

Did you know? In the year of 2021, Saka played 2,798 minutes and provided six assists.

Phil Foden has been a revelation in a Manchester City shirt. It seemed like he was made for the competition.

The youngster is very comfortable in the City line-up. I detect a flaw. Foden plays for a manager who has high standards and he likes the nightlife.

Foden was dropped for the game against Newcastle for being in a nightclub during the festive period, but he was back in the starting line-up for the game against Brentford. Foden will need to change his lifestyle if he becomes a part of the future of City.

Did you know? Foden scored 12 goals and assisted seven in thePremier League in 2021, more than any other player in his age group.

It's not surprising that Michail Antonio puts in a lot of energy in a game. Watching him lift a life-size cardboard cut-out of himself earlier this season had equalled Paolo di Canio's goal scoring record at West Ham.

The Jamaica international has scored more goals than any other player this season.

Antonio played a key role in West Ham's win atWatford, having lost three games in a row. He has written himself into the club's record books alongside the likes of Di Canio and he is to his credit.

Did you know? Antonio was the only West Ham player to have double figures in both goals and assists.

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The criminals of the matter.

Readers will be aware of how highly I rate Tuchel as a coach.

I don't think I would allow him to run my bath outside of a football club. How can he suggest that the Christmas schedule is not fair and that his side are struggling after sustaining more injuries?

The club has the best squad in the league. Tuchel expects the rest of the country to feel sorry for Romelu Lukaku, who was brought on for the rest of the game at Villa and smashed the living daylights out of them.

Tuchel was aware of our Christmas schedule before he took the job. Everyone has been affected by the Pandemic. The rules of the league are explicit. If you have 13 fit players and an extra goalkeeper, then you play.

Jordan Henderson made a plea for better player welfare.

If something wasn't done to protect player well-being, the possibility of strike action by players was suggested by Manchester City, who incidentally beatLeicester 6-3 at the weekend.

Players have never had it so good. It was alarming to hear Antonio Conte add to the drama by saying that talking to the league about the issue was not helpful.

It was only after the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace that Spurs played their best game of the season, followed by a point at Saints where the VAR robbed them of victory, making his comments look ridiculous.

It's clear that clubs fighting for domestic and international honours feel their impressive squad are at breaking point. With their resources stretched, clubs want to retain the advantage they have by tailoring the schedule to their needs.

The league should stick to their guns. The clubs sold the schedule to the broadcasters a long time ago and had no problem taking the television money.

Even in difficult circumstances, they must keep their part of the bargain.