Who makes a Premier League North v South XI? Here are the stats
By Ben McAleer, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 28/02/18 11:33am
Romelu Lukaku posed an interesting question on Twitter on Monday night, and one that sparked debate. Manchester United striker suggested a Premier League version of the NBA all-star game, pitching north against south with the players for each XI voted for by the fans.
That got us thinking - Who would make a best-rated WhoScored.com XI for the north and the south?
Here, WhoScored.com run through the two sides, starting with their North XI using their unique rating system…
Goalkeeper - Nick Pope (Burnley)
Having been drafted in as Tom Heaton's replacement through injury, Nick Pope has excelled with his save success rate (77.4%) the second best in the Premier League this season. A WhoScored.com rating of 6.97 is better than any other top-flight goalkeeper with the England hopeful featuring between the sticks in this XI.
Defender - Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
The highest rated right-back in the Premier League this season with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.14 makes the cut in this side. Antonio Valencia has again excelled for Manchester United, combining his offensive duties with defensive discipline with relative ease.
Defender - Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
With four Premier League goals this season, the joint-best of any centre-back, Nicolas Otamendi makes the cut for the North XI with the Argentine enjoying a fine campaign. He's made more accurate passes (2156) than any other Premier League player this season to help earn a WhoScored.com rating of 7.21.
Defender - James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Burnley have gone off the boil of late, but James Tarkowski has been a sturdy performer at the heart of the Clarets defence. Indeed, they've failed to win all seven Premier League matches he hasn't started this season and he's very much exceeded expectations after his promotion to first-team regular on the back of Michael Keane's move to Everton.
Defender - Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Ashley Young for England? He's currently the highest rated left-back in the Premier League with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.30 after establishing himself as first choice for Manchester United. The 32-year-old has made the second most accurate crosses from open play (21) in England's top tier this term to help gain a spot in this side.
Midfielder - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
There was always going to be a place in the North XI for Mohamed Salah, who is without doubt the signing of the season. The Egyptian's WhoScored.com rating (7.73) is the fifth best in the Premier League, with the Liverpool sensation having a direct hand in more league goals (31 - 23 goals, eight assists) than any other player this season.
Midfielder - Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The second of five Manchester City representatives, Kevin De Bruyne's WhoScored.com rating (7.94) is better than any other Premier League player this campaign. He's the top creator in the league with the most key passes (84), clear-cut chances created (15) and assists (14) and would make anyone's North XI.
Midfielder - David Silva (Manchester City)
De Bruyne's partner in City's midfield, David Silva's exploits have been overshadowed by his team-mate's exploits, but the Spaniard is still one of the best in his position in the Premier League. A WhoScored.com rating of 7.54 means he's nailed down a starting spot alongside De Bruyne in the middle of the park.
Midfielder - Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Raheem Sterling pips teammate Leroy Sane to the final midfield spot, with the Manchester City wide man gaining a WhoScored.com rating of 7.55 this term. Fifteen goals is the fourth-best return in the Premier League, seven of which have come from the 75th minute onwards, a return bettered only by…
Forward - Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
…Manchester City teammate Sergio Aguero, with eight. The Argentine is set to enjoy his most prolific campaign to date having netted 21 league goals in 22 appearances. Aguero's scored the second most clear-cut chances (14) in the league to help gain a WhoScored.com rating of 7.89.
Forward - Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Rounding off the North XI is Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino, whose WhoScored.com rating (7.45) incidentally edges out Romelu Lukaku (7.33). Thirteen goals and six assists is a respectable return for the Brazilian, who is spearheading Liverpool's charge for a top-four finish.
Goalkeeper - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)
Starring in goal for the South XI is Swansea City star Lukasz Fabianski. The Swans may be battling against relegation, but would be as good as down were it not for the Pole in goal. Indeed, he's made more saves (100) than any other Premier League goalkeeper to return a WhoScored.com rating of 6.91.
Defender - Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Widely considered the best defender in England, let alone the south, Cesar Azpilicueta makes the cut with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.18. The Chelsea man has also pressed forward well where required to register more assists (six) than any other Premier League defender this season
Defender - Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
With a WhoScored.com rating of 7.46, Shkodran Mustafi is the highest rated centre-back in the Premier League this season. Funnily enough, Arsenal almost cashed in on the German last summer and they'll be counting their blessings they rejected any move from Inter, with the Gunners shipping fewer goals per game with Mustafi starting (1.0) than without him (1.9).
Defender - Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Spaniard Nacho Monreal has been in fine goalscoring form of late, scoring two and assisting two in his last four Premier League appearances. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has recently reverted to a four-man defence, with Monreal shifting to left-back, but having featured prominently at centre-back for much of the campaign, he makes the cut for the South XI with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.24.
Defender - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Arguably the best left-back in the Premier League, Marcos Alonso has scored more goals (six) than any other defender in Europe's top five leagues this season. The Chelsea man has been an effective performer defensively, too, as averages of 1.5 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game suggests.
Midfielder - Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace's form has dipped alarmingly without injured attacking star Wilfried Zaha - the Eagles have lost all eight league games he hasn't featured in. When he has played, though, he's been a key man for Roy Hodgson's side, chipping in with four goals and one assist, while an additional 82 successful dribbles has helped earn him a WhoScored.com rating of 7.17.
Midfielder - Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
The first of two Tottenham players to make the cut for the South XI, Christian Eriksen has again been a hugely influential member of Mauricio Pochettino's side. His tally of 69 key passes is the third best return in the Premier League, not to mention returns of seven goals and seven assists, which have helped the Dane gain a WhoScored.com rating of 7.32.
Midfielder - Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Placing ahead of Eriksen for key passes in the Premier League this season is Mesut Ozil (72) with the German featuring alongside his Tottenham counterpart in the South XI owing to his WhoScored.com rating of 7.26. While he hasn't had quite the same impact as the Danish dynamite, with the Arsenal man scoring four and assisting seven, there's no shortage of creativity in the South XI midfield.
Midfielder - Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Unsurprisingly rounding off the midfield in the South XI is Chelsea star Eden Hazard, who has completed more dribbles (119) than any other Premier League player this term. The Belgian's WhoScored.com rating (7.84) is the third best in England's top tier this season, while no player has won more WhoScored.com man of the match awards than the Blues ace (eight).
Forward - Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)
Alvaro Morata has gone off the boil of late - he hasn't scored a Premier League goal since Boxing Day - but his fine start to life in London means he has yielded a WhoScored.com rating of 7.12. Six of 10 top-flight goals he has scored have been headers, the joint-high, while Azpilicueta to Morata remains the best assist-to-goalscorer combination in the Premier League, returning six goals.
Forward - Harry Kane (Tottenham)
While the North XI has their fair share of attacking talent, the South XI has the Premier League's top scorer in Harry Kane, who headed in his 24th goal of the campaign at Crystal Palace on Sunday. His flying form in the Tottenham attack has seen Kane gain a WhoScored.com rating of 7.77, that is the fourth-best return in the Premier League this season.
Super 6 £1m jackpot
Simply predict six correct scores to win Jeff's £1 million. Enter your selections for free here.