Costa, Sanchez and Coutinho lead the 2016 Premier League Team of the Year
It has been a remarkable year of upsets with Leicester City winning the Premier League title and Chelsea producing the worst-ever defence as champions in the first half of 2016 -- only for the two clubs to produce wholly different results in the second half of the year.
Manchester United ended their trophy drought in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era by winning the FA Cup under Louis van Gaal, while Jose Mourinho returned to management at Old Trafford, and Pep Guardiola brought his own super-successful brand of football to the Premier League with Manchester City.
But as 2016 nears its end, which players and manager have been consistent enough from January through to December to claim their place in the Team of the Year?
The Leicester City goalkeeper kept 15 clean sheets as the club recorded the most unexpected title triumph in English football history with seven shut-outs coming in the final 12 games of the season. Injury has affected his 2016-17 campaign, but Schmeichel has been the standout keeper of the year.
Arsenal's Spanish right-back has been a model of consistency, and his performances earned him a new six-year contract to fend off interest from Manchester City and Barcelona. Equally adept going forward, Bellerin, 21, is crucial for Arsenal's long-term aspirations.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutch centre-half has earned comparisons to Rio Ferdinand with his increasingly impressive displays for Southampton. Tall, quick and with the ability to carry the ball out of the back four, the former Celtic defender is now emerging as a target for Champions League clubs.
Alderweireld's defensive partnership with Belgium teammate Jan Vertonghen was the cornerstone of Tottenham's bid for the Premier League title last season. The 27-year-old is powerful, strong in the air and comfortable with the ball at his feet. Tottenham miss him hugely when he's ruled out through injury.
With Luke Shaw struggling to rediscover form and fitness at Manchester United following a year-long absence with a broken leg, Spurs defender Rose has emerged as England's best left-back. One of the few Englishmen to enjoy a successful Euro 2016 campaign.
The French midfielder is arguably 2016's Player of the Year, with his immense performances in Leicester's title campaign being replicated for Chelsea this season. Kante simply performs the role of two men -- as a destroyer and creator -- and he has been a huge success at Chelsea this season.
At 35, the Manchester United midfielder is in the twilight of his career, but his class and experience helped guide Louis van Gaal's team to the FA Cup last season, and he has become a crucial figure in Jose Mourinho's team. United simply do not lose when Carrick plays, which says it all.
Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City have endured an up and down 2016, but Kevin De Bruyne has been hugely impressive throughout. The Belgian midfielder's goals and energy have dragged City to results at times, and he is developing into a player of Steven Gerrard's calibre at the Etihad Stadium.
The Brazilian has become the man who makes Liverpool tick and edges out the likes of Eden Hazard, David Silva and Juan Mata because of his year-round contribution. Liverpool have not had a match-winner of Coutinho's ilk since Luis Suarez, but the 24-year-old rapidly is becoming as important to the team as the Uruguayan was.
The former Barcelona winger has become Arsenal's talisman after being handed a central role by Arsene Wenger. When Sanchez plays well, Arsenal win. Their challenge now is to keep the Chilean at the Emirates in 2017, and that will not be easy.
The Chelsea forward has scored 25 goals for his club in 2016, with 13 coming this term to propel Antonio Conte's team to the top of the Premier League. Costa is back to his best, and his form and fitness are key to Chelsea staying ahead of the pack in 2017.
Manager: Eddie Howe
Claudio Ranieri completed a miracle with Leicester last season while Antonio Conte has confounded the doubters in his first six months at Chelsea, but over the calendar year, Eddie Howe's achievement in keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League and guiding them to the top 10 so far this season should not be overlooked. It's an incredible achievement.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_