With well over half of Premier Leagues players being foreign and the England National team going through the worst period in decades and having the worst crop of players in my lifetime, we have to look at the Premier League teams and what they are producing. Why are teams not looking towards their academies more? TV Money, cheap to import foreigners or wanting short term results rather than long term? We look through all 20 Premier League teams and see who is the best player they have produced in the past 10 years.
What makes a Premier League player considered a flop? For me various factors add up to how much of a flop a player is, price tag, what was expected of them and how much they delivered. Of course, players like Ali Dia would be considered the worst signings in Premier League history but that is a list for another day, this is the top ten flops ever in the Premier League.
It’s a question we have thrown around between friends and family for years. Position by position. Comparing arguably the five greatest Premier League sides ever assembled man for man in every position is a tough ask but it is something that will always spark discussion. In this discussion is the 07/08 Manchester United team, 04/05 Chelsea The Arsenal Invincibles, 11/12 Manchester City and The Manchester United treble winners.
Goalkeeper: The Candidates
Edwin Van Der Saar
This is a two horse race for me between Van Der Saar and Cech. On one hand Chelsea only conceded 15 goals all season and Cech went over 1,000 minutes without conceding a goal, a record at the time. A record that would be beaten by Edwin Van Der Saar with Manchester United. Peter Schmeichel gets an honourable mention, however, I think Cech and Van Der Saar get the nod over him. It is impossible to separate the two so both Chelsea and Manchester United get a point each on this round.
Right Back: The Candidates
The most straight forward decision in all the squad. Gary Neville slots in easily at right back. The greatest right back the Premier League has ever seen leaves the rest of the candidates a mile back. Right back is the weakest area of the squad for most of these teams. The point goes to the 1999 Manchester United team.
Centre backs: (Choose 2) The Candidates
This is the hardest area of the squad to choose and other than Lescott and Johnsen you can stake a very serious claim for any of the players. Looking solely at statistics Chelsea’s defence that season only conceded 15 goals all year in the league. Such an unreal feat that will probably never be repeated. Therefore it would be impossible to leave out either Terry or Carvalho due to that unbelievable record. I have never known a defender read a game as well as Ricardo Carvalho, however, he only played 39 games compared to John Terrys 53. John Terrys aerial dominance, strength and leadership see him put in as our first centre back.
The second centre back slot has to belong to Nemanja Vidic. It is so close between him and Sol Campbell. Overall I do think Sol Campbell is the better defender but we are only comparing one individual season and Vidic didn’t put a foot wrong all year in 07/08. If we were talking whole careers I would say Campbell is better than Vidic due to Vidic’s discipline and the amount of times he got torn apart by Fernando Torres. But for a single season Vidic takes it. a point each for 07/08 United and 04/05 Chelsea
Left Back: The Candidates
Left back is a much harder choice than first thought. Evra, Irwin and Cole are all in with a shout of being the best Premier League left-backs of all time. However the only choice I can justify making here is Ashley Cole. In my opinion the greatest left back the world has ever seen Cole was one of the last of a dying breed of full backs who are world class defenders. Now at the highest level of the game left backs are expected to go forward as well as they defend. Ashley Cole didn’t need that as the defensive aspect of his game was just that good. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal
Central Midfielder: The Candidates
Paul Scholes (1999)
This is a position that will spark massive debate as fans of their respective clubs can make debates about each of these players. From the off I am going to eliminate the three Manchester United players as options as I think there is such a massive gulf in class between them and the remaining three players.
I have addressed my feelings on Scholes in a previous blog post. Keane was never the technical genius that Toure, Makelele and Vieira were. Roy Keane was a tough tackling hard working midfielder but very overrated in my opinion. Carrick just isn’t at that level albeit I do think there is a debate as to whether or not Carrick is better than Scholes.
Toure, Makelele and Vieira. Three of the best at their respective roles. Without a doubt Claude Makelele is the best pure defensive midfielder the game has ever seen. The spine of any team he was in, there is a reason that the role is named after him. Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12
Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12
It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12 season Yaya Toure showcased all of his talents brilliantly. I have never seen a player run on the ball like Toure used to he would just power through defences like he was a tank. Not as good defensively as Makelele or Vieira but Toure was a threat going forward and could always be counted on to put in a shift when it counted. Point goes to 11/12 Man City
Right Wing: The Candidates
The only candidate I am going to put for this position. Without a doubt the best player throughout any of these squads. The reason the 07/08 United squad was what it was Ronaldo in 07/08 is arguably the best single season performance from a player alongside Thierry Henry in 03/04 Luis Suarez in 13/14 and Gareth Bale in 12/13. We don’t even need to discuss any other candidate in this position. Point goes to Man United 07/08
Attacking Midfielder: The Candidates
It really hurts me that I am not choosing Dennis Bergkamp in this position. It truly does. My favourite ever player to watch and the greatest technique on any footballer ever I wish I could choose him here. Unfortunately we are doing this on a season by season basis and Frank Lampard’s 04/05 is better than Dennis Bergkamp’s 03/04. I know Dennis Bergkamp can be considered a striker but in 03/04 he was more of a second striker/ attacking mid. Frank Lampard is the choice here 13 goals from midfield that year is a standard return from Frank Lampard who would go on to finish only behind Ronaldinho in that years Balon D’or voting. Point goes to 04/05 Chelsea
Left Wing: The Candidates
Ryan Giggs (1999)
Ryan Giggs (07/08)
For as much as everyone says “Ryan Giggs is the best Premier League player of all time” he never had a phenomenal season. I go over Ryan Giggs in the same blog post I mentioned when speaking about Scholes earlier. Giggs scored a measly three league goals in both 98/99 and 07/08. Joe Cole was at the height of his talent in 04/05 showing glimpses of world class talent at times and he still is Englands most skilful player in my lifetime. Adam Johnson is such a huge waste of talent. Their will always be a dark cloud over his career however he was an incredibly talented player at one point. Rewatch his goal vs Sunderland for Manchester City and you will see what he was capable of producing. This position absolutely goes to Robert Pires though. Scoring 14 league goals from the wing and playing the best football of his career Pires was outstanding in an Arsenal side full of outstanding players. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal
Strikers: (Choose 2) The Candidates
Carlos Tevez (Man United)
Thierry Henry is a shoe in. Henry’s season is one of the best by any Premier League player as I mentioned earlier. Hitting 30 goals as well as six assists Henry walked to the player of the year award that year. The greatest Premier League player of all time for me Henry you can’t not have him as your first choice striker here.
Sergio Aguero is the only one of these players other than Henry to hit 20+ league goals in their respective seasons and he is my choice as the second striker. I can’t think of a better debut season from any striker in the league. From his Brace off the bench against Swansea in his first ever game to his iconic last kick of the season against QPR Sergio Aguero won the league for Manchester City that season as well as scoring a huge amount which is why he gets in the team. Point each for 03/04 Arsenal and 11/12 Man City
Captain: The Candidates
Ryan Giggs (Neville was injured for the season)
For all the reasons I think that Roy Keane is over rated there is no question that he is an amazing leader on the pitch. I beg anyone to rewatch his Champions League semi-final second leg performance . That is what you need from a captain even though he got booked early and knew he would miss the final if they got there he rallied the troops and ran the midfield against Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids. Two of the best midfielders of that generation. Roy Keane is the best captain in Premier League history. Point goes to Manchester United 98/99
Manager: The Candidates
Sir Alex Ferguson
Every single one of these managers has a claim at having the best managerial season. Mourinho broke so many records with that Chelsea side and only lost one game in the league. Manchester United won the treble in 1999 and the double in 2008. Arsene Wenger led his team to an unbeaten season in the league. A lot of people will disagree with me here but I am going to choose Roberto Mancini. Without a doubt the rest of the managers are better and Fergie is the best manager of all time.
However comparing single-season feats from a managerial standpoint Mancini takes this. The difference is for the rest of the teams the league title was never in doubt towards the end of the season. Not a lot of managers would be able to claw back an 8 point deficit against their biggest rivals with only 6 games to go. With a club chasing their first league title for 44 years Mancini managed to win the league in the most dramatic of ways playing some of the best football the league has ever seen along the way. Beating Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford and Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane. Swallowing his pride and putting Carlos Tevez back into the team after vowing to never play him again. In a single season Roberto Mancini had the best managerial season out of any of these great managers. Point goes to 11/12 Manchester City
If you disagree with any or all of my selections feel free to comment or tweet me @charliejones141 I would love to see some discussion about who you think deserves a place more than others.
If you would have read through my Blog so far you wouldn’t have thought that Football is my favourite sport, but it is. I am probably the most unconventional fan in the world a Fulham Fan from Manchester I know it’s ridiculous isn’t it? Anyway here are my highlighted games for this weekends action, my previews and predictions.
Arsenal Vs Middlesborough
This patch of form is the best I have seen Arsenal play in 4 years since Feb- March 2012. They seem to have finally gotten past all the things that football fans call “Typical Arsenal” and have managed to pick up results where they previously may not have done. As much as I hate this cliche they are showing a lot more character and backbone picking up points against big and small sides for example a couple of years ago I would have put my house on Arsenal blowing a 3-2 lead with 10 men against Swansea with 20 minutes to go.
Boro on the other hand are having a hard time having lost 3 home games on the bounce for the first time since 2009 and have almost equalled the number of goals they conceded at home all of last season in only 8 games. New arrivals haven’t been anywhere near up to standard most notably Alvaro Negredo scoring only 1 goal since he came to the Riverside over the summer.
My prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Middlesbrough
Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur
Could be a tricky one for Spurs in my opinion especially if Danny Rose isn’t fit in time as Toby Aldeweireld will not be available for selection as well. After a frustrating game against West Brom last week and Bournemouth riding a high after Hammering Hull 6-1 there could be an upset waiting to happen.
My Prediction Spurs 1-1 Bournemouth
Burnley vs Everton
Similarly to Arsenal, Everton seem to have shaken off their inability to grind out results as they have been very impressive so far this season picking up a point at the Etihad last weekend with ex-Fulham man Maarten Stekelenburg taking all the plaudits in that one however with no wins in their last 3 has this good start started to fade? I don’t think so and I think Everton will walk away from Turf Moor with all 3 points. However don’t write off Burnley. Ask Evertons Merseyside neighbours and they will tell you Turf Moor is a tough ground to go to as Liverpool were beaten 2-0 earlier this season. Burnley unfortunately are not good enough to get results like that consistently therefore I predict they will lose this one
My prediction Burnley 0-2 Everton
Hull Vs Stoke.
Is there 2 teams in the league that have had seasons that have started more differently? Stoke started poorly and Mark Hughes looked set to lose his job however a recent resurrection led by the so called “Welsh Jesus” Joe Allen has led to them being unbeated in 3 including an impressive point at Old Trafford. Hull on the other hand started out as everyones prediction to finish bottom of the league however they started brilliantly beating the Champions on the opening day and following that up with a win against Swansea and a good performance in a loss against Manchester United. However that has all changed at Hull having shipped in 17 goals in their last 4 Premier League games more goals could be on the menu this weekend.
My prediction Hull 1-3 Stoke
Leicester vs Crystal Palace
Astonishingly after their midweek in against Copenhagen Leicester now have more points in the Champions League than they do in the Premier League. Leicester come into this game with no wins in their last 3 games and the champions are looking back to their old selves after being thumped by United and Chelsea.
Palace are doing much better than I expected at the start of the season sitting in 9th place however they have had quite an easy run so far so I still expect them to falter later on in the season. This game will hopefully see Leicester come good and return to the results they were picking up last season as every football fan in the country wants to see them do well.
My prediction Leicester 2-0 Crystal Palace
Swansea vs Watford
The Swans come into their second game under Bob Bradley looking to pick up their first win since the opening day. I think Swansea could do a job on Watford today as they looked impressive in Bradleys first game even though they lost to Arsenal. To be honest Swansea have one of the weakest squads in the league and Bob Bradley will have a huge job on his hands if he wants to get them to mid table however I’m predicting them to win today against Watford as a new manager often bring a change in form.
Watford got there first clean sheet in 13 games last week against Middlesbrough and that stat could be very telling as the season progresses. With goals coming in different places than you would expect so far for Watford this season with Ettiene Capoue surprisingly leading the charts with 4 goals, you have to question how long can this continue? Ighalo and Deeney scored 28 goals between them last season but have only gotten 4 as a partnership this season with one of those being a penalty. Capoue and Holebas surely will stop scoring soon and if Deeney, Ighalo and new boy Isaac Success don’t find their shooting boots Watford could be in trouble with a very shaky defence that was highlighted in their 2-0 loss to Burnley earlier this season.
West Ham vs Sunderland
Two teams that have been terrible this season with lack of a better word. West Ham were tipped by many as top 4 contenders after Dimitri Payet was one of the best players in the league last year and carried his form on into the Euros. However life at the London Stadium hasn’t started well at all for the Hammers finding themselves in 15th after 8 games with an abysmal -8 goal difference and embarrassingly being knocked out of the Europa League by FC Astra for the second year in a row. Injuries to Ayew and Carroll early on in the season hasn’t helped but that is no excuse for conceding 4 goals to both Watford and West Brom. The return of Aaron Cresswell may improve their defence but Angelo Ogbonna looks like more of a liability every time I watch him.
The good news for West Ham fans is that they are coming up against Sunderland. Their start is one of the worst in football history not just Premier League history picking up 2 points from 8 games. Relying on players who are past it or players who never even had it Sunderland’s squad is weak to say the least with minimal movement in the transfer market in the summer The Black Cats look destined for relegation. But how many times have we all said that in the past 5 years? Sunderland always seem to dig themselves out of these holes but for me this year may be the year they finally go down.
My Prediction West Ham 3-2 Sunderland
Liverpool Vs West Brom
1 year after Jurgen Klopp took charge at Liverpool and their fans are the most optimistic I have seen them in a long time. People questioned the signing of Sadio Mane for £34 million however he has been one of the players of the season so far. Players proving doubters wrong is going on throughout the Liverpool squad, with Henderson, Milner and Mane all being very impressive so far it has everyone asking how far can they go this season? Personally I reckon they will be battling with Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea for the 3rd and 4th place spots. But you never know If Sturridge can hit top form the sky is the limit for this side and with no European obligations Klopp could lead them to some silverware this season.
West Brom are never going to make waves in the League especially under Tony Pulis they will happily be a team that finishes 10-15th every year with the occasional 1-0 win against a big club to keep the fans happy. To be fair to West Brom they do have some good players such as Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips as well as having quite a strong defence for a lower mid table side. As every Premier League fan knows whenever you come up against a Tony Pulis team it always has the potential to be “One of those days.” Averaging 40% posession so far this season is very telling they don’t need a lot of the ball to cause you problems. As shown by them drawing 1-1 with Spurs last week, if they get a 1-0 lead you are going to struggle to win the game from that point.
My Prediction Liverpool 2-0 West Brom