For my first ‘Perfect XI’, I’m doing the best ever Premier League team of players to have played in the division since its inception in 1992. I know football existed before, as we should remember, however to maintain credibility and knowledge, I’m sticking to this.
As a first topic for choice, this was incredibly difficult from front to back, which is why I’ll mention the notable absentees at the end. But I created this blog to cause debate and offer my opinion to be challenged, so starting as the greatest goal-keeper of the Premier League era…
The man who adorns the protective helmet, has been the best protection between the sticks for over a decade at Chelsea and Arsenal. Bought by Jose Mourinho, Cech came in and instantly established himself as one of the best stoppers in England. In his first season, he made a Premier League record of 1024 minutes without conceding a goal.
Four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups a Europa League and a heroic part in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012. Now at Arsenal, he’s not at the levels of his Stamford Bridge days, but he is still a great keeper and will go down as one of the best we’ve seen on these shores.
One of the most consistent players ever in the Premier League, Neville ruled the English game with a Manchester United side that saw off more teams than they were beaten by. Passion, commitment and a determination to win that was contagious throughout the side, he was the modal professional. This adds to his understated quality and makes him the ‘Perfect XI’ right-back.
Mr Chelsea. Terry has been a colossus at Stamford Bridge, under numerous managers and alongside varying partners. A leader in the stature and mould of a Tony Adams or Terry Butcher, Terry was the sort of player to put his body on the line for the team if it meant a win at the end.
His knack for coming up with important goals makes him the highest scoring defender in Premier League history, 40 goals. With four league titles, four FA Cups and his infamous tracksuit run on in their Champions League win, Terry is one of the best England have ever had.
A man who represented the change to ball-playing centre half, Ferdinand was a truly world-class player. Solid in a tackle and quicker than your average defender, when he transferred to United, he grew from potential into a diamond.
Six Premier Leagues, three League Cups and a Champions League to his accolades, he’s done it all and led by presence as well as example.
Never truly getting enough praise for his talent, partly after a move across London in 2006. But Cole is the greatest left back in Premier League history. These days there aren’t many full-backs who can defend as well as they can attack, yet Cole proved that year in-year out.
An Invincible at Arsenal, league winner with both and European champion at Chelsea, there hasn’t been a left back near the level of him since.
I know I’m doing what Sven Goran-Erikson was heavily criticised for years for doing but I see his problem, Gerrard needs to fit in. A piece of the furniture in the legend of the Premier League, Stevie G is Mr Liverpool.
Tarnished by not winning a league title, that doesn’t deminish his quality in any way. A man for the big occasion, single handedly dragging his club to memorable Champions League and FA Cup wins, his power, vision and leadership makes a must in any team.
Chelsea’s all time-record goal scorer and highest goal-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, a once in a generation player. When he stepped up and scored a brace at the Reebok in 2005 to win Chelsea’s first league in over 50 years, he left his mark on the history of Chelsea. What he went on to accomplish following that, is phenomenal. Four leagues, a Champions League and breaking Chelsea’s goal-scoring record, for a midfielder, a world class pro on and off the field.
Captain of The Invincibles, the Frenchman represents the type of midfielder that has become so key to any successful team in football. The ability to win the ball back quickly and break up-play is vital to the modern style of possession dominant or counter attacking.
Vieira was a giant, intimidating on and off the pitch and a world class talent in North London. Arsenal have never truly replaced him and that shows just show how good he was, signing off with an FA Cup winning penalty is fitting for a Premier League great.
The dashing young talent who has developed into one of the best ever to play the game, he was a Premier League player for a while. He plied his trade at Old Trafford and scored the most goals in a 38 game season in United history, 31.
The skill, determination, drive and most of all ability to score from absolutely everywhere. A League, Cup and European winner with the Reds, he may be the greatest player in Premier League history.
The greatest Frenchman to cross the channel, the leading man of The Invincibles, Henry was special. He became the first player to score over 20 goals in five consecutive seasons in 2006 and with four, has won the most Golden Boots.
From his touch and volley against Manchester United, his solo run against Spurs or his back heel against Charlton, he constantly produced moments of magic during his career in England and is rightly revered as one of the all-time greats.
One of the best all-round forwards to grace the game, he had it all in abundance. Pace, power, skill, leadership, confidence and a charm which made you admire him yet loath him as the opposition at the same time.
He’s the highest scoring foreigner in Chelsea’s history and the impact he had at Stamford Bridge was insane. A spearhead to their back-to-back titles under Mourinho and the focal point to Ancelotti’s winning side in 2010. He’s the only man to score in four different FA Cup finals and his inspiring role in their Munich Miracle cannot be forgotten. His style and clinical nature make him a member to the ‘Perfect XI’.
Now there are a few controversial absentees. Premier League record goal scorer Alan Shearer the main one, also Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and David Seaman. All incredible players in their own right, but for one reason or another don’t make it into this side, but make for a solid bench!
This would take some beating, do you agree/disagree and can you make a ‘Perfect XI’ better than this one?