After GMF recently brought you the Premier League’s Fastest XI, lauding the speed demons in English football, we felt it only right the other side of the coin was given a glance.
There are fewer things more electrifying than a player skinning an opponent with the sheer power of his pins and it is undoubtedly one of the main attributes teams look for in new players.
Professional football is populated with finely tuned athletes and physical specimens so we must always reserve special praise for the slow coaches that have managed to make it to the big time.
GMF decided a Premier League Slowest XI was something that needed to be done.
Not to ridicule their lack of lightning quick pace, but to praise them for being able to substitute an attribute that many assume is essential for the modern game with nous.
So here we have it, GMF’s Premier League Slowest XI…
GK – Brad Friedel, Tottenham Hotspur
The big American has seen his number one spot taken by Hugo Lloris this season and it could be down to Andre Villas-Boas’ system of using a sweeper goalkeeper. Despite being as slow as a carthorse, Friedel is one of the longest serving Premier League players and there is nothing wrong with the speed of his reactions.
LB – Iain Harte, Reading
Not only did Iain Harte make it to the upper echelons of Premier League and Champions League football without a lick of pace, he dropped down a level and worked his way back up again. Harte’s success has been borne out of a wicked left foot, which has caused many a defence to rue giving away free-kicks near their own box.
RB – Jamie Carragher, Liverpool
Ok, he hasn’t played at right back for some time but perhaps his old legs have made him even too slow to fill in in an emergency. Carragher will retire at the end of the season a Kop legend and having done that despite being not too sharp over the ground makes it an even greater achievement. Anticipation, determination and timing have made him one of the Premier League’s best ever defenders.
CB – John Terry, Chelsea
It is common knowledge that Terry does not have much pace and he has been exposed on more than one occasion when isolated against a speedy forward. It hasn’t happened that often though, which is testament to the Chelsea skipper’s exceptional positioning and anticipation.
CB – Per Mertesacker, Arsenal
The big German has become the key member of the Gunners back line, bringing calmness and organisation to a defence that has struggled for much of the season. The combination of his anticipation and Laurent Koscielny’s pace have led to Arsene Wenger’s side conceding just three goals in their last seven games.
CM – Michael Carrick, Manchester United
Nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award and slowly becoming appreciated as one of the best playmakers in the Premier League, people seem to be waking up to the quality of Carrick. He has made this progress without being very quick; he is in the right place at the right time and his passing is almost immaculate.
CM – Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
Much like Michael Carrick, the Spaniard’s ability to keep possession is crucial to his team in the more withdrawn central role. However, his defensive duties are carried out using his intelligence of movement, as his physicality and speed are not the greatest, though he is one of the best passers in the league and invaluable to his team.
RM – Jamie Mackie, QPR
Harry Redknapp’s team are in deep trouble and look unlikely to be getting out of it but Scotland international Mackie is a reliable option for his manager. Not blessed with much pace at all, Mackie still has a knack for going on mazy runs, using his strength and an ability to change direction quickly.
LM – David Silva, Manchester City
The Spaniard is all class and quite easily one of the five most talented players in the Premier League – and he does it all without blistering pace. Silva’s feinting, shimmies, cute passing and timing are a joy to watch and is the perfect example for players not blessed with great pace that intelligent movement can make up for it.
CF – Rickie Lambert, Southampton
If the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League – with 14 goals – were any slower, he’d be going backwards. It hasn’t stopped him from being a great success in his first season in the league though; Lambert’s movement is intelligent, he is immensely strong, good in the air and a great finisher.
CF – Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
The big Frenchman has had a mixed first season at Arsenal but a tally of 17 goals in all competitions isn’t too bad. Giroud relies on good movement and neat interchange play to be effective, as well as a poacher’s instincts around the penalty box. While he is running in treacle, the former Montpellier forward won’t be streaking away from opposition defenders any time soon.
What do you think of GMF’s Lowest XI? Which players would you remove/include? Leave a comment below to let us know…