The English Premier League has housed some of the finest French players of recent years; think of the likes of Laurent Robert, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira for example.
Today no fewer than 32 Frenchmen play in the Premier League – no league away from France house as many Frenchmen. The question is: out of those 32 Frenchmen, how good would an XI be comprised solely of them?
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Tottenham Hotspur’s shot-stopper is viewed by many as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. For the first half of the season he played largely second-fiddle to the American-veteran Brad Friedel; but since he was awarded the starting berth in the Tottenham XI he has played 1980 minutes, facing 174 shots and only allowing 24 of those shots to turn into goals. Lloris and Manchester United’s David De Gea are in the leading in the fewest goals against this season with 24-a-piece. A great goalkeeper for this French-XI.
Right-back: Bacary Sagna
Arsenal’s right-back has appeared 27 times in all competitions. Managing to notch one goal and bag two assists. Bacary Sagna is a highly rated player amongst the football world – Paris Saint Germain being recently linked with the 30-year-old. Bacary Sagna just gets in the team ahead of Newcastle United’s Mattieu Debucy due to his wealth of experience.
Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny
Playing alongside his Arsenal team-mate is the 27-year-old Laurent Koscielny infamous for his back-pass during the 2011 Carling Cup final against Birmingham City. That aside – Koscienlny is a regular starter in a top-six outfit; managing around 40 appearances a season (in all competitions). This season he has only managed 28 appearances at club-level; scoring one and assisting one goal in that time.
Centre-back: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
The 23-year-old former Montpellier captain is one of the highest-rated youngsters in football; after a fantastic season with the French outfit Montpellier he signed for Newcastle United in the January transfer window of 2013 on a five and a half year contract. Since then he has impressed partnering Steven Taylor in the absence of club-captain Fabricio Coloccini. Out of 35 appearances this season WhoScored.com have gave the Frenchman an average match-rating of 7.13.
Left-back: Patrice Evra
Manchester United’s31-year-old has had a fantastic season as United clinched their 20th League title. Making 31 appearances this far and scoring four goals. The French internationals endurance is what gives him the role in this side ahead of Gael Clichy. For the last six years at the Red Devils he has averaged around 50 appearances in all competitions a term. Infamous for his role in the French strike in the South African World Cup of 2010, and his and Luis Suarez’ racist ordeal – Evra isn’t without a dark side. But he is still more than good enough to make this XI.
Right-wing: Hatem Ben Arfa.
Hatem Ben Arfa is up there with the best-dribblers in the game; he believes that if he had of concentrated in the earlier stages of his career he could of been rubbing shoulders with Lionel Messi. Real Madrid once scouted the Newcastle United playmaker and more recently Liverpool have been linked with the mercurial character. Throughout his career he has averaged a goal twice in every ten games – making him more of an attacking menace than Samir Nasri. The tightest of defences can be unlocked by Ben Arfa’s brilliance – which is why he deserves his place in the Premier League’s French XI.
Centre-midfield: Samir Nasri
The mercurial Samir Nasri is a silky dribbler and a scorer of good goals. The 25-year-old over two transfers has accumulated a total transfer worth of – £39,800,000, making one of the most valuable midfielders in the Premier League. Averaging a goal every ten games throughout his career – he has scored a total of 49 goals in 266 games throughout his career, the Manchester City man makes it into the team due to his creativity.
Centre-midfield: Yohan Cabaye
Newcastle United’s fan-favourite Yohan Cabaye is arguably the best French player in the Premier League. After a stellar European Championship with France the likes of FC Barcelona and Manchester United were circling around him. He signed for Newcastle United for the small sum of four million in 2011; the 27-year-old has impressed with his dead-ball abilities grabbing two goals from free-kicks this season alone. An influential captain in absence of Fabricio Coloccini, the former-Lille man could fit into any of the Premier League’s top sides.
Centre-midfield: Moussa Sissoko
The super quick centre-midfielder was courted by the likes of Tottenham Hotspur before Newcastle United signed him on a free-transfer in 2013. Since joining Newcastle, the-23-year-old has managed to garner 17 games, scoring three goals and assisting five. Alongside Chelsea’s Ramires, Sissoko is one of the fastest central-midfielders in the Premier League; which gives him his place in this XI.
Left-wing: Charles N’Zogbia
The last signing Sir Bobby Robson made in his managerial career. The mercurial talent of Charles N’Zogbia. Mind-blowingly quick on the ball and one of the standout performers in his time at Wigan. N’Zogbia was at one time linked with a big-money move to Turin; but this move never came to prominence. He eventually signed for Aston Villa in 2011 and has gone on to make 41 appearances and score five goals. His pace is what gives him the role in the side over Florent Malouda.
Striker: Oliver Giroud
The 6ft 3 French hit man started his first season poorly. He struggled to find the net or replicate the form his showed at Montpellier; but he has hit-the-ground-running in the latter stages this season. He has averaged a goal every three games in the Premier League. If he can replicate the form he showed at Montpellier last season – 24 goals in 42 appearances then next season Arsenal could be considered a Premier League challenging side once more.
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