Football

Premier League: Team of the Decade

Vidic & Ferdinand have been constant performers at United (©GettyImages)
Vidic & Ferdinand have been constant performers at United (©GettyImages).

In the 21 years of the Premier League, there have been many great players. These players are replaced in time - for every Cantona there is an Henry, and for every Ginola there is a Ronaldo.

English football has been graced by some true greats of the modern game, none more so than in the past decade. In that time, there have been some truly breathtaking moments - from Arsenal's 2003/04 'Invincibles', to Sergio Aguero's last-minute winner.

In the last 10 seasons, there have been four title-winning clubs. Arsenal and Manchester City both won it once, Chelsea won it three times, with Manchester United winning the Premier League five times. 

Great players create great moments, so what makes a great player? Is it goals? In the past decade, winners of the Premier League's Golden Boot (awarded to the top scorer) includes Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie. 

Is it clean sheets? Winners of the Premier League's Golden Glove in the last 10 years include Pepe Reina, Petr Cech and Joe Hart.

So without further ado, I present to you the best side I can create from the Premier League's best players from 2003 to 2013. Disagree with a choice? Have your say in the comment box below. 

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech | Chelsea & Czech Republic

Since joining Chelsea in the summer of 2003, Cech has become one of the great Premier League goalkeepers. Perhaps one of the most consistent players in the world, Cech joined the Blues for £7 million from Rennes. Since then, Cech set a record, going 1025 minutes without conceding, as well as setting a record for the most clean sheets in a single season (21). 

Cech has also been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season once, as well as winning two Golden Glove awards. In 292 league appearances for Chelsea, the Czech international has kept 142 clean sheets. He has won the Premier League three times.

Right-back: Gary Neville | Manchester United & England

Currently renowned for his role as a Sky Sports pundit, Neville was part of the famous Manchester United youth team of 1992 - a side that included Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, to name a few. In the last decade, Neville played for United 137 times in the league, scoring two goals.

Neville was also named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season twice (2005 and 2007). He won the Premier League twice following 2003.

Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand | Manchester United & England

Englishman Ferdinand, who joined United for a fee just under £30 million, has made 268 league appearances for the Red Devils since 2003, where he has scored seven goals.

In the last decade, Ferdinand has been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season five times.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic | Manchester United & Serbia

Since joining Manchester United in January 2006 for £7 million from Spartak Moscow, Vidic has dominated English football. When fit, the Serbian is considered as one of the best centre-backs in the world, and it's easy to see why. 

Measuring 6ft 2", Vidic has made 186 league appearances for United, scoring 15 times. 

He has also been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season four times, as well as being named Player of the Season twice - in 2008/09 and 2010/11. 

Left-back: Ashley Cole | Arsenal, Chelsea & England

Cole won the Premier League title with Arsenal back in 2004, before leaving the club to join Chelsea in the summer of 2006 for £5 million and William Gallas. He has since added to his Premier League title, winning one in 2011. Cole, in 212 appearances, has scored seven times for Chelsea, adding to his two goals scored in 78 league appearances for Arsenal after 2003. Cole has also been named in the PFA Team of the Season on three occasions.

Right-midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo | Manchester United & Portugal

Ronaldo joined United for a fee of £12 million from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2003. The Portuguese star went on to represent United in 196 league games, scoring 84 goals. 

Ronaldo won the PFA Player of the Year twice, as well as the Golden Boot, and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season four times. He was also named World Player of the Year in 2008, before leaving United for Real Madrid. The fee was a world record £80 million.

Centre-midfield: Steven Gerrard | Liverpool & England

The only member of the team never to win the Premier League, Steven Gerrard is perhaps the most unlucky player in recent times. 

To be at the age of 33 and to never have won the title is normally seen as a failure, though Gerrard is different.

His box-to-box runs have often controlled games, and, as captain of the Anfield side, he leads the way in many matches, scoring great goals against both halves of Manchester last season.

Gerrard won the PFA Player of the Season award in 2006, and has been in the PFA Team of the Season six times. Since 2003, Gerrard has played in 304 Liverpool league matches, scoring 81 goals.

Centre-midfield: Frank Lampard | Chelsea & England

Lampard is considered by Chelsea fans as a living legend, as the English midfielder recently broke the Chelsea goalscoring record. However, Lampard has played in 328 league matches, scoring 130 goals.

Since 2003, Lampard has been named in three PFA Teams of the Season, and was named FWA Player of the Year in 2005.

Left-midfield: Gareth Bale/Ryan Giggs | Tottenham/Manchester United & Wales

Both of the two are Welsh, and both are very, very good footballers. Bale has won PFA Player of the Season twice and has been voted into the PFA Team of the Season three times, whereas Giggs won PFA Player of the Season in 2009, and has been voted into the team of the season twice since 2003.

Also, Bale has scored 42 league goals in 146 appearances, whereas Giggs has scored 43 goals in 278 appearances. Who should be in the team? I certainly can't choose. Have your say in the comment box below.

Striker: Didier Drogba | Chelsea & Ivory Coast

Drogba joined the Blues in July 2004 from Marseille for a fee of £24 million - a large sum paid by Jose Mourinho.

Drogba has certainly won over critics, as Chelsea fans consider him a legend. In 226 league appearances, Drogba netted 100 goals. The Ivorian was named in two PFA Team of the Seasons, as well as winning two Golden Boot awards.

Striker: Thierry Henry | Arsenal & France

Arsenal's record goalscorer Henry, who now plies his trade in the USA, was once the most feared footballer on the planet. 

The centrepiece of Arsenal's unbeaten season of 2003/04, Henry is widely considered as one of the best players to ever play in England. After 2003, the French international won three Golden Boot awards, as well as a PFA Player of the Year award in 2004, and two FWA Player of the Season awards. Henry was also named in three PFA Teams of the Season in the past decade.

Honourable Mentions:

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City & Belgium), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal & Spain), Robin van Persie (Arsenal, Manchester United & Holland), Patrick Viera (Arsenal, Manchester City & France), Patrice Evra (Manchester United & France) Edwin van der Sar (Fulham, Manchester United & Holland), Wayne Rooney (Everton, Manchester United & England) Paul Scholes (Manchester United & England), Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana).

 

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Premier League
Manchester United
Liverpool
Nemanja Vidic
Rio Ferdinand
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Chelsea
Arsenal

Article Comments

Trending

Read more