Is this the best French XI in Premier League history?

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The Premier League is widely acknowledged as the finest league in the world - just ask a certain Thierry Henry who's new Sky advert is everywhere at the moment. 

Henry is a Premier League legend. A ruthless goalscorer and fearsome dribbler, the Frenchman lit up the league for the best part of a decade as he, along with a few other French compatriots, led Arsenal through the most successful period in their history.

Here in England we have been blessed with quality French talent across the decades but who deserves a place in our all-time Premier League French XI?


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GK Fabian Barthez

An honourable mention to current French national captain Hugo Lloris, but the bald-headed, charismatic French keeper just shades it. Barthez was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to replace the departing Peter Schmeichel, and he won two league titles with Manchester United during his four year spell at the club.

United fans will probably remember him more as an erratic cult hero than a truly reliable goalkeeper, nevertheless, Barthez was instrumental in both of the Red Devils' title wins. For honours won, the ex-Man United star keeps out Lloris who himself could be moving to Manchester to replace the seemingly Madrid-bound David de Gea.

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RB Bacary Sagna

Solid French defender Bacary Sagna has been a permanent fixture in the Premier League for nearly a decade since he signed for Arsenal from Auxerre in 2007. While the Arsenal defence changed a lot around him in his seven seasons at the club, the former Gunners number three was the most dependable and steady defender at the club.

Known for his pace and towering leap, Sagna was rewarded with a final pay-day when he moved to Manchester City in the summer of 2014. While he faces a fight to keep Pablo Zabaleta out of the side, Manuel Pellegrini will know that the French star is just about as reliable as any right back in the world. 

LB Patrice Evra

Hated by opposition fans, Evra was loved in equal measure by the Man United supporters. Committed, organised and consistent, Evra was an important fixture in the Red Devils side for eight seasons.

Perhaps best known for being on the receiving end of a racism scandal with Luis Suarez, he merits a place in this side for having won a host of trophies during his time at Man United, including five Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy too in the 2007-2008.

CB Marcel Desailly

Another French player of African descent, Desailly shades current Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny for a spot in this side. Desailly was a rock at the heart of the Chelsea back four for six seasons as he struck up a solid partnership with fellow French defender Frank Leboeuf. The robust Frenchman is remembered as one of the game's all-time great centre backs. 

CB Sylvain Distin

Perhaps a surprise inclusion to this team, Distin makes the side purely on consistency at the top level of the English game as he enters his 14th season in the Premier League with newly promoted club AFC Bournemouth.

Having played for Newcastle, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Everton before joining the league's newcomers, Distin has amassed over 450 games in the Premier League. Much underrated, he has displayed great strength, pace and consistency and Bournemouth will hope that his knowhow will help them in their bid for top-flight survival.

CM Patrick Vieira

The former Arsenal giant will go down as one of the Premier League's finest ever players. Leadership, size and bags of ability, Vieira was the complete midfielder and captain for Arsenal and led them through their most successful period in the club's history.

The Gunners are still looking for a midfield general in the Vieira mould but as Arsene Wenger has discovered, players like him don't come around very often. 

CM David Ginola

Forget his unbelievable talent, Ginola is one of the most classy men the Premier League has seen over the years. Playing for Newcastle, Spurs, Aston Villa and briefly at Everton, English football was able to wonder at Ginola's talents for eight seasons as he added some typical French flair to the league.

Alongside the strength and power of Vieira, Ginola would offer some craft and artistry to the centre of midfield. It's a bit of a crime he didn't play more times for the French national team, however, as he won only 17 caps.

LM Robert Pires

Like Ginola, Pires is another classy Frenchman, and like Vieira he was a key cog in the Arsenal Invincibles machine. A regular goalscorer and Thierry Henry's chief assist-maker, Pires is an Arsenal and Premier League legend and is one of the best goalscoring midfielders the game has ever seen.

RM Nicolas Anelka

Okay, so Anelka isn't a conventional right-sided midfielder, but for the sake of this team he's going to play there. The French forward has played for a staggering seven different Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool, pre-money Man City and Chelsea. Nicknamed 'Le Sulk' throughout his career for his petulant attitude, Anelka was blessed with pace and goalscoring ability. His reputation in the Premier League has been tarnished somewhat by the manner of his exit from English football as he was sacked by West Brom after making a racist gesture. 

ST Thierry Henry

Perhaps the best foreign import in Premier League history. Henry is Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer and is cast in bronze outside the Emirates stadium. Lightning quick, strong and a ruthless finisher, Henry had it all and English football is very lucky to have seen him at his pomp.

He has been coaching the u18 team at his old club so keep your eyes for a certain Frenchman in the Arsenal dugout at some point soon. 

ST Eric Cantona

Cantona enjoyed five successful seasons at Old Trafford and is remembered as one of the Premier League's finest centre forwards. Perhaps better remembered for the crazy kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan than his goalscoring, the enigmatic Frenchman merits appreciation for entertaining the Premier League with his incredible talents. Since finishing his football career, Cantona has become an accomplished actor and is a familiar face on French television screens. 

Are there any French players you would put in the squad instead of the starting XI above? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below! 

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Patrice Evra
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