Rating the Premier League footballs of the last decade

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A new ball will be used across the Premier League this weekend. 

The Tunnel Vision Merlin, which Nike say provides "optimal touch and control in wet and dry conditions", will be welcomed by players running out in the midst of Storm Ellen. 

Its orange spots and funky patterns means it will be hard to miss, but how does it compare to some of the last decade's Nike balls? 

2010/11 - Total 90 Tracer 

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Called the Tracer as its pattern allowed players to see the ball more clearly, its arched panels saw it fly seamlessly through the air.

The Tracer came in two versions, white and blue, and yellow and purple. 

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1,063 goals were scored with it, the best undoubtedly being Wayne Rooney's overhead kick to win the Manchester derby late on. 

GMS Verdict: Good 

2011/12 - Seitiro 

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Described by Nike as "the world's best ball", the Seitiro went away from the Tracer design, instead favouring a messier block pattern. 

Luka Modric completed 2,215 passes that season, the most of any player.  

Some truly unbelievable goals were scored, such as Peter Crouch's volley against City and Papiss Cisse's curling strike at Stamford Bridge, but we've got to give the best goal to Sergio Aguero for his title-winning strike. 

GMS Verdict: Decent 

2012/13 - Maxim 

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With the pattern apparently representing broken glass, the Maxim is unlikely to be anyone's favourite ball. 

That being said, the yellow and purple is significantly better than the regular version. 

On his way to achieving successive golden boots, Robin van Persie struck an absolute wonder goal with the Maxim, latching onto Rooney's 60-yard pass to volley home against Aston Villa.

GMS Verdict: Poor 

2013/14 - Incyte 

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The colour scheme definitely improved from the Maxim, with the Incyte's white, purple and orange combination pleasant on the eye. 

Again though, it doesn't come anywhere the beauty of the old Geo Merlin or Total 90.

While Luis Suarez scored arguably three goal of the season contenders in one match against Norwich, the best goal with the Incyte has to be Pajtim Kasami's for Fulham who, in one swift move, chested the ball away from goal and smashed it into the top corner all while on the run. 

GMS Verdict: Forgettable

2014/15 - Ordem 2

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This ball is bizarre for two reasons. The first is that for some reason Nike decided to slap fluorescent yellow on every panel as if it had been coloured in by a Crayola-wielding toddler.

The second is that there doesn't appear to have been an Ordem 1 used in the Premier League. Either way it's comfortably the worst ball on the list. 

Charlie Adam takes home the award of best goal scored after his halfway line heroics against Chelsea, run close by Angel Di Maria's sumptuous scoop against Leicester for Manchester United

GMS Verdict: Awful 

2015/16 - Ordem 3

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Thankfully better than its predecessor, the Ordem 3 represented a shift in Premier League ball history and will always be linked to Leicester winning the trophy. 

The red merged with white meant the Ordem 3 was the brightest ball yet, with the second version also eye-catching. 

A few classic goals were scored with this ball, most notably Dele Alli's touch, flick over the head and volley for Tottenham against Crystal Palace. 

GMS Verdict: Good 

2016/17 - Ordem 4

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It seems that Nike's tactic was to create as many Ordems as possible so people would forget about the Ordem 2.

The dark outer lines contrasted with the bright pinks and blues makes this a nice ball but one that doesn't scream Premier League at you. 

Andy Carroll and Emre Can both scored bicycle kicks with the Ordem 4, but Olivier Giroud's astonishing scorpion kick for Arsenal edges them out. 

GMS Verdict: Decent 

2017/18 - Ordem V

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Yes, you guessed it. The Ordem V took a step back towards the more traditional white ball while keeping the dark outer lines. 

Mohamed Salah went goal crazy for Liverpool with this ball, netting 32 times in 38 Premier League outings. 

Sofiane Boufal scored the pick of the bunch of that season though, picking the ball up in his own half against West Brom and dancing his way to the edge of the box before applying a cool finish. 

GMS Verdict: Decent

2018/19 - Merlin

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At last, a different name. The Merlin was a nod back to Geo Merlin in the early 2000s and used just four panels in its creation. 

The blue and yellow pattern on top of the white base makes for a well balanced, good-looking football. 

The Merlin was best put to use by Andros Townsend, whose sublime volley crashed into the top corner at the Etihad against Man City

GMS Verdict: Good 

2019/20 - Merlin

 

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Very originally called the Merlin again, this year's edition lost the dark lines, with Nike choosing to go for triangular shapes as the pattern. 

The yellow and blue version is a thing of beauty and bumps up the overall verdict of the ball, with the new darker version that will be used across the Premier League this weekend also not bad. 

Alireza Jahanbakhsh has a good claim for scoring the best goal of the current campaign so far after netting a bicycle kick in Brighton's 1-1 with Chelsea on New Year's Day.

GMS Verdict: Good 

So there we have it, every Premier League ball from the last decade. Nike produced some beauties along with some more questionable efforts. A bit more originality with the names would be appreciated though. 

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