Everyone loves a ruiner, someone who just sits in the centre circle and snaps away. So maybe more delicate attacking players may not be so keen, but as football fans they are something that we recognise as vital.
I think it is the passion they show at times, they have a tendency to play like we would like to play, with heart, fight and determination.
We have seen some awesome players fulfill this job in the Premier League, Keane was instrumental to Manchester United, Javier Mascherano whilst may not have won much at Liverpool, he was superb at the job he did. Let us also not forget the incredible work that Makelele did at Chelsea, and the importance of Gilberto Silva to the Gunners. All great teams have a great sitter, and they don’t often get the respect they deserve. So here, in no particular order are my top 5 current Premier League ruiners:
Darren Fletcher – Fletcher is a much discussed footballer in these parts. Many people say he is just another Nicky Butt, and that if you take him out of a good side that he would appear deeply average, well maybe that is the case but the job he does currently for United is vital and I believe he is good at it.
Sir Alex doesn’t need him to be playing defense splitting passes, as long as he gets around and demonstrates the passion he has for the club and continues to be the ball winner United need, the technical side of his game is unimportant.
Cheick Tiote – Tiote has taken no time to adapt to the Premiership. Arriving from Twente over the Summer for a now ridiculous sounding £3.5million, the Ivorian has become not only a vital part of the Newcastle side but also a firm favourite of their fans.
After only half a season, Tiote has signed a new long term deal with the Magpies and it looks like he will go on to become the rock at the heart of their midfield. His engine is superb and he gets around the field well, he is a fine tackler and understands the game, for me, a superb defensive midfielder.
Alex Song – Song has played in a few different positions for Arsenal, but the bleach blond Cameroonian has made the defensive midfield slot at Arsenal his own. Signed from French side Bastia, Song has played at right back, centre back and now finds himself monitoring the centre of the field and protecting his back four.
In true Arsenal tradition he can also play and has a definite eye for goal. The Gunners have struggled to replace the imperious Gilberto Silva, but if Song can iron a few flaws from his game I think he could be awesome for them.
Nigel De Jong – I think De Jong for a time was every football fans pantomime villain but he is a hero to City fans. When he first signed from Hamburg for £18million there were some supporters who didn’t understand his game, he was criticised by many for only ever passing backwards and sideways.
That trait however has become his brilliance, his never say die attitude, his desire to win and his fantastic ability to snuff out attacking moves has made Nigel a fan favourite at Eastlands and one of Roberto Mancini’s first names on the team sheet.
Michael Essien – Essien is the complete package in many ways, and calling him a holding midfielder may not be entirely fair since he has so much more to his game than just sitting, but it is that role that he has made his own. Signed by Chelsea for £24million from Lyon has gone on to fill the boots of Claude Makelele and is the powerhouse in the Chelsea midfield.
He can pass, he can tackle, he can shoot, and he can run, Essien for me really is the complete package when it comes to an anchorman and even though this list is in no particular order, if it were, Essien would sit at the very top!
So there we have it, in my mind they are the best ruiners currently plying their trade in the Premiership. Honourable mentions should go to Lee Cattermole, Joey Barton and Marouane Fellaini who come close, but none of them are as good as these 5 in my opinion.
If you agree, disagree or have other suggestions, lets hear them. For more like this @soccercityjoe is the place!
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