I’m a very lucky man. In 1992, my next door neighbour got a satellite dish and my Dad couldn’t deal with the prospect of sky being on next door and not in his own domain. I think it took two weeks to break him. As a result, I think it may be fair to say I’ve watched nearly every televised Premier League game since in all began, oh and a couple of live matches and that too.
That given, here is what I perceive to be the best Premier League starting eleven since it’s incarnation in classic 4-4-2 style.
GK – Peter Schmeichel
I’m not a United fan and sometimes it kills me to admit how much I love this man. He’s just got everything hasn’t he? He was a bloody good shot stopper that never stopped nagging his back four and even better, he looked like a snow covered reindeer. He once did adverts for Reebok where he posed as a pig farmer; sadly it’s one of the few things you cannot find on Google images.
Honourable Mention – David Seaman
LB – Ashley Cole
He’s just the best in the world isn’t he really? As irritating as the money obsessed, Cheryl Cole cheating little boy tantrum man is; he’s really good. He’s evolved from being just a face paced wing back and he has so much more to offer now. He can tackle, read the game and even scores a few goals every now and again.
Honourable Mention – Stuart Pearce
RB – Lee Dixon
Part of the classic Arsenal back four and a fantastic defender. Had the ability to cross and create goals but rarely slipped up at the back. Rarely got himself into much trouble and lead by example. Also managed to score some outrageous own goals which helped him get into the team as he entices a sense of danger. Danger makes life more exciting.
Honourable Mention – Gary Neville
CB – Sol Campbell
It was a sad day when Sol kind of lost it. He was the classic centre back, decisive, intelligent and organised. Rarely had to make a last minute tackle for being in the right place to start with, furthermore, when he did, he rarely got it wrong. Also had a knack of scoring goals too, albeit if the ones for England were usually disallowed!
Honourable Mention – Jaap Stam
CB – Rio Ferdinand
I could pretty much write what I just wrote for Campbell. You rarely notice Ferdinand on the pitch because he’s so bloody good at what he does. Put it this way, you will notice Vidic as he is usually receiving a booking or throwing in some outrageous block. Ferdinand rarely needs to; he’s in the right place at the right time making simple standing tackles. He can also distribute play very effectively.
Honourable Mention – Marcel Desailly
LM – Ryan Giggs
Even at 36 he still impresses. As a kid he burst onto the scene and won plaudits worldwide. The tricky winger has created countless goals for United over the years as well as adding a few to his own tally and was pivotal in United’s early Premier League winning seasons. As he has got older he has been able to adjust his play, allowing him to utilise all his ability despite his age. A brilliant talent that sadly never played for England!
Honourable Mention – Robert Pires
RM – David Beckham
Well it has to be? He could change a game when he wanted to, whether it be from a moment of brilliance or a free kick from 35 yards. He’s a leader by example and I genuinely think he’s an all around nice bloke. It’s a shame that his LA mission kind of put a dampener on his career, especially after the title winning season with Madrid in Spain, I for one would love to have seen him back in the Prem.
Honourable Mention – Steve McManaman
CM – Steven Gerrard
How many players can you think of that have carried a team for nearly 9 seasons? When Liverpool are down, Gerrard is the only man you can think of that can save them. On countless occasions we have seen the talismanic Stevie G smash in a goal from 30 yards or create a moment of magic. Any honour Liverpool have won in the past 8 seasons can practically be down to this man.
Honourable Mention – Patrick Vieira
CM – Paul Scholes
The classic box to box midfielder. He can do everything, he has vision, skill and an amazing shot. He rarely looks flustered in possession and his form, even up to now, cannot be questioned. If only he could tackle rather than flounder at an opponent he would be the perfect player. Can we please get him to play for England again?
Honourable Mention – Roy Keane
FW – Alan Shearer
Could hit any square of the net he wanted at 85mph. The SOS partnership at Blackburn won the Lancashire club the league in 1995 and he went on to score 283 goals in the league, an astounding total. He’s a classic English striker, unafraid to shoot and will break your face if you get in his way. Too bad his punditry isn’t as good.
Honourable Mention – Michael Owen
FW – Eric Cantona
This was a tough one. For all his finesse, ball control, skill and finishing ability, he was a bit nuts wasn’t he? I can only think of one player that has been suspended for drop kicking a fan, but hell that’s the beauty of “Cantona”. He’s a legend for so many reasons, but the greatest being that he was absolutely amazing. Goals he scored would look like works of art and you would feel that you were almost watching him entirely in slow motion. He may not be the holder of too many records and he may have gained a bit too much weight by the end of his career, but he just has to be in this line up.
Honourable Mention – Thierry Henry