My Premier League Team of the Decade
It’s the end of a decade, and it’s time to pick my team of the decade. I’ve tried to consider how good the player was at their peak, whilst also rewarding those who were brilliant for long parts of the decade. Some picks were almost automatic, while I agonised over others. Read on to find out who made the cut.
David de Gea
Choosing a goalkeeper was actually one of the hardest choices on this list. A great choice would be Petr Čech who kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper this decade with 107 shut outs. The golden glove competition recognises the keeper with the most clean sheets in a season, and Petr Čech won this trophy with both Arsenal and Chelsea. However I feel that many of Čech’s greatest accomplishments were in the previous decade, and so can’t be used to support his claim. Further, 107 clean sheets is an incredible achievement, but this is in part due to the strength of the team in front of the keeper.
David de Gea on the other hand, has single-handled saved his team on many occasions. Since Ferguson left in 2013, Man United have often been a terrible team with a fantastic keeper. He has been United’s player of the year four times and appeared in the PFA player of the season five times. His 103 clean sheets and 825 saves are the third and second best respectively over the decade. (No-one comes close to Ben Foster’s 996 saves!) He also is a joint-record holder for the most saves in a premier league game with 14.
Did you know? 108 countries were represented in the premier league this decade, with players coming from all over the world to play in England.
When picking a team like this, it’s important to consider both players that stand out for a phenomenal season, and players that consistently performed for a longer time. Baines has been a ever-dependable player for the entire decade. On multiple occasions he played every minute of every league game, something only goal keepers can usually claim. Perhaps most famous for his free kicks and penalties, Baines is the fourth highest scoring defender in Premier League history. Assists is where Baines really leads the way and he is the only player in the history of the Premier League to reach 50 assists. My team of the decade will never be short of crosses whipped in to the strikers with Baines at left back.
Vincent Kompany has had far too many injuries, but when fit he was the first name on the team sheet. Kompany is a natural leader on the pitch. Across the ten years, Manchester City have been the best team, and for most of it Kompany was their captain. He became club captain in 2011 and led City to the first of four league titles. He excels at all aspects of defending, being strong in the air, showing intelligent positioning and always ready with a perfectly timed tackle. Fully deserving of his three appearances on the premier league team of the season, Kompany was an easy inclusion in my team.
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool had a terrible defence for most of the decade. Going forward players like Salah, Suarez and Mané were prolific, but Liverpool could throw away games to stupid mistakes. Virgil van Dijk transforming the defence into mean and miserly operation that conceded only 22 goals in 2018/19 and kept 21 clean sheets. Virgil van Dijk’s £75 million transfer fee was a world record price for a defender. After his formidable performances for Liverpool, no-one questions that price tag now. In 2019 van Dijk came second in the Ballon d’Or and was the only premiership player and the only defender to get such recognition at the Ballon d’Or.
A key part of two league wins for Chelsea, Ivanović kept many wingers quiet and terrorised many other defenders. Twice chosen for the Premier League team of the year, he was a Chelsea fan favourite. Originally signed as a central defender, he found his calling as a right back. A strong and powerful defender with an eye for goal, was exciting to watch. Perhaps his best attribute is his tendency to score big goals in the biggest games but he was also a very versatile defender and could comfortably play as a central defender. He was also involved in perhaps the most memorable and unique moments of the decade when he was bitten by Luis Suárez.
Did you know? Premier league teams spent over ten billion pounds on new players over the decade.
Eden Hazard walked into this team. Chelsea were a inconsistent team this decade, capable of winning the league or being an apathetic mess. Much like de Gea, Hazard was often the stand out player on the team single-handedly winning games. With 85 goals, the Belgian football genius scored far more than any other midfielder this decade and his 595 chances created puts him second only to David Silva.
Hazard is probably the decade’s most exciting player. His goals and dribbles lit up the league. Hazard’s 909 successful dribbles is miles ahead of the competition. Zaha sits in second place with 724. It’s no wonder Hazard was included in four PFA teams of the year.
The story of the decade was Leicester’s incredible and seemingly impossible title success so I had to put a Leicester player in my team. Mahrez has been inconsistent at Manchester City, whilst Vardy hasn’t had enough great seasons to dislodge my preferred forward line. On the other hand N’golo Kanté has been one of the leagues most consistent players since arriving in 2015. He’s the first player since Eric Cantona to win back to back titles with different clubs.
Fully capable of playing as a box-to-box midfielder, Kanté is most famous for being an impenetrable shield in front of the defence, but his pin-point accurate passing makes him a threat going forward as well. Defensive midfielders are normally unsung heroes while more exciting attacking players get all the plaudits. Kanté breaks the mould in this regard, being widely praised for being a key player in two completely different title winning teams. He won PFA player of the year while at Chelsea and won Leicester City’s player of the season during their sensational year.
I’ve looked at some other teams of the decade, and one player always makes the cut. Nicknamed “El Mago” or “The “Magician”, Silva has brought plenty of magic to the premier league. Not only is he so exciting to watch, his stats are phenomenal. Be it his 89 assists, 768 chances created or 15,730 successful passes, he has the best stats. Take any metric for creative players and David Silva eclipses anyone else this decade. Now in his tenth and final season at Manchester City, the magician has been a key part of all four of City’s league triumphs.
Many people might consider this a maverick pick, but Milner is one of the most well-rounded players in the league. Able to play almost anywhere on the pitch, his versatility and work rate have seen Milner be a coach’s dream. One of only three players to reach 300 appearances this decade, perhaps the most surprising stat is that he’s eighth on the list for the number of assists with 52. That’s only one or two behind such fabulous creators like Ozil and Hazard. Possibly the most consistent performer across the decade, I had to find a spot to squeeze him in.
Did you know? Manchester City dominated the decade as a whole, with an phenomenal overall goal difference of 503 over the last ten years.
Accuse me of being biased if you want to, but I’m glad one Tottenham player made the team. Bale dominated one season, but to make the team of a decade requires a longer run of great seasons. Kane will work hard for the team on and off the pitch, but he’s in this team for one thing and one thing only, goals. Kane has 137 goals in total, winning the golden boot on two occasions and missing out in 17/18 despite scoring 30 goals. With four PFA team of the year appearances, Kane is no stranger to teams like this.
Last but not least, Sergio Agüero was the first name on my team sheet. Scoring an incredible 174 goals in the league since joining city, Agüero is Mister Consistent. A twenty goal season is the benchmark for a good striker, and Agüero is on course for a seventh twenty goal season. Strangely he has only won the golden boot once, but he is still one of the most clinical and efficient strikers the league has ever seen. He also scored the most iconic goal of the decade with his last minute goal on the final day against QPR to give Manchester City their first Premier League title.
Did you know? 382 own goals were scored in the last decade helped in no small part by Martin Skrtel who scored seven times in his own net.