With the Premier League about to open their Hall of Fame lots of fans are putting together their greatest EPL teams. Yesterday I put together my Team Of The Decade for the 90’s now it’s time for the 2000’s.
Remember you can’t pick a player if you picked him for the previous or upcoming decade
Petr Cech GK (Chelsea)
Defensively Chelsea were like a machine in Jose Mourinho’s first two seasons in English Football, conceding only 15 and 22 goals respectively. It got to a point where a Blues goal mentally broke the opposition as they knew how hard it was to score against them. Cech was comforted by the back 4 he had in front of him, but it works both ways.
Ashley Cole LB (Arsenal and Chelsea)
One of our Invincibles who’s understanding with Pires and Henry was a huge part of our success. More exciting to watch at Highbury, then became better defensively at the Bridge. Still the man to have had the most success against Ronaldo.
Terry CB (Chelsea)
Strictly based on football everyone would want a Terry at their club. The ability to organise defence should not be taken lightly, it’s an art form. In big games Chelsea would park the bus which involved last ditch tackles/blocks. It took one lapse in concentration for things to go wrong but most of the time it didn’t for Terry.
Rio Ferdinand CB (Man United)
Ahead of his time. Not just a good defender but had the ability on the ball to play out of possession. The type of centre back most managers are looking out for today. He had a great partnership with Vidic which could have easily been included here.
Paulo Ferreira RB (Chelsea )
Given that he had an unlimited cheque book it says a lot that Mourinho would trust the right back to come with him from Porto. Part of a back 4 which in two seasons conceded only 15, then 22 goals. Other Chelsea managers tried to sign more of an exciting full bac , one comfortable going forward yet they always went back to the Portuguese.
Makelele DM (Chelsea)
The world already knew how good Makelele was. Yet he made such an impact in this country the DM role became known as the ‘Makelele position’. Maybe considered not the most exciting job on the pitch , the Frenchmen showed there was a skill to it. It was his defensive abilities which gave the licence to the likes of Lampard to be such a threat the other way.
Gerrard CM (Liverpool)
The greatest player to never win the Premiership. Strange to think history books will show Henderson was the man to lift a first title in 30 years and not Gerrard. He inspired the Reds in major finals which separates the good from the great. Had the chance to twice move to Chelsea but said even though he would win fewer medals, they would mean more with the club he loved. Could do it all but was at his best as a number 10. His understanding with Torres was world class and would be where I would play him in my team.
Lampard CM (Chelsea)
The greatest scorer in Chelsea ‘s history often scoring 20 plus goals a season and that’s from a midfielder. Something 5 England managers failed to do was build their team around Lampard and Gerrard with a proper DM. Lampard is a classic example of what happens when you work hard. At West Ham the likes of Carrick and Joe Cole were predicted to be future English stars while Lampard was accused of being overweight and even only being selected because Harry Redknapp was his Uncle. The player himself has admitted he needed to be the first on the training ground and the last off to maximise his potential.
Giggs LM (Man United)
Effectively played two positions in this decade. Starting off as a flying winger, the older he got dropped back in midfield showing his footballing brain by adopting the Pirlo position. Credit to Sir Alex Ferguson who as his class of 92 got into their thirties he would start to hand pick which games they would play, but always the big fixtures, prolonging the likes of Gigg’s career. It was like the manager knew (he was right) that Giggs was one of a kind. Giggs won more than anyone else in Prem era.
Ronaldo RM (Man United)
Obviously, it was at Real Madrid where he was in his prime but by the age of 24 had won everything there was to win in English Football. It’s strange to think as a teenager his peers would criticise him for his show boating and play acting. Andy Grey would later call him the best at destroying the smaller teams. 42 goals in 49 games saw the likes of Rooney forced to play out wide so Ronaldo could have a free role. Scary thing is this wasn’t even him at his best.
Henry Striker (Arsenal)
The story goes that having won the World Cup as a winger Henry didn’t understand why Mr Wenger wanted him to learn a new position. It would turn out to be one of the greatest tactical decisions in our history as Henry became the face of our most successful period. The season we went unbeaten you could generally make the argument we had the best player in the world. He scored 30 plus times in 5 consecutive seasons while never being a natural penalty box striker. The Frenchman liked to cut in from the left where he had a great understanding with Cole and Pires, at the time boasting the record for assists as well. Like Viera before him completely brought into the values of the club.
Do you agree with my Team Of The Decade?
Be kind in the comments….