The English top-flight is such an intense and competitive league packed with talents, that when it comes to picking out the best 11 over the last 10 years, things can get rather complicated. Of course, there are a ton of different viewpoints on this topic, and today we are bringing you ours! Sit tight, while we unravel our Premier League Team of the Decade!
Choosing our formational line-up
In order to build a football team, especially the greatest of the last 10 years, we first need to start with a foundation. This foundation will include choosing the most optimal formation for our squad.
Nowadays we have seen a wide variety of tactical decisions which are a result of the never-ending progress of the sport. Many coaches would be looking for the next hidden gem in a strategic sense and will be keen on experimenting with the formation.
From 5-4-1 to 4-1-4-1, or even 3-4-1-2, there are numerous combinations. To choose the right one, the coach has to work with what he has under his disposal. Often one formation that is working wonders for one team would be terrible if used with another line-up, simply because the players' style of play isn't fit with it.
This problem doesn’t bother us, as we have the full freedom to choose from a number of versatile footballers. However, we don’t aim to sound all fancy and overcomplicate stuff, that’s why we will be using the most standard and time-proven line-up of them all – the 4-4-2. Small adjustments will be added, which may make it look like a 4-2-2-2, but in its essence we will be using the 4-4-2 formation for our Team of the Decade.
So, without further ado, here’s our starting eleven!
- Petr Čech
- Trent Alexander-Arnold, Vincent Kompany, Virgil van Dijk, César Azpilicueta
- Kevin De Bruyne, N'Golo Kanté, Cesc Fàbregas, Eden Hazard
- Sergio Agüero, Harry Kane
Team of the Decade
Goalkeeper – Petr Čech
We doubt there is a Premier League fan out there who isn’t familiar with the Czech monster! Petr Čech’s career began in his homeland, and it didn’t take long before a move abroad with Rennes happened. Chelsea picked the keeper up in 2004, aligning with Roman Abramovich’s overhaul of the club. Since then, Čech has been terrorizing forwards in the Premier League.
Besides the extensive list of records that the man has set, in the 2010s' he has won every major club trophy – the Premier League twice, the Champions League, the Europa League, and the FA Cup and with both Chelsea and Arsenal. His career has spanned over two different Premier League club spells, and he has recently returned to training with Chelsea at the age of 38.
Right Back – Trent Alexander-Arnold
Liverpool’s prodigy just had to make it into our starting eleven. At the age of 22 Alexander-Arnold has over 5 years of Premier League experience, and is a vital part of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. He helped the team in its mission to acquire a league title for the first time in decades.
The youngster can often be seen speeding on the right-wing of the pitch and providing his teammates with spectacular long-distance crosses. Assisting his teammates, Trent Alexander-Arnold has also proven that he is also capable of scoring himself. The defender has a lot of potential which will help him grow into one of Premier League's greatest ever backs.
Centre Backs – Vincent Kompany & Virgil van Dijk
Perhaps the most captivating rivalry in the later half of the 2010s’ has been the one between Manchester City and Liverpool. Both teams have a deadly attack as well as a concrete defense which makes it extremely difficult for any team to match-up against them. It’s only normal that we’ve picked out both clubs’ defensive stars – Vincent Kompany and Virgil van Dijk.
The Belgian veteran left Manchester City and retired a year later, but not before making over 260 league appearances and winning the PL a total of 4 times! Furthermore, Kompany was voted Premier League Player of the Year during the 2011/2012 campaign and was also included in the Premier League Team of the Year on three occasions. A phenomenal player and an honorable man, Vincent Kompany makes ½ of our center-back line.
Aiding the defense in front of the keeper is also Virgil van Dijk. The towering full-back has become a household name with the rise of Liverpool. Similar to Kompany, van Dijk has amassed several Player and Team of the Year awards. We also shouldn’t forget that before Liverpool, the Dutch was displaying quality in Southampton too.
Left Back – César Azpilicueta
To some, this may seem like an unconventional pick. However, once you look into Azpilicueta's record over the last decade, you have to give respect where it's due. The Spaniard earns his spot in our team, because of his consistency and versatility. He has proven to be effective on every side of the defensive four, which is why we dare place him in the left-back position.
Since he signed with Chelsea in 2012, Azpi has only been unavailable for 10 games and has barely missed a league match in the last 6 years. Truly a captain of his team, he has been a solid foundation for the squad throughout the years.
Centre Midfielders – N'Golo Kanté & Cesc Fàbregas
When we said that we would adjust the starting formation, here is what we meant. Our team consists of 4 midfielders, however, the central two will be playing on the defensive side of things, while the right and left-wingers will be aiding the attack.
For our central two, we’ve picked N'Golo Kanté & Cesc Fàbregas who have even played alongside each other at Chelsea. N’golo Kante is a man that you simply can not hate. The Frenchmen joined the Premier League in 2015 with Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City. He helped the squad reach a Premier League victory that will forever remain in the history books. Chelsea bought him in 2016, and Kante won the Premier League for the second time in consecutive fashion. A great dribbler and defensive player, Kante earns a spot in our team.
His partner in crime would be the one and only – Cesc Fàbregas. During the 2010s' the Spaniard was part of two Premier League sides – Arsenal and Chelsea. A key part of both squads, Fàbregas is an extremely experienced player dedicated to creating chances for his teammates. In the past decade, he has 70 assists and has also scored 25 goals himself. Known for his perfect vision and excellent passing plays, Fàbregas will be a great addition to our team.
Right Winger – Kevin De Bruyne
Although used mainly as a central attacking midfielder, De Bruyne has all the right qualities to fit as a right-winger in our lineup. His speed, dribbling, crossing, and also shooting make him a credible threat on the wing.
KDB's star couldn't quite shine during his time at Chelsea, but with Manchester City, the Belgian has found his spot. Having won the Premier League twice, De Bruyne's impact has been huge. Over the past 6 years, he has scored 60 times and assisted 104 teammate goals.
Left Winger – Eden Hazard
A lot can be said for the “Lionel Messi of the Premier League”. The dribbling ability on this guy is just out of the world, which is what earns his spot in our Team of the Decade. Known for being able to get past defenders in an instant, Eden Hazard will be providing breakthroughs on the left side of the pitch.
During his 7 years at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian has won the English top-flight twice and amassed a great amount of Premier League awards. Some of them include PL Player of the Season, PL Playmaker of the Season, and a total of four PFA Premier League Team of the Year inclusions.
Forwards – Sergio Agüero, Harry Kane
Over the past decade, Sergio Agüero and Harry Kane have been amongst the most feared strikers in the Premier League.
The Manchester City superstar will forever remain in the memories of the fans when he scored the last-minute league-winning goal against QPR in 2012. The Argentinian later earned 3 more league titles. Agüero's impact on the Manchester club was a fact since he first joined it, and he hasn't stopped delivering ever since. In a little over 260 appearances, he has found the net 180 times, and also provided 54 assists.
It's interesting to point out that the last person on our team is also only the second Englishman. Harry Kane has recently risen to prominence at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino and now José Mourinho. It took some time before the striker refined his displays, but he is currently one of the best. When not struggling with injuries Kane is decimating the opponent's defenses and scoring goal after goal. He is also the only player in our team to not have won the Premier League. However, in 2016 and 2017 he was awarded the PL Golden Boot.