This was a debate that came up recently, and I was keen to attempt to create my own current Premier League XI thinking that it would be a really easy task. It wasn’t.
I will endeavour to support my choices for each position, but I would love to hear a case for other players who I have either simply forgotten or because I have focused too much on one aspect of their game. Regardless this list is not set in stone.
My choices are between Joe Hart, Petr Cech and current golden boy Asmir Begovic. My vote goes to Cech. Out of the three, he has a better all round game. He takes crosses, organizes the defense well, and is a wonderful shot stopper. After regaining some of his form, Cech also doesn’t make many mistakes. Added to this, Cech has maintained a level at the top for years, winning the Champions League and Premier League with a trophy cabinet that far outstrips my other two contenders for this position. His consistency is a major reason I have Cech as the goalkeeper of my team.
This is a really tough one at the moment. My nominations for this position include Rafael, Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson. After much soul searching, my choice has to be Branislav Ivanovic. He is both solid defensively and good going forward. Ivanovic’s strength, defensive awareness and training as a centre back all give him good defensive stature and perhaps makes him the most solid defensively.
Ivanovic is also an asset at set pieces in both boxes.
The first centre back is an easy choice I don’t think many will disagree with — Vincent Kompany. He’s commanding, has great positioning, a calm collected personality, and a half decent left foot. Kompany is everything you want from a title-winning centre back and certainly inspired Manchester City to the Premier League number one spot last season despite being one of their cheaper purchases recently.
The other centre back is more difficult. There are so many choices. To name but a few, Rio Ferdinand is forcing his way back in, as are Thomas Vermaelen, Nemanja Vidic and Jan Vertonghen.
This is even more complicated by the decision of whether to make this the best ‘team’ or just the best individual XI. The general rule for a team is to pick one physical centre back, the role I have given to Kompany, and one more technical centre, this would rule out Vidic for this other role. Ferdinand, though strong recently, has been poor these last few seasons. This has been evidenced by the emergence of Jonny Evans as a United regular. Finally this brings the options down to two and my choice will be Vertonghen almost by process of elimination. Vermaelen’s form has been shocking recently, but I will defer my decision to the Belgian coaches who prefer Vertonghen at centre back and play Vermaelen at left back.