The final years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Leicester City’s 5000-1 title winners. The recent titanic battle for supremacy between Manchester City and Liverpool. It’s all been a bit of a blur. Fergie retired. So did Arsene. Liverpool nearly won the league – twice. Manchester City, of all clubs, became the dominant force. In between it all we have seen some cracking football, incredible goals, and some of the world’s greatest players.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
The Spaniard might have had a rough start to life when first joining Manchester United in 2011, but ever since his turn in form, David de Gea has been the outstanding goalkeeper of the decade. His shot-stopping, general reflexes and world-class consistency over the years has recognised him as one of the best on the planet, which is why he is the goalkeeper for this team of the decade.
Left-Back: Leighton Baines
The Liverpudlian’s best years feel so long ago, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that Leighton Baines was the best left-back in the league over the first half of this decade and his performances didn’t start to wane until around 2016. Not only was Baines a classy operator at full-back, but he was also excellent at set-pieces. Of the 29 penalties he’s taken in his career, he only missed three, but he could also smash in a long-range free-kick from time to time.
Centre-Back: Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany led Manchester City into a new era and has not looked back since. Captaining the side to lift the club’s first ever Premier League title was a special moment for the Belgian great, as was leading his players to even more silverware. Injuries might have plagued him towards the end of his career, but during his pomp, Kompany was a robust and assured central defender who rarely made a mistake. A true defender in its purest form.
Centre-Back: Virgil van Dijk
One of the newest additions to the Team of the Decade, Virgil van Dijk has been a game changer in Liverpool’s aspirations since arriving in January 2018. After winning the Champions League last season with the Reds, van Dijk’s Liverpool are well on their way to lifting their first ever Premier League title: a moment that their fans have been gasping for since 1992. The Dutchman is a Rolls Royce of a player and would make an uncompromisable centre back partnership with Kompany.
Right-Back: Pablo Zabaleta
Another original Manchester City player in their modern era of winning trophies, Pablo Zabaleta came into his own throughout the years and was a leader on the pitch. As tenacious as they come, the former Argentina international spent nine successful years at the Citizens in the Premier League, along with another three with West Ham. Zabaleta might not have been the most attacking right back going, especially in this generation of fly full backs, but there was little chance of beating the Argentine in his pomp. A trusted member of City’s starting XI throughout the years is why he gets the nod.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante
An integral member of the Leicester City team that famously won the Premier League title in 2016, N’Golo Kante went and won a second successive winner’s medal the very next season with Chelsea. Not one for putting up massive amounts of goals and assists, what the Frenchman offers in midfield is an insatiable work rate and seemingly endless amount of energy; that of two players, as it’s been said of him. Having since gone on to win the World Cup with France and a Europa League crown with his club, Kante has long since established himself as the world’s best box-to-box midfielder.
Midfield: Yaya Toure
One of the most physically dominant central midfielders the Premier League has had, Yaya Toure was unstoppable in a number of seasons for the Citizens. Another lynchpin in the title-winning side, Toure combined his physicality with an enormous amount of skill and technical ability, brushing defenders off as if they were not there. For a large portion of his time at the Etihad, it looked as if he was playing youth football due to the way he was coming forward with the ball. Toure is an asset to any team’s midfield and provides the enforcement necessary in the middle of the park.
Midfield: David Silva
Very few Premier League footballers can claim to have been as consistent over the past ten years as David Silva, who has been one of the most enjoyable imports to watch since the breakaway in 1992. But it would be remiss to reduce his influence down to mere consistency. Rather, Silva has been one of the most creatively sublime footballers we’ve seen in English football over the past twenty years, and he has especially thrived under Pep Guardiola in a free eight role.
Forward: Eden Hazard
85 goals and 61 assists in 245 Premier League games make it obvious as to why Eden Hazard makes his way into the team. The Belgian forward has been instrumental in Chelsea’s success this decade and has been a player that excited the many. One of Hazard’s greatest attributes was his unpredictability, which caused nightmares for defenders in his line of sight. He might now be in Madrid with Real, but Hazard will always be remembered fondly for his glittering time in England.
Forward: Sergio Aguero
Most certainly in the conversation when discussing the best centre forwards of the Premier League era, Sergio Aguero has certainly made his impact since arriving in 2011. Eight years later, 173 goals to his name and 52 assists in 251 appearances, the Argentina international to this very day is still the leading striker in the country. Aguero has been tenacious for nine years non-stop and continues to chase every ball in the hope of a chance on goal. Although his size had been questioned at the beginning of the decade, he has dispelled the old-school myth of having to be physically dominant to compete and excel in England.
Forward: Luis Suarez
Somewhat surprisingly, Luis Suarez was only in the Premier League for three years, and yet it feels for so much longer given the mark he left on it. Although he was only in the country for a short amount of time, Suarez’s numbers are magnificent: 133 games, 82 goals and 47 assists in all competitions, with 108 goals and assists coming in 110 Premier League matches. The Uruguay international consistently played on the edge, but that is what made him such a feared opponent and deadly centre forward. One small mistake would be punished in a heartbeat.