SportsJOE's Premier League team of the decade
What's harder, coming up with a "team of the decade" or accepting the fact that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo weren't even playing in the Premier League in the last ten years?
The unrelenting passing of time aside, it's been an incredible decade of action in the Premier League. Four titles for Manchester City, three for Chelsea, two for Manchester United (yes, that was only a few years ago) and a partridge in a pear tree for Leicester in that incredible season.
Due to a wealth of attacking options, a limited number of solid, long-performing full backs and just a desire for general attacking chaos, we've gone with a 3-5-2 formation and a whole host of striking options.
David de Gea - Manchester United
From scrawny pushover to brick wall, David de Gea has been the standout goalkeeper of the decade even as the rest of his side crumbled around him. "#DaveSaves" may make even arednt United fans cringe, but he has been without a shadow of a doubt the most consistent net-minder in the Premier League over the past ten years, even if his star has fallen somewhat in the last few seasons.
As mentioned above, the league has been somewhat limited at right and left back over the last ten years in terms of players who've shone brightly for long periods. While Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will likely make the team of the 2020s, there's still so much more to come from the Liverpool pair. Kyle Walker, Patrice Evra, Branislav Ivanovic and most notably Virgil Van Dijk also can feel hard done by here, but the three below were just impossible to leave out.
Vincent Kompany - Manchester City
To be honest, the first name on the team sheet. A mammoth in defence, an incredible leader and perhaps it's only being realised now just how important he was to Manchester City and their four titles. That late strike against Leicester in the tightest title race of the decade last season just sums him up perfectly.
Nemanja Vidic - Manchester United
Edged out Virgil Van Dijk for a couple of reasons. The Dutchman has been transformative at centre back for Liverpool, but it's been two years. We tend, as fans, to put more stock in recent events than anything else, and as a result two years at the end of the decade could easily outweigh four at the beginning. That and Vidic lifted two Premier League titles in this period. The Serbian was impenetrable at the back (particularly once Fernando Torres left Liverpool) and an absolute rock in United's defence.
John Terry - Chelsea
Throughout the decade, he managed to outlive manager after manager and challenger after challenger. We can have our opinions on the character of the man, on and off the field, but he was the beating heart of one of the stingiest defences this decade.
N'Golo Kanté (Leicester City/Chelsea)
Back to back English top flight titles with different clubs, something not achieved by an outfield player since Eric Cantona over 20 years ago (also managed by Mark Schwarzer, but, come on). Kanté was a revelation in the ever-unexplainable title-winning season at Leicester and then backed it up after a move to London by anchoring Antonio Conte's side... Before heading off to win a World Cup. Shoo-in here, despite only arriving halfway through the decade.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
We're asking him to play a little deeper in our Space Jam monster team, but we've also given him a license to absolutely abandon his defensive duties because 1) he's class, and 2) Kanté has him covered. A man who can turn a game on a sixpence and continues to baffle people as to how he was allowed to leave Chelsea... But more on that later. Clubmate Yaya Touré was the only real contender for either of these positions, but we figured Yaya's just too worried about his birthday cake to care about this.
David Silva - Manchester City
A man who just oozes class, and a mainstay in the most dominant team in the Premier League over the past 10 years. Simply impossible to leave out.
Eden Hazard - Chelsea
He showed up when he wanted to show up... But christ on a bike when he showed up he was one of the best players to ever grace the Premier League. Especially with this formation, and even taking into account his desertion to Real Madrid, you want him scorching down the left side.
Mo Salah - Liverpool
Ahh, José... Another one that slipped through your fingers. Often Liverpool have appeared to be title challengers solely because of incredible strikers, but Salah is unlike Suarez in that he doesn't have to do it all by himself and he's all the better player for it. Despite only arriving to the Premier League late in the decade, he has epitomised Liverpool's transformation from also-rans to Premier League champions elect and is just untouchable in his best form. And even in his middling form.
Some very, very tough calls to make here. Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie (back to back golden boots) and even Carlos Tevez made plays here... But there were only two choices in the end.
Sergio Agüero - Manchester City
How could he not be included. Even just for that goal that forever changed Martin Tyler's vocal chords. 173 (in all competitions) goals since 2011 for City, and despite Guardiola's initial hesitancy towards the Argentinean, he remains as important as ever to their inevitable title challenges. One of the best strikers in Premier League history.
Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur
After a whistlestop tour of the lower leagues in the first half of the decade, Kane has established himself as the best English striker of his generation and rightly lands himself in this team. Two successive golden boots in the Premier League and constantly achieving to an extent that even the English tabloids leave him alone, which is arguably the most impressive part of it all.
SportsJOE's Premier League Team of the Decade