Vincent Kompany

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Best players of decade for each Premier League club

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It has been an incredible decade in the Premier League with plenty of stars on show from 2010-20.

But which players have been the best from the last decade for each current PL team?

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Yes, this will cause controversy. Yes, you won’t agree with these 20 selections.

There is no right answer here because certain players may not have been the best technical player to play for a certain team over the last decade but they may have been the most important to their success.

Anyway, here it goes.


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Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez – Yes, it didn’t end well for him at Arsenal. But for four seasons he led them to the FA Cup, top four finishes and scored superb goals along the way. His hunger to win drove Arsene Wenger‘s teams on and along with Jack Wilshere (when he was fit) and Aaron Ramsey, he was one of the few world-class quality players the Gunners possessed.


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Aston Villa: Jack Grealish – A local lad who arrived from the academy with his low socks and slick Peaky Blinders-esque haircut, Grealish is Villa through and through and Villa’s hopes of staying in the Premier League this season revolve around the English playmaker. He stayed with them when they went down and brought them back up as skipper and his mercurial talents mean the big clubs are circling.


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Bournemouth: Steve Cook – It is amazing to think he is just 29 years old. Cook has been with Bournemouth throughout their promotion from League One to the Premier League and is now at the heart of their defense. Some great players have been key to Bournemouth’s success but Cook has held it all together.


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Brighton and Hove Albion: Lewis Dunk – Another local lad who has com through the ranks to be a star, Dunk is a towering, powerful center back who was with Brighton when they were at the Withdean and has been influential in their promotion and consolidation in the Premier League. He’s also played for England. His decade has been a Slam… Dunk.


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Burnley: Ben Mee – A mainstay in Burnley’s defense after joining from Man City in 2011, initially on loan, Mee has been essential to their promotion campaigns and keeping them in the Premier League. A no-nonsense defender, Burnley can totally trust Mee. The unsung hero in a club of unsung heroes.


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Chelsea: Eden Hazard – My favorite player of the decade in the Premier League because he could change the game on his own. Hazard led Chelsea to two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League and when he was at his best he was unstoppable. Ask players around the PL who was the best player they came up against and the vast majority will say Hazard.


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Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha – The academy product was a star in the Championship, left for Manchester United, came back and ripped it up. Zaha is loved by Palace’s fans and is probably the best player outside of the top six in the Premier League. His pace and power is just too much to handle for most teams. And even though he wants to leave for a team challenging for trophies, Zaha will go down as a Palace legend.


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Everton: Leighton Baines – Okay, so it was a flip of a coin between Baines and Seamus Coleman, but I’m going for Baines. His quality from set piece situations was incredible and he was just wonderfully reliable. Everton’s two full backs will be etched into Toffees history but Baines’ extra quality in the final third gives him the nod.


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Leicester City: Jamie Vardy – Okay, with N’Golo Kante, Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel and Riyad Mahrez around, this wasn’t that easy but Vardy should get the nod. He scored the goals to lead Leicester to an incredible Premier League title win as his pace and clinical finishing capped off his unreal rise from non-league to the Premier League, and his resurgence over the past 12 months has been amazing. Vardy isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but when he’s at his best, nobody can stop him.


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Liverpool: Virgil Van Dijk – This could be a controversial pick given the fact that he’s only played for Liverpool for two years, but there’s no doubt that no other player has been as important to the team as VVD. Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah have been attacking stars for the Reds over the last decade but Van Dijk’s arrival helped lead Liverpool to the Champions League and improved their entire defense which had been their Achilles heel under Jurgen Klopp. Van Dijk is a Rolls Royce and probably the most complete defender the Premier League has ever seen.


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Manchester City: Vincent Kompany – A proper Man City legend, Kompany was the captain for all four of Man City’s Premier League title wins over the last decade. Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva have all been key parts of City’s glittering decade but Kompany was the glue who held it all together. Injuries hit him hard in the second half of the decade but he was no doubt one of the greatest center backs in the history of the game. His goal to clinch the 2018-19 title was the perfect way to go out.


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Manchester United: David De Gea – He routinely won United’s Player of the Season over the last decade and without him Red Devils fans shudder to think where they would be. He has had a few big errors over the last 12 months but DDG has been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League over the last decade. Amid all of United’s struggles to get back to the top, De Gea has been their one true star.


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Newcastle United: Yohan Cabaye – Had the quality on the ball to rip teams apart and led the Magpies to a fifth-place finish under Alan Pardew. Papiss Cisse, Chieck Tiote, Moussa Sissoko and Demba Ba all had exceptional stints at Newcastle, but Cabaye had the extra class required to sew it together. The way he left for PSG wasn’t ideal but when all is said and done the former Lille midfielder was a game-changer at St James’ Park.


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Norwich City: Wes Hoolahan – A yo-yo decade for the Canaries who went all the way down to League One and worked their way back to the Premier League via back-to-back promotions. Republic of Ireland midfielder Hoolahan was their main attacking threat throughout the promotion years and he was capable of the sublime.


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Sheffield United: Billy Sharp – A local lad who has spent three spells at his beloved Blades and most recently signed for them in 2015 in League One, he scored the goals to take them back to the Premier League. Sharp has spent his entire career scoring boatloads of goals in the lower leagues and his dream was to play for Sheffield United in the Premier League. He’s achieved that, even though he hasn’t played a big role in their incredible season back in the top-flight. Sharp, 33, will forever be a Sheffield United legend.


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Southampton: Rickie Lambert – Another star forward who led his team from League One to the Premier League. Lambert signed for Saints from Bristol Rovers for $1.3 million in 2010, just after they had come out of administration, and then led them to back-to-back promotions as they returned to the PL. He then established himself as one of the top strikers in the league, got a call-up to the England team, play at the 2014 World Cup and eventually sealed his dream move to hometown club Liverpool. Known as “Sir Rickie” at St Mary’s, there will be a statue of him at the club one day as he led them back to the top-flight and did it was pure style befitting of the legendary No. 7 shirt he wore. He did Matt Le Tissier proud. Sadio Mane, Morgan Schneiderlin, Van Dijk, Adam Lallana, Jose Fonte and others were stars for Saints in the last decade but Lambert was the reason they were even in the PL in the first place.


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Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane – Has any other player in the Premier League burst onto the scene more than Kane in 2010? The London lad has come through Spurs’ academy to become a global star and is a goalscoring machine. In 2013-14 he was struggling to break through after several loan spells and now Kane is one of the best center forwards in the world. Kane scores every type of goal imaginable for club and country and is the captain of England and Tottenham’s talisman. The only thing left for him to tick off is winning a trophy. Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen have all been mainstays but without Kane’s goals, Spurs would not have turned into genuine title contenders and regulars in the Champions League.


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Watford: Troy Deeney – Mr. Watford, Deeney led them to promotion to the PL in 2015 and they’ve been there ever since. Deeney’s goals (126 in 380 games in all competitions) and bulldozing displays have kept Watford in the top-flight and they’ve reached FA Cup semifinals and finals as they continue to punch above their weight. Deeney is Watford’s captain and sets the tone for the entire club.


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West Ham United: Dmitri Payet – Yes, West Ham fans will not like to admit this, but Payet was otherworldly at Upton Park and the London Stadium. The way he left for Marseille wasn’t great, at all, and the current owners have pretty much removed him from their history. But his amazing goals, free kicks and general outrageousness turned him into a club legend. Payet was box office as Slaven Bilic‘s side qualified for Europe.


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Wolverhampton Wanderers: Conor Coady – A mainstay in central defense for Wolves, Coady has led the charge since Fosun bought the club and Nuno Espirito Santo took over. A produce of Liverpool’s academy, he is a true professional who sets the standards day in, day out. Coady joined Wolves when they were struggling in the Championship and they are now in the Europa League knockout rounds and are challenging for the top four four after taking the PL by storm over the last two seasons. All of the recent impressive signings in attack and midfield have been important, so too has Matt Doherty who has been with Wolves since their days in the third tier, but Coady is the heart of Wolves and has been since 2015.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Leicester City

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Raise your hand if you thought Saturday’s meeting between Manchester City and Leicester City (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com) would turn out to be a head-to-head battle for the right to finish second, miles behind Liverpool, in the Premier League title race. If your hand is in the air, please put it down now because you’re lying and everyone knows it.

The two-time defending champions have struggled badly — by their own otherworldly standards, at least — and have already lost as many games (four) this season as they did all of last campaign. Two years ago, when they broke virtually every PL record, they lost just twice. The main culprit, beyond their own unrealistic standard and expectations, has been injuries to an already-thin defensive unit. When Vincent Kompany left in the summer, no replacement was signed; Aymeric Laporte suffered a serious knee injury in August and hasn’t played since; now, John Stones is also out. As such, Man City are currently on pace to concede 38 goals this season — an astounding defensive record for just about any other PL side, until you see they conceded just 23 and 27 in each of their title-winning campaigns.

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When one side falls down the pecking order, the door opens for another to capitalize and climb a few rungs higher. That’s exactly what Brendan Rodgers‘ Foxes have done this season, largely through their nearly impenetrable backline which is led by 23-year-old Caglar Soyuncu. The Turkish international joined Leicester in the summer of 2018 and played just six games in his first season at the King Power Stadium, before emerging as one of the best center backs in the world this campaign. Then, there’s Jamie Vardy, who has 16 goals through 17 games and looks set to smash his career-best output of 24 goals in the Foxes’ title-winning 2015-16 season.

Last time out, Leicester suffered a rare setback in the form of a 1-1 draw with Norwich City. It was the first time they had dropped points in the PL since losing to Liverpool in early October — a run of eight straight wins followed and saw them surge past the likes of City and Chelsea in the table.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – John Stones (hamstring), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Aguero (thigh), David Silva (leg)

Leicester: OUT – Matty James (achilles)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy — Rodrigo, Gundogan — Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling — Jesus

Leicester: Schmeichel — Pereria, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell — Praet, Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison, Gray — Vardy


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on Leicester’s strong start: “Last year after the game, it was my feeling that this season they would be fighting for the top-four and it’s happened. They did really well last season when [Rodgers] took over the team. They have been so consistent this season and they are a fantastic team. They have a lot of quality up front and through the middle. At the back they are solid and they play so good on the counter-attack. They control all departments in the game.”

Rodgers, on the PL title race: “At the beginning, of the season nobody really expected us to be in the position that we’re in. However, for us, we have a belief in our work and how we work. The players have been absolutely first class throughout the season and this is another opportunity for us. We’re not even at the halfway point. There is still so much football to play. … It is still so early. You have just got to approach each game, be really focused and looked to bring the best quality game that you can.”


Prediction

The only sides to beat Leicester this season are Liverpool and Manchester United, a class of opponent which obviously includes Man City. The ease with which the Foxes can sit back and watch an opponent dominate possession, which City will undoubtedly do, and play for the counter-attack makes them an incredibly dangerous opposition for Guardiola and Co. Man City 2-2 Leicester.

Report: Loader, Haaland to Man United; Upamecano to Man City

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Ah, the January transfer window is just around the corner and we can be certain of one thing: Manchester City and Manchester United are about to be linked with signing a ton of players.

A ton.

But in this instance, even though we’re six weeks away from the transfer window reopening but reports make, uh, sense?

First up, Manchester City have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano via 90min. And yep, City do indeed need a center back and he ticks all of the boxes as a long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany. With Aymeric Laporte out injured until January at the earliest, plus Nicolas Otamendi struggling for form and John Stones in and out of the team with fitness issues, Pep Guardiola is short on center backs.

Fernandinho and Rodri can’t keep on filling in at center back and the lack of cover City have in the heart of their defense is the main reason they are nine points behind league leaders Liverpool. After the reigning champs admitted they weren’t going to match United’s summer bid for Harry Maguire, they probably knew this was going to happen and Laporte’s injury underlined their weakness in this area.

Upamecano, 21, will cost close to $65 million and he’s been a star at Leipzig in the Bundesliga in recent seasons. He will have just 18 months left on his current contract in January and he seems both attainable for a reasonable price and capable of having an instant impact as well as being able to develop into a fine center back.


Man United’s latest financial results suggest that will continue to focus on picking up younger gems in the British market to supplement their squad (see: James, Daniel) and they’ve been linked with a move for Reading’s Danny Loader.

Loader, 20, is out of contract this summer and will be available for a knockdown price in January. The striker has impressed on the international stage with England’s youth team, but has struggled in the second tier with the Royals as he’s scored just once in 29 appearances. He is definitely one for the future but with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood around, do United need another young striker?

According to our partners in the UK, Sky Sports, contract talks have stalled between Reading and Loader, while the England youth international almost moved to Wolves in the summer.

United proved with the signing of Daniel James from Swansea City in the summer, they aren’t afraid to pick young talents out of the Championship and give them a chance in the PL, while they have also been linked with a move for the ridiculously in form RB Salzburg striker Erling Haaland.

Haaland, 19, has scored 26 goals in 18 games in all competitions for Jesse Marsch’s side and the Norwegian striker is one of the hottest commodities in Europe. His father, former Manchester City midfielder Alfe-Inge Haaland, recently visited United’s training ground according to The Athletic. And with Haaland being a former international teammate of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there’s a lot of crossover here.

United want to sign young, hungry players and both Loader and Haaland fit that mold. The latter would be much more expensive and would he be a regular at United ahead of Rashford and Martial? On current form, probably. Long-term having Rashford, Martial and James playing off Haaland in a 4-2-3-1 formation would probably be the dream for Solskjaer.

Kompany: Liverpool’s Premier League title ghosts should ‘be to City’s advantage’

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Vincent Kompany says history could help Manchester City climb back into the Premier League title race even after his former team dropped nine points back of first place Liverpool.

[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]

Now at Anderlecht, the center back also said history might’ve played a role in City’s 3-1 setback at Anfield. In a rare bit of explicit honesty, the often interesting Kompany said that players do deal with demons of a club’s past.

“We always struggle at Anfield,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I said that on Super Sunday, you’re fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that’s difficult, it’s two games in one game: You’re playing a great team and you’re fighting history.”

“Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool. They will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years. That should be to City’s advantage I still think.”

Do you buy that? Most of the buzz around the Premier League is that this Liverpool is a different team than even the dominant one of last season, and City has suffered big injury problems. The Reds players almost went out of their way last year to say they weren’t worried about blowing their table lead last season (which was bigger, later in the season).

Kompany also said that he believes City doesn’t need to add a center back in January, which is bonkers unless he’s coming back, but the Belgian has proven time and again that he’s one of the better minds in the game.

The guy did title  his MBA dissertation, “How professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game-changing levels of improvement” after all. Then again, I’m not sure any of our dissertations on the same topic would’ve been approved had we done that.

Man City lose John Stones to injury

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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are down to the bare bones at center back.

John Stones will be out “four to five weeks” with a muscle injury, according to City boss Pep Guardiola.

Speaking ahead of City’s UEFA Champions League clash at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, City’s manager confirmed the injury happened in training.

With Aymeric Laporte out until January at the earliest, Man City have a real problem at center back with Nicolas Otamendi their only experienced central defender left.

The Argentine defender has struggled early this season and was awful in their shock defeat at Norwich on Saturday.

Midfielder Fernandinho will likely slot in at center back in the coming weeks, and that was likely going to the case anyway with Stones and Otamendi playing so poorly together. After losing Vincent Kompany this summer and then failing to sign Harry Maguire, not adding a new center back was a massive oversight by City.

That sound you can hear is Liverpool’s fans celebrating, as Jurgen Klopp’s side already have a five point lead atop the Premier League table.