Selecting a Premier League Best XI – But by Only Using One Player Per Club

?Prior to writing this article I posted a simple message in a few group chats. 

“Hey guys. I’ve got a teaser for you. Currently, what’s the best XI you can pick out of Premier League players?”

A barrage of replies came in, must of which included the same familiar names. Trent Alexander-Arnold. Sadio Mané. Mo Salah and so on and so forth. It all seemed a little too easy. Most people just picked the Liverpool team and Kevin de Bruyne…

But…what if we spiced things up a little bit. What if you had to choose a ?Premier League XI but could only select one player per club? 

I posed this challenge to the same group chats… and was immediately removed for spamming everyone. However, if my friends had replied, you can be sure there would have been a shed load of different teams. 

That’s what makes this such an brain teasing challenge and that’s why you are almost certainly going to disagree with 90min’s selections below…

GK – Nick Pope (Burnley)

Nick Pope

?Jordan Pickford’s England spot hangs by a thread and a big reason for that – as well as his love of a high-profile error – has been the superb form of his ?Three Lions rivals, Nick Pope very much included.

The colossal Burnley keeper is a tremendous shot stopper and commands his area with a well earned arrogance. If he was a bit better at kicking, Pope would surely be snapped up by a big club.  

RB – Ricardo Pereira (Leicester)

Ricardo Domingos Barbosa Pereira

?Only a superhuman season from Jamie Vardy looks set to deny Ricardo Pereira consecutive Player of the Season awards at the King Power Stadium. 

?Leicester have been the Premier League’s surprise package and Pereira has been at the forefront of Brendan Rodgers’ footballing revolution. 

Combative in the tackle and irresistible going forward, the Portugal international is finally being recognised for what he is – one of the best full-backs in the world.

CB – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Virgil Van Dijk

?It was tough deciding which ?Liverpool player was making this team but eventually, Virgil van Dijk got the nod. 

There’s not a lot to say about the guy that hasn’t already been said 20 times over. Van Dijk is a generational talent. He almost won the Ballon d’Or as a centre-back in the era of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for goodness sake! That’s pretty special.

CB – Conor Coady (Wolves)

Conor Coady

?As a diehard Liverpool fan, Conor Coady would probably relish the opportunity to play alongside Van Dijk – good thing we selected him then.

Coady has taken part in no less than 46 games this season. Has he let it affect his performance levels? Absolutely not. If anything, the 27-year-old was just hitting his stride before football’s enforced break. 

LB – Enda Stevens (Sheffield United)

Enda Stevens

?Like most of the Sheffield United squad, the Irish Roberto Carlos, Enda Stevens has not had the most conventional route to the top. 

Let go from Aston Villa in 2015, it took Stevens four seasons to return to the Premier League, and bah gawd he has made up for lost time since. 

The Dubliner has been part of a Blades back line that have the second defensive best record in the division and he has also contributed consistently going forward.

CM – N’golo Kanté (Chelsea)

N'Golo Kante

?The only man to win consecutive Premier League titles with different teams is still very good at football – in case you hadn’t noticed.

The tireless Frenchman continues to add goals to his game, netting three so far this season – including a worldie against Liverpool in September.

CM – Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes first few months at ?Manchester United have been close to perfect. We are racking our brains trying to think of another player who has had such a dramatic, positive effect on their team so soon after signing. 

Fernandes is the leader in the middle of the park that United have be crying out for all season long. Turns out he was worth all those excruciating months of negotiations after all…

CM – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Kevin De Bruyne

?The things that Kevin de Bruyne can do with a football man…makes you wonder if he’s not some sort of deity.

?It has been business as usual for the Belgian this season. The fair haired playmaker has racked up 20 assists in all competitions – corr blimey – and also scored nine goals. 

RW – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

?That miss against Olympiacos aside, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s ?Arsenal career has been pretty, darn good – 61 goals in 97 games good. 

He’s been so talented in fact, we’ve even decided to shoehorn him in as a right winger. He’s just too enticing to be left out of our team…even if he does have to play his secondary position.

ST – Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane

?The sooner Harry Kane can shake off all these pesky, niggling injuries the better. That Premier League scoring record isn’t going to break itself…

2021 is going to be a big year for the England captain – you heard it fear first. Did someone say Premier League Golden Boot and Euro 2021 winner? Make it happen Harry. 

LW – Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Jack Grealish

?He may not have covered himself in glory off of the field lately, but there can be no doubting Jack Grealish’s ability once he crosses that white line. 

While it would be a stretch to label Aston Villa as a one man team, Dean Smith’s reliance on the unchained brilliance of the Irishman…sorry, Englishman, has been painfully obvious this season. Stop Grealish and you pretty much stop Villa. 

For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter! 


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