Rants and musings from the magazine team
Earlier this week we asked you to pick two perfect XIs as part of our Premier League week: one made up entirely of Premier League players born in the UK, and another of 11 foreigners. You sent us some fascinating suggestions – some brilliant, some... shall we say, 'interesting'.
Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise – it’s not easy to pick these teams. Not only do you have 20 years’ worth of players to choose from, and in one XI a whole world to scour, but you have to take into account how 11 footballers plucked from different periods, places and clubs would interact; what the team’s tactics would be, and whether you could trust that midfielder and this defender to be on the same team without them either nutting each other or sneaking off with their team-mate’s missus (or both).
Do you pick a team that could realistically work together, or pack it full of superstars and hope for the best? That’s what the pros often seem to do, if 11 years of Perfect XIs in FourFourTwo are anything to go by. A few of you took the same approach: that is, just cry “Sod it” and try to find space for Zola, Bergkamp, Cantona, Henry and Ronaldo all on the same pitch (you know who you are).
Here are a couple of your more feasible XIs – as feasible as this concept can get, anyway. First up: the Brits.
We’re big fans of Matt’s attacking triumvirate, with an experienced midfield putting in the hard yards behind. The only problem could be a lack of width, unless Rio fancies charging up and down the touchline on the overlap.
No width woes for Atif, who also injects a bit of Welsh flair into an otherwise all-English team with the inclusion of Ryan Giggs. Again, though, no real mopper-upper in the middle – and the Premier League Foreigners XI is bound to have some creativity to handle.
Let’s find out. For your consideration: two of your own suggestions for the all-time Overseas Premier League XI. And no, we didn’t include the one that featured Richard Dunne (again, you know who you are).
It’s a very balanced side, is Keith’s, but one with creativity and goals all over the park. Even his goalkeeper has a Premier League goal to his name. And there’s no doubt Thierry Henry would enjoy having David Ginola and Gianfranco Zola to lay on the assists as well as his former Arsenal team-mates in midfield.
Now this, we like: Claude Makelele anchoring, to allow the rest of the team to surge forward. Dwight Yorke is an interesting selection as the ying to Henry’s yang, as are hyper-attacking full-backs Dan Petrescu and Silvinho. C-Ron and Marc Overmars might have some tracking back to do.
So, onto FourFourTwo’s own pair of XIs. We’ve made some brave choices in our selection, but you can’t pass up this opportunity to pick so many talented players...
We’ll admit it: we’re slightly worried about defending the flanks. But this is the sexiest team (or indeed the only team) you’ll ever see playing 3-4-2-1.
And the UK team...
Obviously no predominantly English team could even think of playing in a formation so loose – or indeed, any formation other than 4-4-2. So 4-4-2 it is, with an allowance made for a midfield diamond to push Le Tiss – just edging out Paul Scholes – up the pitch.
So what do you think? Which of these teams is the best, and which the worst? Who would you pick? And who would win between a UK and foreign Premier League XI? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter with the hashtag #premxis.
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