Premier League Team of the Decade: Aguero and Hazard lead the line

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A number of the game’s biggest stars have graced the English top-flight over the past 10 years, but who did enough to make Tontrend’s XI?

As the 2010s come towards their end, Tontrends (talkofnaija.com) in collaboration with Goal has picked the best XI of players to have starred in the Premier League over the past decade.

Chief correspondent Peter Staunton, Liverpool correspondent Neil Jones and Man City correspondent Jonathan Smith formed the selection panel as some of the game’s biggest names battled it out for places in the team.

GK: David de Gea

A five-time participant in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, four-time winner of the Manchester United Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and one-time appearance holder in the FIFPro World XI, David de Gea has been among the most decorated and well-regarded goalkeepers in the world throughout his time at Old Trafford.

Still in his prime, he has already completed a clean sweep of English domestic honors, including the Premier League title in 2013.

For his consistency, De Gea beats Petr Cech to a place in our XI.

RB: Pablo Zabaleta

Signed the day before the Abu Dhabi United Group completed their Manchester City takeover, the Argentine went on to become a huge fan favorite throughout his near-decade at the club.

Amid the pandemonium of City’s title win in 2012, it is easily forgotten that Zabaleta scored the crucial first goal that day. Tireless, combative and utterly committed, Zabaleta won two Premier League titles and a host of other honors with City before leaving for West Ham.

Edges out Kyle Walker for a place in this team, who has starred since being signed as a replacement for Zabaleta having earned a big-money move from Tottenham.

CB: Vincent Kompany

From the moment he arrived at the moment he departed with a domestic treble added to his considerable collection, Vincent Kompany was beloved by all Manchester City supporters.

He, in many ways, came to typify the club over the decade as captain and leader, serving with distinction on and off the field. He won four league titles under three different managers and was the defender Pep Guardiola turned to at his times of need.

A three-time participant in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and one-time winner of the Premier League Player of the Season award, there is no doubting Kompany’s impact, right until his final game at the Etihad when his goal of the season saw off Leicester and all but clinched the title.

CB: Virgil van Dijk

Scarcely can one signing have transformed a club so utterly as Virgil van Dijk has done for Liverpool. The missing piece of Jurgen Klopp’s jigsaw, he led the Reds to their sixth Champions League title and now finds himself on the path to becoming the finest center-back to grace the English game since the turn of the century.

Widely respected by players, pundits and managers alike, Van Dijk is the reigning English and European Footballer of the Year. He now only needs a Premier League title to cap off a stunning rise to prominence.

Though he has not featured in the league for the same length of time as other candidates such as John Terry, there can simply be no doubting his quality.

LB: Cesar Azpilicueta

Such is his consistency and versatility that there could be called to include Cesar Azpilicueta in three defensive positions; those of right-back, right-sided center-back and finally at left-back.

It is in that position where he predominantly played in winning a Premier League title under Jose Mourinho, who once said he’d love “11 Azpilicuetas”, and he added another at center-back under Antonio Conte.

Once voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year, he is now club captain under Frank Lampard.

CM: Yaya Toure

The capture of Yaya Toure from Barcelona by Manchester City was transformative in the sense that it showed peak talents that they could move to an emerging force and still win.

He would go on to become the centerpiece of two Premier League title-winning sides and earned another as a bit-part player under Pep Guardiola.

Nonetheless, he kick-started City’s era of dominance with a scarcely-believable 20 goals from midfield during the 2013-14 season. He was twice voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and was awarded the title of African Footballer of the Year on two occasions, as well as being named City’s Player of the Year in 2014.

He gets into our XI just ahead of former team-mate Kevin De Bruyne.

CM: N’Golo Kante

There is no doubt that N’Golo Kante was one of the best signings of this or any decade when Leicester City paid Caen just £5 million for his services in the summer of 2015.

The effect he had for the Foxes in one of the most shocking Premier League title races of all time was profound. He followed that up by claiming the same trophy with Chelsea a year later, before going on to win the World Cup with France.

The Premier League Player of the Season in 2017, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year the same season, twice in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and once in the FIFPro World XI, Kante has been among the very best midfielders in the world over the past five years.

Gets the nod over Fernandinho in the midfield anchor position.

CM: David Silva

Quite possibly the best player in Premier League history and the architect of four Manchester City title wins, David Silva has seen and done it all in English football, earning plaudits for his guile, creativity and his adaptability.

A key part of the greatest team the Premier League has ever seen, Silva has been a favorite of Pep Guardiola as well as his predecessors Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini.

Two times in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and once voted City’s Player of the Season, Silva’s astonishing career has not got the individual recognition it deserves.

FW: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling was part of a Liverpool team that went desperately close to the Premier League title in 2014 but there were still plenty of doubts over his move to Manchester City a year later. His rate of improvement, though, has been phenomenal and he is now close to the finished article.

Where once he struggled for consistency in front of goal, he has now scored over 50 top-flight goals. He fits Pep Guardiola’s plans perfectly and is the proud owner of two Premier League winners’ medals.

Currently, Sterling is the reigning Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year holder, the PFA Young Player of the Year and holds down a place on the PFA Premier League Team of the Year too.

Beats out the likes of Mohamed Salah and Luis Suarez to gain his place in this line-up.

FW: Sergio Aguero

The man who will always be remembered for delivering Manchester City their first Premier League title with the most iconic goal in their history, but Aguero has been about so much more than that magic moment back in 2012. That goal brought only one of four titles he has won.

Furthermore, he has managed 20 or more goals in the Premier League in six of his eight full seasons at City. He has been twice the club’s Player of the Year and has earned his place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for the last two seasons running.

He has taken his game to new heights under Pep Guardiola and could be regarded, one day, as the greatest goalscorer this league has ever known.

FW: Eden Hazard

One of the most individually-talented players the league has ever known, Hazard set the Premier League alight for seven years before finally moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019.

He has been a Premier League title winner twice, once each under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, and has delivered countless golden moments for Chelsea fans throughout his time in the Premier League.

He has been in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times and the FIFA FIFPro World XI the last two years running. He has twice been in the UEFA Team of the Year for good measure. In 2015 he was voted both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.

The Belgium captain remains at the peak of his powers and the league is poorer for his absence.

Harry Kane of Tottenham

Starting from the back, Petr Cech and Joe Hart were dependable performers in goal while the likes of John Terry, Leighton Baines, Kyle Walker, and David Luiz had strong cases for inclusion in defense, as did Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for the strength of their performances earlier in the decade for Manchester United.

Fernandinho was unlucky to miss out in midfield as was team-mate Kevin De Bruyne. Michael Carrick, Cesc Fabregas, and Gareth Bale were also bright at one stage or another but just miss out.

Upfront, Harry Kane has done well but has no medals to show for it. Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Mohamed Salah, Romelu Lukaku and especially Jamie Vardy were also in contention.

How they line up

So, there you have it, our Premier League Team of the Decade!

But what do you make of our selections? Are there any glaring omissions, in your opinion?

Post your own line-ups in the comments.