Since the Premier League started in 1992, only six teams have ever lifted the Premier League title: Manchester United (13 times), Chelsea (5), Manchester City (4), Arsenal (3), Blackburn Rovers (1) and Leicester City (1).
Liverpool were well on their way to becoming the seventh team on that list when the 2019-20 season went on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On this week’s episode of the Premier League on NBC podcast, the group got together to pick from the best that the Premier League’s 28 seasons have to offer for a make-believe 6-a-side tournament. True to form, each manager had their own vision for their side with some opting for a more bruising approach (we’re looking at your Robbie Earle) while others vying for a little more panache and attacking flair (Kyle Martino).
The draft went in a snake format with Arlo White getting the first selection, which was quite a doozy.
Arlo White: Jamie Vardy, Paul Gascoigne, Riyad Mahrez, Graeme Le Saux, Lee Dixon, Kasper Schmeichel
Robbie Mustoe: Dennis Bergkamp, David Silva, Ederson, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo
Robbie Earle: Roy Keane, John Terry, Vincent Jones, Diego Costa, Peter Schmeichel, Tony Adams
Kyle Martino: Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola, Gareth Bale, Jaap Stam, Fabian Barthez
Graeme Le Saux: Eden Hazard, Paul Scholes, Andrew Robertson, Didier Drogba, James Milner, David de Gea
There certainly were some interesting choices made, especially since none of the all-time top five Premier League goal scorers made the cut.
Nor did the all-time leader in assists (Ryan Giggs) or in clean sheets (Petr Cech) find their way onto any of the five squads drafted above. There was also no spot for players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard or even the last Englishman to win the Ballon D’Or as the top footballer in the world, Michael Owen. No love either for current greats Harry Kane (.60 goals per appearance), Mo Salah (.64) or Sergio Aguero (.69 goals per appearance, the highest strike rate in Premier League history).
You’ll have to listen for yourself as to why certain players like these were left off of the lists for each of the pundits on NBC’s Premier League coverage but there are some glaring holes amongst the sides.
For commissioner Rebecca Lowe, it was an easy choice as to who would win this tournament and honestly, it’s not really much of a competition for Robbie Mustoe’s side.
He somehow snagged Cristiano Ronaldo with the penultimate pick of the draft. That should tell you all you need to know.
A two-time Premier League Player of the Year left until the 2nd-to-last pick? The only concern is if they went up against the leg breakers of Robbie Earle.
Beware the two-footed, studs-up tackle.