The Premier League XI To Take On The FIFPro XI

When the FIFPro World XI of the Year was announced at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony earlier this month, fans were surprised by the lack of Premier League stars in the team. Regardless of the capabilities of the finest talents emanating from Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, FIFA opted to include a team consisting of only La Liga stars.

It naturally sparked debate across Twitter, with many pondering which players from the Premiership would be good enough to take on the Primera Divison’s outstanding performers.

Asmir Begovic – Stoke City (Goalkeeper)

Had it not been for the dip in form of Manchester City number one Joe Hart, the England international would’ve had this position sown up. However, the Bosnia and Herzegovina number one edges ahead of his Premier League counterpart after an superb 2012/13 campaign to date. Keeping nine clean sheets for Stoke to date as the Potters find themselves in 10th position following the festive period.

Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City (Right-Back)

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to show any form of hatred towards the Argentina international, but his consistent performances for City have seen him stand head and shoulders above numerous possible candidates for the role. A shining light during the Citizen’s campaign, churning impressive displays as the City backline continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Vincent Kompany – Manchester City (Centre-Back)

While he hasn’t lived up to his high standards of last season, Kompany is still one of the finest defenders to grace the Premier League. He has the capability to ensure the City backline remains impenetrable, regardless of the 19 goals they’ve conceded this season, but was key in their title win in the 2011/12 campaign.

David Luiz – Chelsea (Centre-Back)

The Brazilian has earned his fair share of criticisms since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, but his continental approach to the game means he would be perfectly suited for an encounter against his La Liga counterparts. Comfortable with the ball at his feet and capable of driving the team forward much like compatriot Lucio used to, he deserves his place in the team for that alone.

Ashley Cole – Chelsea (Left-Back)

The argument for Leighton Baines’ inclusion in the team is warranted, but his capabilities still pale in comparison to Cole. The Chelsea left-back may be set to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, but he’s still held in high regard by all those involved in the game. The Premier League’s finest left-back at present, in my honest opinion.

Marouane Fellaini – Everton (Centre-Midfielder)

Pushed further forward to support Nikica Jelavic by David Moyes this season has seen the Belgian blossom behind the striker. Netting eight goals from midfield, his ability to set up in a defensive or attacking role could prove pivotal against a La Liga XI. His physicality would arguably prove an asset against a La Liga midfield that would be somewhat lightweight, not to mention his ability to bring the ball down and play.

Sandro – Tottenham Hotspur (Centre-Midfielder)

After contemplating between the Brazilian and Yaya Toure, I opted for the former. While the Manchester City machine is that much slicker with the Ivorian on top form, this team will need a player who will shield the backline to great effect. Sandro has come into the Spurs starting XI this season and is now comfortably one of, if not the, first name on the team-sheet. Having made the most interceptions of any player in the Premier League this year, not including him would be mad.

Juan Mata – Chelsea (Centre-Midfielder)

After toying with the idea of Mousa Dembélé providing the drive from deep, there was no place in the midfield for the Spurs man, especially when it’s Juan Mata that would provide the creativity in the middle of the park. Without a doubt the player of the season thus far, with 13 goals and 21 assists in 34 games in all competitions, the diminutive Spaniard is the man to make Chelsea tick pushing forward.

Luis Suarez – Liverpool (Right-Wing)

Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that Luis Suarez is an incredibly talented player. His first season with Liverpool was arguably tainted by controversies on the field, but he has responded to his harshest critics in spectacular form this season, netting 15 times for the Reds to keep the club with an outside chance of making the top four. Comfortable with the ball at his feet and capable of running at defenders at pace, the Uruguayan could make the difference in any encounter against the world’s best.

Robin van Persie – Manchester United (Centre-Forward)

How he didn’t make the FIFPro World XI in the first place is mind boggling. One of the most lethal striker’s on the planet; every time he touches the ball, fans are expectant of an upcoming goal, such has been his performances for Manchester United this season and Arsenal last. Van Persie’s 17 goals have all but fired Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to the summit of the Premiership, despite shipping a remarkable 29 goals domestically.

Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur (Left-Wing)

Harry Redknapp has dubbed him as world class and while he may not be of that standard yet, there is no denying that Gareth Bale is an exceptional talent. Has the ability to make it to the very top is just one away from matching his best goal return in a season with just 24 games gone. Quick off the mark and physically phenomenal, the Spurs wide-man has the ability to leave opposition full-backs for dust, an aspect of his game that will prove to be an unrivalled asset against La Liga’s finest.