Surprise Package: Premier League’s Best Spanish XI At Present
The total number of Spanish players in the Premier League has been on the rise for the past decade. A trickle which started with the likes of Nayim, Albert Ferrer and Marcelino before 2001, has become a torrent as Spanish football’s popularity and fissionability has risen.
From 13 Spaniards featuring in the whole of 2007/08, 29 have already played this season, with that tally rising every year bar 2014/15 when there was something of a mini exodus.
Goals and assists by Spaniards are correspondingly on the rise. After 13 games this season there have almost been as many assists by Spanish players as there were in 2007/08, and already nearly half the tally reached last season.
There have been 12 instances of Spanish players winning Premier League medals but only three were in the first 19 Premier League seasons.
Let’s take a look at a team comprised of the best Spaniards that the Premier League has to offer.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
One of the best goalkeepers in world football and certainly the best in the Premier League, David de Gea gets in as the best goalkeeper.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
Another contender for the best in the world in his position, Hector Bellerin has exhibited his express pace and outstanding recovery again this season.
Centre-backs: Cesar Azpilicueta and Nacho Monreal
The first of two full-back-turned-centre-backs in this composite XI, Azpilicueta has thrived in Antonio Conte’s new three-man defence, ably fitting into the centre-half role.
Monreal had a spell at centre-half in the 2014/15 season during which time he tuned his defensive capabilities to a fine art. This has led to the security he now offers the Gunners at left-back.
Left-back: Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso arrived from Fiorentina this summer with Conte’s new formation in mind and his adaptability as a wing-back sees him clinch the spot on the left of defence. Along with Victor Moses, he has ensured Chelsea’s wings are well defended.
Central midfielders: Santi Cazorla and Oriol Romeu
Now at Southampton, former Chelsea midfielder Romeu has been the unsung hero for the Saints so far this season, providing defensive stability from the centre of the park.
Santi Cazorla’s distribution from deep for Arsenal makes them tick and he has been conspicuous by his absence in recent times due to injury.
The former Barcelona man has been in stellar form for Chelsea as Conte made the switch to three up top. His tenacity and pace was best exhibited by his early goal in his side’s 4-0 thumping of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Attacking midfield: Juan Mata
Having proven Mourinho wrong at Manchester United, Mata is now earning back all the credibility he lost when sold by the Portuguese at Chelsea.
Left-midfield: David Silva
Often utilised out on the left for City when the middle of the park gets crowded, there are few better midfielders in the league than David Silva. A supreme footballer and an experienced head to have in any team.
Striker: Diego Costa
The league’s current top scorer and one of the most ferocious players ever to grace the division, Costa is up there with Sergio Aguero as one of the Premier League’s world-class centre-forwards.