During this interlull period, I thought I’d take the opportunity to have some fun on BK. If you look at every team in the Premier League, you could say that each club is built on the foundation of three players (some teams obviously have more than three, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume only three). These three players can be seen as the integral pieces of the team, as without them, the respective clubs would lose their established identity, or not have accomplished as much success this season (and seasons past in some cases).
The following is an entirely subjective list that I believe contains the three key players at each club, with additional cases easily being made for the players in brackets:
Arsenal – Wilshere, Cazorla and Walcott
Aston Villa – Benteke, Clark, Vlaar (Guzan or Westwood)
Chelsea – Lampard, Mata, A.Cole (Cech or Hazard)
Everton – Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar (Howard)
Fulham – Berbatov, Hangeland, Schwarzer (Ruiz)
Liverpool – Suarez, Gerrard, G.Johnson (Reina)
Man City – Hart, Yaya Toure, Kompany (Silva or Aguero)
Man Utd – van Persie, Rooney, Vidic (Evra)
Newcastle – Sissoko, Krul, Cabaye (Ben Arfa or Coloccini)
Norwich – Snodgrass, Ruddy, Holt
QPR – Cesar, Remy, Taarabt
Reading – McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Federici
Southampton – Lambert, Schneiderlin, Ramirez (Boruc)
Stoke – Begovic, Shawcross, Huth (Walters)
Sunderland – Mignolet, Sessegnon, O’Shea (Fletcher or Cuellar)
Swansea – Michu, A.Williams, Vorm
Tottenham – Bale, Lloris, Vertonghen
West Brom – Foster, Olsson, Long (McAuley, Lukaku or Morrison)
West Ham – Jaaskelainen, Diame, Nolan (O’Brien)
Wigan – Kone, Al Habsi, Maloney
I am not claiming that teams with players listed in brackets have more than three players that construct the foundation of their respective teams, but that not being a fan of their respective clubs, I’m not totally sure if one is of greater importance than the three I listed.
Regardless, the point of this article is not to debate the players I’ve listed for each club (some clubs were incredibly difficult to even distinguish three important players), but to establish which player you would want most from any other team in the Premier League (to complement the three I’ve listed for our club), aside from the three players I’ve listed for each team.
For Arsenal, I have chosen Jack and Santi as centerpieces for our club for obvious reasons – they are by far the most skilled players on our side and when at their best, lead this team in providing our attack with shape and purpose. Without Jack and Santi, we’d definitely be a mid-table side lacking creative instincts; and they both are the closest things to world-class talents at Arsenal.
However, I struggled with the third key player, since based on history and past seasons, the honour could have easily been bestowed upon Sagna, Vermaelen or Koscielny.
Nacho is still too new to this team and there is debate among many supporters as to whether he or Gibbs should be first choice. If Szczesny or Ox were ever to meet their high potentials, or Gibbs or Diaby were ever able to consistently stay fit/healthy, each one would also be included in the discussion of our third most crucial player. With that said, I went with Theo simply because he is leading our team in goals and assists (tied with Santi and Podolski in each category respectively), is capable of providing quality crosses, and his pace makes him a terror for opposing defenders.
Personally, my choice to complement the trio of Wilshere, Cazorla and Walcott would be Matija Nastasic from Manchester City.
The modern game demands that defenders be as comfortable playing the ball as they are with clearing it; Nastasic is the epitome of a ball-playing center half, who is rarely beaten by either pace or fancy dribbling/ball control. With a tackle win percentage of 96% (top in the league), a successful clearance percentage of 59% (top 10 in the PL), only 1 error leading to a shot (tied in 2nd among defenders in the PL) and 0 errors leading to goals and no own goals (top in the PL); it’s easy to see why Nastasic is a viable candidate.
Of course, the case could be made against Nastasic that it’s easy to be a top defender when you’re playing with steady, veteran players in Kompany, Zabaleta and Clichy beside you, and a world-class keeper in Joe Hart, behind you. However, watching Nastasic play this season, I can honestly give him full credit for further stabilizing the City back line, and not just being a product of an already stable back four/five.
What makes Nastasic’s accomplishments even more outstanding, is the fact that he’s accomplished incredible statistics for a defender at the tender age of 19, and who is in his first season of one of the top leagues in the world. In addition, he is playing in one of the most demanding positions mentally, and is constantly challenged by some of the best attackers in the world.
Now, I would like to open the floor to the rest of you. Do you believe the three players I’ve listed for Arsenal make up the foundation for our team? If not, who do you believe should take their place?
And who would you like to see at Arsenal from any of the other clubs in the EPL, excluding the players I’ve listed (however, you can choose from the players in brackets)?
Written by: Highbury Harmony.