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100 Greatest Premiership Players, 40-31

30_copy_10Down down, deeper and down we go in our search to find the 100 Greatest Premiership Players. Previous instalments can be found here: 100-51 and 50-41.

Today it's the turn of Nos. 40-31. And still no sign of Brian Deane…

100 Greatest Premiership Players, 40-31 continued…

(Arsenal 1997-2000, Chelsea 2001-04)
Petit3 Manu Petit's midfield pairing with Patrick Vieira is one of the greatest in Premiership history. Petit won the Double in his first season at Arsenal – no coincidence – and also scored in the 1998 World Cup final, for France against Brazil. Shame about his My Little Ponytail.

(Tottenham Hotspur 1994-95 & 1998)
Jurgenklinsmann Jurgen the German didn't hang around for long in England (and he should never have returned to White Hart Lane), but he managed to convince a nation that he was actually a decent chap, thanks to his ability to score world-class goals and the witty goal celebration which mocked his own reputation as a diver. Here's a clip of his top five goals for Spurs, which, handily, features said goal celebration:

(Chelsea 1998-)
Jterry Terry is the archetypal English central defender, continuing in the muddy footsteps of Terry Butcher and Tony Adams. He can bring the ball out of defence or pick a pass, he scores goals and he's probably the best defender of aerial balls in the world. He's already lifted two Premiership trophies, he's now the captain of his country and he's still only 25. Legendary status awaits, provided Roman Abramovich continues to bankroll Chelsea.

(Leeds Utd 1997-99, Chelsea 2000-04, Middlesbrough 2004-06, Charlton Athletic 2006-)
Jhasselbaink1Jimmy doesn't hang aound for long. Charlton Athletic is his ninth professional club and we wouldn't be surprised if he made it to ten before he retires. If the Dutchman has a reputation as something of a footballing mercenary, then it's only fair that we point to his reputation as a powerful goal scorer with one of the fiercest shots in football. He scored 23 goals in all competitions in his first Premiership season, with Leeds in 1997, so it didn't exactly take him long to get used to English football.

(Man Utd 1992-1998, Middlesbrough 1998-2001)
_41357852_pallister203 It took Pally a season or two to start repaying the record £2.3m (for a defender) that Alex Ferguson spent on bringing him to Old Trafford. But once he had established himself at the heart of United's defence, there was no shifting him. During his time at United he won four Premiership titles, three FA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and one League Cup. A classy defender who deserved to win more than 22 England caps.

(Man City 1995-96, Derby County 2000-02)
Kinkladze Kinky was one of the greatest players to ever wear the sky blue jersey and in many ways he's the definitive Premiership cult hero – in other words, he didn't win anything (in fact, he couldn't prevent a poor City side being relegated in his first season) but that didn't matter because he played the game in a thrilling, wildly inconsistent manner which endeared him to all football fans. For every player with a cabinet full of trophies (Arsenal and Man Yoo's stars, mainly), there's a Giorgi Kinkladze. This is what he was capable of:

(Leeds Utd 1995-97)
Yeboah Like Kinkladze, Yeboah won sweet FA in England, but we still remember him fondly, Leeds fans particularly. If you wanted spectacular, 'Goal of the Season' screamers, Tony was your man. He didn't do tap-ins. It seemed like he was only capable of scoring from 35 yards out. A bit like these…

(Arsenal 1992-2000, West Ham Utd 2000-03)
_38124676_srwinterburn150 Adams, Dixon, Bould/Keown, Winterburn. And the greatest of these is… well, not Winterburn, although you have to admire his resoluteness, longevity and tenacity. His legacy as one quarter of English football's meanest back four is assured. Btw, Wikipedia (not the most reliable of sources) seems to think that Arsenal fans nicknamed him 'Psycho Squirrel' – is this true?

01027822843200 32 DAVID GINOLA
(Newcastle Utd 1995-97, Tottenham Hotspur 1997-2000, Aston Villa 2001-02, Everton 2002)
Ginola was a scarily talented winger (on his day, he was as good as compatriot Eric Cantona), but football fans never took him seriously, because of the 'L'Oreal shampoo ad' side of his character. Ginola seemed too vain and, frankly, too damn good-looking to be a great footballer. If he looked more like Peter Beardsley, perhaps we'd think more highly of him.

(Arsenal 1998-)
Freddie_ljungberg Freddie scored on his Arsenal debut, against Man Utd, assuring him of instant hero status among Gunners fans. Since then he's given the Arse many seasons of reliable service. He's a difficult player to categorise, because he's so versatile. The best way we can describe him is to say that he's somehow much, much greater than the sum of his parts. He's also Arsenal's current longest-serving player.

Tune in tomorrow for Nos 30-21

October 31, 2006 in Lists | Permalink


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