Another year and another decade draws to a close. It’s been a hugely eventful ten years of Premier League action filled goals, drama and some terrific tantrums. But what will come out on top in our Premier League awards of the 2010s?
Best team – Manchester City
They won’t keep the title for much longer but Manchester City will finish the decade as Premier League champions having won four of ten possible titles in the 2010s.
Players like Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have written their names into Premier League folklore as some of the finest ballers ever to grace the division. Their 2017/18 title win, landing the highest points total of all time, arguably makes them the finest Premier League side of all time.
Best manager – Pep Guardiola
It couldn’t be anyone else. The Spaniard has changed the face of English football in a way that only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have done before him.
He will end the decade with an absurd Premier League win rate of 75%, Sir Alex Ferguson’s 69% the next best. Sure, he’s had the funds to do what he wants but so did Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and look how that ended.
Best player – David Silva
Fear not, this isn’t going to become a Manchester City love in. I’m just getting them out of the way.
The Mercurial playmaker has won the hearts and minds of football purists across the lands since joining Manchester City in 2010 for what must be the best spent £26m in football history.
Is Silva the most gifted technical player ever to grace English football? Quite possibly. His 89 Premier League assists are 27 more than Christian Eriksen in second place.
Rags to riches award – Jamie Vardy
He spent the first two years of the 2010s plying his trade for Fleetwood Town in the Conference Premier. He will end it a Premier League winner. The side he captains, Leicester, sit second in the league table and Vardy is four clear at the top of the Premier League Golden Boot race at the age of 33. His rise is truly one of the greatest in football history.
Most appearances – Jordan Henderson (308)
Fair play to Jordan Henderson. Often made the scapegoat by fans for poor England and Liverpool performances, a succession of domestic and international managers have seen something else. Ignoring the obvious lack of flair for the influence and control Henderson exerts over his teammates.
He will be rewarded for a decade of toil by captaining Liverpool to a first ever Premier League title, adding to last season’s Champions League trophy. Could a European Championship victory follow that? Not according to Jason Pettigrove.
Henderson narrowly edges out James Milner and Ben Foster with an impressive 306 apiece.
Best feel good story – Leicester City
If Jamie Vardy is the greatest rags to riches story of the decade, then Leicester City’s title win is arguably the greatest underdog story in the history of sport.
With Manchester City and Liverpool’s magnificence in the later half of the decade so overwhelming, there is a danger that people are beginning to forget just what a magnificent achievement Leicester accomplished in 2015/16. Don’t let it, it might never happen again.
Best meltdown – Nigel Pearson
Pep Guardiola’s touchline histrionics were a late contender for this award but they were too obvious, too dramatic. No, we prefer the subtle rage that burnt in the eyes of Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson when he accused a journalist of being an ostrich for having the audacity to question him. Watch for yourself.
? Throwback to Nigel Pearson’s rant at a journalist whilst he was @LCFC manager:
? “If you don’t know the answer to that question, then I think you are an ostrich.”
? “I think you’re either being very, very silly or you’re being absolutely stupid.”
? Bizarre. pic.twitter.com/XoUqH7XfJg
— SPORF (@Sporf) September 28, 2019
Best signing – Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
There might be better value signings than the world’s most expensive defender (until Harry Maguire outdid him) but none have had such a transformative as the Dutch colossus.
When Van Dijk joined Liverpool for a world record fee of £75 million on January 1st 2018, The Reds hadn’t won a domestic cup since 2012, a European trophy since 2005 or a league title since 1990. Two years on and they are the reigning European Champions and look destined to finally break their Premier League curse in 2020.
Admittedly Van Dijk is blessed by a fantastic supporting cast but the Dutchman has galvanised Liverpool into one of the best, and most ruthless, teams in Premier League history.
Worst signing – Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)
A swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw Sanchez make the move to Old Trafford in 2018 and Jose Mourinho had high hopes for the Chilean winger. Picking up an eye-watering £400,000 per week, Sanchez played 32 times for United scoring a pitiful 3 goals. He came, he saw, he did bugger all.
Rivalled to this award by Angel Di Maria (Manchester United, £67m), Fred ( Manchester United, £53m), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United, £38m) and Morgan Schneiderlin (£32m). Christ, United really need to stay away from that chequebook.
The Poirot award for detective work – Coleen Rooney
It was an innocuous Wedneday morning in October 2019. There was nothing particularly interesting going on and certainly no sign of an incoming storm. All of a sudden, Coleen Rooney published a Tweet that set the internet ablaze. Read here for the full, hilarious story.
Worst haircut – Gervinho
There have been some truly shocking barnets in the Premier League over the years but Gervinho has to win this one. Sometimes life is just about accepting a lost cause for what it is, a lost cause.
— ????Arnold ???? (@Chinx91Official) October 25, 2016
Biggest shithouse – Diego Costa
When we put him in our alternative team of the decade, we wrote this;
“For three glorious seasons, Diego Costa proved himself as the finest footballing s***house that this country has ever seen.
During his time at Chelsea his list of newsworthy incidents could be a standalone blog. The highlights include abducting Antonio Conte from a press conference, threatening journalists with a fire extinguisher, playing with John Terry’s bum, pouring Lucozade into his own eyes during an interview and slapping Laurent Koscielny. He received 26 yellow cards in just 89 league games and was dubbed the dirtiest player in the league.”
Superb player, terrible bloke.
Best commitment to a grudge – Jose Mourinho
You can cross Jose Mourinho once but cross him twice and he’ll never let it drop.
After his hugely successful first spell in charge ended in 2007, Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge for a second stint in 2013. It ended acrimoniously two years later following a controversial incident involving Mourinho’s public criticism, and Chelsea’s subsequent constructive dismissal, of team doctor Eva Carneiro.
Since then, Mourinho has been on a one man mission to get back at The Blues in any way he can. If managing title rivals Manchester United wasn’t viewed as enough of a betrayal by Chelsea supporters, taking over at their most hated rivals Tottenham would certainly do it. At this point you get the feeling that the Portuguese would be happy to manage anybody as long as he is trolling Chelsea.
Award for commitment to top banter – Richard Keys
Doing his best to channel everybody’s least favourite creepy uncle, Sky Sports pundit Richard Keys made the news in 2011 when a recording of him and Andy Gray found its way to the newspapers.
Seemingly unhappy about the impending Premier League debut of female linesman Sian Massey-Ellis, the pair’s conversation was Trump 101. We should teach her the offside rule Andy. Whey! Women don’t understand offside Richard. Banter.
When the recording came to light, Andy Gray was sacked and Richard Keys promptly resigned. Despite apologising, Keys wasn’t happy. Rather than just letting it go, he then doubled down in a TV interview in which he suggested that dark forces had been at work and that “it was all just banter”.
When your excuse is that you are The Archbishop of Banterbury, you know you’re in the wrong. Having failed to work in Britain since though, you could argue that Keys has been sent to Bantanamo Bay.
Got it from the Richard Keys school of banter pic.twitter.com/B0GQKGdFdB
— Lawrence Denne (@LawrenceDenne97) January 14, 2019
The ‘stick to your day job’ award – Wayne Rooney
Is Wayne Rooney one of the greatest footballers in the history of the Premier League and the England National Team? Yes. Is he a better boxer than Phil Bardsley? No. When the pair decided to have a spar in Rooney’s kitchen in 2015, there was no need for the judges’ scorecards.
Rooney getting decked by Phil Bardsley 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Pnnw7ea7rO
— Sports Funnies (@SportsFunnies) December 28, 2018