Who are the best left footed players in Premier League history?
If you have ever played football, trying to control and manage things with your left foot never feels comfortable. It’s the same feeling for many professionals however there are a few stars that make using their left foot effortless. Whether it’s launching laser-guided crosses, subtle skills or lashing the ball home, they make it look a lot easier than it actually is. Over the past few decades, the Premier League has seen some of the very best left-footed players in the world strut their stuff. But who are the greatest left-footed players of all time?
There have been fewer players this century deadlier with their left-foot than Arjen Robben. No matter where he was on the pitch, Robben could destroy a team with his left foot. He could launch cross-field passes as well as carry the ball forward on the wing with real ease. However, it was his shots that caused the most problems. Cutting in from the right, Robben would then lash home shots with real swerve and thunderous power. Whilst Robben only spent three years in England with Chelsea, he still found himself a key part of Chelsea’s first two Premier League titles and was selected in the 2004/05 PFA Team of the Year. Robben’s exploits are still best known with the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, it’s still hard to forget about his scintillating moments in English football with Chelsea.
For the best part of the 2000s, Ashley Cole was the best left-back in world football. Having proven himself at the highest levels with both Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole has pretty much won everything there is in football. Cole’s success wasn’t just down to his rapid pace though. His ability to control the ball whilst on surging runs made him a vital outlet down the left flank. Furthermore, Cole’s crossing and passing skills were highly underrated for a defender – one thing that gave Chelsea some particularly strong coverage across the pitch. It’s these qualities that saw Cole nominated in no less than 4 Premier League Team of the Season awards and a place in the Premier League 2020 Seasons squad in 2011.
There has been perhaps no better midfield dynamo than David Silva. What Silva lacked in size, he made up for in skill. Perhaps the best playmaker of the 2010s, Silva could strike a ball so cleanly with his left foot that it always did what he wanted. No matter it was a defence-splitting through-ball or curling a free kick into the top corner from 25yds, Silva could do it. It was why he was Man City’s midfield maestro for a whole decade. It was this skillset that helped him earn 3 Premier League Team of the Season awards and next 60 goals for The Citizens. There was a reason why many people called him ”Merlin”.
No player enjoyed a longer or more decorated career than Ryan Giggs. The main reasons for Giggs’ record-breaking success – his consistency quality on the pitch. There was nothing “The Welsh Wizard” and his left-foot couldn’t do. Just take a look at the goal against Arsenal in the 1998/99 FA Cup Semi-Final to see just how he could single-handedly destroy the best of the best with ease. His mazy runs, accurate finishing and coolness under pressure was a key part of 13 title wins with Manchester United. On his own merit, Giggs is the all-time assists record holder in the Premier League and the only player to score in the league in 21 straight seasons. A true legend of the modern game.
Whilst Mo Salah struggled with Chelsea, he has been nothing less than a superstar for Liverpool. The Egyptian striker is able to just about do anything he wants with the ball. He can stroke it home from the narrowest of angles having already beaten three defenders with fancy tricks and turns. It has made Salah a powerhouse striker and someone who has taken the Premier League by storm. His 32 goals in 36 games in the 2017/18 season is proof of his consistency and 9 PFA Plyer of the Month awards underlines his quality over the entire pitch. It’s no wonder why Salah is often cited to be one of the best African players to emerge in football this century.
It’s almost crazy to think that Gareth Bale started his career as a defender considering how successful he was in attack with Spurs. What made Bale such a dangerous player was his ability to generate such spin on the ball. It was why the Welshman was such a dangerous set-piece take with both his corners and free kicks almost impossible to read – yet remaining deadly accurate. This, mixed with Bale’s speed, made him a nightmare for any opponent to deal with. His 21 goals in 33 games during the 2012/13 season showcased why he became one of the world’s best players of the 2010s and his 3 consecutive Premier League Team of the Year nominations from 2009-2012 was further evidence of this.
Robin Van Persie
If you needed a spectacular moment, you could always rely on Robin Van Persie to provide with. The Dutchman earned his reputation by producing countless memorable strikes with his left foot. Whether it was that flying volley for Arsenal against Charlton in 2004 or his crazy overhead kick for United against Swansea in 2013, there was never a dull moment with RVP on the pitch. With Van Persie also able to strike the ball with sheer venom, most goalkeepers never stood a chance if the shot was on target. The fact that he scored over 140 goals in the Premier League over 10 seasons underlines Van Persie’s status as one of the best left footed players to ever feature in the Premier League.