By Alan Duffy
What with Monsieur Alain Pardeaux deciding to set up a rather well-stocked French Quarter on Tyneside (which is all the more amusing considering this gem of a quote from 2006 ), Pies have decided to give up a best French XI from the annals of the Premier League.
This is the first in a series, by the way, as we delve deep into the archives – well, as far back as 1992 – to bring you 11 fine specimens from a different country each week (or so).
By the way, this is not necessarily an XI of the best French players to play in the Premier League, rather the French players who played best in the Premier League – if you see what I mean?
So enjoy, and let us know what you think…
GK: Fabian Barthez – Look beyond the Bruce Groobelaar-esque tomfoolery, the smoking and the occasional apocalyptic error and you have a very decent ‘keeper who won two Premier League titles with Manchester United (to add to his French World Cup triumph). Also, bear in mind, none of the other French ‘keepers to play in the Premier League have been anything to write home about (Hugo Lloris hasn’t played enough games for proper analysis).
RB: Bacary Sagna – Not enjoying the best form of his career at the moment, Bacary Sagna has still been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers, and one of the best right-backs in the Premier League, since he made the move to north London from Auxerre in 2007. Indeed, he has arguably been a key man in making sure the Gunners finishing in the top four every season since.
CB: Sylvain Distin – A classy, often under-rated player, has been one of the most consistent centre-halves in the Premier League since starting his English career with Newcastle. Since then he has also played for Man City, Portsmouth and Everton, making a total of 397 appearances – more than any other foreign outfield player in Premier League history. Has been a rock for David Moyes with Everton and continues to be one of the best central defenders in the top tier.
CB: William Gallas – Has played for the London triumvirate of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham during a fine career in England. However, it is his time with the Blues where he really shone, forming a superb partner with John Terry in central defence as Jose Mourinho’s side won the title in 2004/05 and 2005/06. Didn’t enjoy the best of times at Arsenal after being part of a shock swap deal with Ashley Cole but he continues to flourish (in a roundabout way) in England at White Hart Lane.
LB: Patrice Evra – Not the most popular person outside of Old Trafford, both in England and back home in France, the athletic left-back has still