The XI: Popular Premier League players

Ollie Irish

25th, August 2009


After posting up our Unpopular XI, here’s the flip side of the coin, namely the Prem’s good guys

Shay Given (Man City)

Never heard a bad word said about him. Oh, and he’s world-class. Popular and brilliant at his job? A rare combination in football.
Steve Finnan (Portsmouth)
Just a decent, honest pro. You could take him home to meet your mother and he wouldn’t merk her.

Ryen Nelsen (Blackburn)
A very hard player, but utterly fair. Compared with so many of the Premier League’s pampered babies, Blackburn’s skipper is a man among boys.
John O’Shea (Man Utd)
You can’t deny that the mischievous (goofy, almost) side of O’Shea’s character makes him very likeable. He’s the sort of player you could imagine sharing a few jars of Guinness with.
Matty Taylor (Bolton)
One of the smarter English footballers. He comes across as a thoroughly nice guy.
Jimmy Bullard (Hull)
Perhaps he’s not quite so popular after his cash-motivated move from Fulham to Hull, but he’s still more than enough of a lovable character to walk into this XI.
Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool)
See Finnan, above: Kuyt is just a reliable, honest pro who will never make the headlines for the wrong reasons. Translation: you won’t catch him getting pissed up in a cheesy bar, arguing over the DJ’s choice of music.
Mikel Arteta (Everton)
Terrific player and modest with it. Plus he’s a terrific bloke too, by all accounts. Even some Kopites like him.
Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)
Everyone loves a bit of the Meerkat. Just look at his cheeky little sexist face.
Eduardo (Arsenal)
Since that tackle, everyone has had a soft spot for Eduardo – it’s great to see the positive way he’s battled back from a potentially career-ending injury.

Peter Crouch (Spurs)
In what sort of crazy world is Crouchinho allowed to date Abigail Clancey?? I don’t know, but I like it. Good on you Crouchy, living the dream for all the awkward, gangly blokes in the world.

Manager: Gianfranco Zola (West Ham)

Who else? EVERYONE in the world loves Franco.
OK, so who’d I miss. And who doesn’t deserve to be on the list?

Posted in Featured, Top 10s & lists

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  1. AFJ says:

    Woy Hodgson

  2. Usama says:

    Didier….oh wait.

  3. Peter says:

    I can’t believe that you chose Gary Megson for the Unpopular XI manager when you could have had Phil Brown, Rafael Benitez or Alex Ferguson. As regards this list I would add Graham Alexander, Robbie Blake or possibly Rory Delap. Also as manager I feel you are spot on with Zola but Burnleys manager Owen Coyle simply for turning down Celtic and all their money to help Burnley succeed in the Premier League. Perfect list really.

  4. SWFC says:

    Anyone else think that this team would easily beat the Unpopulat team. This team is quite brilliant.

  5. Peter says:

    I can’t believe I forgot PHIL JAGIELKA. What a class act and a brilliant defender who when playing for Sheff Utd played in every position (really). Against Arsenal with United up 1-0 he played in goal and the scoreline stayed the same. Brilliant player and a brilliant guy.

  6. Tim says:

    Super Luka Modric!

  7. Ollie says:

    Ah, Jags! Shit, forgot him. Let’s say he’s on the bench.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Eighty grand a week Arshavin’s complaints about the British tax system showed what an utter shit he is. I’m “unpleasantly surprised” he’s included here and hope his pinched little face takes a whack sometime soon.
    As a kid, Portsmouth’s Hermann Hreidarsson took part in ‘Puffin Patrols’, rescuing young puffins confused by street lamps when leaving their burrows for the first time.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Eighty grand a week Arshavin’s complaints about the British tax system showed what an utter shit he is. I’m “unpleasantly surprised” he’s included here and hope his pinched little face takes a whack sometime soon.
    As a kid, Portsmouth’s Hermann Hreidarsson took part in ‘Puffin Patrols’, rescuing young puffins confused by street lamps when leaving their burrows for the first time.

  10. Sheps says:

    What about Frank Lampard after his radio rant last season? Certainly earnt a lot of respect for that

  11. Philando Torres says:

    Essien? Possibly the only Chelsea player of the last 5 or 6 years who doesn’t have that “my dick is considerably bigger than yours” arrogance.

  12. Adamus says:

    didnt steve finnan kill a granny in his car?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Arshavin should definitely be there!
    Bofore I read the article I could think of only one player who should be there for sure…
    And I was almost shocked that he wasn’t, as he is in the end
    Nice one Ollie

  14. Delboy says:

    Pepe Reina: Utterly mental but a seemingly nice fella otherwise (see his Youtube plane antics after Euro 2008!). Kevin Doyle for the same reasons as O’Shea & Given. Brad Friedel for being as old as God’s dog & looking like Hellboy but still at the top of his game and likeable despite his nationality!

  15. fedrow says:

    Hermann should most definitely be in there (or on the bench) for his 100% commitment and crazy antics. Nutcase!

  16. Michael says:

    Fabregas, Torres, and Theo Walcott deserve honorable mentions at the very least.
    O’Shea? Why? It’s a popular list right? Not a “players who don’t offend you very much” list.

  17. K says:

    Yeah, the only bad thing about Shae is that he plays for a bunch of greedy scum bastards. Top bloke apart from that though.
    And Fabregas and Torres especially do NOT deserve an honorable mention as Michael said. They’re both too mouthy and Fabregas is hardly the patriot saint of loyalty.

  18. undertaker says:

    Ryan Giggs maybe ? Never heard anything or anyone against him…I’m sure his loyalty is well regarded amongst rival team supporters too…maybe you should have had a bench too yea

  19. Chringle says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot/man crush for Jussi Jaaaaaskelaaainnen.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fabregas and Torres? Yeah, no. Fabregas has gotten a lot of shit for the ~alleged~ spitting incident. Plus, he did spit in Ballack’s face, I’ve seen some Chelsea fans that are still pissed about that. He’s a captain at 22 which is silly since we all know his heart lies with Barca. A few more trophyless years with Arsenal and he’ll go back home. As for Torres, I know plenty of even non-Mancs who hate his rat face so, even though he’s a great player and a decent guy, no way would he make the popular XI.

  21. soccer goals says:

    Bullard should bolster the squad with Altidore playing so well.

  22. Fredmeister says:

    Whilst I have a lot of respect for Given, I probably wouldnt have him in this team over Juusi or Robert “Englands No 6” Green.
    great shout on Eduardo, Arteta etc. Samba over Nelson.

  23. marjul says:

    thanks for the good shout for Eduardo, he is truly an edfying MAN (skillfull player as in no complain, great father,a proud husband and a thoughtful believer of his faith )His injury humbled him in anyway.

  24. marjul says:

    In fairness of Fabregas, we are all Patriotic, he is driven by his love of football taht makes him choose where he is is not because of the place, it is where we can plant our seed and grow and bear fruits…good fruits, oneday we immigrants will comprehensibly be uprooted to where we belong….HOME!

  25. Honestly, I hate John O’Shea. Not sure why, just do.

  26. u75 says:

    I hate John O’Shea too.

  27. Matt says:

    oh c’mon. Peter Crouch is nowhere near being nice. Haven’t you heard the Nachos anecdote on Football Weekly?

  28. Keano says:

    Ryan Giggs? The bloke never got a red card in his entire Manchester United career!!

  29. Hopkins says:

    Agree with Keano, Ryan Giggs for sure. Never heard a bad word about him. A legend of the game, respected and liked by mostly all sets of supporters

  30. Allan says:

    Isn’t Ryan Giggs the guy who stole a teammate’s gal? it must be him . I hate him

  31. mizmam says:

    matt taylor is not nice. he is a little prick.

  32. Shocked says:

    I can’t stand Ashavin and no Giggs!!!???
    Goto give it up for Crouch though Abby’s the hottest of the WAG!

  33. Mikey says:

    Michael Owen seems to be a good chap. OK I am sure there are a few Liverpool supporters who probably think he is a traitor…but to the rest he’s ok …ain’t he?

  34. dirty dave says:

    i would befriend crouchy just so i can sleep with abbey. get in!

  35. JJ says:

    After that horrendous dive today that derailed Celtic I’d be hard pressed to put Eduardo on any popularity lists especially in Scotland.

  36. Ashley says:

    Oh the irony. you name check Eduardo as popular and he takes a little dive that and now everyone apart from Arsenal and Rangers fans hate him. Celtic shouldn’t feel too hard done by though – they were on their way out anyhow

  37. Jingo says:

    Shay Given? I too thought he was well respected until West Ham beat Newcastle at Upton Park 4-1 last season (when Given was still at newcastle obviously). When we scored, Given punted the ball into the crowd as soon as it came out of the net, breaking a west ham fans glasses and as you could imagine giving him a bit of a sore head.
    I dont think he ever apologized.

  38. Andre says:

    I would put Yossi Benayoun on this list.

  39. Aaron says:

    Where’s Joe COle ?????????

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