Last weekend marked the 67th edition of the NBA All-Star game, with the biggest stars of the Western Conference taking on the top players from the Eastern Conference. Premier League fans don’t really have time for that kind of faffing about in the middle of the season, as we’d obviously prefer to watch England jog to a 6-0 win over San Marino in an international friendly. But there’s no harm in speculating, so today we’re going to try and predict who would in an game between two sides made up of Premier League All-Stars.
Like the NBA, we’re going to split the country down the middle, but we’re going for a North / South divide, pitting players from teams in the North West against players from, well …London.
Here’s the lineup for the Northern Conference:
At a glance, it’s really hard to pick faults with this team.
Best goalkeeper in the world? – Check.
A back four of defenders that have been in solid form this season? – 2 out of 4, but Benjamin Mendy and Eric Bailly both looked like world beaters before their respective injuries, so they’re definitely worth a shout.
Creative midfielders? – David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne have been at the forefront of Man City’s success this season, and would probably fit into any team in the world at the moment. Paul Pogba is something of a contentious choice, but it’s hard to deny that on his day, he ticks all of the boxes – plus, if he does decide to stroll around the pitch dabbing and taking selfies, the Spanish Magician and the Ginger Fury will still find a way to dominate.
Energy on the flanks? – Alexis Sanchez hasn’t really found his best position since joining Man United, but his work rate and attacking mentality cannot be faulted. With the likes of Silva and De Bruyne behind him, the Chilean would have little reason to drop deep, and could be utilised as the high-energy attacking threat that we know he can be. Speaking of high-energy, Mohamed Salah has been absolutely phenomenal since he arrived at Anfield last summer. Exciting bursts forward, excellent dribbling skills, quality movement off the ball, and to top it all off he’s banged in 23 league goals.
Clinical striker? – Arguably the best Premier League goalscorer of the last decade, Sergio Aguero has been in fine form this season, and if last week’s League Cup final is anything to go by, he has a habit of making Southerners look a bit silly.
Here is the lineup for the Southern Conference:
Another well balanced side of solid defenders and reliable attacking players.
World Class Goalkeeper? – Second only to David De Gea, Thibaut Courtois is well on his way to becoming one of the best goalies that the Premier League has ever seen. The 25-year-old has proven his worth at both Athletico Madrid and Chelsea, and if the current transfer rumours are true, could be set for a huge money move to Real Madrid come the end of the season.
Solid back four? – Marcos Alonso have been a revelation at Stamford Bridge, providing a reliable defensive presence and adding an attacking impetus from the back of the park. The Spurs duo of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were unbeatable last year. They have the added bonus of forming a strong partnership for the Belgian nation team, and if Alderweireld had not been sidelined with injury for most of the current season, Tottenham would probably be above Man United and Liverpool in the league table. Keiran Trippier is arguabluy the weak link in this back four, but he always seems to put in a good shift. The 27-year-old has really stepped up since the departure of Kyle Walker, and whilst Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin has the potential to be world class, we’re siding with the Englishman.
Balance in the middle of the park? – In Moussa Dembele and N’Golo Kante, you have a perfect mixture of a player that excels on the ball, and a player that excels off the ball. Dembele is a confident, incisive player who can perform well under pressure, and when it comes to recycling play in the middle of the park, few have been better than the box-to-box Belgian this season. N’Golo Kante has plenty of similar qualities to Dembele, but it is his ability to read the game that sets him apart from many of his Premier League contemporaries. Interceptions, tackling, regaining possession – an absolute beast when it comes to cutting out opposition attacks.
Game changing attackers? – Whilst the Southern XI are already in danger of becoming more Belgian than a chocolate waffle, it would be impossible not to include Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The talented winger has been the driving force at Stamford Bridge over the last few seasons, and has the ability to turn a game on its head at a moments notice. Although Mesut Ozil and Christian Eriksen play a similar role for their domestic clubs, it’s hard to keep either player out of the side, so we’re chucking them both in the mix. Ozil gets a lot of stick for being lazy, but he’s usually about three steps ahead of everyone, so we’re going to cut him some slack. With Kante and Dembele behind him he can be as lazy as he wants, just as long as he plays the odd killer pass.
Lovable striker that looks like one of your mates from school? – What more can you say about Harry Kane. You love him, we love him, he’s English, and he’s better than Suarez and Lewandowski combined.
The result: This one is guaranteed to be an utter thriller, but we’ll let you decide who the winner would be.
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the lineups, the outcome, and if you would make any changes to the All-Star sides.