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Who would make an all London Premier League XI?

Ruari Macneil

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Photo: Getty Images

With the PFA Team of the Year having been recently named, we are taking the chance to reflect back on the season to see who would make a London Premier League XI if such a thing existed.

With five teams out of the 20 in the top flight all from London, including three of the strongest in Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, there would be huge competition for places in a London-based side, with tricky decisions to make in all areas of the pitch.

Nevertheless, here are the individuals we believe would make a London Premier League XI…

Goalkeeper – Hugo Lloris

With Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois as close competition, Huge Lloris is named as shot-stopper simply due to Tottenham’s superior defensive record.

All thee goalkeepers are highly talented, and considered among the best in the world. However, Lloris’s consistency in a Tottenham shirt since his move to England has been quite remarkable.

The current club captain, the Frenchman has nearly 100 caps for his country and has barely missed a game in the last six seasons for Spurs.

Right Back – Hector Bellerin

Spanish international right-back Hector Bellerin is the only Arsenal inclusion in this team with the Gunners have suffered yet another highly disappointing season in what is set to be Arsene Wenger’s final campaign in North London.

Bellerin has been a constant in the Arsenal side and has been linked with a move away from the club with the Gunners having somewhat stagnated in terms of development, looking nothing more than a team challenging for fifth or sixth place.

Regardless, Bellerin’s lethal pace makes him a handful for any opposing full-back and he gains inclusion in this London XI.

Centre Back – Jan Vertonghen

Mr. Clean Sheet, Jan Vertonghen has played in every game besides one that Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in this season.

Along with Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, the Belgian is one of the club’s most valuable players and, with Toby Alderweireld‘s future in doubt, his importance has only grown stronger.

The 99-capped international has once again proven his worth to Spurs through his dedicated performances, whether partnered with Davinson Sanchez or Alderweireld.

Little seems to phase the 30-year-old who made it into the PFA Team of the Year for the second time in his career this year.

Centre Back –  Cesar Azpilicueta

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has enjoyed yet another terrific season at Stamford Bridge and has really grown into his position as a club stalwart under Antonio Conte.

The Spaniard has played in all but one of Chelsea’s league fixtures and, had the Blues enjoyed a stronger season, perhaps the 28-year-old would have been in with a shout for the PFA team proper.

Nevertheless, Azpilicueta has proved to be an invaluable asset to Chelsea over the years and would be an obvious choice for captain if Gary Cahill leaves the club.

Left Back – Marcos Alonso

Another member of this XI who was named in the actual PFA Team of the Year, Marcos Alonso is the third Spaniard in this back four.

The Chelsea left-back has been terrific since joining the Blues and his set-piece ability brings added value to any side he is a part of.

Alonso has netted more goals than any defender in the Premier League this season and is an invaluable component of the Chelsea side.

Central Midfield – Mousa Dembele

It feels like this season Mousa Dembele has transitioned from being one of the league’s most underrated stars to one of the most respected central midfielders in Europe.

The Belgian ace has been dominant for Spurs in all competitions and has proven himself to be one of the key members of Pochettino’s side who keeps the team ticking over.

Spurs can look lost sometimes without Dembele in the midfield and, after his wonderful showing this term, the club will be looking to do all they can to hold on to their star.

Central Midfield – N’Golo Kante

The PFA Player’s Player of the Year last season, Kante has once again been a huge player for Chelsea, and remains one of the most complete midfielders in world football.

Having been crowned Premier League champions with Leicester and then Chelsea, in the last two seasons, this term was always going to be difficult to follow up with.

Despite not winning the league, Kante still has a chance of silverware with the FA Cup final to play.

Left Wing – Eden Hazard

The third Belgian star in this XI, Eden Hazard is the type of player who can go and win a game on his own for his team, and he has proven that once again this season.

The 27-year-old has 16 goals to his name so far this term and is arguably the most valuable player at his club, performing to such a high level week in week out, unmatched by most players in the league.

Like every summer window, Hazard will no doubt be attracting interest and Chelsea will do well to hold on to their star, especially with the likelihood of Champions League football looking pretty thin next year.

Central Attacking Midfield – Christian Eriksen

Tottenham’s Danish star Christian Eriksen is probably the unsung hero of the North London club.

He is by no means underrated but, with Harry Kane banging in the goals each week, dominating the headlines, he probably does not receive the amount of credit that he deserves.

Throughout the season he has proven to be the most important player for Spurs, perhaps even more so than top scorer Kane.

The fact that Eriksen has created 35 scoring opportunities for his English teammate this season not only proves his significance to the whole team, but also to Kane specifically.

Without Eriksen, Spurs’ talisman may not experience quite the same scoring feats that he has in recent seasons.

Right Wing – Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min has really grown into his own this year and is enjoying the best season of his career to date.

One of the most humble players in the Premier League, the South Korean star has nearly reached 20 goals for the season for the second year running.

Whether deployed in a central or wide role, nothing seems to phase Son, whose tireless work for his side has not gone unnoticed by fans, pundits and journalists, alike.

His importance to the Spurs attack is not far behind the likes Kane and Eriksen.

Centre Forward – Harry Kane

This season’s PFA team of the year centre-forward Harry Kane picks himself for this XI.

The Englishman has enjoyed his best scoring form of any season in his career to date, with over 35 goals, and is a close contender for top scorer alongside Mohamed Salah.

Still only 24, Kane is now widely considered as arguably the best striker in Europe and rightly so.

His goals against Real Madrid and Juventus this term prove he can cut it at the highest level, and it feels only a matter of time until he leads his club to silverware.

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

Arsenal

One winner and one loser as Arsenal set to retain Nacho Monreal

Arsenal’s decision to keep Monreal will have a major impact on the squad.

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Monreal
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New Arsenal boss Unai Emery is overseeing considerable changes at the Emirates Stadium this summer but the services of Nacho Monreal will be retained.

Highly-linked with a move to LaLiga side Real Sociedad, Mundo Deportivo now state the Basque side have ended their pursuit of the 32-year-old as Arsenal want to keep him at the club and would demand a significant price for the full-back.

Having entered the final 12 months of his contract, the former Malaga man is unlikely to remain at Arsenal for the long-term but the decision to keep the Spain international for the 2018-19 season will have a major impact on the squad.

Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the latest developments.

Winner: Joel Lopez

Arsenal are set to sign 16-year-old full-back Joel Lopez from the clutches of Barcelona, the Evening Standard states, and will sign a scholarship deal with the Gunners before securing his first professional deal next March when he turns 17.

The highly-rated teenager will join Arsenal’s U18 ranks and will then look to develop into a first-team asset for the Gunners, following in the footsteps of compatriot Hector Bellerin, and Monreal’s experience could provide a key learning curve.

Boasting 22 Spain caps, Monreal is the ideal role model for a young player like Lopez and can help craft the teenager into his long-term replacement.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Loser: Sead Kolasinac

Signed on a free transfer from Schalke last summer, WhoScored stats show Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal shared first-team responsibilities last season as the Bosnian appeared 27 times in the Premier League and Monreal featuring on 28 occasions.

However, just ten of those appearances came in Kolasinac’s preferred position at left-back as Monreal was first-choice for the Gunners on the left-side of defence and that is likely to remain the case in 2018-19 under Unai Emery.

While Kolasinac’s versatility is a tremendous asset to the squad, it limits the 25-year-old in his quest to become one of the first names on the team-sheet and Goal state that Arsenal will eye a new signing if Monreal leaves, suggesting Emery does not rate Kolasinac that highly.

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Arsenal

Free agent Max Meyer would be Arsenal’s ideal Aaron Ramsey replacement

The Gunners would suffer a huge loss if Ramsey was to leave but this starlet would ease the pain.

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Max Meyer
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Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.

The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.

Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.

“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”

Unai Emery discusses Aaron Ramsey’s future

Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.

Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.

Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.

While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.

Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.

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Arsenal

Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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