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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.

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Arsenal

It is too soon for Mikel Arteta to be considered for Arsenal job

The 36-year-old has been linked with the Emirates hot seat.

Jake Jackman

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Mikel Arteta
Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal have a huge summer awaiting them as they will need to appoint a successor to Arsene Wenger and rebuild a squad that has missed out on Champions League football for the second season in a row.

It won’t be an easy task and the board must act swiftly to make sure the club are prepared for the 2018/19 campaign.

Considering Wenger’s departure was announced weeks ago, Arsenal should have made progress in their search for a replacement.

There will be a number of names under consideration and it is important that they do their due diligence to ensure they can start to move in the right direction again.

BBC Sport report that Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta is one of the options being considered by the hierarchy at the Emirates Stadium.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

As a former player, he would be well received by the fanbase, but it would represent a huge gamble by the club.

The 36-year-old was part of the playing staff under Arsene Wenger as recently as 2016.

Although he will know the problems that exist at the club, he may struggle to exert the authority to correct them considering many of the current squad were his peers.

It has only been two years since the Spaniard retired from playing and he wouldn’t have expected to be in the running for a job of this size this soon.

Upon retiring, he took up a coaching role at Manchester City and the experience will stand him in good stead to move into management one day.

After all, he is working with one of the best managers of all-time in Pep Guardiola and Arteta will have played a role in the team’s record-breaking Premier League season.

That coupled with his history with Arsenal makes him an attractive left-field option for the Gunners.

However, the size of the risk attached to an appointment means that the club should look elsewhere this summer.

The club will want stability, but first and foremost, they will want success.

The fact that Arteta has no managerial experience means that he would be learning on the job and the North London side can’t afford to allow that.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal are a huge club and as the man following Arsene Wenger, the next manager will be scrutinised closely.

It would be a job better suited to a manager with experience and know-how at the top level.

The article goes on to mention both Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri. Either of them would be a better appointment for Arsenal at this time, as they have both managed big clubs previously.

For Arteta, the fact that he is being linked to a job like Arsenal shows how highly he is thought of within the game.

If he wants to go into management, he needs to leave Manchester City and gain experience as a number one.

If he does that, whether it be in England or abroad, he could be ready to take the hot-seat at the Emirates Stadium at a later date.

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Exclusive: Havard Nordtveit – Hoffenheim move, Julian Nagelsmann and facing Liverpool

The Norwegian international discussed his time at Hoffenheim and his experience of English clubs.

Mathew Coull

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Havard Nordtveit
Photo: Getty Images

This summer West Ham United utility man Havard Nordtveit called time on his career with the Hammers, after just one season.

Signed from Borussia Monchengladbach on a free transfer he suffered from the London outfits’ own struggles, the change of stadium and being asked to play out of position at right-back.

After just 21 games for the Hammers, he headed back to Germany, where he had such success previously.

Now, speaking exclusively to The Boot Room, the Norwegian international has discussed working under an exciting new manager, facing Liverpool in the Champions League and coming through the ranks at Arsenal.

Plenty of teams in Germany would have wanted Nordtveit this summer.

He built a fine reputation in the Bundesliga during his time with Gladbach.

In fact, just hours before his July transfer was announced, he was being linked with Bundesliga rivals Hamburg.

In the end, it was Hoffenheim who snapped up the Norwegian. They had just finished fourth in the Bundesliga and it was a brilliant move for the 27-year-old.

(Photo by Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images)

But, as the former Hammer explained from Germany, it has been a topsy-turvy season:

“It went well in the first couple of months. But then my games weren’t as good as I was hoping for,” he admitted. “Then obviously I was not good enough for the team. I have been training hard and lately, it has been back to normal again.

“It’s good to be back in Germany and also I needed half a season to get to know the new coach and the new system. I am looking forward to the rest of the campaign.”

Nordtveit started the season playing in the Hoffenheim back three, but found himself out of the squad entirely from mid-December until last month.

Despite his problems, he did not sulk and simply worked hard to get back into the first-team:

“I am not that person,” proclaimed the Norwegian international. “I have been in that situation before with West Ham and Gladbach. It’s all about giving everything you can instead of moaning.

“You have to be positive,” he continued. “This is a team sport. You have to give your best for the team. If that means you are playing or not you know that you will get the chance in the end.”

This season Hoffenheim and Nordtveit were challenging for the Europa League.

However, at the start of the campaign, the Bundesliga outfit were in Champions League action for the first time in their history.

They took on Premier League side Liverpool in the qualifying rounds, with Nordtveit playing in both games.

Liverpool were not yet working under Mohamed Salah power but still proved far too strong for their German opponents over two legs:

“We knew they were strong. With their attacking forwards they are brutal. We had a very good home game. But in the end, it is a little better a feeling to know we went out of the play-offs against a team that reached the finals,” Nordtveit explained, with a sense of vindication for his club’s exit.

“What Klopp has done with the club is massive and also Salah, at this time, maybe is Europe’s best player.”

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Hoffenheim’s entrance to the Champions League was masterminded by their brilliant young coach Julian Nagelsmann. The 30-year-old is just a few years older than the Norwegian but has proven himself a top manager:

“He is fantastic,” said an excited Nordtveit. “He has great experience and his own style of play. It is a lot of tactics for every new player. Also when I came in then there was a lot of new things I had to learn quite quick.

“I am now starting to see that I learn something in myself to get into the rhythm that he wants. He is like a young, bright, football professor.”

He then gave him high praise, by comparing him to his former Gladbach boss Lucien Favre:

“He reminds me a little bit of Lucien Favre. He thinks about football 24/7. Small details, always, which can mean we take the three points.

“If I could compare him with someone it would be Lucien Favre, which is not a bad comparison.”

Nagelsmann’s clear ability has seen him linked with taking over from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

The Norwegian came through the ranks at Arsenal, but made it clear that he spent most of his time working with the current Arsenal assistant Steve Bould:

“I spoke with him of course but he was more observing the training. I was more with the reserve team.

“I was more with Steve Bould, the legend. He was quite important for me, a really good guy. I think he was one of the more important guys in Arsenal when I was there.”

Working under the Arsenal legend as a young defender must have been a big learning experience for the Hoffenheim player, who speaks highly of his time at Arsenal:

“I went quite early, about 16,17,” remembered the talented utility man. “It was perhaps the most important choice I did in my career because there I learnt how to do the basics in football.

“I did not play much with the first-team but the experience of training with the first-team and getting to know English football and a really high standard was really important to me.

(Photo by Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images)

“From there, when I moved to Germany, I had the perfect base to have an OK career.

“Jack Wilshere was there before he finally broke through to the first-team. We had Wojciech Szczesny now second goalkeeper for Juventus. Many of the players are having big careers.  

“For me and a lot of the players we were quite lucky to have this opportunity.”

But Nordtveit still remembers his time fondly. He still follows the club, where good friend Granit Xhaka is also playing.

The Gunners have been unable to put a smile on the face of Nordtveit by picking up the Europa League trophy in Arsene Wenger’s final year.

However, with London outfit set to compete in the competition again next season, under a new manager, the two could well come face-to-face. 

That would be an opportunity Hoffenheim’s intrepid Norwegian would relish.

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Arsenal hero Patrick Viera would be an underwhelming appointment for Everton

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Photo: Getty Images.

The managerial merry-go-round is warming up ready for another summer of action and it looks increasingly likely that Everton could be involved as fans grow more and more unhappy with the management of Sam Allardyce. What may come as a greater surprise is that the club could turn to Arsenal hero Patrick Viera to replace him.

According to Metro, Viera is admired by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri and fits the profile that the Toffees are looking for of a young and dynamic coach to take over at Goodison Park.

Viera has also been linked with the opportunity to replace his former coach Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, where he remains a legend, but is currently under contact with New York City, part of the Manchester City group.

(during the UEFA Youth League Quarter Final match between AS Roma and Manchester City on March 17, 2015 in Latina, Italy.

The Citizens would reportedly not stand in his way of a Premier League move and Everton would be happy to offer more than the £2 million that he currently earns per year, but it would be a hugely underwhelming appointment for the blue half of Merseyside.

Whilst Viera has done well in Major League Soccer in New York, he has not achieved enough to have caught the eye of such a high profile club were it not for his playing career.

Given the finances reportedly available to the next Everton manager and the huge pressure to get an underperforming squad up to scratch and matching expectations, it would be a big gamble if the club were to put their faith in Viera.

He may well have potential, but it would be a surprise to see a club of the size and resources of Everton being the ones to give Viera his first opportunity as a Premier League coach.

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