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Ranking the Premier League 1-11s

Ranking the Premier League 1-11s

By Luke Balint

The other day I opened Google Chrome to do my annual look at the updated Premier League squads and numbers when I was struck with an idea – why not go through each squad and grade how good they’ve done their 1-11s on a scale of 1-10?

I have  expanded that idea a bit and decided that not only will I grade each team’s 1-11s, but I would try to fit them to a formation that makes sense. In cases where a club is missing a number 1-11, I’m going to fill it with a player from the squad who I think should take it. Let’s get cracking:

Arsenal: 8/10

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Hector Bellerin
  3. Kieran Tierney
  4. Mohamed Elneny (on loan to Besiktas)
  5. Sokratis Papastathopoulos
  6. **Rob Holding**
  7. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (on loan to Roma)
  8. Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid)
  9. Alexandre Lacazette
  10. Mesut Ozil
  11. Lucas Torreira

Arsenal have done a decent job with their numbering. They’re missing #6, vacated recently by Laurent Koscielny, so I’ve given it to Holding. The line-up is fairly straightforward as well, with the only player being forced out of his regular position being #10 Mesut Ozil. The only number out of place is Torreira as a defensive midfielder wearing #11, which is a bit of an eyesore. Elneny and Mkhitaryan have both been shipped out on loan for the season.

Aston Villa: 6/10

  1. Tom Heaton
  2. **Ahmed Elmohamady**
  3. Neil Taylor
  4. **Tyrone Mings**
  5. James Chester
  6. Douglas Luiz
  7. John McGinn
  8. Henri Lansbury
  9. Wesley
  10. Jack Grealish
  11. Marvelous Nakamba

Having #11 as a defensive midfielder the only real blight once again. Villa lose some points for missing two players in their 1-11, #2 and #4, which I’ve filled with (in my opinion) their best right-back in Elmohamady and Mings (because #40 is just not right is it?). The formation is a narrow 4-2-3-1 to accommodate all of the central midfielders.

Bournemouth: 9/10

  1. Artur Boruc
  2. Simon Francis
  3. Steve Cook
  4. Dan Gosling
  5. Nathan Ake
  6. Andrew Surman
  7. Josh King
  8. Jefferson Lerma
  9. Dom Solanke
  10. Jordon Ibe
  11. Charlie Daniels

Bournemouth are the first club (alphabetically) to have every player 1-11, and capable of using them in a formation that more or less makes sense! The only thing counting against them is having #11 at left-back, which forces #4 and #6 in midfield together as a consequence. Josh King on the left isn’t ideal, nor is Francis at right-back, but it is a position they’ve played. The alternative to this formation is playing a 3-5-1-1 with Ibe and Daniels as wing-backs and King in behind Solanke, but I’ve chosen the more natural fit here.

Brighton & Hove Albion: 7/10

  1. Mathew Ryan
  2. **Ezequiel Schelotto**
  3. Gaetan Bong
  4. Shane Duffy
  5. Lewis Dunk
  6. Dale Stephens
  7. Neal Maupay
  8. Yves Bissouma
  9. Jurgen Locadia
  10. Florin And one
  11. Leandro Trossard

On paper, Brighton’s 1-11 makes sense in a 4-3-3 formation, but a couple of their players are forced out of their preferred positions. From a squad numbers standpoint, however, their attack needs some fixing. Number 9 on the wing is an eyebrow raiser for sure and #11 on an attacking midfielder is uncommon. They’ve failed to fill #2, which Bruno left when he retired. A decent effort from Brighton.

Burnley: 10/10

  1. Nick Pope
  2. Matthew Lowton
  3. Charlie Taylor
  4. Jack Cork
  5. James Tarkowski
  6. Ben Mee
  7. Johann Gudmundsson
  8. Danny Drinkwater (on loan from Chelsea)
  9. Chris Wood
  10. Ashley Barnes
  11. Dwight McNeil

Burnley might have a hard time winning silverware this season, but they can rest assured knowing I’ve given them a perfect score! Burnley’s 1-11 falls perfectly into a traditional 4-4-2 formation with every number going exactly where it should – Chris Wood’s move from #11 to #9 had a dual benefit as it allowed winger McNeil to come into the first 11. Stellar stuff from the Clarets.

Chelsea: 3/10

  1. Kepa Arrizabalaga
  2. Antonio Rudiger
  3. Marcos Alonso
  4. Andreas Christensen
  5. Jorginho
  6. **Kurt Zouma
  7. N’Golo Kante
  8. Ross Barkley
  9. Tammy Abraham
  10. Willian
  11. Pedro

Oh, Chelsea. They started last season with #4, #5, #6, and #7 all on central midfielders, and this season they’re short on defenders in their 1-11. Zouma has previously worn #6 at Stoke, but hasn’t been allowed to take it up at Chelsea, presumably because Drinkwater will want it when he returns from the north-west. He’s played RB before if I’m not mistaken, so I’ve put him there. It’s a shame though because this could have been a pretty decent side.

Crystal Palace: 8/10

  1. **Wayne Hennessey**
  2. Joel Ward
  3. Patrick Van Aanholt
  4. Luka Milivojevic
  5. James Tomkins
  6. Scott Dann
  7. Max Meyer
  8. Cheikhou Kouyate
  9. Jordan Ayew
  10. Andros Townsend
  11. Wilfried Zaha

Great effort from Palace, and would have been perfect if not for a couple of issues. Julian Speroni’s departure has left #1 open (a crime for any club). Number 7 at attacking midfield isn’t unforgivable, and concessions must be made when a winger wears #10. The damage isn’t that bad in this case. Fill your #1 spot, Palace.

Everton: 7/10

  1. Jordan Pickford
  2. Mason Holgate
  3. Leighton Baines
  4. **Morgan Schneiderlin**
  5. Michael Keane
  6. **Yerry Mina**
  7. Richarlison
  8. Fabian Delph
  9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin
  10. Gylfi Sigurdsson
  11. Theo Walcott

Michael Keane swapped #4 for #5 this season. That’s put Everton into a 4-2-3-1 formation, and it would be a much more solid effort if they weren’t missing #4 and #6 (which Jagielka vacated this summer). The important thing, I suppose, is there aren’t any numbers 1-11 out of place.

Leicester City: 9/10

  1. Kasper Schmeichel
  2. James Justin
  3. Ben Chilwell
  4. Caglar Soyuncu
  5. Wes Morgan
  6. Jonny Evans
  7. Demarai Gray
  8. Youri Tielemans
  9. Jamie Vardy
  10. James Maddison
  11. Marc Albrighton

I’m not sure how effective Soyuncu would be at midfield, but he’s the only option they’ve got 1-11. That’s why they’ve lost a point. Very solid defensively, much like Leicester were when they won the title. It’s a very good effort.

Liverpool: 4/10

  1. Alisson Becker
  2. Nathaniel Clyne
  3. Fabinho
  4. Virgil van Dijk
  5. Georginio Wijnaldum
  6. Dejan Lovren
  7. James Milner
  8. Naby Keita
  9. Roberto Firmino
  10. Sadio Mane
  11. Mohamed Salah

Liverpool aren’t missing any numbers, but they can’t seem to put them where they’re meant to be. Forced to rewind time a bit and place #7 Milner at LB. Number 3 in midfield is always unwelcome and #5 is not the best choice for a midfielder either. Quick aside, Clyne and Lovren are still at Liverpool, who knew?

Manchester City: 4/10

  1. Claudio Bravo
  2. Kyle Walker
  3. **Angelino**
  4. **Aymeric Laporte**
  5. John Stones
  6. **Rodri**
  7. Raheem Sterling
  8. Ilkay Gundogan
  9. Gabriel Jesus
  10. Sergio Aguero
  11. Oleksandr Zinchenko

Liverpool’s low grade was due to having so many squad numbers out of position. City’s is because they’re missing #3, #4, AND #6. Zinchenko is being utilised by Pep Guardiola as a full-back, but he can also play as a winger or in midfield, so has been pushed up for the purposes of this article. Fairly straightforward 1-11 from the champions, once the holes are plugged.

Manchester United: 5/10

  1. David de Gea
  2. Victor Lindelof
  3. Eric Bailly
  4. Phil Jones
  5. Harry Maguire
  6. Paul Pogba
  7. Alexis Sanchez (on loan at Internazionale)
  8. Juan Mata
  9. Anthony Martial
  10. Marcus Rashford
  11. **Daniel James**

United didn’t give me much choice for their defence. #2, #3, #4, and #5 are all held by centre-backs. Jones has a history of being able to play at right-back, so he’s been shifted that way. To my knowledge, none of the others have any experience at left-back, so I’ve given it to Bailly because he’s wearing #3. Pogba isn’t comfortable as a sole deep-lying midfielder, but there aren’t any other options. I’m certainly not keen on giving #11 to a defensive midfielder again.

Newcastle United: 8/10

  1. Martin Dubravka
  2. Ciarán Clark
  3. Paul Dummett
  4. Ki Sung-yueng
  5. Fabian Schar
  6. Jamaal Lascelles
  7. Andy Carroll
  8. Jonjo Shelvey
  9. Joelinton
  10. Allan Saint-Maximin
  11. Matt Ritchie

Newcastle have done well distributing squad numbers. The only real issue is that they don’t have a proper right-back in their 1-11. Having #2 on a left-footed player is a personal pet peeve. Once again there must be some sacrifices for having #10 on the wing, and up steps Andy Carroll wearing #7 as a striker. Those things aside, Newcastle’s 1-11 is looking good.

Norwich City: 8/10

  1. Tim Krul
  2. Max Aarons
  3. Sam Byram
  4. Ben Godfrey
  5. Grant Hanley
  6. Christoph Zimmerman
  7. Patrick Roberts (on loan from Manchester City)
  8. Mario Vrancic
  9. **Teemu Pukki**
  10. Moritz Leitner
  11. Onel Hernandez

Norwich have done well. Once again, there’s no proper full-back (left in this case). Aside from the fact Norwich have assigned 2 right backs to #2 and #3, the entire line-up falls into place. Teemu Pukki takes the #9, and if you’ve been watching this season so far, I think the question of why should go without saying.

Sheffield United: 9/10

  1. Dean Henderson (on loan from Manchester United)
  2. George Baldock
  3. Enda Stevens
  4. John Fleck
  5. Jack O’Connell
  6. Chris Basham
  7. John Lundstram
  8. Luke Freeman
  9. Oliver McBurnie
  10. Billy Sharp
  11. Callum Robinson

Very good effort from the Blades. Only thing keeping them from being perfect is giving #9, #10, and #11 all to strikers.

Southampton: 5/10

  1. Alex McCarthy
  2. Cedric Soares
  3. Maya Yoshida
  4. Jannik Vestergaard
  5. Jack Stephens
  6. Wesley Hoedt
  7. Shane Long
  8. **James Ward-Prowse**
  9. Danny Ings
  10. Che Adams
  11. Mohamed Elyounoussi

Southampton’s 1-11 is a complicated one. They have far too many centre-backs and three out-and-out strikers. Only two wide players, one a defender and the other a forward-minded winger. Vestergaard is forced into midfield. They are sorely lacking in the creativity department, and adding Ward-Prowse at #8 is about the best they could have hoped for, and let’s be honest, he should have taken it at the first opportunity.

Tottenham Hotspur: 6/10

  1. Hugo Lloris
  2. **Kyle Walker-Peters**
  3. Danny Rose
  4. Toby Alderweireld
  5. Jan Vertonghen
  6. Davinson Sanchez
  7. Son Heung-min
  8. Harry Winks
  9. **Troy Parrot**
  10. Harry Kane
  11. Erik Lamela

Spurs also given a strange formation, mainly due to not having any central midfielders apart from Winks. Tottenham are desperate for creativity in their 1-11. Perfect at the back, but having centre-backs wearing #4, #5, and #6 has deprived them of a proper line-up and a good score. Kieran Trippier and Vincent Janssen both leaving this summer, as well as Tottenham not signing a proper #9, has also cost them points.

Watford: 6/10

  1. Heurelho Gomes
  2. Daryl Janmaat
  3. **Craig Cathcart**
  4. Craig Dawson
  5. Sebastian Prodl
  6. Adrian Mariappa
  7. Gerard Deulofeu
  8. Tom Cleverley
  9. Troy Deeney
  10. Danny Welbeck
  11. Adam Masina

Not a lot of options in the middle of the park for Watford either. Giving #4, #5, #6 all to centre backs was probably a mistake, and I refuse to give #3 to a midfielder. A similar situation to Spurs, as far as having no real midfield in their 1-11 and too many defenders.

West Ham United: 3/10

  1. Lukasz Fabianski
  2. Winston Reid
  3. Aaron Cresswell
  4. Fabian Balbuena
  5. Pablo Zabaleta
  6. **Angelo Ogbonna**
  7. Andriy Yarmolenko
  8. Felipe Anderson
  9. Javier Hernandez
  10. Manuel Lanzini
  11. Robert Snodgrass

I thought Spurs and Watford were bad, but at least they had a single midfielder each. West Ham don’t have any in their 1-11. Not only that, they’re the only Premier League team to have a number 1-11 retired – #6 was retired in 2008 for Sir Bobby Moore, so I’ve given it to Ogbonna. What were they thinking giving so many of their 1-11 numbers to wingers?

Wolverhampton Wanderers: 5/10

  1. Rui Patricio*
  2. Matt Doherty
  3. Barry Douglas
  4. Jesus Vallejo (on loan from Real Madrid)
  5. Ryan Bennett
  6. Bruno Jordao
  7. Pedro Neto
  8. Ruben Neves
  9. Raul Jimenez
  10. Patrick Cutrone
  11. Diogo Jota*

This was always going to get a low score, wasn’t it? Special cases must be made for Wolves. How long will they allow Patricio to continue the gimmick of wearing #11? Really, aside from that absolute blunder, Wolves have a solid 1-11. Shame. I’ve given Patricio #1 and dropped Diogo Jota to #11.


That about does it. Burnley the big winners taking a perfect score of 10 from 10. West Ham and Chelsea the big losers with a miniscule 3 out of 10. Quite a few 1-11 slots to fill all round the Premier League, and a couple of crimes to make right next summer.


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1 Comment

  1. Mark
    October 8, 2019 at 18:31 — Reply

    Barry Douglas left Wolves for Leeds over a year ago!

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Ranking the Premier League 1-11s