Who makes it into a North vs South Premier League All-Star Game
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: The Nike Ordem V Premier League Match Ball is pictured during the Premier League Kicks - Nike Ordem V Premier League Match Ball Launch on June 1, 2017 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images for Premier League)

Todd Boehly's suggestion of a North vs South All-Star Game was met with widespread criticism, but who would make it into each starting XI? 

When news emerged of the Chelsea owner's proposal to imitate Major League Baseball's Midsummer Classic, several Premier League managers were quick to condemn it.

The harshest appraisal came from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who quipped:

"When he finds a date for that he can call me. In American sports these players have four-month breaks. Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well?"

Whilst most fans were equally outraged with the idea, some were left speculating who would be picked in such a situation. 

VAVEL decided to take a look, with a maximum of three players per club to make it interesting. 

  • The North 

Goalkeeper- Alisson Becker

Liverpool's Brazilian stopper edges out his compatriot Ederson between the sticks for the North XI. 

Both managed 20 clean sheets last campaign to share the Premier League golden glove.

However, Alisson gets the nod due to his better underlying numbers. 

A slightly better clean sheet ratio (55.6% to 54.1%), a significantly higher save percentage (75.3% to 69.9%) and post shot xG difference (+4.4 to -1.2) give him the edge. 

Right-Back- Kieran Trippier 

Leading contenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker miss out  due to the maximum of three players from each club. 

Therefore, Newcastle's Kieran Trippier takes the spot. 

The former Atletico Madrid man has created 11 chances so far this season.

Defensively, he is regarded as one of the most reliable around and this is reflected by England manager Gareth Southgate's reliance on him. 

Centre-Backs- Virgil Van Dijk (C) and Ruben Dias

Virgil Van Dijk was back to his imperious best last season, playing in 51 of the Reds 63 games last season as they came agonisingly close to an unprecedented quadruple. 

The Dutchman featured in both the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and the UEFA Team of the Season.

He captains the North XI. 

Manchester City rival Dias has been a revelation since his move to The Etihad in 2020. 

He was named PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in his debut season after guiding the Citizens to the Premier League title and a Champions League final. 

He was also crucial as City regained their title last season.

This partnership was never really in doubt. 

Left-Back- Lucas Digne 

Aston Villa's Lucas Digne makes it as a result of the three player maximum. 

However, he is a reliable and talented option at left-back and the stats back it up. 

Last season the French international had a higher percentage of dribblers tackled (60.4%) than Joao Cancelo (42.2%) or Andy Robertson (41.2%).

He also made more blocks and interceptions per 90 minutes, although there is a slight caveat, Aston Villa have to defend a lot more than the two title contenders. 

Centre Midfield- Christian Eriksen

Many Manchester United fans questioned the signing of the former Tottenham man when the deal was announced this summer.

However, the Dane has proved the doubters wrong and has been a key cog in Erik Ten Hag's engine room.

He has justified the decision to start him in every single game so far, adding a composure and vision to the Red Devils midfield, that has brought comparisons to Paul Scholes. 

Centre Midfield- Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne is already regarded as one of the Premier League's greatest ever midfielders. 

He walks into any combined XI, especially one based on just the North of England. 

Centre Midfield- Bruno Guimaraes

To add an element of defensive solidarity to the team, Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes is selected.

Real Madrid were rumoured to be circling in the summer to replace Casemiro, and it is easy to see why.

As of August 2022, the Brazilian led the Premier League for tackles made and duels won since his first start on March 10. 

His 11 passes into the final third per 90 minutes was unmatched by any Newcastle player in the last four seasons, he also won the most fouls of any player in the league and only De Bruyne had played more through balls. 

Right Wing- Mohamed Salah

Class is permanent, form is temporary is a saying that we would do well to remember more often in football analysis. 

Salah is not having the best season so far, but on his day he is the most deadly attacker in the league. 

After the Africa Cup of Nations last season his form nosedived, however the damage had already been done in his blistering first half of the campaign as he still finished joint top-scorer after just seven goals post-AFCON. 

Left-Wing- Allan Saint-Maximin

The Frenchman was recently crowned as the Premier League Goal of the Month winner for August after his stunning last-gasp equaliser against Wolves. 

The explosive winger is a handful for defenders, an All-Star game would be the perfect platform for the Newcastle man to show off his immense trickery. 

Pep Guardiola admitted that he is 'very dangerous' after his side could only manage a 3-3 draw with the Magpies, with the 25-year-old shining. 

Striker- Erling Haaland

Who else could it have been? 

The former Borussia Dortmund man has started off his Man City career with 11 goals in seven league games. 

He has also scored three goals in two Champions League matches, including a stunning volley against his former club. 

He is on course to smash numerous records in his first season in England. 

The completed North XI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The South

Goalkeeper- Robert Sanchez

With the likes of Edouard Mendy, Aaron Ramsdale and Hugo Lloris underwhelming, the six-foot-five 24-year-old takes the spot.

Rumoured to follow Graham Potter to Chelsea, the Spaniard is solid with his feet, in-fact his distribution is up there with the league's very best. 

He is a proactive goalkeeper, willing to sweep up behind his back-line, play out from the back and gather crosses. 

Sanchez had the highest percentage of crosses claimed last season. 

Right-Back- Reece James

The 22-year old has been a revelation since his breakthrough at Stamford Bridge

So far this season, he has won more tackles, more ground and aerial duels and has a better long-pass accuracy than the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Trippier and Walker. 

He could be England's most well-rounded option at right-back ahead of the World Cup.

Centre-Backs- Marc Guehi and Cristian Romero

Another Chelsea academy graduate like James, Marc Guehi decided to leave to get first-team football and what a decision that turned out to be. 

His value has skyrocketed and he was named in Gareth Southgate's 28-man England squad on Thursday for the Nations League games against Germany and Italy. 

He will be hoping to add to his three caps since his debut in March. 

CIES Football Observatory now value the 22-year-old at £61 million (a 239% increase on the £18 million the Eagles paid for him).

24-year-old Argentinian Romero has 11 caps for his country, and is regarded as one of the best young defenders in the world. 

A very aggressive defender, he has been credited for bringing defensive solidarity to Antonio Conte's side. 

Jamie Carragher was very complimentary of the defender last season, giving him the signing of the season award over Liverpool's Luis Diaz. 

He said: “He reminds me of Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea. He isn’t the biggest of defenders, but he is clever, he’s switched on, he is cool on the ball. I think Tottenham have a real player there.”

His loan move was made permanent in the summer, so expect to see much more of Romero provided he can stay injury-free. 

Left-Back- Oleksandr Zinchenko 

Oleksandr Zinchenko has had a dream start at Arsenal since his summer move from Man City.

He was a key figure as the Gunners won their first five games of the season.

The unpredictability and flexibility he offers gives Mikel Arteta a new tactical approach.

Combine that a winning mentality from his time in Manchester and the 25-year-old looks like a brilliant piece of business.

Centre Midfield- N'golo Kante

The 31-year-old is the Blues best big-game player despite his recent injury issues. 

He has had seventeen stints on the sidelines in the last three years- including the hamstring injury currently keeping him out. 

However, he is still one of the best midfielders in the world when fit. 

Former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said in August: "He gives something to our team that no other player in the world can give to any other team."

Centre Midfield- Declan Rice

West Ham's Declan Rice has been linked with a move back to Chelsea for several transfer windows.

Frank Lampard was apparently desperate to bring him back to the Bridge when he was in the dugout. 

The 23-year-old would cost in the region of £100 million and is rumoured to have rejected a £200,000-a-week contract offer from the Hammers. 

He is expected to start for England at the World Cup, and add to his 32 caps already earned. 

Centre Midfield- Martin Odegaard 

The 23-year-old was linked with the biggest clubs in the world at the age of just 15, rejecting the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich to sign for Real Madrid.

It did not work out for him at the Santiago Bernabeu however he seems to have found a home at Arsenal. 

Mikel Arteta named him as the permanent club captain over the summer, a reward for his brilliant performances last season.

He has started the season where he left off, and is quickly showing all the potential that had so many clubs fawning over him at such a young age. 

Right Wing- Bukayo Saka

The Arsenal academy graduate has had a rapid rise to stardom since his breakthrough in 2019. 

The 21-year-old's 17 goal contributions in 46 appearances in the 2020/21 season was followed up by 19 in 43 appearances in 2021/22. 

He is expected to sign a new contract in the near future. 

Left Wing- Raheem Sterling

Sterling has four goals in eight appearances for Chelsea since his move from Man City last summer. 

He won four Premier League titles, four league cups and an FA Cup in Manchester, scoring 131 goals in 339 appearances. 

One of the most underrated players in the Premier League, he edges out Son Heung-Min and Wilfried Zaha for a spot in this lineup. 

Striker- Harry Kane (C) 

The most obvious inclusion in the South XI, Kane is undoubtedly one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history. 

Despite a lack of trophies, he is just 72 goals away from Alan Shearer's all-time record 260 goals. 

He has six goals in seven Premier League games already this season. 

The England captain also captains the South XI. 

 

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