Premier League: Power Ranking the Most English Teams in the League
With the first round of fixtures in the Barclay's Premier League already behind us, it appears that we have a thrilling season in store for us in England this year.
These are all questions that we will be longing to have answered, but only time will tell in the unpredictable and exciting race for the Premier League.
In the meantime though, I have decided to look at the league in a completely different way. Instead of analyzing each team's chances and power ranking the best performers, I have decided to see which team is the "most English."
It is the English Premier League indeed, and while success is what matters most, fans always have a certain love of the homegrown boys, so I have decided to count the number of Englishmen on each team!
Here you go, here are the 20 teams ranked from least to most English based on their lineups on opening weekend!
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Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Ramsey, Arshavin, Gervinho, Van Persie
Englishmen: One (Gibbs)
The Arsene Wenger-led Gunners aren't exactly the darlings of English football, but Arsenal have managed to keep a consistent spot atop the Premier League and continue their threat throughout Europe.
They may not have the biggest trophy cabinet, but they are still among England's best teams. They were without star Englishmen Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott in their opening week's scoreless draw against Newcastle.
T-17. Wigan Athletic
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Starting XI: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Gomez, McCarthy, Watson, Diame, Moses, Di Santo
Englishmen: Two (Watson, Moses)
In contrast to Arsenal, Wigan Athletic are a team who regularly find themselves in the lower parts of the table. Having just avoided relegation in the past two seasons, Wigan opened their new campaign with a 1-1 draw against newly promoted Norwich City.
Apart from Ben Watson, Wigan's only Englishman is Victor Moses, who has expressed his interest in representing Nigeria at the national level.
T-17. Blackburn Rovers
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Starting XI: Robinson, Salgado, Hanley, Nzonzi, Olsson, Emerton, Dunn, Pedersen, Hoilett, Formica, Roberts
Englishmen: Two (Robinson, Dunn)
Last season's 15th-placed team Blackburn got their new Premier League campaign off to a familiarly dismal start. After going up 1-0 through Mauro Formica, the club suffered an embarrassing turnaround defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
They might not seem like crazy spenders, but Blackburn have recently come under new ownership and have been linked with a number of big names.
T-17. West Bromwich Albion
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Starting XI: Foster, Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Scharner, Mulumbu, Morrison, Tchoyi, Long
Englishmen: Two (Foster, Shorey)
They're not a team typically associated with success, but that is exactly what they could be destined for in the Premier League this season.
The team have performed very well under the management of Roy Hodgson, who led them to a magnificent turnaround in the second half of last season. Now they could be gunning for much bigger heights, as shown in their hard fought and slightly unfortunate 2-1 loss to Manchester United.
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Starting XI: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Torres, Malouda
Englishmen: Three (Terry, Cole, Lampard)
Widely regarded as one of the best teams in the league, let alone Europe, Chelsea struggled to a disappointing 0-0 draw against Stoke City in their opening match.
Led by record signing Fernando Torres, and a vast array of Roman Abramovich's other playthings, the club struggled to find any kind of breakthrough, picking up right where they left off last season.
With Andres Villas-Boas at the helm now, and a few late-summer signings looking possible, it will be very interesting to see how the Blues fare this time around.
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Starting XI: Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson, Zamora
Englishmen: Three (Murphy, Johnson, Zamora)
One of the many clubs who have looked to threaten the new Premier League hierarchy known as the "Big Six," Fulham are expecting another strong season under new manager Martin Jol.
They got off to a decent start with a stalemate against Aston Villa, and are also keen to repeat their Europa League exploits from two seasons back, now that they have returned to Europe's secondary cup competition.
T-12. Stoke City
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Starting XI: Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Jones, Walters
Englishmen: Four (Shawcross, Woodgate, Pennant, Etherington)
They may not be the most loved team, but Stoke City have managed to always maintain a steady place towards the middle of the Premier League.
Known for their astute defending and long throw-ins, the Potters managed to hold Chelsea to a 0-0 scoreline in their first match of the season.
Stoke City are also in the Europa League qualification stages following their exploits in last season's FA Cup, where they will face FC Thun in the next round.
T-12. Tottenham Hotspur
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Starting XI: Gomes, Walker, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Sandro, Bale, van der Vaart, Crouch
Englishmen: Four (Walker, Dawson, Lennon, Crouch)
Tottenham are a rising team in English football and after their strong showing in the Champions League last year, the Spurs look ready to establish themselves among Europe's best.
Following top five finishes in the past two seasons, they will be eager to finish higher and return to the Champions League. Their opening fixture against Everton was postponed, but expect Tottenham to get off to a flying start this season!
* Tottenham have been given a predicted lineup because their opening fixture with Everton has been postponed
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Starting XI: Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Neville, Cahill, Arteta, Fellaini, Bilyatedinov, Saha
Englishmen: Four (Hibbert, Jagielka, Baines, Neville)
Most similar to Fulham, perhaps, Everton are a team who are just on the fringes of England's elite. Their seventh-placed finish last season is something they will be look to build on with the highly regarded David Moyes still at helm.
With some very talented players among their ranks, such as Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, and many more, European qualification will be an achievable goal for the team this season.
* Everton have been given a predicted lineup because their opening fixture with Tottenham has been postponed
T-6. Norwich City
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Starting XI: Ruddy, Russell Martin, Whitbread, De Laet, Tierney, Fox, Surman, Hoolahan, Crofts, Holt, Morison
Englishmen: Five (Ruddy, Tierney, Fox, Surman, Holt)
Already heavily tipped for relegation back to the Championship, Norwich will look to prove all their doubters wrong in the coming season.
Starting the campaign with a 1-1 draw against Wigan, the Canaries will have to pull out all the stops if they want to retain their top-flight status.
T-6. Manchester City
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Starting XI: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Barry, Silva, Dzeko, Johnson
Englishmen: Five (Hart, Richards, Lescott, Barry, Johnson)
Although Manchester City have constantly been criticized for their buying of foreign players and hefty transfer fees, the Citizens do still have five Englishmen in their starting lineup, and five very good ones at that.
That's not to say that their transfer activity isn't ridiculous, but Sergio Aguero is already starting to look like a bargain after coming on and scoring twice in his debut in a 4-0 demolition of Swansea City. It may be a long shot, but City are my outside pick for the title this season!
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Starting XI: Mignolet, Bardsley, Brown, Ferdinand, Richardson, Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Elmohamady, Sessegnon, Gyan
Englishmen: Five (Brown, Ferdinand, Richardson, Cattermole, Colback)
Sunderland have been another one of those teams who manages a decent league position each year, but with the recent signings of Wes Brown, John O'Shea, Seb Larsson, Connor Wickham and many more, the Black Cats will be looking for a considerably higher standing in the tables this season.
They opened their campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against Liverpool and will hope to carry such a fine start into the rest of the season.
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Starting XI: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Adam, Henderson, Suarez, Downing, Carroll
Englishmen: Five (Flanagan, Carragher, Henderson, Downing, Carroll)
A team who have fallen considerably in stature in the past few seasons, Liverpool will now have to settle for the title of England's second best.
However, the arrival of Kenny Dalglish has begun a new era at Anfield, and with a handful of new players at his disposal, King Kenny is looking to rebuild an empire.
Now Liverpool are looking to reclaim their rightful position as a Champions League team and eventually champions once again.
T-6. Wolverhampton Wanderers
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Starting XI: Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, O'Hara, Henry, Hunt, Doyle, Fletcher
Englishmen: Five (Stearman, Johnson, Jarvis, O'Hara, Henry)
Another one of the clubs who have just dwindled towards the bottom of the table for a couple of seasons, Wolverhampton Wanderers recently produced England international winger Matt Jarvis, who drew plenty of attention with his fine displays last season.
The Wolves will want a decent mid-table finish this season, and started well enough with a turnaround victory against Blackburn Rovers.
T-6. Newcastle United
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Starting XI: Krul, Simpson, S. Taylor, Coloccini, R. Taylor, Barton, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Ba
Englishmen: Five (Simpson, S. Taylor, R. Taylor, Barton, Ameobi)
Traditionally one of the top clubs in England, Newcastle have just recently come back to the Premier League and will be looking to make an immediate impression.
After impressing early in the last season, star striker Andy Carroll was sold, but the Magpies still finished a decent 12th in the league.
Now, with Kevin Nolan gone and Joey Barton perhaps on the way out, a number of new signings will look to lead Newcastle back to the top of English football.
T-2. Aston Villa
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Starting XI: Given, Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Delph, Petrov, N'Zogbia, Heskey, Bent, Agbonlahor
Englishmen: Six (Young, Warnock, Delph, Heskey, Bent, Agbonlahor)
The losses of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing will likely hit Aston Villa hard, but with Darren Bent, Charles Nzogbia, Gabriel Agbonlahor, and an extremely talented crop of youngsters leading the line, Villains everywhere could be in for a truly great season.
It will all depend on how well new manager Alex McLeish does, though, and a scoreless draw against Fulham is a so-so first result.
T-2. Queens Park Rangers
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Starting XI: Kenny, Dyer, Hall, Gabbidon, Hill, Smith, Derry, Faurlin, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd
Englishmen: Six (Dyer, Hall, Hill, Smith, Campbell, Bothroyd)
Another one of the newly promoted sides this season, QPR have brought in DJ Campbell and Joy Borthroyd to lead what looks like a very promising attack.
However, things haven't exactly started according to plan, with the team suffering a crushing 4-0 loss to Bolton on opening day.
If the reigning Championship winners have any hope of surviving in the Premier League, they will have to pull their act together fast!
T-2. Swansea City
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Starting XI: Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Tate, Britton, Dobbie, Agustien, Dyer, Graham, Sinclair
Englishmen: Six (Caulker, Tate, Britton, Dyer, Graham, Sinclair)
Much like QPR, Swansea City look a promising team coming in from the Championship, drawing comparisons to the likes of Barcelona even.
However, they too were subject to a disappointing 4-0 rout by Manchester City in their opening fixture and every point counts, so they will really need to perform better from here on out.
T-2. Manchester United
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Starting XI: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio Da Silva, Young, Cleverley, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck
Englishmen: Six (Smalling, Ferdinand, Young, Cleverley, Rooney, Welbeck)
Manchester United are the face of English football, and rightfully so; they are one of the most English teams in the league! The reigning champions are led by talisman Wayne Rooney, as well as a promising new crop of English talent that includes Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, and Chris Smalling.
Defending their title will be prove very difficult this season, but if anyone is capable of doing it, it sure is Sir Alex Ferguson's men!
1. Bolton Wanderers
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Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Klasnic
Englishmen: Seven (Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Kevin Davies)
Finally, the honor of the most English team on opening weekend goes to Bolton Wanderers! The team who have finished 14th in the past two seasons are one who have always performed below the great level of talent that they possess.
Now however, after their 4-0 rout of Swansea City on the opening day, it appears as though Bolton might be in for a much better season that the last few and the European spots from which they so ungracefully fell last season are a reasonable goal.