Top 10: Fastest Players in the 2011 Premier League
Speed kills, and in no other league in the world does pure speed play such a huge part of the game than in the Barclays Premier League; in Spain technical ability is king, in Italy solid defensive technique is needed, and in Germany footballing intelligence rules. But in England meeting to the physical demands of the game which many players in the past have found it difficult to adjust to.
Three years removed from my first list of the leagues fastest I have complied a list of the current players that I deem to be amongst the quickest, not only without the ball but with it.
Now without further ado here is my countdown of the 10 fastest player in the Premier League.
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Andrew Johnson: When he’s healthy he can be a nightmare for opposing coaches. 30 years old now, and hasn’t lost a single step.
Mario Balotelli: Controversial figure to say the least, but his footballing talent is tremendous. Will want to bounce back after a strange interaction with Coach Roberto Mancini in LA during the preseason.
Peter Odemwingie: West Brom would say he is one of the main reasons the club avoided relegation last year. He’ll look to add to his 15 goal tally from last year.
Kenwyne Jones: For such a big and strong player, you wouldn’t expect Jones to be amongst the fastest players in the League, but he’s deceptively fast for a big man and will look to use that to his advantage in his second with Stoke.
Séamus Coleman: Everton fans will enjoy seeing the Irishman flying down the sidelines of Goodison Park again this season as he grows into a top-flight right-back.
Nani: Proved doubters wrong last season that he is the real deal. However the signing of Ashley Young will put pressure on him to perform.
Yaya Toure: Strong, powerful and swift along the ground. Toure can have a touch of finesse about him, or he can bulldoze through defences with his 6'4" frame.
10: Aaron Lennon – Tottenham Hotspur
Lennon came to the forefront of our attentions at the age of 16 years old with Leeds United which at the time set the record for the youngest player to play in the big-league.
Lennon has since switched his attention to North London, and has blossomed under Harry Redknapp where he was an outsider under the likes of Martin Jol and Juande Ramos.
With Lennon prowling the right-side for Tottenham he gives the Spurs one of the most scary looking flanker partnerships in world football.
9: Marc Albrighton – Aston Villa
One of the bright sparks in what was a miserable 2010-11 campaign for Aston Villa, Albrighton filled in where James Milner left of, and now with Ashley Young departed this season will be important for the youngster to solidify his spot as one of the top young players in England.
Albrighton will be playing alongside the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor and newly signed Charles N’Zogbia in what promises to be an exciting front line.
8: David Silva – Manchester City
The Spanish playmaker has been a huge success at Manchester City since his arrival from Valencia. His speed, change of direction and footwork are amongst the most technical in all of football.
A World Cup winner with Spain last summer, Silva will want to add the biggest prize in club football when he competes in the Champions League this season with City.
Having already started the current campaign on fire the £24 million price tag seems like a bargain now.
7: Ashley Young – Manchester United
The new signing from Aston Villa has already showed that he belongs in a Red Devils jersey, creating goals and menacing defenders with his cut-backs and deadly crosses.
His set-piece ability has been one of his trademarks since his arrival onto the big stage with Aston Villa seven years ago making him the closest thing that England have to the next David Beckham. Still only 26 he could well live up to those lofty expectations.
6: Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
Just 19 years old and already considered one of the top 10 midfield player in the world Jack Wilshere staggered many pundits and even many Arsenal fans on his way to winning the PFA Young Player of the year for the 2010-11 season.
Already an integral part of the England national side Wilshere’s rise to stardom seems to have come pretty much overnight, while Arsene Wenger says he expects Jack Wilshere to become even better in the coming years after what seemed to be a dominant season as he blew by Xavi and Andreas Iniesta in Arsenals 2-1 over Barcelona at the Emirates.
5: Gael Clichy – Manchester City
The former Arsenal left-back will unquestionably fit into Manchester City’s team of extraordinary athletes as he brings his incredible speed and one-on-one ability to the Blues’ ranks.
A player who I have criticised over the last two season with Arsenal for his defensive lapses and clumsy play could potentially spend more time in the opposing teams’ half this season than his own. Possessing great crossing ability there is no doubt that City strikers Eden Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Kun Aguero will benefit from his presence.
4: Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
Started last season poorly to say the least after his personal life on goings were made public. But towards the end of the season Rooney re-captured his form with a stunning bicycle kick winner against Manchester City at Old Trafford in a "remember where you were when that happened" moment.
The return of Antonio Valencia seemed to have boosted Rooney in his return to form; the two have an incredible connection when on the field. Who knows maybe even off the field?
With new hair and new members to the team, Rooney has started this season as he ended last. However there is concern at Manchester United that his new hair transplant will make him less streamlined.
3: Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero – Manchester City
Arguably the biggest Premier League summer signing, The Argentinian international has generated a mountain of hype at Eastlands and justifiably so with his £38 million deal from Athletico Madrid.
His debut left fans drooling over the possibilities of the upcoming season after scoring twice and providing an assist in his very first outing in the sky blue jersey.
Son-in-law of the great Diego Maradona he will look to emulate his style of play at Manchester City.
2: Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
A lethal weapon that when unleashed can wreak complete chaos to any defence in world football. Just ask the Inter Milan back-four who were left wetting their pants as he carved them open to score a quickfire hat-trick after Spurs had been 4-0 down within the opening 35 minutes. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough but another Man of the Match outing in the second leg saw Tottenham win 3-1 and move past the reigning champions.
Last season, Bale was honoured with the PFA Player of the Year award and after being linked with the likes of AC Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Bale remains at Tottenham and will seek to continue where he left off last season.
1: Theo Walcott – Arsenal
Walcott definitely has his critics, but no doubt he has improved his game over the last two season, and with the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, Walcott will be considered to be one of the veteran players of this Gunners team.
An instinctive player that probably needs to "think less" when playing can become a staple in the Arsenal and England international team for many years to come. His only downfall, a lack of consistency and injuries. 2011-12 will no doubt be a big year for young Theo.
Still only 22 years of age, he has yet to reach his full potential.