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Robin Van Persie and the EPL's Most Popular Players from Each Team

Ed WymanCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2011

Robin Van Persie and the EPL's Most Popular Players from Each Team

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    Everyone has a favourite player; it is not necessarily the footballer they think is the best (though it might be), but it is one who for some reason has set himself apart from the rest.

    It might be down to hard work, a special goal, loyalty or entertaining interviews. Whatever the reason, ask a fan who his favourite player is and who the best player is and you might well get two different answers.

    So, lets not focus on who is the best for once, but on who each Premier League club's favourite player is. It is a difficult question to which there is rarely a definitive answer, so don't take offence if you don't agree with the player I have chosen from your club.

    I have made this a list of players who, I believe, are popular among their own club's supporters, not necessarily in the wider footballing world, so Emmanuel Adebayor is not ruled out because Arsenal fans hate him, for example, nor Wayne Rooney because of Everton fans.

Aston Villa: Gabriel Agbonlahor

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    Gabriel Agbonlahor has rediscovered his form this season and is fast forming a useful partnership with Darren Bent in attack.

    Local players are always popular, and Agbonlahor grew up in Birmingham and is a product of Villa's youth academy. 

    More brownie points were won as the winger remained at the club after the departure of the likes of Gareth Barry, James Milner and Stewart Downing.

    Goals, skill and speed are always popular with fans; Agbonlahor has all those assets.

Arsenal: Robin van Persie

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    There can be no doubt that Robin van Persie is the most popular person inside the Emirates stadium. The Dutch hitman has been sensational this year for Arsenal. Without him it is unlikely that Arsenal would have turned their season around the way they have.

    The only way RVP is going to lose his position as the fan's favourite any time soon is if Thierry Henry makes a return to Arsenal, and even that might not be enough.

    If RVP keeps going the way he has been, it won't be long before he too has a statue in North London.

Blackburn Rovers: Paul Robinson

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    It is difficult at this point in time to think of a player who is widely popular with Blackburn fans, but maybe the only player who can claim that honour is Paul Robinson.

    The former England goalkeeper was voted as the fans' player of the season last time around, and has continued to impress, even as Blackburn ship goals and are engulfed by protests.

    Robinson has had plenty of chances to shine with Blackburn on the back foot, and has won himself plenty of fans with his heroics in goal, but has also shown bravery and commitment at the other end of the pitch; taking a boot to the face after coming up for a corner and challenging for a header.

    Blackburn may not survive this Premier League season, but Robinson will ensure they go down fighting.

Bolton Wanderers: Gary Cahill

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    Despite being linked with a move to several big clubs during the summer, Gary Cahill chose to stay put at Bolton and has been doing his best to keep his side in with a chance of Premier League survival.

    He is, once again, being linked with a move away from The Reebok Stadium, this time to Chelsea. Whether or not he goes remains to be seen, but in the meantime his determination and leadership in a difficult season must have been appreciated by Bolton fans.

    Cahill may have no option but to leave if he is to secure a starting berth for England at Euro 2012, but few Bolton fans would choose to knock his contribution over the last few years.

Chelsea: Frank Lampard

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    He's not called Super Frank without good cause. Frank Lampard has excelled for Chelsea for the last 10 years and has been, until this season, ever present (he once played 164 consecutive Premier League games).

    Lampard has scored at least 10 league goals every season since the 2003-04 season, and despite reduced playing time this season, he already has seven goals to his name.

    His dedication to Chelsea, his goalscoring and creating, as well as his desire to play as much as possible and his relatively uncontroversial life off the pitch all make him a fan favourite. 

Everton: Leighton Baines

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    Leighton Baines is doing great things at Everton, launching attacks from left-back, providing crosses, scoring free-kicks and proving to be solid in defence.

    He is regarded by Everton fans as the club's best player, something that was reflected in the end-of-season awards last season.

    He has played almost every Premier League match for the last two and a half seasons (he played every minute last season) and never gives anything less than his best.

Fulham: Clint Dempsey

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    Fulham's American star signed for the club in 2007 and has become vital to their success. He was voted player of the season last season by the fans, and deservedly so; he finished the season with 12 goals from midfield.

    It is little wonder that Arsenal considered a move for the American, but Dempsey didn't go, something Fulham fans undoubtedly appreciate, especially since the American hasn't followed up the interest by demanding a move to a bigger club.

    A creator, scorer and hard worker, Dempsey has earned his place in the heart of Fulham fans. 

Liverpool: Steven Gerrard

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    Steven Gerrard has struggled with injury for the last 18 months, but that has done nothing to diminish the love the Kop feel for the born and bred Red.

    His demigod status has never been in doubt since his Champions League Final heroics back in 2005, and he continues to perform when it matters and try his heart out every second he is on the pitch.

    In a poll of Liverpool fans, Stevie G came second on an all-time favourites list, just behind Kenny Dalglish. Illustrious company.

Manchester City: Vincent Kompany

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    With such a range of outstanding attacking players, it would be easy to think that one of those multi-million-dollar signings would be the fans' favourite player.

    However, City fans know that none of it would be possible without the efforts of Vincent Kompany. The centre-back has been the best signing of the last few years for City, and he cost just £6 million.

    He deservedly won the the fans' player of the year last season, and has continued to shine this season.

    Kompany has been reliable, a good leader and a non-event off the pitch, all qualities that have earned him widespread respect at a time when the likes of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez have been in the papers as much for their off-field antics as their footballing ability.

Manchester United: Wayne Rooney

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    Wayne Rooney sold the most replica shirts worldwide of any Premier League player during the 2010-11 season, according to tribalfootball.

    Wayne Rooney's popularity stems from his work rate, which is impressive; his passion, which is sometimes too great; and his goals, which are often spectacular.

    Rooney scored a hat-trick on his début for Manchester United, and it didn't take long for the man from Merseyside to win over the Old Trafford crowd.

    Versatile, still young and (hopefully) maturing, Rooney has a lot more yet to bring to the Manchester United table. The fans will love him for it.

Newcastle United: Cheick Tiote

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    Newcastle's Cheick Tiote was one of the best signings of last season, winning the club's player of the season award, and has continued to impress this season.

    His beautiful equaliser against Arsenal last season to pull the game back to 4-4 was enough on its own to make Newcastle fans sing his praises for years to come, but Tiote has done far more for the club. 

    He dominates the midfield, winning the ball and distributing it well, and seems to have no plans to leave the North East, which will undoubtedly please the Geordie faithful.

Norwich City: Grant Holt

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    Grant Holt is fast becoming a legend at Norwich. The striker joined the club back when they were in League One and has scored consistently in each division Norwich have competed in since then.

    The 30-year-old already has seven goals this season, and although he has not always been a starter, he's scored against some big sides (Liverpool and Chelsea, for example).

    His ability, hard work, goals and charisma have made him a fan favourite; it is an honour he truly deserves.

QPR: Paddy Kenny

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    Paddy Kenny is not the most glamorous QPR player; Adel Taarabt and Joey Barton both draw far more attention. However, Kenny is not as controversial as Barton, and has not fallen from grace as Taarabt has.

    Instead, he has been consistently excellent, as evidenced by his recall ahead of Radek Cerny, despite the Czech's excellent performances in recent weeks.

    The 33-year-old has overcome an unfortunate drug suspension, and his move to QPR seems to have reinvigorated him.

    QPR are dangerously close to the relegation zone and will need Paddy Kenny to keep out as many goals as he possibly can if they are to stay up.

Stoke City: Matthew Etherington

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    Matthew Etherington often goes under-appreciated in the wider footballing world, but he gets the attention he deserves from Stoke City fans.

    A former fans' player of the season, Etherington has become popular for being one of the Stoke players who defies the club's reputation as a thuggish side and playing with quality and skill.

    He has also received support from Stoke as he fought to overcome a well-publicised gambling addiction, something that has built a strong link between club and player.

Sunderland: Phil Bardsley

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    Phil Bardsley has experienced something of a turnaround over the last couple of years. He has gone from rarely making the starting lineup to consistent stand-out player and the fans clearly appreciate his efforts.

    Bardsley won fans over with the hard-working attitude that saw him stay and fight for a place, and switch to left-back to get more playing time.

    He won the player of the season award last season.

Swansea City: Scott Sinclair

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    Scott Sinclair was Swansea's top scorer in their promotion-winnning season and has continued to impress for the Welsh side this time around.

    He won the best newcomer award for Swansea last season, and it's easy to see why. He scores goals, creates chances, works hard and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve.

    Swansea are quickly establishing themselves as a Premier League side. Scott Sinclair has played an important in that process so far and will continue to do so.

Tottenham Hotspur: Gareth Bale

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    The last couple of seasons have seen a drastic change in fortunes for Gareth Bale, who was once labelled as an "unlucky charm" as he went on an incredible 24-match streak without being involved in a Tottenham Hotspur victory.

    Things could scarcely be more different these days. A ridiculous volley early last season was something of a turning point for Bale, who has since emerged as a devastating threat on the left wing, either from defence or midfield.

    The talent was always there, but Bale has matured rapidly.

    Stand-out performances in the Champions League last season and a great start to this season in the Premier League means that clubs such as Real Madrid are after the Welshman.

    It is little wonder that Bale has become a fan favourite with such outstanding performances; it can't hurt that Bale has no plans on leaving Tottenham any time soon.

West Brom: Youssouf Mulumbu

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    West Brom's Youssouf Mulumbu was player of the year last time around, and deservedly so. The Congolese midfielder runs harder than just about anyone and was vital to West Brom's season.

    He got off to a shaky start this season, perhaps due to the added pressure, but seems to be performing once again.

    His work ethic makes him popular, but so do the goals and chances he creates. He is a fine player, and West Brom fans will be keen to keep hold of the former PSG man.

Wigan Athletic: Ali Al-Habsi

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    Ali Al-Habsi was Wigan's player of the season last year, after making save after save for the club at which he was on loan.

    The move was made permanent over the summer and Al-Habsi, a couple of blunders aside, has been a key player again.

    Spectacular saves go down well with fans, and Al-Habsi is more than capable of pulling off seemingly impossible saves, and is developing a habit of saving penalties (Carlos Tevez and Charlie Adam have both been denied this season from the spot).

Wolves: Matt Jarvis

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    Last season's player of the year for Wolves, Matt Jarvis is the first player from his club to represent England in two decades.

    Jarvis was excellent throughout the 2010-11 season, and has been impressive in recent games; he forced Jonathan Woodgate off the pitch after 20 minutes against Stoke with his speed and skill.

    When you support a smaller club, it is a source of great pride when one of your players represents their country, especially when it's your country. Matt Jarvis has achieved that for Wolves and has also been a consistent performer since his arrival in 2007.

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