The UK’s Premier League (soccer) remains as the top football league in the world. Through the years, many of football’s greatest teams and football players have graced the most prominent football stadiums in England. The more recent names of the UK Premier League greats include David Beckham, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Sergio Aguero and Cristiano Ronaldo.
What a lot of the league’s greatest players have in common is they played in the latest decade, that being from 2010 to 2019. To get an idea of exactly what kind of outstanding football fans were treated to during the past decade, a look at the stats and data from said decade would likely suffice to tell the story. This is a story that paints a picture about what was arguably one of the greatest 10 years in Premier League history.
Teams of the Decade
It’s not often that a particular team or group of teams in any major sports league is able to show the kind of dominance three teams exhibited in the Premier League over the last decade. This is according to the latest table for Premier League results provided for the decade.
In England Premier League action, three teams and one team, in particular, were responsible for 9 of the league’s 10 championship titles during the last decade. At the top of the leaque, fans had to get used to seeing the names of either Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United walking away with Premier League titles. The only exception to the dominance these three clubs displayed from 2010 to 2019 came during the 2015-2016 season when Leicester City came out of nowhere to beat Arsenal in the title game.
Of particular interest during the 10-year period was the performance of Manchester City, a team that accounted for five of the last decade’s titles. This reversal of fortune came on the heels of the team last winning a Premier League title in 1968. For what it’s worth, Chelsea and Manchester United combined accounted for eight titles during the prior decade.
The last decade’s award for futility has to go to Liverpool. In spite of the fact Liverpool won 206 games during the decade, the club only managed to earn runner up honours on two occasions with no championships. The 206 wins were tied for third-best behind Manchester City (251), Manchester United and Chelsea (220) and Liverpool and Tottenham (206).
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The only thing UK football fans love more than their favourites are the players that make the matches fun and exciting. One look at the relevant Premier Leaque table and fixtures for players makes clear just how amazing some of the player performances were during the decade.
Leading the way as the best goal scorer of the decade was Sergio Aquero. The Argentinian striker plied his trade with Manchester City where he scored 173 goals from 2011 to 2019. That’s a startling 37 more goals than Harry Kane scored (136) over the entire decade as a premier player for Tottenham. Another 22 goal back was the ever-popular Wayne Rooney, who scored 114 goals over his 8-year stint with Manchester United and Everton combined before bolting at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season to play professional soccer in the US for DC United. It’s worth noting that Rooney currently sits as England’s #2 all-time leading goal scorer with 208 goals over his 16 years as one of the best Premier League players in league history.
Another one of the most interesting Premier League stats for the decade relates to the league’s best sharpshooters. Leading the way as the league’s most efficient scorer was James Vardy, who played most of the decade for Leicester City. All he managed to do was score goals on 23.4% of his shots. Following him closely was Javier Hernandez (Manchester United, West Ham United), who was able to put the ball in the net on 22.5% of his shots.
Honourable mention: Not everyone is born to be a star but the last decade saw a couple of players who impressed by showing up game in and game out over the decade. Jordan Henderson played more Premier League games than any other player in the 2010s with 308 of them coming while playing for Sunderland and then Liverpool. Ben Foster also deserves recognition for playing 306 games in goal as he accumulated a decade-high 996 saves.
Nothing happens during a football match Premier League event without it going through team managers. During the decade, some of the Premier league’s historically best managers played a role in helping their respective teams find football glory. To provide an interesting little twist, we’ll evaluate the Premier League tables last 10 years to identify the best managers for both offense and defense.
Leading the way for having the best offenses of the decade was Pep Guardiola, who gets credit for devising an offensive scheme that helped his Manchester City club put up 2.366 goals per match from the 2016 season through the 2019 season. Coming in at a close second was the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, whose Manchester United teams were able to score 2.273 goals per match from the beginning of the decade until his retirement after the end of the 2013 season.
One of the great defensive masterminds turned out to be Gus Poyet, who spent a combined 6 years managing the clubs in Brighton and Sunderland. From 2010 through the 2015 season, his clubs managed to hold opponents to an astonishing 1.06 goals per games. Not to be outdone, Chris Hughton spent his tenure in the Premier League moving about the league where he coached four different teams, including Newcastle United, Birmingham City, Norwich City and Brighton. It didn’t seem to matter where he was developing defensive schemes based on the fact his teams collectively held opponents to 1.049 goals per match.
The last decade proved to be filled with English Prem transfer news. During the 10-year period, the league as a whole set records for the total amount of money spent on transfers. From 2010 through 2019, almost £11.1b was spent to move players into and around the league. In the 2017-2018 season alone, the league spent an amazing £1.860b on transfer players.
The biggest transfer of the decade came in 2016 when Manchester United spent a then-record transfer fee of £89m to bring midfielder Paul Pogba back to the club from Juventus. Another big expenditure during the decade came when Manchester United decided to pay Real Madrid £59.7m for forward Angel di Maria. Chelsea also exceeded the century mark when they paid £50m to get Fernando Torres from Liverpool.
If the 2010s were any indication of things to come in the next decade, fans have a lot to look forward to. At the least, it will be interesting to see if any of the Premier Leagues hard trying clubs can step up and dethrone the big three clubs that dominated the last decade. We’ll also keep an eye out for Premier League goals of the season for each year of the decade.