Top 20: One man teams of the Premier League era

Robin van Persie
Van Persie FC playing against someone or other (Img: Ronnie Macdonald)

Gareth Bale had already scored each of Tottenham Hotspur’s previous six goals prior to Monday night’s trip to West Ham United, so his two strikes in a 3-2 win for Spurs got Football Burp thinking back on other teams in recent history to have had a heavy reliance on an individual player. As such, here – with tongue lodged firmly in cheek, before you all get apoplectic with rage – are our top 20 one man teams of the Murdoch Premier League era…

Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Because, you know, we couldn’t very well leave him out.

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

The Belgian has scored 15 goals in 29 games this season for a side that’s been largely dire, and all with just about bugger all help from such luminaries as Stephen Ireland, Charles N’Zogbia and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Oh, and Alan Hutton and Stephen Warnock. What’s Habib Beye up to these days?

Doncaster Rovers? You don’t say…

Luis Suarez, Liverpool

For the first half of this season, the lovable Uruguayan scored practically every goal for the Reds, except that goal Raheem Sterling might’ve scored one time, against Reading or someone. There were probably one or two others but that’s what it felt like.

Since the arrival of Daniel Sturridge, the resurrection of Steven Gerrard and ‘getting forward more’ of Jose Enrique, Suarez has had a little bit of the pressure relieved.

Demba Ba, Newcastle United

See above but replace Sterling with Shola Ameobi, Sturridge with Moussa Sissoko, Gerrard with Yohan Cabaye and Enrique with, I don’t know, Davide Santon.

Robin van Persie, Arsenal

Scored every single one of the Gunners’ goals last season, probably.

Except for the ones Theo Walcott scored.

Clint Dempsey, Fulham

Scored 23 goals in 46 games last season for a mid table side. Nary a week went by that the American hadn’t scored a couple of headers against some other mid table side.

As clearly impossible as that is.

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

What was that season, two or three years ago, when the Red Devils weren’t particularly strong but powered home to the title anyway thanks to Rooney’s 30-odd goals.

Granted, many of those were placed right on his bonce by Antonio Valencia, but we’ll choose to conveniently ignore that. Albeit we’ve already failed in doing so.

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

For years.

To a lesser extent, see also Shay Given at Newcastle United.

Nwankwo Kanu, Portsmouth

Okay, obviously he wasn’t/they weren’t, but we’re going to use his winning goals in the semi final and final of the 2008 FA Cup as an excuse to chuck this one in right out of the leftfield.

Or rather left out of the leftfield. Or straight out of the Underworld.


Christophe Dugarry, Birmingham City

The Frenchman arrived at St Andrew’s on a January loan and proceeded to keep Steve Bruce’s side in the Premier League with a string of masterful displays.

Or maybe we fell for the hype there. It’s not as if we watched every Birmingham City game over that four-month period.

Apologies to those who did for not mentioning your right-back or whoever who also happened to have a few good performances around then.

Carlos Tevez, West Ham United

Well, his last ten games there anyway.

Paolo Di Canio, West Ham United

Exhibit A…

Alan Shearer, Newcastle United

The groundbreaking pundit scored a lot of goals in Bobby Robson’s Magpies sides, and in some bog average Magpies sides for a while after.

Might be an argument for his rendering Blackburn Rovers a bit of a one man team for a while too, but it would be more for the 1993/94 side that finished 2nd than for the following year’s Premier League champions, supplemented as he was then by Chris Sutton.

Kevin Campbell, Everton

Came to Goodison Park on loan at the end of the 1998-99 season and kept Walter Smith’s doomed-seeming Toffees afloat with 9 goals in just 8 games.

Francis Jeffers was actually pretty good then too, admittedly.

Juninho, Middlesbrough

The likes of Fabrizio Ravenelli, Emerson and Phil Stamp also graced Boro’s side during the Brazilian’s early days, but subsequent spells at the Riverside saw him become quite the focal point.

Matt Le Tissier, Southampton

See Steven Gerrard.

Georgi Kinkladze, Manchester City

Couldn’t keep them up, mind.

Stan Collymore, Nottingham Forest

Bryan Roy was alright as well, like. And who could forget Stone, Woan and Lars Bohinen?

Jan Aage Fjortoft, Swindon Town

Scored regularly in a team that finished bottom with precisely one hundred goals conceded.

Les Ferdinand, Queens Park Rangers

Didn’t QPR finish 5th or something in 1992-93? Mind you, Aston Villa and Norwich City finished 2nd and 3rd.

Different times.



Different times.

Do you disagree really quite strongly with any of the above? Which other Premier League one man teams have we missed? Andy Johnson at Crystal Palace, maybe? Have your say in the comments section below…