Chelsea owner Todd Boehly's proposal for an 'All-Star' game involving Premier League players from the north to take on their southern counterparts has created plenty of debate online.
Boehly claimed at the Salt thought leaders conference in New York that the English game could learn from American sports, saying: “People are talking about more money for the pyramid; in the MLB All-Star game this year we made $200m from a Monday and a Tuesday.
"So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily.”
“When he finds a date for that he can call me," he said in his post-match press conference after Liverpool beat Ajax 2-1.
"In American sports these players have four-month breaks. Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well?
So, with the idea of a potential North vs South game in mind, we decided to put it to our writers to come up with their best XIs.
Here's what the SPORTbible team came up with...
Goalkeeper and backline speak for themselves. Consistent performers and some of the world's best in their respective positions. Bruno Guimaraes gets the nod in midfield having starred for Newcastle United since his move from Lyon. Just like the backline, the attacking stars speak for themselves, with Haaland leading the line following his explosive start to his Manchester City career.
Aaron Ramsdale pips the likes of Hugo Lloris and Edouard Mendy having shown his worth in goal for Arsenal as he becomes a vital member of Mikel Arteta's team. He's joined by teammate William Saliba, who has performed heroically in defence. Ivan Perisic takes the left-back spot, having provided some crucial assists so far this season. Moises Caicedo sits in front of the defence following his impressive performances for Brighton. His energy and speed make him the perfect foil for Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min form two-thirds of the attack due to their telepathic partnership at Spurs. They're joined by Raheem Sterling, who has shown early promise at Chelsea.
Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane are a hell of a partnership when on form and I'm banking on the Liverpool man's bad start to the season being temporary. Varane has proved how good he can be with a decent partner.
Joao Cancelo pretty much picks himself but at right back things might be a bit more controversial. Trent Alexander-Arnold is obviously a hell of a footballer but Trippier is stronger at defending and can take a hell of a free kick. Behind them Alisson is as good as any goalkeeper but Ederson in the world.
Midfield is similar to the full back situation, with pretty much no one being able to ask why Kevin de Bruyne is in the side. Next to him Douglas Luiz is definitely a bit more left field. The Midlands needs to be represented and there's a reason Arsenal were so desperate for him in the transfer window, also scores from corners!
This game needs some real old fashioned flair and no one provides it as well as Allan Saint-Maximin, James Maddison will also give plenty of running with the ball and another given the chance to show what he can do with better players around him.
Surely no one needs telling why Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland are in the team?!
I've decided to pick at least some players outside of the top six to mix things up for both teams.
Chelsea and Spurs both like to play back fives so it makes sense to stick with that system, and I've paired Reece James with Thiago Silva on the right and Ivan Perisic with Christian Romero on the left with Gabriel in the middle. Behind them Brighton's Robert Sanchez is as solid as they come.
Declan Rice is the glue that holds any team together and the perfect foil for Martin Odegaard's attacking skill.
Up front there's little question that Harry Kane deserves his place up front and Dejan Kulusevski's partnership with the England captain is currently stronger than the one with Son Heung-min.
Wilfried Zaha has often been considered the league's best player outside the 'big six' so it's time to see what he can do playing alongside them.
My north team is made up entirely of Manchester City and Liverpool players, despite the Reds' inconsistent start to the season. Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold sneak into my defence ahead of Raphael Varane and Kieran Trippier. I’ve also gone for Rodri and Thiago in midfield, with the likes of Fabinho, Bruno Fernandes and Bruno Guimaraes missing out. I've given the Premier League's best player, Kevin De Bruyne, a free role in midfield. In attack, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah are both guaranteed picks, while I've gone for Luis Diaz over Phil Foden on the left.
I found the south team much harder to pick. I've gone for the experience of Hugo Lloris in goal over the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Edouard Mendy and Robert Sanchez. Reece James and Oleksandr Zinchenko were easy picks at full-back, while I've selected Cristian Romero and Gabriel in central defence after their impressive starts to the season. William Saliba and Thiago Silva were unlucky to miss out here. Declan Rice is in holding midfield alongside Moises Caicedo, with Martin Odegaard acting as playmaker. Meanwhile, I've gone for an all-England front three. Harry Kane pips Gabriel Jesus to the No 9 shirt, while I've picked Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka out wide ahead of the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Gabriel Martinelli, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski.
I've decided to mix it up with my teams and use players from further down the division. For my north team, Alisson in goal is self-explanatory. He's undoubtedly the best around right now. Kieran Trippier over Trent Alexander-Arnold is a controversial decision, but the latter has struggled this season. The rest of the defence picks itself with a mixture of Manchester City and Liverpool players. City duo Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne join Leicester City star James Maddison in midfield. Harvey Barnes and Mohamed Salah will support Erling Haaland up top.
The south is a mixed bag in terms of experience and youth. Hugo Lloris is in goal with a back three of Cristian Romero, Thiago Silva and Joachim Andersen. Before you rush to the comments, Andersen has been one of the Premier League's best defenders so far this term. Reece James and Oleksandr Zinchenko will operate as wing-backs and in midfield are Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice. A front three of Wilfried Zaha, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka guarantees flair, goals and hard work. What more could you ask for?
What do you think? Who would make your teams? Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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