French football players are extremely common in the English Premier League. When considering the league’s leading players French representatives are always part of the discussion. But who have been the most impressive players to ever showcase their talents in the league, and more importantly who achieved the greatest successes?
The Arsenal Invincibles
The Arsenal invincible team of 2003/04 included many French players, some of which would be considered amongst the greatest to ever emerge from the nation. Arsenal raced to the title without recording any losses all season long. Many French greats featured in the team that secured Arsenal’s most recent title victory including Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires. In modern times Arsenal could finally end their league drought this season, at Paddy Power football they are the favourites at odds of 10/11 to win the Premier League. Manchester City is their closest competitor for the title in English Premier League betting as they are offered at evens. If Arsenal were to beat Pep Guardiola’s incredible side to the title it would be a victory that could be compared to the Invincibles in terms of significance.
In Arsenal’s 2003/04 title victory, Henry was the main goal scorer as he recorded 30 goals to win the golden boot award. Pires was one of the team’s key creative players and Vieira was the anchor man in midfield. Vieira was crucial for Arsenal both on and off the ball. He allowed Arsenal’s more creative players the freedom to play higher up the pitch due to his ability to win the ball back regularly and prevent counter-attacking opportunities. According to Football365, the French trio were a vital part of the fourth-greatest team the Premier League has ever seen.
Eric Cantona is undeniably a Premier League great as a result of his contributions at Old Trafford. The forward won four Premier League titles with Manchester United in the 1990s all while maintaining an excellent goals-per-game ratio. In terms of overall goal contributions, Cantona averaged a goal or assist in 80% of his Premier League appearances which is a figure few can compare to. The pacey frontman was one of the key players that helped to kickstart United’s era of dominance in English football. The former Red Devil also created a significant piece of Premier League history while on loan at Leeds United. Cantona scored the league’s first-ever hattrick in August of 1992 in a five-goal thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur, as covered by Planet Football.
Nicolas Anelka was somewhat of a journeyman in regard to his Premier League career. He played for many of the league’s top clubs including Liverpool and Chelsea and managed to consistently score goals wherever he went. Anelka’s most impressive season came in 2008/09 at Chelsea when he managed 19 goals in 37 appearances to claim the golden boot award. He built a reputation for being a forward that was effective in any kind of system, he had pace and physicality meaning he could play with his back to goal or run in behind defences.
French players have moulded impressive Premier League careers over the entire course of its history and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. Many greats are likely on their way to living out their potential in the present day. However, they have a huge amount of work to do in order to compare to the French Premier League legends of the past.