The 10 year challenge has taken the world by storm in 2019, so there is no better time to compare current Premier League teams to their squads from the 2008/09 season.

Some teams like Bournemouth and Brighton were plying their trade in League One and Two a decade ago, while others like Manchester United were vying for the Champions League crown.

Find out in the following paragraphs whether the 2008/09 or 2018/19 team would win if the sides were to do battle.

Arsenal

Arsenal are one of the more intriguing teams because on paper their current side is more talented than their counterparts from a decade ago, but as a whole the 2008/09 team better performed.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are a better attacking duo than Robin Van Persie and Nicholas Bendtner, while Bernd Leno is by far a better goalkeeper than Manuel Almunia.

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However, despite their lack of world-class talent, the Gunners 2008/09 side was much more balanced and had the temperament to compete with the best teams in the world.

Cesc Fabregas patrolled midfield and was one of the most creative players in the Premier League, while William Gallas, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna provided a solid back four that only conceded 37 goals in the Premier League.

With the resilience and the ability to progress to the later stages in the Champions League and FA Cup (semi finals in both competitions), the 2008/09 team would dispel their current squad.

Winner: 2008/09

AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth has arguably undertaken the biggest transformation of any team in English Football in the last 10 years. A decade ago the Cherries were seven points away from safety from relegation to non-league football when Eddie Howe was appointed manager. Today, Bournemouth are an established Premier League side that has defeated the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in their four seasons in the top tier.

Howe’s biggest achievement was avoiding relegation in 2008/09 as it set the platform the Cherries rise through the divisions.

It’s safe to say the current Bournemouth side would defeat their 2008/09 counterparts.

Winner: 2018/19

Brighton

10 years ago Brighton finished 16th in League One and Glen Murray scored 19 goals. Fast-forward a decade and the Seagulls sit 15th in the Premier League, with a 35-year-old Murray netting 12 goals in all competitions.

Like Bournemouth, Brighton’s transformation in the past decade has been outstanding. Back in 2008/09, the Seagulls biggest home attendance was 8,729 at the old Withdead Stadium, while today the club average 30,934 fans in the Premier League at the American Express Community Stadium.

Winner: 2018/19

Burnley

Burnley have become a mainstay in the Premier League in recent years and qualified for European football for the first time in their history last season. But there is evidence to suggest their current success would not have eventuated had it not been for the 2008/09 season.

Burnley won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 08/09 by defeating Sheffield United in the playoff final. The Clarets were relegated from the Premier League the following season, but gained promotions back into the top tier under Sean Dyche in 2013/14 and 2015/16.

The Clarets current team would defeat the team from a decade ago, but who knows where they would be without Wade Elliot’s stunning strike in the playoff final.

Winner: 2018/19

Cardiff City

Cardiff are on course for relegation this season, but their season in the Premier League is a long way from their seventh placed finish in the Championship in 2008/09.

The Bluebirds finished on equal points and goal difference with sixth placed Preston North End, but missed out on the playoffs due to goals scored.

Cardiff have struggled to find the back of the net again this season and their lack of goals could be a reason why they get relegated at the end of the year, but with the talent in the side superior to that of 10 years ago there is only one winner if these sides met.

Winner: 2018/19

Chelsea

As the years advance it becomes clearer how good the Chelsea side from the mid 2000’s was. The likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech gave the Blues a platform to attain consistent success. The leadership of these players is testament to their talent, which is something the current team lacks.

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The Blues finished third in the Premier League in 2008/09, won the FA Cup and reached the semi-finals in the Champions League.

Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante are arguably the only two players from the current team that would make the starting 11 in 2008/09.

Winner: 2008/09

Crystal Palace

A 15th placed finished in the Championship in 2008/09 makes it difficult to find anyway this side could beat the current Palace team.

Wilfred Zaha and Michy Batshuayi have formed a lethal partnership up front, while Aaron Wan Bissaka is one of the most talked about fullbacks in the world.

The 2018/19 team would easily beat the team from decade ago.

Winner: 2018/19

Everton

Similar to Arsenal, you can claim that the current Everton team is more talented than the one from a decade ago, however the chemistry of the team in 2008/09 gives them the upper hand.

David Moyes never had the finances or talent to compete with the top four teams in the league, but consistently guided the Toffees to a top 10 finish.

A 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final highlighted the Toffees ability to compete against the best sides in England and their dogged approach would be too much for Marco Silva’s team.

Winner: 2008/09

Fulham

Fulham’s 2018/19 team struggle to beat any of the teams in the Premier League and thus would also find it difficult to beat their 2008/09 counterparts.

A decade ago the whites finished seventh in the Premier League, three positions above Manchester City. Fulham had a goal difference of +5 and qualified for the Europa League.

Fulham’s current predicament see’s them 19th on the table with a -38 goal difference.

Clear victor in this contest.

Winner: 2008/09

Huddersfield

Huddersfield appear on course for relegation this season, but in 2008/09 they were heading to League Two, before Lee Clark inspired them to a 9th placed finish.

The Terriers look out of their depth in the Premier League but would still be good enough to defeat their team from a decade ago.

Winner: 2018/19

Leicester City

It has been a thrilling 10 years for Leicester City who completed one of the great fairy tale stories when they won the 2015/16 Premier League title. The following years have not been as inspiring, but they still remain a sturdy mid-table side.

A decade ago the Foxes won the League One title with Nigel Pearson as manager, but no matter what they achieved back then they would not topple the current team.

Winner: 2018/19

Liverpool

There’s similarities between the current Liverpool team and the one from 2008/09. A decade ago the Reds finished second in the league, four points behind Manchester United despite losing only two games all season.

Fast forward to this year and the Reds are again second on the table, this time one point behind Manchester City, despite only losing one game all season.

Both teams experienced an extensive amount of draws, which has hampered  their quest for the title.

This season’s team has better quality in attack, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah edging Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel. However the midfield trio of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano supersedes their current midfield, which fails to impact on the score sheet. Gerrard ended the 08/09 campaign as the Reds top scorer with 16 goals in the Premier League and was crowned the Football Writers Player of the Season.

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However, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have conceded only 15 goals this season and would likely contain the Reds 08/09 attack.

One of the more difficult teams to access, but the likelihood is the current team would win because of their ability to find a late winner and hold out opposition attacks.

Winner: 2018/19

Manchester City

Manchester City are now one of the best teams in the world and are managed by the best manager in the game. Back in 2008/09, City without their Sheikh finances finished 10th on the table, below West Ham, Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton.

It’s hard to fathom City’s rise in the past 10 seasons, but it is clear who would claim the win if these sides met.

Winner: 2018/19

Manchester United

In 2008/09, Manchester United were one win away from claiming consecutive Champions League crowns.

United had the best player in the world (Cristiano Ronaldo), the best manager in the world (Sir Alex Ferguson) and the PFA Player of the Year (Ryan Giggs).

Fast forward a decade and United have not won the Premier League title in six seasons and are no certainty to finish in the top four, despite an upturn in results under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

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The team from a decade ago had it all, a lethal attack (Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez), creative midfield (Giggs, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick) and a solid defence (Edwin Van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea), while the current team lacks world-class talent.

Winner: 2008/09

Newcastle

Newcastle’s current side would claim victory over their 2008/09 team because of one man only and that is Rafa Benitez. The Magpies had four managers in 2008/09, including Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, yet no one could prevent them from suffering relegation on the final day of the season.

Newcastle ended the campaign on 34 points, three points more than they are currently on. The Magpies sit just above the relegation zone this season and the only reason they are likely to avoid the drop is because of Benitez, who has worked wonders on a tight budget and a squad suited for the Championship.

Without Benitez this game would be evenly contested, but with the Spanish manager the current Magpies would come out on top.

Winner: 2018/19

Southampton

Southampton could be on course for relegation this season if they do not start to pick up wins, but back in 2008/09, the Saints were relegated to League One after only 10 wins for the season.

Had the Saints finished higher on the table, they could have challenged the current team given their lack of form this year, but because they were relegated, the 2018/19 team would win hands down.

Winner: 2018/19

Tottenham

Back in 2008/09, Tottenham were an ever-present mid-table side that consistently failed to live up to expectations.

Today, the Spurs continue to fail to live up to expectations, albeit for silverware instead of a top four finish, which they have been able to achieve for three years in a row.

Spurs have transformed themselves into one of the most entertaining teams in the world that can compete with any side in European football. Silverware has eluded Tottenham, but with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen, Tottenham’s current team would be no match for their mid-table forbearers.

Winner: 2018/19

Watford

Watford finished 17th in the Championship in 2008/09, with Aidy Boothroyd, Malky Mackay and Brendan Rodgers all the helm over the course of the season.

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The management position at the Hornets has settled in recent seasons under manager Javi Gracia, who has turned the Hornets into a mid-table side.

The wizardry of Gerard Deulofeu was unseen at Watford a decade ago and with an abundance of talent in the current squad, this season’s team would dispatch of the 2008/09 line-up.

Winner: 2018/19

West Ham

This is by far the hardest result to decide. West Ham finished the 2008/09 season in ninth position, which is the same position they currently sit.

The Hammers ended the campaign on -3 goal difference, while this season they are on -4.

However, there is one stat that determines which side would win. The best team the 2008/09 side beat was seventh placed Fulham, while this season the Hammers have had victories over Arsenal and Manchester United.

Their ability to win against the top six gives this seasons team the advantage.

Winner: 2018/19

Wolves

Wolves have excelled in their first season back in the Premier League, sitting seventh in the league and through to the quarter finals in the FA Cup.

A lot of their success has to do with the large amount of Portuguese and Spanish players in the squad and their 3-5-2 formation.

Wolves’ 2008/09 team was also a success as they cruised to promotion to the Premier League by ending the season on 90 points and winning the Championship title.

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However, Wolves struggled in the following three seasons in the Premier League, while the current team looks to be heading for consistent success if they continue to invest in young, foreign talent.

Winner: 2018/19

 

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Christopher Chrysostomou
mrcc1@optusnet.com.au

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