Ranking the best Finns in Premier League history ahead of Wales clash
With Wales taking on Finland tomorrow in the final Nations League, we thought we would take a look at some of the best Finnish players the Premier League has seen. If Wales avoid defeat, they will be promoted to the top tier of Nations League football and all the dubious benefits that brings.
Judging by this list, Wales should have some confidence they can get a result, given the lack of high-end quality Finland has produced. Without further ado, here is the top 5 Finns the Premier League has seen.
5. Teemu Pukki
It is perhaps indicative of the lack of depth of Finnish footballers in Premier League history that Pukki makes this list, despite only playing a solitary season in the top flight. However, the Norwich striker’s early season hot streak earned him a place on this list, not to mention in the hearts of millions of fantasy football managers!
4. Jari Litmanen
Widely considered to be Finland’s greatest ever footballer, the Premier League unfortunately did not see the best of Litmanen. Despite never hitting the heights of consistent 20-goal seasons at Ajax, the attacking midfielder showed flashes of his class while at Liverpool. He was a key contributor in the first part of the 2000-01 treble-winning campaign, before a wrist injury derailed his season.
3. Mikael Forssell
Forssell was on the books at Chelsea for 7 years but spent the majority of his time on loan elsewhere. He had spells at Crystal Palace and Monchengladbach, but it was at Birmingham that the forward was most successful. In the 2003-04 campaign, Forssell netted 17 times for the Blues in the league, putting him 5th on the Premier League top scorers list at the end of the season.
2. Jussi Jääskeläinen (yes, that's a copy & paste from Google)
A staple of Premier League football for much of the 21st century, Jääskeläinen made over 500 appearances in the English top flight while at Bolton and West Ham. In a far cry from their lowly standing today, Bolton under Sam Allardyce were a force in the Premier League in the mid-2000s. With Jääskeläinen between the sticks, the Wanderers reached a League Cup final and qualified for Europe. The Finnish keeper’s longevity alone would earn him a spot on this list. Add his reflex saves, baggy shirts and cult hero status and Jääskeläinen is a must-have.
1. Sami Hyypiä
Number 1 on this list is the Liverpool stalwart. In his decade at Anfield, Hyppia made 464 appearances and won every trophy on offer, apart from that elusive Premier League title. The big centre half was part of two Liverpool teams that went close, finishing second in both 2002 and 2009. Underrated outside of Merseyside, the Finn’s quality has never been doubted by Reds fans, with the club’s all time top scorer Ian Rush claiming Hyppia is “one of the best signings” in the club’s history. An elegant and strong defender, Liverpool could certainly use his services to see them through their current injury crisis.
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