Gone Under The Radar – The Most Underrated Premier League XI This Season
Football can be a thankless game sometimes, especially if you are playing in the top flight of English football. The newsprint and digital media often focus on the bigger names who play for the biggest clubs and tend to forget the lesser-known players who have been playing their hearts out for their teams. As such, the likes of Harry Kane, David de Gea and Sergio Aguero run away with most of the accolades and deservedly so, but there is also a category of players who go less appreciated, and these are the ones who have to make-do with the “underrated” tag.
In this piece, I aim to make an “Underrated XI” comprising of players who have performed very well in their roles but have escaped the attention they deserve, for one reason or the other.
Goalkeeper: Jack Butland, Stoke City
Despite 5 losses and just 1 clean sheet in 9 appearances this season, Jack Butland has been superb in goal for Stoke City this season. His defence has let him down on numerous occasions and so the statistics do not look so good. However, he has done a far better job for the England national team, who recently qualified for the World Cup 2018 in emphatic fashion and obviously, have better defenders. Butland is primed to make it really big very soon.
Right back: Johny Evans, West Bromwich Albion
The former Manchester United defender has been used as a right-back a few times this season and he has come out on top in most cases. With an 83% successful tackling rate and a goal to his name, the 29-year-old has been a real rock at the back and deserves a mention here.
Centre-backs: Virgil van Dijk, Southampton and Harry Mcguire, Leicester City
Van Dijk is a well-known name in the Premier League but he is still not regarded at the same level as that of Nicolas Otamendi or David Luiz. As for Harry, only hardcore Premier League enthusiasts seem to be aware of his performances for the Foxes this season. With van Dijk’s physicality and ease in playing with the ball and Mcguire’s game-reading skills, these two would make a top-class pairing.
Left-back: Sead Kolasinic, Arsenal
The Bosnian has incredible physical strength and bags of stamina, which is why Arsene Wenger has persisted in using him as the left wing-back for his side. He has an impressive work rate and is excellent on the overlap, which is why he has 2 Premier League assists and a goal in the UEFA Europa League to his name.
Central Defensive midfield: Emre Can, Liverpool
The German has been a revelation in midfield this season, so much so that Juventus have apparently stepped up their interest in him. His passing and defensive contributions have been immaculate. With 2 assists to his name, he has also been creatively impressive and deserves more recognition.
Left Wing: Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace
When on song and not injured, Zaha is easily one of the most entertaining players in the league. He has just 3 appearances this season but has already scored a goal against Chelsea and has had 7 shots. His performances since his return from injury have been very eye-catching and he is another underrated gem in the league.
Central Attacking Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton
The Icelandic playmaker is a hot commodity in the Premier League and his side has struggled to make the most out of his abilities so far this term. With 45 crosses but with no goals or assists, one hopes that sooner rather than later, his club can address this issue and set the team around the former Swansea City man.
Right Wing: Pedro Rodriguez, Chelsea
While it may seem foolish to include a player from Chelsea on this list, it seems like Pedro is destined to never get his due share of credits. He was excellent during the time in which Hazard was out injured, and has so far scored 3 goals and 3 assists in just 12 appearances. However, fans are rarely enamoured by his showings and it is high time that they appreciate his qualities.
Strikers: Tammy Abraham, Swansea City and Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea
Tammy Abraham has scored 5 goals from 12 appearances in all competitions and Batshuayi has scored 7 from 11 games in all competitions. This speaks volumes about their quality. While the former is a 20-year-old Chelsea loanee who is making a name for himself and will look to start alongside Alvaro Morata very soon, the latter is already at Chelsea, fighting with the very same Morata for a place in the XI.
Despite performing so well, Batshuayi doesn’t get his fair share of game time and goes underappreciated for his efforts.
So this is my Underrated Premier League XI. Share your opinions below.