Looking at football clubs around the world, there is one thing that they all have in common. In each cub there are a few “star players”, then you have those who are not really considered a “star”, however, they are still an irreplaceable part of the club and lastly, we have got players, who tend to live in the shadow of star players. Despite their phenomenal and consistent performances day in and day out, those players seemingly go unnoticed. Those players are so-called underrated players, who don’t get the recognition they deserve. Today we will check who are our top 5 picks for the best-underrated players in the Premier League.
5. Granit Xhaka; Arsenal
We put this Switzerland midfielder at the 5th spot solely because he was not that good under Arsene Wenger. While he played in Arsenal under Wenger, Xhaka was mediocre at best, without any discipline and poor defensive performances, he was not even close to being considered a good player, however it all changes since Unai Emery took over the club. Xhaka alongside Torreira have proven to be a powerhouse in the midfield, and despite the fact, Xhaka does not have impressive numbers this season, he is one of the rare players that has huge potential to succeed and become one of the best in his position in the upcoming years. Combine his powerful shots and accurate passes and you’ve got a complete midfielder, who has already proven his worth, but I do believe he has more hidden powers he has not yet revealed.
4. Georginio Wijnaldum; Liverpool
Since his arrival at Liverpool in 2016, Georginio Wijnaldum has become a vital part of the team and a key man for Klopp, who used this midfielder in 24 out of 27 games Liverpool has played this season in the Premier League. With his excellent performances, it should not come off as a surprise Wijnaldum is considered one of the first names on the team sheet and I believe he will continue to be one. With the title race becoming more and more heated, expect Georginio Wijnaldum to rack up appearances and ultimately play a big part in Liverpool success story.
3. Steve Cook; Bournemouth
Steve Cook has been a part of Bournemouth since the start of 2012. Throughout the 7 years, Steve Cook has become an irreplaceable player in this English team, where he has just recently played his 300th game. In the course of those 300 games, he has scored 20 goals and added 9 assists. While it’s true Steve Cook is not considered among the fastest players in the league, what makes him exceptional is his attitude, and his high football IQ, which puts him a step ahead of his opponents. What impressed me about him is the easy transition he made from League One to Premier League with Bournemouth, where he performs up to par with the league best players. At the end of the day, it would be hard to deny he is a fundamental player in Bournemouth squad.
2. Aymeric Laporte; Manchester City
At the 2nd place, we have got Aymeric Laporte, the CB from Manchester City, whose good performances seem to go under the radar. The fact that he has been selected into the starting XI in 27 games this season only proves he is a player Guardiola can trust. On one hand, I can understand he does not come off as a good defender, due to his physical presence not being one of a strong defender, but he compensates his lack of size with an extremely high work rate. Since his arrival at the club, Aymeric Laporte0s record when starting for Manchester City is; 20-2-0. He has not yet lost a match he started in! It’s mind-boggling for me how he can fly under the radar, most notably under the France international team, who has not yet decided to call him into the squad. With his performances in Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte value more than doubled, and with that, it’s only a matter of time before the whole football world realizes how good he is and how good can he become.
1. César Azpilicueta; Chelsea FC
From Osasuna to Marseille to Chelsea, César Azpilicueta has proven to be an exceptional defender in all the teams he played un, however, his potential only grew once he appeared in the Chelsea squad. But his good performances and potential might go unnoticed, which is normal for defences, who seemingly never get the praise they deserve. In the world of football, the strikers and midfielders, even goalkeepers are in the spotlight, while the defenders maybe get a pat on the back when they prevent opponents attack, which could easily turn the game around. What I like about César Azpilicueta is his consistency. Numerous times before we saw defenders crumble under pressure, but César Azpilicueta is not that player, and for that reason alone he is a solid defender any team would be glad to have. In addition, he has proven he can play in any position in the back since he joined the “Blues” in 2012. Due to his versatility, calm nerves, consistency and professionalism, I’m not surprised all Chelsea coaches since Roberto Di Matteo decided to start César Azpilicueta.