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Premier League's most underrated players

Monday 18th September 2017
Big names grab the headlines and plaudits. Meanwhile, others quietly do their job with no publicity. They are the Premier League's most underrated players.

Cedric Soares

Replacing Nathaniel Clyne was a tough job. Still, the Saints found a player who could so easily. Cedric Soares outbattled Cuco Martina for the right back position. With a Euro '16 winners medal in his pocket, the Portuguese doesn't receive nearly enough recognition.

Soares is among the best right backs in the Premier League. A true modern full back with quick movement and strong defensive instincts, he has a 76% passing accuracy while averaging three tackles per game this season. It's a pity his excellent crossing ability isn't exploited in new manager Mauricio Pellegrino's attack. All things considered, his performance is undervalued by many.

Idrissa Gueye

Due to bigger names at top clubs, Idrissa Gueye is frequently overlooked. Yet, when it comes to actual performance, 'Gana' is right up there with Fernandinho, N'golo Kante, and Nemanja Matic.

The Senegalese shone in 2015/16 with inept Aston Villa. The Claret and Blue's relegation led to a move to Everton. He continued his excellent work in Ronald Koeman's team.

In the Premier League, the 27-year-old records more than 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 7 ball recoveries per game. He has great distributive abilities as well. With a 90% pass accuracy and excellent dribbling skills, he is a tailor-made defensive midfielder.

Nacho Monreal

Part of an Arsenal defence filled with injury-prone players, such as Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielney, Shkodran Mustafi, and young players like Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal is Arsene Wenger's Mr Reliable. Rarely injured, the Spaniard is committed to the team, always giving 100%.

He is not the most skilled but makes up for it with effort and hustle. Last season in the Premier League, he had an 87% pass completion rate, won 90 tackles, made 88 interceptions and blocked 4 shots. He also provided support to Arsenal's attack. Any fullback called offside seven times has advanced attacking instincts. After a shaky start to his Arsenal career, Monreal is now among the first names on Wenger's team sheet.

Marouanne Fellaini

Recently, Jose Mourinho said he felt weaker without Marouanne Fellaini in his squad. When you look past the Belgian's awkward style, it's easy to see why. Fellaini is the ideal squad player.

Tall and rangy, he provides a skill set no one else in the United squad possesses. He can play the destroyer or target man and win aerial duels in either box. Above all, his chest control is sublime. The former Evertonian has divided opinion pretty much his entire career. One thing is certain, Fellaini gives his all on the pitch.

A certified big game player, he is a match-up headache for opposing defenders. Performances against Chelsea at home last season and in the Europa League final come to mind. Fellaini has scored important goals in big games and moments.

The 29-year-old is Mourinho's go to Plan B, delivering almost every time. Not a prototypical defensive mid, nor a polished target man, Fellaini receives a lot of unfair criticism, even from his own fans. He's so over-hated and underappreciated, he probably belongs on this list twice.

Olivier Giroud

Firing strikers usually receive commendation for their goals. Not Olivier Giroud. Gooners have been calling for a 'better' replacement since his arrival. Yet, the Frenchman has scored 70 goals and assisted on 23 in 166 appearances for the Gunners. That becomes an exemplary rate when you consider he is often used as an impact sub.

The 30-year-old striker is selfless, holds the ball well, allows runners from midfield, possesses great finishing both on the ground and in the air. Giroud has the most headed goals in the Premier League since his arrival. The former Montpellier striker is not the one to do tricks and flicks. He just does his job.

Nor has the Charm Striker's attitude soured since being made a full-time backup. He has scored seven goals coming off the bench since last season, most in the Premier League.

Christian Eriksen

A Spurs team that boasts attacking prowess through Dele Alli and Harry Kane has a hidden gem. Christian Eriksen makes everything click.

The Dane created 111 goal scoring chances in the Premier League last season. It made him the league's most creative player, more productive than David Silva, Mesut Ozil, Phillipe Coutinho, and Kevin De Bruyne. The former Ajax man also has a knack for "unbelievable goals" according to manager Mauricio Pochettino. Rightly so. Golazo has great ability to find the target from long range and free kicks. He was involved in 23 Premier League goals for Spurs last season.

Even after all that, he still isn't given his due. A true dark knight.

Cesar Azpilicueta

Arguably, the most underrated Premier League player, Cesar Azpilicueta is among the most versatile defenders around. A permanent starter for Chelsea since his arrival in 2012, the 28-year-old has been a vital player under 5 different managers. He was a key player in Chelsea's title wins, both in 2014/15 and 2016/17.

Last season, the right back had more tackles, interceptions, passes, and touches per game than centre half teammates David Luiz and Gary Cahill. The fact he hasn't been named even once in the PFA Team of the Year speaks to how criminally underrated 'Dave' is. However difficult it may be to pronounce his name, title winning sides are based around characters like the Spaniard.

Honourable Mentions

Oriol Romeu, Pascal Gross, Heung Ming Son, Steven Davis, Michael Dawson, Michail Antonio, Ryan Bertrand, Moussa Dembele, Fraser Forster, Matt Philips, Manuel Lanzini, and Victor Wanyama.

Vedansh Nathani

Manchester United fan from India. Follows almost all sports - football and pro-wrestling in particular. Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are some of his favourites.

Total articles: 125

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