As we inch closer to the Premier League’s resumption, let’s take a look at some of the most underrated players in the Premier League.
Emiliano Martínez – Aston Villa
After being nominated as Aston Villa Supporters’ Player of the Season with a club record of 15 clean sheets in his debut season with Villa, Martínez went on to gain further glory as he helped Argentina end their long trophy drought. Martínez played a crucial role in Argentina’s 2021 Copa América win. The Argentine even won the Golden Glove award.
After being underutilized by Arsenal and spending most of his time out on loan, Martínez’s Aston Villa move has given him a platform to showcase his talent. Martínez is known for his penalty shot-stopping abilities, having saved a crucial penalty in his first Aston Villa game. Martínez further demonstrated his skill at the Copa América, saving important spot-kicks in the semi-finals. Heading into his second season at Villa Park, Aston Villa might have just found that consistency in goal they were looking for with a number one for years to come.
Wilfred Ndidi – Leicester City
The Nigerian defensive midfielder is one of the most sought-after players in the Premier League at the moment, but he still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
After the departure of N’Golo Kante, many were skeptical whether Leicester City could fill the void left by the Frenchman. Ndidi has done more than filled the void.
No other player across Europe’s top five leagues has made more tackles than Ndidi. Even though he missed most of last season due to injury, Ndidi racked up an astounding 108 tackles in the Premier League, showcasing his importance to his team. Ndidi is also known for his intelligent understanding of the game, being a crucial interceptor, having made 68 interceptions last season without them leading to a direct goal.
As one of the sport’s top defensive midfielders, Ndidi is the benchmark for the position.
Michail Gregory Antonio – West Ham
Last season, West Ham’s excellent sixth-place finish was mainly due to Michail Antonio carrying the Hammer’s through. With a lethal combination of pace and power, Antonio is up there with Premier League’s best on his day. He is known for his versatility. Antonio has played in various positions throughout his career, at right-back, right midfield, and winger, apart from playing as a striker.
Coming off the back of two consecutive double-digit scoring seasons, Antonio will again be the Hammers’ primary source of goals as they compete in Europe.
James Ward-Prowse – Southampton
The 26-year-old defensive midfielder has been a constant in the Southampton team since 2013. With more than 250 appearances and being handed the captain’s armband, Ward-Prowse has silently crept under the radar for far too long.
One of the Premier League’s finest set-piece takers, Ward-Prowse is also known for his attacking abilities, often deployed as an attacking midfielder or right midfielder. With eight goals and seven assists, Ward-Prowse’s creative and attacking abilities are there for the world to see. Ward-Prowse also became the first player in the Premier League to have played every single minute of two consecutive seasons in 2021.
Given his impressive talent and natural leadership abilities, even though Ward-Prowse’s current contract runs through till 2025, it won’t be a surprise if some of the bigger clubs show interest in the Southampton captain soon.
John McGinn – Aston Villa
Often overshadowed by Jack Grealish, McGinn has quietly made himself indispensable for the Aston Villa team. Known for his energetic, box-to-box play, McGinn is equally important at the back as he is up the field. McGinn’s presence also allowed his captain, Grealish, to play more freely further up the field. Such was McGinn’s impact in his debut that his injury prompted manager Dean Smith to a tactical restructure until McGinn was back.
At 26, McGinn is at the peak of his career, and with European football coming up next season, McGinn is sure to catch some eyeballs!
Seamus Coleman – Everton
Regarded as one of the best Premier League fullbacks, the Everton captain is in his 12th season with the Toffees.
Even at 32, Coleman is one of the quickest and most hard-working players at the club. Coleman is known for his attacking runs, having scored 20 times for his club, along with his defensive prowess. With 26 Premier League assists, Coleman also has a creative eye. Although age has caught up with him, and he might not start every game, Coleman still managed an impressive eight clean sheets and three assists last season. He will be looking forward to honoring his new contract extension with solid performances in the upcoming season.
Raúl Jiménez – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Having joined Wolves initially on loan from Benfica, Jiménez has racked up 34 goals in his three seasons with the Wolves.
Jiménez isn’t the ideal number nine, with the Mexican known for his all-round play. Strong in the air with a keen sense of positional awareness, Jiménez is every defender’s nightmare. Having a high penalty conversion rate only makes the Mexican that much more dangerous, and after an injury-hit season, Jiménez will be looking to hit the ground running.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – Tottenham Hotspur
Known for his no-nonsense approach to the game, exceptional defensive skills, banking tackles, and crucial interceptions, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has been one of Tottenham’s revelations throughout the last season. However, he was largely overshadowed by the likes of Kane, Son, and Bale.
Højbjerg’s outstanding work rate and shield his back four stand out and makes him one of the Premier League’s best. Højbjerg’s debut season at Spurs saw him help keep 12 clean sheets. Along with his excellent on-field skills, Højbjerg is also known for his leadership qualities, having already been Southampton’s captain at the time of his departure to Tottenham.
Højbjerg also has a keen creative eye with four assists, 521 passes, and made the most passes in the final third last season, in the Premier League with 58 passes. A tireless midfielder, Højbjerg has all the qualities to become a Premier League great.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
One of the best one on one defenders, Bissaka, has been the answer to United’s long quest for defensive stability.
Fast, nimble and fearless, Wan-Bissaka is one of the hardest to go up against and has a remarkable ability to accelerate with short and frequent bursts on the counter. During 2019/20 season, Wan-Bissaka made more tackles than any of his teammates at an impressive success rate. Another of Wan-Bissaka’s strongest traits is his zonal marking tactics.
With Wan-Bissaka’s aggressive defensive approach, it gives Solskjær numerous counter-attacking options. His combination with United’s attacking choices, help the likes of Greenwood, Rashford on the counter, with Wan-Bissaka raking up the assists. Wan-Bissaka provided five assists and scored on two occasions last season. With United bolstering their defense with Raphael Varane, it will give Wan-Bissaka more freedom and opportunities to make those attacking runs.
Tyrone Mings – Aston Villa
The 28-year-old centre-back is another one from Villa Park, who has let his performances talk rather than be in the spotlight too often.
Known for his athleticism, Mings is known to operate as a left-sided central midfielder. At 6’5, Mings uses his height to great effect when it comes to blocking shots with a sense of great positional awareness. Showcasing leadership qualities, Mings is known to dictate the backline and excels at zonal markings, especially when it comes to set-pieces.
With an impeccable passing range, which stretches opposition defenses, Mings chipped in with two goals and two assists last season, along with 14 clean sheets. Impressive performances in the recently concluded Euro 2020 have helped his case in showcasing his skills at a global level.