Friday, 20 January 2012

The Most Underrated Players in the Premier League - Part One

Seeing we are just past the half way season of the Premier League. It seems natural to consider the players who have impressed so far. Now, the conventional thing to do is list the likes of Sergio Aguero, Robin Van Persie, Scott Parker, Demba Ba and a few others. Of course, these players have clearly been outstanding this season.

But to be different, I have chosen not to pick players who have been constantly lavished by the media this season. Instead, I’ve picked players who have been outstanding for their sides without many of us even recognising.

So, as the article is titled, this is part one of the 10 most underrated players in the Premier League so far. Indeed, these opinions are mine, but I will back them up with stats and facts too.

10.) Wes Hoolahan – Norwich City: The Canaries attacking midfielder has quietly been very effective this season. The Irish midfielder has assisted 4 times for Norwich and has created the most chances for the newly promoted Premier League side. At the start of the season, there were a lot of question marks over whether Hoolahan and the other Norwich players could cope with the demands of the Premier League. But Hoolahan, 29, has so far defied those odds, by proving he can be just as effective in the Premier League. His creativity has been crucial to Norwich’s success this season.

9.) Stiliyan Petrov – Aston Villa: Aston Villa have started the season off rather steadily. It has not been a great start to the season, nor has it been a terrible start either. But Stiliyan Petrov has been the catalyst behind most of the good things Villa have created this season. Petrov has passed 808 times, with 679 being accurate. No Villa player this season has made more passes let alone more accurate passes than Petrov. The Bulgarian’s tidiness with his passing has also seen him make the most accurate final third passes for Villa too (173 accurate final third passes.) With Petrov’s accuracy in the final third, it comes as no real surprise that the Bulgarian has also created the most chances for Villa this season. Petrov has created a credible 30 chances so far this season. Stiliyan Petrov is an indispensable member of McLeish’s Villa side, his well rounded abilities give Villa depth and comfort in the centre of the park.

8.) Joleon Lescott – Man City: Now, this one is a bit controversial. Especially seeing as Lescott is playing for league leaders Man City. But Lescott is often viewed as one of those typical overrated English players. But he alongside Vincent Kompany is a key reason as to why Man City have the best defensive record in the Premier League. Lescott is a very good defender and it’s no real surprise Mancini sees him as the first choice partner alongside Kompany. Lescott has won 26/28 tackles this season. While he has also won 63% of his ground duals and 24 out of 32 aerial duals. Which is impressive stuff. Lescott has become incredibly solid, reliable and resourceful alongside Kompany. Indeed, Joleon Lescott may well be at the best club in the Premier League, but his defensive work is often overshadowed by the fantastic work of captain Kompany and the attacking players at City.

7.) Leighton Baines – Everton: Leighton Baines defines underrated. Last season he was exceptional, he was dominating Everton from left back. Yet, he failed to make the PFA team of the year. This season has been yet another productive season for the Everton man. Baines has created 49 chances for Everton this season, the highest for an Everton player. This dominance in the final third is recognisable especially when comparing Baines to the rest of the league. Leighton Baines has made 48 key passes this season, which is the fifth highest in the Premier League. Baines, from Left Back has made more key passes than Rafa Van der Vaart, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye. It’s incredible how little praise Baines gets, considering he virtually controls Everton from the left hand side. Without him, Everton would severely struggle to create good chances.

6.) Ashley Williams – Swansea: Ashley Williams has been very solid this season. Williams has won 66% of his tackles this season, which is satisfactory. But his leadership and dominance has been clearly recognisable at home for Swansea. This season, the Swans have the second best defensive home record with only 6 goals being conceded. Another hugely successful side of William's game is his passing. William’s passing has been key in Swansea maintaining their passing philosophy. He has made the third highest amount of passes this season, with 1382 passes. The centre back has also made 1162 accurate passes, which makes him the third most accurate passer in the division. This is exceptional considering the player has never played in the Premier League prior to this season. The player has developed so quickly at Swansea and he has thrived in the Premier League.Link

In part two, we will reveal the most underrated player of this Premier League season so far.

Part Two can be found here.

Statistics from EPL Index. (Stats taken on 18/01/12)


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