Whenever a new season of the Premier League comes, fans from all over the world get hyped. There is always an air of anticipation about what the new season will have in store for everyone. There are big money transfers that take place and the teams rebuild what they have in order to have a prolific season and in some cases, get better finishes than the previous seasons. Like every season, this season has seen major signings come in and make a mark while stalwarts from the past seasons have shined like they were supposed to.
With half of the season gone, the top six of the Premier League occupy the first six places on the table. Players like Salah, Hazard, Kane, Aubameyang, Sterling and the rest have made their presence felt in a big way, they haven’t been the whole and soul of their teams entirely. There have been players who have rose to the occasion at different moments, stepped up every time their team has stepped on to the pitch and helped them win. These are the players who do not receive all the plaudits and go under the radar but their efficiency and resilience are what can make the difference between a competing team and a champion team.
That being said, here is a look at the six most underrated players from each of the top six clubs in the Premier League
Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Liverpool is at the top of the table heading into 2019 and they deserve to be. They have played high-quality football and haven’t seemed to have put a foot wrong so far. Most of this has been down to the deadly front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah, the charismatic Virgil Van Dijk and their brilliant shot stopper Allison Becker. But, there has been one more player who has put in shifts every single game that he has played in. An energetic presence in the Liverpool back line, Andy Robertson has gone on to become a fan favourite just two seasons in. Signed as a backup for Alberto Moreno, Robertson has made the left back place his by putting in loads of work in the past season. The new Scotland captain is amongst the top left backs in the league, if not the best and yet, his role in Liverpool’s resurgence has gone a little unnoticed. He exemplifies Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy of playing and is always seen going up and down the left flank at a rapid pace for the entire ninety minutes. While he has always been good going forward, he has improved immensely as a defender and is one of the undoubted backbones of the best defence in the league.
Andrew Robertson has played fourth-most minutes for Liverpool this season behind Allison, Van Dijk and Salah and also has three assists.
2. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspurs)
At the beginning of the season, Spurs were heavily criticised for not making a single signing. Although, playing a very stylish quality of football one could see that they lacked the depth to mount a very serious challenge for the title. Injuries to first-choice central midfielders Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele further put Tottenham in a spot of bother. They were left with Harry Winks and a certain French midfielder Moussa Sissoko, a player they signed from Newcastle United after his career-best performances for France during Euro 2016. He has struggled to nail a place in Pochettino’s starting eleven and divided opinions of the Spurs faithful. Ever since the injuries to Dier though, he has stepped up and marshalled the midfield. A workhorse gifted with bundles of stamina, Sissoko has been the glue in the centre of the park that has allowed the magical Spurs quartet to flourish in the final third. He might not be joyful to watch like the Spurs brand of football but he surely makes them click with his abundance of energy. Playing as a holding midfielder, Sissoko hasn’t been booked so far this season.
3. Fabian Delph (Manchester City)
If anyone other than James Milner suits the definition of a utility player in the Premier League, it is Fabian Delph. Granted, he isn’t the most technically correct player in a team full of technicians, Delph offers Guardiola something that no one in his squad can, versatility. The Englishman has played in three different positions for Guardiola this season already. With Benjamin Mendy ruled out with an injury, Delph has stepped in and put in decent performances this season. With the recent injury to midfield master Fernandinho, Fabian Delph has stepped up into the holding midfielder role. A role that is perhaps the most important dynamic of Guardiola’s playing style. He is not among the best players at City but he fulfils a role that can make a difference between a title winning and title-chasing team.
Delph’s recent suspension has made Guardiola play John Stones as a holding midfielder and the result has been evident.
4. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)
Rudiger was signed by Antonio Conte for Chelsea last season but he was never at the top of the list of the Italian. He had improved under Conte as the season progressed but under Maurizio Sarri, Rudiger has transformed into a beast. He has adapted to Sarri’s system and has all the dynamics to succeed in the league. He is extremely tough, has speed and agility and rarely loses headers. This season, David Luiz has won the plaudits for the way he has played but Antonio Rudiger has quietly become a big part of Sarri’s plans and become a rock of the Chelsea defence. He also chips in with goals from time to time and does not shy away from a last-ditch tackle. Perhaps, the most important and most underrated part of Antonio Rudiger is that he is very vocal about his feelings and keeps the dressing room on its toes with his post-match reactions. He has played 1689 minutes out of a possible 1710 and has a goal-line clearance to his name.
Antonio Rudiger has completed the third most passes (1401) in the league this season
5. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)
A prototype hard man, the Swiss international has become an integral part of Unai Emery’s rebuild mission at the Emirates stadium. A mercurial talent blessed with a hammer of a left foot, Granit Xhaka has evolved so much since the Spaniard’s takeover at Arsenal that he has become their captain in Laurent Koscielny’s absence. With the arrival of Lucas Torreira and his instant popularity among Arsenal fans, Xhaka’s work this season has gone unnoticed. He has played the most minutes of the entire Arsenal squad and his bookings have also drastically reduced. He has become a significantly calmer player on the pitch. Unai Emery is a manager who wants versatile players at his disposal, and Xhaka is the most versatile player at his disposal. This speaks volumes given the talent at Arsenal this season. Be it playing at his preferred central midfielder position or at left-back, Granit Xhaka has put in meticulous shifts for the Gunners this season and he will be a key to their progress throughout the entire season.
Granit Xhaka leads the premier league in touches with 1938 touches this season
6. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
With the post-Mourinho era of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has begun on a positive note at Old Trafford, the major talk has been that about the resurgence of a certain Paul Pogba. The talks have also been about the defensive frailties at Manchester United, and of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez misfiring and Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial not being played where they should; one player has been putting up consistent performances for the entire season so far. That player is Jesse Lingard. He is a player who can have bad days, but when on a song he has the capability of turning a game on its head for the Red Devils. In his 15 appearances, so far this season Lingard has scored four and assisted two while creating plenty of opportunities. He will be a focal point of the attack for United this term with his advanced position on the field and will be critical if United are to save their season
Lingard has been dispossessed off the ball only 14 times this season