3 players from the traditional top-six sides who have gone under the radar this season | Premier League 2019-20
- We take a look at 3 players who have quietly performed consistently amongst the top six sides this season in the Premier League
The 2019-20 edition of the Premier League has been one of the most memorable campaigns in recent seasons, as it has dazzled fans across the world with its fair share of drama and unpredictability.
While Liverpool are within touching distance of domestic glory, having raced onto the tracks and dominated the season right from the get-go, the likes of Sheffield United, Leicester City and Wolves have capitalized on the fact that the rest of the traditional top six have not been at their best, as they look for a spot in Europe.
The Coronavirus has put the brakes on all of football in Europe, as the pandemic continues to spiral out of control and affect day to day activities. The top five leagues in the continent have been suspended indefinitely, giving us time to revaluate the season and look for players who have gone under the radar.
The fate of the rest of the season remains unclear at this stage but football should, in all honestly, take a backfoot for now, as the virus has been contacted by several high profile footballing personalities in Europe, including Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi. With the season at a standstill, football fans across the globe have been presented with an opportunity to dig deeper into their respective teams and analyze exactly what went right or wrong thus far, while they wait for normal services to resume after a quick resolution of the problem.
The top six sides in England are amongst the biggest footballing institutions in the face of the planet and over the years, have produced several top-class professionals who are amongst the best players in the world. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have continued to blow hot and cold this season, while Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have had problems of their own with regard to squad depth and the fate of their respective managers.
On that note, here are 3 players from the traditional top six sides who have gone under the radar despite delivering the goods consistently this season.
#1 Fernandinho - Manchester City
In what has been an indifferent season for Manchester City and manager Pep Guardiola, Fernandinho has rolled back the years and performed consistently for the Cityzens, as they aim to finish the season strongly despite seemingly surrendering the league title to Liverpool.
The veteran midfielder has been deployed as a central defender owing to a string of torrid injuries to several members of the Sky Blues' rearguard, most notably Aymeric Laporte, who missed the first half of the season owing to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury. Despite his unfamiliarity to the position, the Brazilian has been a reliable performer for Guardiola and co, having racked up 31 appearances across all competitions this season.
Widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders of his generation, Fernandinho has been lauded for his professionalism and versatility over the years and has been City's most reliable central defender in the twilight years of his career, a stunning achievement for a 35-year-old.
Having signed a one-year contract extension earlier this season, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man looks set to spend one more season in the Premier League, before deciding to move on or call it quits on what has been a sensational career for club and country.
#2 Fred - Manchester United
Having arrived for big money from Shakhtar Donetsk last summer, Fred failed to hit the ground running in his first season at Manchester United, as he found himself in and out of the team and reportedly fell out of favour with former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.
However, since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the reins at Old Trafford, the Brazilian midfielder has been an indispensable member of the side and has stamped his authority in the centre of the park this season, as he continues to grow in stature with every passing game.
Known for his press resistance, passing range and ability to wriggle his way out of tricky situations, Fred is unlike any midfielder Manchester United have amongst their ranks currently and has enhanced his reputation whilst deputizing for the likes of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay this season, as the duo have missed large parts of the current campaign owing to injury problems.
The 27-year-old has featured 39 times across all competitions for the record English champions this season and has two goals and four assists to his name. With the Red Devils vying for a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League, Fred's form will be crucial domestically as well as in Europe, as they aim to conclude strongly and realize their objectives for the rest of the season.
#3 Bernd Leno - Arsenal
An ever-present for Arsenal this season, Bernd Leno took time to announce his arrival in England but has firmly established himself as the Gunners' long term custodian between the sticks, as he has been one of their standout performers this time around.
While his first season in the Premier League was marred by inconsistency, the German international has put his poor form behind him and bailed the North London club out on several occasions with a series of high profile saves; with his tally of 104 saves second only to Newcastle United's Martin Dubravka (117) this season.
Arsenal have struggled at the back this season, as has been the case so often recently, but Leno's presence between the sticks has been a massive boost for them, as they aim to revamp their rearguard in the upcoming transfer window. His record of seven clean sheets across 28 games in the Premier League does not set the world alight but the German shot-stopper has almost single-handedly shut opposition teams off on his day this season, a startling example of the improvement he's shown.
With William Saliba set to join the club at the end of the season and new defensive signings on the horizon, Leno could be part of Arsenal's backline for years to come, as he aims to continue his rich vein and become a key player for the Gunners.Published 14 Mar 2020, 04:39 IST