The Premier League will kick off its final leg of the 2020/21 season this weekend when Chelsea take on West Brom at Stamford Bridge. A maximum of 10 matches are left for each PL side, and the battle will heat up as three spots in the Top 4 are up for grabs.
While Manchester United are 8 points clear of 5th placed West Ham, the Red Devils will be wary of the hunting pack, which includes Spurs, Liverpool, and Everton.
In the build-up to an action-packed two-month finale of the Premier League season, we take a look back at some of the best performers of the season. The players in our list today have not garnered the kind of attention their performances deserve and have flown under the radar in terms of recognition.
Without further ado, let's have a look at:
5 Premier League stars who have been under-appreciated this season
#5 James Tarkowski - Burnley
Our list begins with Burnley's backbone in defense - James Tarkowski. The 28-year old has been an enormous presence at the heart of Burnley's defense and is vital to the Clarets' grounded approach of resilient defending and an overall physical style of play.
Tarkowski has been vital to his side's fortunes this season, securing them another season in the top flight (barring a major goof-up in the final few games of the season).
In 27 Premier League appearances this season, the English centre-back has contributed to 9 clean sheets, with just 32 goals conceded under his watch. "Tarky" as fans endearingly call him, is an aerial threat, on both sides of the pitch.
Of the 10.2 aerial duels attempted every 90 minutes this season, Tarkowski has won 7.1, notching up an impressive 69% in aerial duels won. Along with this, the 28-year old is adept with the ball at his feet and has a calm head to play out from the back with a passing accuracy of over 70%.
#4 Illan Meslier - Leeds United
Leeds United's man in goal is one of the brightest prospects in his position in world football at the moment. Leeds United do not hold back against any team, be it Sheffield United or Manchester City, and they always try to find avenues to attack their opposition.
While this leads to many chances in front of goal, Leeds are susceptible to a barrage of counter-attacks. This makes the exploits of Illan Meslier in Leeds' goal particularly admirable.
In 28 Premier League appearances this season, the 20-year old has 9 clean sheets, with an impressive 4.1 saves per 90 minutes. The French youngster is skillful with the ball at his feet as well, playing an important role as a sweeper-keeper, which is vital in Bielsa's tactics of passing the ball out from the back. Meslier has one of the best pass completion rates among Premier League keepers (80%).