Best Premier League XI outside the traditional top six this season
After 13 matchdays, the Premier League table is beginning to take shape and at this stage of the season, it's got an unfamiliar feel to it. Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur find themselves outside the top six as things stand but the likes of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are in contention for a place in Europe next season.
Although Leicester's renaissance under Brendan Rodgers started before the season began, Sheffield's emergence has been unexpected to say the least as the Blades have taken the Premier League by storm. Currently sixth in the standings, Chris Wilder's side have been a revelation so far and if early season form is anything to go by, it wouldn't be surprising to see them secure Europa League football for next season.
A handful of teams outside the traditional top six have exceeded expectations this season and look well set to finish above the usual suspects in the European spots, something that hasn't happened too often in recent seasons. On that note, let's look at the best Premier League XI outside the traditional top six this season.
The Manchester United loanee has been a star turn of the Sheffield United side this season and has forced his way into Gareth Southgate's England squad with his recent performances. Henderson spent last season on loan with the Blades and played a pivotal role as they achieved promotion to the top flight and has started the season in stunning form, as he continues to build on his growing reputation.
The 22-year-old is amongst the hottest goalkeeping talents in world football and looks set to have a bright future in the game.
Right Back - Ricardo Pereira
Ricardo Pereira has been one of Leicester City's most consistent performers since joining the club last summer and the Portuguese full-back has established himself as one of the best players in the world in his position.
An indispensable member for club and country, Pereira has managed to usurp Joao Cancelo, a highly-rated full-back himself, for Portugal and his ability to combine his attacking prowess with defensive solidity makes him an eye-catching asset.
Centre Back - Caglar Soyuncu
Caglar Soyuncu's performances this season have been virtually flawless and the Turkish international has slotted in seamlessly in place of Harry Maguire, who sealed a world-record move to Manchester United this summer. In a season where Leicester City have taken the Premier League by storm, Soyuncu has been one of the standout players for Brendan Rodgers' side and his stock his risen exponentially since the start of the season.
The Foxes paid £18 million to acquire the player from Freiburg last summer and although he's taken his time to get settled in England, Soyuncu has come of age this season and delivered consistently for his side.
Centre Back - Nathan Ake
Despite Bournemouth's underwhelming start to the season, Nathan Ake has been a consistent performer for the Cherries at the back and the former Chelsea man has established himself as one of the most reliable performers for Eddie Howe's side in recent years. Ake is comfortable on the ball, commanding in the air and his ability to lead the backline has earned him plaudits universally.
The Dutchman was subject to moves to Manchester City and Leicester City in recent seasons and although the moves failed to materialize, Ake has kicked on and developed into a fine Premier League quality centre half.
Left Back - Ben Chilwell
Ben Chilwell has made the left-back spot his own for club and country this season and the Englishman has overcome a slow start to the season to become an indispensable member of Brendan Rodgers' team. Chilwell is electric on the left flank and aside from his defensive solidity, the youngster's crossing ability and his knack of making marauding runs down the pitch makes him the perfect modern-day full-back.