5 most underrated stars of the Premier League this season
The festive period marks the halfway point of the Premier League season and while the rest of the top leagues in Europe have a customary winter break, England gets ready for a series of matches crammed into a very tight schedule.
But before we run headlong into the next set of games, it's time to look back at some of the more inspiring performers that have gone under the radar this season. We look back at five players who deserve a lot more credit for their performances in the last few months.
#1 Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Column inches have been dedicated to Arsenal's numerous issues at the back this season. They have conceded 23 goals so far - the highest among the top six - as Arsene Wenger attempts to discover his ideal formation with the players he has available.
However, one player at the back has proven himself to be quite capable and adaptable no matter the formation. Nacho Monreal was signed as a left-back but has since taken up the role of a left wing-back and now a centre-back.
Whether the Gunners deploy a back-three or a back-four, Monreal has kept his place despite Sead Kolasinac's heroics. With Per Mertesacker unable to play high-intensity football anymore, given it is the final year of his career, Monreal has stepped in with Shkodran Mustafi's injuries making things difficult.
Although he is 31, he is still the same tireless player and is one of four players who has played all 19 matches so far for the Gunners. His ability to get forward even as a centre-back has been instrumental too while his all-round defensive contribution has seen him make 50 interceptions - the highest in the league.