Premier League: 5 most underrated players this season
- A look at five of the most unsung players in the English Premier League this season.
- These are players who work hard and do the monotonous stuff day in day out. Hence they tend not to receive too much recognition.
Some players in football, particularly in the Premier League, demand the attention of fans. And once they have it, it's hard for a fan to let go. Players like Lionel Messi with the ball glued to his feet or Kevin De Bruyne with his wicked crosses and passes into the six-yard box, generally dominate games.
But football is a team game. Usually, players who work hard or do the boring stuff tend to get less attention from fans, media and critics.
The Premier League has always been replete with such figures during its illustrious near three decades of existence.
Today we take a look at five of the unsung heroes in the Premier League this season before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the league to go into indefinite suspension.
5 underrated players in the Premier League in 2019-20:
#5 Martin Dubravka
The biggest compliment that can be paid to the Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Duvravka is that he is likely to keep his spot as a no.1 even in a post-Newcastle takeover.
His nine clean sheets in the Premier League this season is the most by a goalkeeper who has played for a bottom-half team in 2019-20. Duvravka has been an ever-present figure in Steve Bruce's side and a perpetual barrier between the sticks for opposition teams.
Newcastle have ceded possession, territory and an unreasonable number of shots on goal to the opposition in the Premier League this season. Duvravka's remarkable consistency has, however, ensured Newcastle have reached 35 points in 29 games to virtually guarantee their Premier League status for another season.
The 31-year-old's most impressive Premier League performances this season came in Newcastle's 1-0 victory over Chelsea at St. James Park and the Magpies' 2-0 win over high-flying Sheffield United.
4) Emiliano Buendia
Emiliano Buendia, the short and stocky Argentine winger, has been one of the standouts in a Norwich City team that has struggled to cope being back in the Premier League.
The likes of goal-scorer Teemo Pukki and Todd Cantwell have garnered more attention than Buendia. Cantwell has even sparked interest from clubs like Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Buendia, though, has done well for himself and had become the chief creator for his team until the suspension of Premier League games due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
His seven assists this season matches up well against some of the more elite players in the Premier League. Buendia stands alongside the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and David Silva on seven assists apiece for assists in the Premier League this season.
The Argentine's standout performance of the 2019-20 Premier League season came against champions Manchester City at Carrow Road where he grabbed two assists in his team's upset win.
3) Rui Patricio
Wolverhampton Wanderers have impressed everyone since their return to the Premier League last season. Under head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves have established themselves as one of the big fishes alongside Leicester City outside the Premier League's Big Six.
A lot of the spotlight, and rightfully so, has gone towards players like Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves. One player, however, who has not gained as many plaudits for his exploits in the Premier League this season is the excellent Rui Patricio.
The Portuguese stopper has been in top form for Wolves this season. He has conceded just 34 goals in 29 games in the Premier League while playing every minute in the competition. Patricio has fared better than Arsenal's Bernd Leno in this regard and is equal with David De Gea while being just one off Ederson.
2) Danny Ings
The front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been so good for Liverpool that Danny Ings never got a consistent stint with the first team. Of course, his debilitating injuries didn't help matters in this respect.
However, times have changed for Ings, who has starred for Southampton with 15 goals in the Premier League this season. His EPL goal tally equates to about 43 per cent of the Premier League club's goal tally in 2019-20.
Under Ralph Hasenhuttl's high pressing game, Ings has harangued opposing goalkeepers and defenders, and scora lot of goals. He has done it to the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham, much to the utter dismay of their goalkeepers Adrian and Hugo Lloris respectively.
Ings currently sits fourth in the Premier League goal-scoring charts this season and is above the likes of Raheem Sterling and even Harry Kane. Some recognition also has to go to manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, though, whose change into a 4-2-2-2 system has brought out the best in the former Burnley man.
Wilfred Ndidi, just like his predecessor N'Golo Kante, is turning out to be one of the best yet unassuming defensive midfielders of his time.
They say you don't know what you have until you're gone. The significance of Wilfred Ndidi to Leicester City came to the fore after the club failed to win all six games which the midfield destroyer missed due to a knee injury. Ndidi, under Brendan Rodgers, has improved by leaps and bounds and has become a much more complete player.
His ability, comfort and confidence in possession is evidenced when he receives passes from the back four. Ndidi's presence allows the creative brilliance of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison to shine.
The midfielder has been a primary reason for Leicester's defensive solidity this season that has allowed the club to exceed all expectations and shine in the Premier League. Teammate Maddison had this to say about Ndidi during a BBC Radio 5 Live Football Daily podcast:
“Sometimes you get a player like that and what he does doesn’t get talked about on the back pages, it doesn’t maybe get talked about on Match Of The Day. But us, as team-mates, know what he does and it lets players like myself and Youri Tielemans do our thing higher up the pitch because we know we have that solidarity behind us.”