Every time we talk about the Premier League, it is always Erling Haaland, Mo Salah, or Kevin De Bruyne. But there are many underrated players who play an equally important role in the success of their respective clubs.
They might not pick up many headlines, but their contributions are unquestionable. We are already halfway in the 2023/24 season. Let’s look at 10 such players whose performances in 2023 have gone under the radar.
Leandro Trossard– Arsenal secured Trossard from Brighton for a modest £27 million in January this year. Since joining, the 29-year-old Belgian has been a creative standout player for Mikel Arteta. He has registered a total tally of 1 assist and 3 goals in 12 matches for the Gunners in the current season. The versatile forward boasts exceptional vision and close control.
He has proved his effectiveness on the wings as well as in central positions, showcasing his skilful proficiency with both feet. With Martinelli still being ahead of him, he has struggled to secure a regular starting position under Arteta. Nevertheless, when given the opportunity, he contributes regularly. He definitely is appreciated by the Gunners but he might not be getting the credit he deserves.
Dominic Solanke– The AFC Bournemouth forward has made some positive impressions in the 2023/24 season. He has a profile of a multi-dimensional pressing forward that has made him a perfect fit for Iraola’s system. He is fast and powerful down the channels, and he uses his frame to pin defenders and win duels.
He has also been a prolific scorer with 8 goals and 1 assist in 16 league games becoming the club’s top scorer this season. The former Chelsea youth product has now scored more than 50% of his team’s goals this season highlighting his reliability in front of goal. Even after being the 7th top scorer in the league, A report by FootballCritic ranked Solanke 39th out of 99, which is “Far below average level” compared to other football players.
John McGinn– Aston Villa have been flying high this season, and one player who is surprisingly becoming more of a regular feature on the scoresheet for the club is their tenacious midfielder John McGinn. The 29-year-old is playing at the top of his game and leading the charge for Aston Villa. His slick dribbling and great movement of the ball have been impressive.
The midfielder has hit a rich vein of form during this season scoring 4 times and assisting twice in the 15 games he played. He also scored in his recent match against Arsenal making Aston Villa just 2 points short of league leaders. His work off the ball coupled with aggression and ball-carrying abilities haven’t been appreciated enough. In a recent interview, the former Manchester United midfielder, Owen Hargreaves has tagged McGinn as “crazy underrated”.
Ezri Konsa– Ezri Konsa has been one of the most underrated players in the Premier League and it’s about time he got the recognition he deserves. Konsa has started 19 of Aston Villa’s 20 games, mostly as a centre-back but occasionally in a right-back role making, making it the most by any player in the division.
He has been in an expectational form this season averaging nearly 2.0 tackles per game with a 85.7% success rate. Only one player has managed to dribble past him in 19 Premier League games. Konsa is also putting his body on the line, averaging an impressive 1.57 blocks and 2.71 interceptions per 90. He has been one of the pivotal figures in Villa’s backline this season. His performance might not have made the headlines but has resulted in his maiden call-up with the England National Team.
Jack Harrison-After being unable to make it at Manchester City, he found his stride at Leeds United before joining Everton on a season-long loan in 2023. He might not be a regular starter for Sean Dyche, but he is quite impressive in his day. He started his Everton career with a goal and an assist in his debut game becoming the 5th Everton player to do so.
His Pace, Dribbling ability, Crossing ability, and Physicality have made him a valuable attacking asset. Additionally, his work rate off the ball has been important for Everton as well. The English winger has contributed 1 goal and 3 assists in the 10 Premier League games for the toffees. His spell has been inconsistent, but it’s time we keep an eye on him.
Ross Barkley– The former Chelsea man made an unexpected return to the Premier League through Luton Town F.C. in 2023. Despite previous doubts about his consistency, Barkley has played 11 matches for the club and scored on one occasion. He has been a regular name in the starting lineup providing a composed presence in the midfield.
With an average of 2.81 progressive carries per game, he has effectively contributed to the attack as well. Barkley has featured in 232 top-flight appearances throughout his career and his gameplay reflects his wealth of experience. He might not boast expectational stats per 90, but his experience and calmness in the midfield are definitely underestimated.
Emerson Palmieri– The former Chelsea star has emerged as one of West Ham‘s most consistent players in the current season and has established himself as the preferred left-back choice by David Moyes. The 29-year-old has looked solid in all aspects of his game contributing 2 assists in 15 games. Emerson’s direct style of play coupled with his technical skill and press resistance has been an invaluable asset.
He also records 0.79 key passes and 1.29 crosses per 90min which leads to significant scoring chances. Defensively, he has been solid with 1.34 blocks and 2.62 clearances per 90. His prowess in attack coupled with his defensive ability has made him crucial to West Ham’s structure but is sadly overlooked by the media.
Ryan Christie– Ryan Christie is on the brink of the most important and exciting chapter in his football career. The midfielder averaged 1.5 key passes per game this season with 81% accuracy. He is Bournemouth’s leading assist maker with eight assists and no player, who has started at least six games for them, has made more key passes or progressed the ball more into the final third.
He also set a record for a season-best 6 corners taken in a game. The midfielder registered 2 assists in 16 games in the 2023/24 season. Besides attacking, his defensive duties average 1.34 interceptions and 1.0 clearances per game. He might not be a familiar name in the football fandom but AFC Bournemouth surely acknowledged his contributions and has recently extended his contract till 2027.
Antonee Robinson– Robinson has been scaling new heights at Fulham in 2023. Currently, Robinson leads the Premier League with the most interceptions this season. He has also been named as the first United States player to have made assists in three straight Premier League matches in 17 years. His defensive abilities added to his pace have made him a crucial piece of the team.
Robinson registered an impressive 2.89 interceptions and 2.60 tackles per game in 23/24 season. In Fulham’s recent match against Liverpool, Robinson made 13 interceptions, the highest since 2009. Once he refines his final delivery in the opposition box, he’ll become one of the most sought-after midfielders in the league.
Christian Nørgaard– Nørgaard is arguably having his best season in a Brentford shirt. His defensive output at the base of the midfield has been extremely crucial to Brentford’s play style and philosophy. He covers a lot of ground and has been magnificent at recovering possession inside the middle third. He boasts the second-best numbers of ball recovery, only after Luton Town’s Marvelous Nakamba.
Additionally, he also registers a 1.42 interception and 1.62 blocks per game. The 29-year-old’s calmness and his technical ability have been important to retaliate counterattacks for Brentford. Brentford is currently standing at 11th position in the Premier League table and his contributions are significant. Sadly, it is often underappreciated.
Featured Image Source: YouTube