Every Premier League outfit have their star players that grab the headlines on a weekly basis and make the highlight reel for their obvious qualities.
However the workmanlike individuals who often contribute to their respective sides on a more consistent basis are somewhat overlooked, because they aren’t impacting games with individual moments of brilliance.
This is a nod to those players, so here’s the best of the underrated bunch in the Premier League this term…
6. Joe Gomez – Liverpool
Liverpool have conceded as few as seven goals in the last 10 games, since the mauling at Tottenham in October and registered a further clean sheet as they routed Spartak Moscow 7-0 last month.
Joe Gomes has been been a revelation since his return to the side this campaign and has steadied a chaotic back-line for the Reds, showcasing defensive nuance beyond his years (20) and great composure in possession.
This has been rewarded with a starting position as the left of a back three, in the England set up.
5. Kiko Femenia – Watford
Marco Silva’s Watford full-backs are a vital part of his tactical philosophy and are expected to overlap at every possibly opportunity, in order to provide width, and to counterbalance the number of bodies in central areas.
Kiko Femenia has constantly threatened down the right flank with impressive speed, neat dribbling and frequent crosses this term while also performing reliably defensively. This is great to see after enduring a difficult start to his career at the B teams of both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
4. James Tarkowski – Burnley
It’s a testament to Sean Dyche’s defensive organisation that Tarkowski – who only started four league matches last season after signing from Brentford – has been as solid this season as Michael Keane was in 2016, following his departure from the club.
The 25-year-old Englishman tops the Premier League charts for blocks, is second only to Brighton’s Shane Duffy for clearances and is in the top ten for headers won, reflecting his no nonsense approach to defending.
Powerful, brave and good in the air, Tarkowski has been at the heart of the Premier League’s joint third best defence this campaign.
3. Fernandinho – Manchester City
Brazil international Fernandinho has been an ever-present at the base of Manchester City’s midfield, throughout their storming unbeaten run in the Premier League season with 14 wins from 15 matches – with the 26-year-old scoring twice.
Fernandinho has completed the largest number of passes this term with 1,334 and is constantly available as the catalyst for the Citizens’ play in the middle of the park. He also provides the steel and defensive stability to a side focused prominently on attacking prowess.
2. Antonio Valencia – Manchester United
Manchester United this season top the charts for number of clean sheets registered in the Premier League (nine) whilst simultaneously sitting second for goals scored on 36 and a large part of both these successes, is down to the efforts of new skipper Antonio Valencia.
The Ecuadorian has become absolutely vital to Jose Mourinho’s team, with the coach claiming he is “the best right-back in the world.” He provides great balance to the side nowadays and can turn defence into attack in an instant.
His strength, speed, crossing ability and defensive maturity have made him undroppable and have also made him a fan favourite at Old Trafford.
1. Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal
Aaron Ramsey has never started more than 29 league matches in a single campaign but is making the most of an extended run in the first team this season, having begun 14 matches in central midfield – already topping his total starts for 2016.
The 26-year-old has already amassed six assists in the league, popping up at just the right moment in the final third, while controlling the central midfield like a classic box-to-box midfielder.
His energy and incisive passing was an important factor in Arsenal’s mini revival last month and he’s finally established himself as a fan favourite, after a mixed few years with the Gunners.