There are players who make headlines all the time, like Paul Pogba and Harry Kaneand others who fly under the radar for allegedly lacking charisma and star quality. But many of these so-called unfashionable players ultimately play an important role for their respective teams.
As we near the middle of the 2020-21 Premier League season, here is my club-by-club list of unsung heroes of the season.
During tough times, Tierney was a stellar young professional, either in a threesome or in a left-back, where he routinely charged forward to set dangerous crosses. Tough, dedicated, and egotistical, he was spotted at an away game when he got off the team bus in a t-shirt on a bitterly cold day and carried his kit in a plastic bag.
While praise is wasted Jack GrealishDon’t underestimate the influence of the relentless and dynamic McGinn who gives drive and desire to the central midfield. The last Villa draw at Chelsea could be heard pushing his tired teammates in the final minutes while he could play all night.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN + (US only)
– ESPN + Viewers Guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more
Even for Brighton fans, it is often difficult to guess Graham Potter’s lineups. But apart from the reliable defender Lewis DunkOne man has become indispensable for the cause: Bissouma, the Malian international. He offers grit in the central midfield and can also choose a pass. It’s no surprise that Liverpool reportedly kept an eye on their progress before the January window opened.
Until the club’s recent takeover by the US, manager Sean Dyche had to be budget conscious in his transfer deals, but when he went to Bristol City to sign Brownhill he had a gem. The midfielder has quickly become a fully paid member of Burnley’s brothers as they feel they are coming out of relegation problems.
In an all-star roster that is rich in signings, Zouma was the surprise with a number of strong displays Thiago Silva in the center of defense. After Zouma was loaned out at Stoke City, he made a comeback to regain his place on the French squad. That season he scored four goals for Chelsea.
Guaita has made some memorable saves this season, particularly to fend off a shot destined for the top corner Eric Dier and keep a point against Spurs. The goalkeeper, who signed for Getafe in 2018, also saved a penalty from Kelechi Iheanacho in the 1-1 draw against Leicester.
As well as Ben Godfrey Everton has never looked this good when Digne went missing, which he has been doing since an injury in late November. The former Barcelona man brings clout and style to the left.
The Cottagers safely looked forward to relegation until they started to defend themselves properly and Andersen, on loan from Lyon, was the main reason for that. As the commanding and seasoned leader of a reshaped line of defense, he’s given Scott Parker’s team a realistic chance to hit the drop.
Marcelo Bielsa’s entertaining team are strong attackers, and former New York City FC winger Jack Harrison rarely poses a threat and runs straight towards opponents before aiming for goals Patrick Bamford or he scored himself, as he did against Liverpool, Newcastle and West Brom.
In his first season in Premier League football, Fofana quickly became a formidable member of the Brendan Rodgers defense. Fast and attentive, the 20-year-old looks like he’s been playing at this level for years.
Jones has graduated from Liverpool Academy to establish himself as a strong midfield presence. He admits these instructions from James Milner and Jordan Henderson in training helped smooth out the rough edges. Anfield insiders believe that he would be best placed a little further up as playmaker # 10, but that position doesn’t exist in Jürgen Klopp’s favorite 4-3-3.
The player who stepped out of the shadows is Cancelo. The Portugal international looked frustrated in his first season at the club but has since been invaluable in both positions as a full-back. Often times, he would join the attack, producing inventive, clever passes that any top midfielder would be proud of.
Jose Mourinho named a young McTominay his 2017-18 Player of the Season. Since then, the Scottish international’s hard-working appearances in midfield have provided the sweat and steel necessary to match the silk of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford & Co.
Steve Bruce’s team is very grateful to Darlow for representing the injured so well Martin Dubravka that the former No. 1 will struggle to regain its place. Darlow’s qualities were in full view when the toon managed to defy Liverpool in the 0-0 draw over the Christmas period.
Vestergaard was one of the players dropped after the humiliating 9-0 home loss to Leicester last season. However, the Danish international made a remarkable comeback with a number of top performances in the center-back, including three away goals. His recent injury is a great problem for the Saints.
With no confidence or great hope of staying awake, the Blades struggle for inspiration, but McGoldrick has met at least four times what exactly that is half their total Premier League goals.
No Spurs fan was this excited when Jose Mourinho signed Southampton’s Hojbjerg in the summer, but he has proven himself crucial to the team by immersing himself in tackles, intercepting and doing sensible things in midfield. Hojbjerg, a former protégé of Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, is blooming in north London.
Aside from excellent performances against Chelsea and Liverpool, the Baggies have problems this season. But 20-year-old Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea, was often the brightest light. Limited by England to every youth level, he is one to watch.
A man of the game in the Everton win was a timely reminder of Ogbonna’s persistence at the heart of the defense. It’s easy to forget that he won two Serie A titles with Juventus and played for Italy in two European Championship squads.
Wolves are not quite as high as their two previous seasons, but they are 20 years old Neto has played in every league game because he delivers speed and goals (four so far). He’s not as flashy as Adama Traore, but he’s arguably a more consistent threat.