The 2022/23 Premier League campaign has been full of surprises so far. Arsenal & Manchester City are locked in an intense title race, whereas the rest of the “top six” have blown hot & cold.
Amidst all of this, clubs like Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United have displayed more consistency. But this has only been possible because some players have outperformed and punched above their levels in the opening three months of the season.
Some Premier League stars have been hugely underrated this season. Every top Premier League side needs a silent warrior who consistently guarantees an 8/10 performance week after week. While they may not be the best players on their team, such players are often one of the first names on the team sheet.
On that note, let’s take a look at the five most underrated players in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal are currently top of the table and will stay there until at least New Year’s eve. Especially given the break in domestic football and the five-point gap between them and second-placed Manchester City.
However, it was hard to expect such performances from a side that was languishing in the bottom half of the table only 12 months ago. But their steady rise has been apparent since the start of 2022 and they have built on that progress since the start of the season.
Although Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Ben White, Thomas Partey & multiple others can be credited for these performances, Granit Xhaka has been an equally important cog.
The Swiss international has fallen out multiple times with fans of the North London club but has come to the fore in the past six months. His consistent performances, especially in the big games, have not gone unnoticed. His versatility and ability to impress in both phases of the game have helped Arsenal balance their intensity while defending and going forward.
Apart from his defensive brilliance, Xhaka has also managed three goals & three assists in 14 Premier League games this season. That is quite a feat for any midfielder, let alone somebody who felt like a liability to the team less than a year ago.
Manchester City’s transfer business, especially over the last six years, has been impeccable.
Txiki Berginistain and Pep Guardiola have often identified the right players, but have also brought them in at the right time. The signing of Manuel Akanji is a great example as Man City needed some depth in the center-back position this summer. They only paid a little over £15 million for him and have since realized that they have bagged quite the bargain.
Akanji has played eight out of the club’s 14 Premier League games this season and Man City have won six out of them. The team has also kept two clean sheets during this period, which have been hard to come by this season.
Regardless, Akanji has stepped in seamlessly and has commandeered the backline on most occasions. His ability to play a high line and break the lines through his intricate passing has been quite a blessing. Although Guardiola’s training has to be credited equally for this, the center-back has already become an important part of the team.
Moreover, this is a player who is on the brink of his professional peak and will only get better in the coming years. Quite the silent warrior in a squad otherwise filled with stars, Akanji has been one of the most underrated players in the Premier League this season.
Brighton & Hove Albion have entered a new era this season, especially with Chelsea taking many important members from their club over the last three months.
Marc Cucurella, Graham Potter, and a huge part of the Brighton staff have already moved from the south coast to the West London club. However, this has not seen a drop in the performances of the Seagulls, let alone Leandro Trossard, who has been in the form of his life this season.
The Belgian has scored seven goals and provided two assists in 14 Premier League games for his side. Although many expected his performances to drop after Graham Potter left the club, he has only gotten better under new boss Roberto de Zerbi.
De Xerbi’s first game in charge at Brighton saw the club draw 3-3 with Liverpool at Anfield, with Trossard scoring all three goals. This saw the attacker become only the third player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick at Anfield. He has since also scored against Man City & Chelsea, proving that he is the man for the big occasion.
The underrated star has now been called up by Belgium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, something Trossard certainly deserved given his fine start to the campaign.
Manchester United are slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with as Erik Ten Hag is forming the pieces of a puzzle that previous managers have been unable to crack.
However, he has been helped by certain players outperforming and chipping in with consistent performances week after week. Lisandro Martinez & Christian Eriksen are certainly in that category, but nobody has belonged to that bracket more than Diogo Dalot this season. The Portuguese full-back has become a consistent member of the team since Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s sacking 12 months ago.
Dalot’s stock rose under Ralf Rangnick and has hit new levels under Ten Hag. The right-back has played in 13 Premier League games out of a possible 14 and has been key to his side keeping five clean sheets during this process. His attacking presence has been just as important, despite not having any goal contributions so far. But his role in the build-up play and ability to dribble past opponents and beat the press have been invaluable.
An underrated asset in the Man United machine this season, Dalot has become one of the first names on the team sheet this season.
Miguel Almiron has certainly been the success story of the 2022/23 Premier League season and very few will disagree with the same.
Newcastle United have punched above their levels this season but this would not have been possible without many of their underperformers picking up their performances.
Miguel Almiron is certainly a part of that bunch and perhaps the most important one. Since Allan Saint-Maximin went down with an injury a couple of months ago, the Paraguayan international has taken on the mantle of creating & scoring goals for his side.
Almiron has so far scored eight goals and provided one assist in 15 Premier League games. The winger’s tenacity while defending has also been noteworthy and his ability to progress the ball from defense to attack has been just as important.
Quite the game-changer for Newcastle United this season, Almiron has certainly been an underrated gem for the Magpies under Eddie Howe.
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