Premier League 2015/16 season has been all about two underdogs showing the world how dreams can become reality if you try just that little harder. Leicester and Tottenham are the top two rated teams in England right now and are the safest bet to win this season’s league title.
Much like the remarkable team efforts from Leicester and Tottenham, we have seen some exceptional individual performances from the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Mesut Ozil and Dimitri Payet.
These 5 men have been Premier League’s finest players and have constantly made headlines with their displays. But what about those players, who could not steal the limelight but have been equally valuable to their team’s performances?
Whenever there is a superstar emerging from a team, there is also an underrated player who has worked equally hard, if not harder to achieve positive results for his team. On that note, we take a look at Premier League’s top 5 most underrated players from the 2015/16 season.
5. Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City)
Many have already tipped him to be the second best Asian player to have played in England after Manchester United’s Park Ji Sung. Shinji Okazaki has scored 5 goals for Leicester this season, most recent on being that spectacular overhead kick vs. Newcastle.
Okazaki has worked his socks off playing just behind Jamie Vardy in Claudio Ranieri’s 4-4-2 setup. At times, he is brought off after 70′ minute mark, because by that time he would have already given his all to Leicester’s cause.
There is no better player than Okazaki to represent Leicester’s doggedness this season and their Never Say Die attitude.
4. Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur)
Another strong performer from a Premier League title chasing side. Eric Dier has been Tottenham’s biggest find this season ahead of Dele Alli simply because, he was brought in to play in defense but has been a great success in the heart of Spurs midfield.
Pochettino’s failure to sign Victor Wanyama prompted the manager to use Dier in midfield and it turned out to be Tottenham’s biggest gain this season. Dier’s ability to break the play from midfield has given Spurs the freedom to go out and play their expansive brand of football.
Dier’s impact on Spurs is evident when he does not start a game and how flat they look regardless of the opposition. Dier has indeed been one of the best player this season but surely an underrated one, who will get a lot of attention next season.
3. Robert Huth (Leicester City)
He may not have the pace, he may not be the best tackler in Premier League, but he sure knows how to sense danger and react effectively. Robert Huth has been Leicester’s wall at the back alongside skipper Wes Morgan.
While Morgan may have got all the plaudits and has piled on the stats for clearances and blocks this season, Huth has gone quietly about his business but in an equally effective manner.
In many games, Huth’s clearances and reading of a dangerous situation has allowed Leicester to defend their 1-0 advantage. Those very results see them lead Premier League table by 5 points with just 8 games remaining in the season.
2. Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham)
Many had predicted it to be one of the flop transfers of the season when Juventus sold Angelo Ogbonna to West Ham for €11million.
Injuries did not allow Ogbonna to start many of his initial games for West Ham, but in last month or two, he has been sensational for Slaven Bilic’s team.
He has played 20 games this season and looks at home while defending against set pieces, crosses and strikers running at him with pace. So much so, despite spending just months in Premier League, he has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Arsenal this summer.
Bilic will do everything in his power to keep Ogbonna at West Ham as he knows his importance to West Ham’s top 4 ambitions this season and a solid campaign next time around.
1. Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa)
Just because Aston Villa are in the relegation zone, many might not agree with this call from our team. But if you see the stats for the season, Idrissa Gueye has managed 129 interceptions (most in EPL) and has won 93 tackles (2nd most in EPL) this season.
Despite playing for an already relegated side, Gueye’s numbers are outstanding. Put him in a top 4 or top 6 shirt, and those same numbers will be equivalent to N’Golo Kante’s figures for the season.
He has indeed been Premier League’s most underrated player for the season, and I for one see him return to EPL next season with a different club regardless of Aston Villa’s willingness or restraints in selling their prized asset.
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