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Premier League’s most underrated XI in the 2021/22 season

Premier League underrated XI

The Premier League underrated XI does not consist of players from Liverpool or Manchester City. Everyone watches those teams week-in and week-out with their wealth of talent.

Star players on big teams tend to receive all of the attention from fans and pundits around the world. Plenty of the ‘smaller’ teams in the Premier League have top performers.

Here is a list of a complete starting XI with players that seem to be underrated. None of these players come from the traditional ‘big six’ clubs that reside in the top-six spots in the table. Plus, most of these players are under 25 years of age. Therefore, they could very well appear at some of those major clubs in the near future.

The potential formation for this Premier League’s most underrated XI is a 4-3-3.

Premier League’s most underrated XI

Goalkeeper – David Raya (Brentford)

Attacking players such as Ivan Toney and Christian Eriksen received much of the praise for Brentford’s positive campaign. Brentford’s goalkeeper, David Raya, played an instrumental role in the club’s success during its first Premier League season.

The Spanish keeper missed 14 Premier League matches during the middle of the season due to a knee injury. In that span, the club only won three of those games. While on the pitch, Raya ranked highly in key statistics. For one, he finished second in the entire Premier League in save percentage at 77%. Plus, his 35% clean sheet percentage was good for sixth in the league.

Right Back – Tino Livramento (Southampton)

Southampton endured a pretty rough 2021/22 campaign. Livramento was certainly one of the team’s bright spots this season. The 19-year-old fullback fit seamlessly into his new club after joining the Saints from Chelsea last summer.

Livramento ranked inside the top-10 Premier League right backs in key passes, dribbles, interceptions, and blocked shots. Tariq Lamprey is also considered here for this Premier League most underrated XI. However, the Southampton wing back perhaps just edges out Lamptey statistically.

Center Backs – Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace) and Max Kilman (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Another former Chelsea youth player, Guehi was superb in his freshman season with Crystal Palace. A mainstay in defense, the England international started every match but one during the campaign. The only game that he missed was a 3-0 defeat against Tottenham in December. According to Whoscored, Guehi got dribbled past just once in 36 games in the campaign.

Paired up in this lineup with Guehi, Max Kilman stood out in the Wolves defense. Wolves forced 11 total clean sheets in the league this season. Kilman started in the middle for each one of those. In fact, Kilman missed the last 5 matches due to injury. Over that time, Wolves failed to keep a clean sheet and conceded 12 goals.

Left Back – Marc Cucurella (Brighton and Hove Albion)

The Spanish international quickly adapted to the Premier League following his move from La Liga outfit Getafe last summer. A versatile player, Cucurella can play at left back, in central defense as part of a back three. Moreover, he can play further up the pitch as a wing back with offensive creativity. Wolves’ Rayan Ait-Nouri and Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell could have easily been picked here as well. Yet, Cucurella’s passing ability sets him apart from his underrated competition.

Defensive Midfield – Christian Norgaard (Brentford)

The oldest player on this list, 28-year-old Norgaard still does not receive as much credit as he deserves. No, he is not exactly the flashiest midfielder in the league. Still, the Danish international simply gets the job done.

Norgaard averages 3.2 successful tackles per 90 minutes in the Premier League. This is more than the likes of N’Golo Kante, Kalvin Phillips, and John McGinn. Then, his 0.8 unsuccessful touches per game sits among the best midfielders in the league.

Right Central Midfield – Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)

Gallagher’s eight total goals this season ranks fifth among all midfield players. Along with his goal-scoring ability, the 22-year-old central midfielder also ranks high in creative categories such as key passes and dribbles as well. Clearly, Palace depends on Gallagher. The club lost four out of the five matches that the youngster was not named in the team’s starting XI during the current campaign.

Left Central Midfield – Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa)

The England U-21 international made a huge step up since his freshman Premier League season last year. Like the aforementioned Gallagher, Ramsey is also a superb link between defense and his more attacking teammates.

He ranks well among comparable players in tackles (2.4 per 90 mins), successful dribbles (1.1), and interceptions (0.9). Also, the midfielder has the ability to score goals as well. The 20-year-old player racked up six goals this season.

Right Wing – Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United)

Claims that Bowen is still underrated shrink by the minute. A very strong case can be made that the West Ham player has been the best player in the league outside of the traditional top six teams. Nevertheless, it still feels as if Bowen is a bit underrated (for now). The attacker has 12 goals and 10 assists in Premier League play this season. Only Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min, and Harry Kane have more combined goals and assists than Bowen during the current campaign.

Left Wing – Harvey Barnes (Leicester City)

Barnes appears set to follow in Bowen’s footsteps and quickly rise the ranks as one of the better attackers in the Premier League. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder and winger currently has six goals and nine assists in the league. Remarkably, this is despite starting only 23 matches for the Foxes. When selected, however, he performs very well for boss Brendan Rodgers. In fact, 14 out of his 15 goals and assists occurred when he started for Leicester.

Center Forward – Emmanuel Dennis (Watford)

Most likely the toughest selection to make, Dennis gets the nod over players such as Armando Broja and Maxwel Cornet. This is based purely on his quantity of goals and assists. The Watford striker only has two goals since New Year’s Day. Yet, he amassed 10 goals and six assists for a very poor Watford side. It remains to be seen if Dennis will remain with the Hornets next season. He could be a nice piece a Premier League club takes from the now-relegated Watford. as the club has been relegated to the Championship.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. MarkB

    May 21, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    So how does playing for you one of the “big six” preclude you from being underrated ?

    • MarkB

      May 21, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      for one of the “big six”

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