Football

Premier League 13/14: Underrated XI

Lallana has been brilliant for the Saints this term (©GettyImages)
Lallana has been brilliant for the Saints this term (©GettyImages).

A football club always has that one player, or sometimes more than one, who are key to the side's success. But often their contributions aren't recognised as much as a star striker who usually hogs all the credit.

What people remember are goals, not the people who put a shift in for the team and always give 100 percent. Maybe their style of football isn't glamorous but they're equally important to a team as compared to a highly skilful player.

These players are often termed as 'underrated' and this XI is a tribute to the players whose efforts go unnoticed by the footballing world... 

PL 13/14 Underrated XI (Formation: 4-3-2-1) 

GK: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

Villa fans were pretty apprehensive when Guzan became their new No.1 over seasoned professional Shay Given. But Guzan has provided scintillating performances over the past two years and cemented himself as Villa's main keeper.

A great shot stopper, Guzan is very agile and has fast reactions. He saves penalties more often than most keepers. He is also in touch with the attacking side of the game and has already assisted a goal this term. 

RB: Seamus Coleman (Everton) 

Starting his trade as a right-winger, Coleman can also play at full-back. Coleman is a hard worker, running up and down the pitch to complete his defensive and offensive duties. He provides an injection of pace in attack and is a good crosser of the ball. Coleman is also a solid defender and is slowly adapting his style to that of his clubmate Leighton Baines. 

CB: Winston Reid (West Ham) 

Reid is in the heart of West Ham's defence and organises the back four. Reid's defensive abilities and concentration levels are one of the main reasons why West Ham have already kept six clean sheets this term.

The New Zealand never switches off in a game and is a very good tackler, and has already racked up two man of the match awards this season, with more surely to follow. 

CB: Chico Flores (Swansea) 

Chico Flores and Ashley Williams are two of the first names on the Swansea teamsheet and they form a formidable partnership in defence. Chico is a great and accurate passer of the ball and doesn't give it away too often.

His interceptions and blocks have majorly helped Swansea keep a good defensive record. 

LB: Erik Pieters (Stoke) 

The Dutch left-back has helped provide more attacking options for Stoke and is one of the rare players for the Potters who look to create chances and get past players. He does his fair share of defending too but Pieters has majorly helped make Stoke a better attacking side as they are now able to build from the back and not just clear the ball out of touch. 

CM: Sandro (Spurs) 

There are very few footballers in the Premier League better at breaking up play than Sandro. One of the reasons why Spurs have just conceded six all season is because of Sandro's interceptions high up the pitch.

Sandro protects his defence with great responsibility and can also dribble well. He also takes decent long range shots and helps Spurs keep shape. Even though his style of play may seem unattractive he is one of the most important components in this Spurs side. 

CM: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) 

Jedinak leads by example for Palace and is easily their best player. He is skilful and can also get stuck in and do the dirty work. Jedinak averages four tackles per game, higher than many central defenders which is quite astonishing and he is also a great interceptor of the ball.

If it wasn't for him Palace would've conceded more than a dozen by now. His ferocious volley against Arsenal showed how skilful he is, although it was saved. 

CM: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) 

He is one of the most important players in this Liverpool side, explains why he's started 9 out of 11 league games. Lucas is a great passer and tackler, and his pass success rate is an incredible 90 percent.

He averages 5.7 tackles per game showing how potent he is at breaking up play for the opposition and then building attacks for Liverpool. 

RAM: Morgan Amalfitano (West Brom) 

Amalfitano is a vital player for West Brom in attack as most of their strikers are misfiring. He likes to dribble and link up play with short passes, he is also a great crosser of the ball.

He gives West Brom a lot of options going forward as he is quite versatile. His well taken goal at Old Trafford tells us all we need to know about his skill. 

LAM: Adam Lallana (Southampton) 

Finally called up by Roy Hodgson, it is surprising it didn't happen earlier. Lallana has been leading from the front as the Saints have recorded their best ever start to a Premier League season.

Lallana is a very good dribbler and his individual goal against Hull shows just how good he is. He is also versatile and can play many positions in midfield and sometimes as a forward too. Lallana has three goals and two assists this term with two man of the match performances, a great return for the England international. 

ST: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 

Since Robin van Persie's departure, Arsenal haven't really found a world class forward yet, but Giroud is up there with the best in the Premier League. He has been excellent this season, averaging a goal every two games, and he is also setting up chances for his teammates by racking up four assists.

Giroud's hold-up play is very good and he helps bring others into the game,  and at the moment he seems like the striker Arsenal need. 

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