The world of Premier League football is rife with opinions.
From pundits going back and forth in the Sky Sports studio to fans sharing debates across social media, you can guarantee that England's top-flight will produce talking points on a weekly basis.
And in an internet age where it's easy for prevailing narratives and presumptions to run riot, the prevalence of 'underrated' and 'overrated' labels is doing nothing but increase.
Underrated and overrated
Those two words tend to be provocative ones in the beautiful game, but when you zoom out and think about what they really mean in essence, it often has more to do with the fans than the players.
That's not a criticism, by the way; we simply mean that a player being called 'overrated' doesn't inherently mean that they're bad, but that the hype around them overstates their actual form.
All in all, it makes for a fascinating dynamic and one that we wanted to explore at GIVEMESPORT, so we've decided to compile what we consider to be the Premier League's most underrated XI.
Unsung Premier League heroes
From between the sticks to behind the defensive lines, we've rattled through each position to name the player that we think are getting nowhere near enough praise for their superb performances.
Ultimately, our choices come down to my humble opinion - which has been based upon statistics, the eye test and prevailing opinions - and there are so many superb, underrated stars who narrowly missed the cut.
And be sure to keep that key word of 'underrated' in mind because one example, in particular, has a lot more to do with the fan perception of the player as opposed to their form being mind-boggling.
Most underrated Premier League XI
However, enough with the disclaimers and housekeeping, let's get down to business and walk through a Premier League XI that is bound to bring debate and controversy by the truckload.
GK: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
From being slapped with an 83 rating on FIFA 22 to seldom being mentioned in the same breath as Alisson Becker and Ederson, Chelsea's number one can't seem to catch a break right now.
Sure, winning UEFA's prize for the best goalkeeper of last season is a step in the right direction, but more people need to come around to the fact that Mendy is right up there with the world's best shot-stoppers.
RB: Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United)
While there's probably an argument to be had that West Ham's entire team is underrated, we saw the ever-reliable Coufal in far too few Premier League Team of the Season shouts for our liking in 2020/21.
CB: Joel Matip (Liverpool)
As much as I love Joe Gomez and think that the early signs from Ibrahima Konaté are promising, I'll die on the hill that Matip is Liverpool's second best centre-back and it feels like some fans are only just subscribing to that theory.
CB: Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Largely forgotten and derided on the back of a nightmarish loan to Celtic, it feels as though Duffy has been far too easily written off when you consider the stunning return he's made at the Amex.
According to WhoScored.com statistics, Duffy has been the top-performing centre-back with at least five appearances across Europe's top five leagues this season. The praise for that form? Minimal.
LB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
So often lazily labelled as a Fantasy Premier League merchant with zero defensive skills, Alonso's renaissance under Thomas Tuchel - complete with four goal contributions - has raised a middle finger to the doubters.
CM: Rodri (Manchester City)
Seemingly lost in the shuffle when praise for Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan is dished out, the Citizens would be a far less coherent and sturdy footballing force without Rodri's steady hand.
There's good reason to think that City might be European champions right now if Rodri had started the Champions League final and we'd love to see him earning more praise from rival supporters.
CM: John McGinn (Aston Villa)
It's brilliant to see Villa players getting due credit over the last 18 months, but let's spread the compliments out a little more because we're not seeing enough love for their intelligent and penetrative midfielder in chief.
CM: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Why, why, why wasn't Ward-Prowse taken to Euro 2020? It feels as though the Saints gem only ever gets the credit he deserves when it comes to free-kicks, but so much more of his game warrants a reappraisal.
RW: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Constantly undervalued, underestimated and jettisoned from discussions of the Premier League's finest strikers, we need to put respect on Jesus' superb goalscoring record at just 24 years old.
Eighty-five strikes in 202 games for City is scintillating for a forward who has often played second fiddle to Sergio Aguero and the Brazilian has been superb out on the right for Pep Guardiola this season.
ST: Michail Antonio (West Ham United)
With five goals and three assists in the Premier League already this season, it seems as though some fans are only just waking up to the fact that Antonio is one of the division's finest number nines.
LW: Timo Werner (Chelsea)
Ok, so, here's my most controversial selection and let's make one thing very clear: Werner has been disappointing at Stamford Bridge and his finishing simply hasn't been good enough for a striker.
However, when you consider that the general fan opinion seems to have the German down as an unadulterated flop, it really does go to show that many of his Chelsea feats are woefully underrated.
Besides, does nine Premier League assists, finishing your first season as Chelsea's joint-top goalscorer and playing an invaluable role in a victorious Champions League final sound like a flop to you?
Who deserves more praise?
So, there you have it, those are the players that I consider to have the biggest gap between their general perception by fans and their actual performances on the pitch in a negative direction.
As such, rest assured that I'm not comparing Werner's 2021 form to that of Mendy or Rodri, but rather making the point that he has a similar cavity between public praise and on-pitch output.
However, all that being said, it's by no means a perfect system because perhaps there are some players who are so underrated that I've underrated their underratedness... you follow?News Now - Sport News