As the season draws to a close, we take a look at a Premier league surprise XI – players who have over-performed this season.
Here are a team of players that we didn’t expect to have quite the impact they have had on their respective clubs this term.
David De Gea | Manchester United
The Spaniard failed to live up to his big reputation during his first season at Old Trafford. He made a number of high profile errors against Manchester City and West Brom in the season’s opening games and eventually lost his starting place to Anders Lindergaard.
However, this season he appears a changed man. Recent performances against Tottenham, Real Madrid and Chelsea have demonstrated his fantastic athleticism, reflexes and reactions. He’s now proving to all of us why Sir Alex Ferguson splashed £18 million on him.
Pablo Zabaleta | Manchester City
The Argentine has spent his Manchester City career competing alongside Micha Richards for a starting place. But he has cemented himself as City’s number one right back this term featuring in twenty four of City’s twenty nine league games. This term he has become more of a goal threat, netting against Manchester United in December and a late winner at Stoke in January.
With rotation taking place in the centre of City’s defence, Zabaleta has been an almost ever present, using his experience to help youngsters Matija Nastasic and Javi Garcia.
Jonny Evans | Manchester United
Jonny Evans has never had the easiest route to United’s first team considering the fact he was competing against Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
But injuries to the pair have allowed Evans to make his mark at Old Trafford. He has matured as a player, he looks quicker, stronger and sharper.
Sebastian Bassong | Norwich City
Despite scoring the club’s first ever Champions League goal away to Young Boys, his career at Tottenham failed to kick off. He fell out of favour with Harry Redknapp and was sent on loan to Wolves last season.
But a summer switch to Norwich has reignited his career, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet. Bassong has already notched three goals this season as he looks comfortable in the heart of the Canaries defence.
Ben Davies | Swansea
Before this season, you would have been forgiven for not knowing who Ben Davies is. He is now a Swansea regular and a Capital One Cup winner.
Long term injury to Neil Taylor allowed Davies to prove his worth at the Liberty City stadium. At only 19, Davies has time ahead of him to perfect his game, and make it even harder for Taylor to reclaim his starting spot.
Ryan Giggs | Manchester United
I guess it’s not a surprise to see Ryan Giggs dominating the midfield, even if he is 39. But the fact that he is still performing at the highest level is over-performing in every sense of the word. Having scored in twenty three consecutive seasons and playing over 1000 games, Giggs is arguably the greatest ever Premier League player.
Despite taking a more central role compared to his younger days, Giggs still shows excellent control and vision. His experience has helped United to twelve league titles and a thirteenth inevitably on its way.
Claudio Yacob | West Bromwich Albion
Maybe a man who hasn’t grabbed all the headlines this season, but Claudio Yacob has been crucial in the centre of Albion’s midfield. He arrived on English soil on a free transfer and in truth, not many of us had great expectations about him.
But a man-of-the-match performance on his debut against Liverpool elevated everybody’ opinions of him. Along with Youssouf Mulumbu, he has formed a disciplined shield to Albion’s defence and is a first team regular.
Shaun Maloney | Wigan Athletic
Shaun Maloney had never been considered an important part of Wigan’s midfield, but this season he has proved to be invaluable to the Latic’s push for safety. He’s featured in twenty seven of the club’s twenty nine league games and has scored four goals and created a further six for his teammates. His recent performances, against Everton in the FA cup for example, have led to Maloney becoming one of the first names on Roberto Martinez’s team sheet.
Wayne Routledge | Swansea City
Routledge has featured for nine different clubs during his playing days, and as a result has endured a stop-start career. At 28, he looks like he has finally settled down at Swansea having recently signed a new four-year deal in January. With five goals to his name, he has already netted more than in every other premier league season combined and has become one of the main men in Michael Laudrup’s side.
Michu | Swansea City
The list wouldn’t be complete without bargain-of-the-century Michu. The Spaniard has been a revelation since joining from Rayo Vallecano for £2 million. With fifteen league goals and counting, he has fired Swansea to ninth in the league table. Not even the most die-hard Swansea fan could have predicted just how good he would be.
Romelu Lukaku | West Bromwich Albion
At 19-years-old, Romelu Lukaku is probably the best teenager in the Premier League. He joined Steve Clarke’s West Brom to get first team football, and how he has repaid Clarke’s faith. He has thirteen league goals to his name this term, including both home and away to Liverpool.
What do you make of the team? Who do you think should be on the list? Have we missed anybody off? Tell us in the comments below!
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