No matter what the Premier League table look like come the end of the season, these six clubs will always be considered the ‘biggest’.
The sextet were involved in the failed plans to create a European Super League and, generally, occupy the top-six positions in the league and compete for major honours every season.
But we want to ignore those six clubs for the next few minutes.
That’s because we want to look at all the very best players outside of those giants.
But rather than basing it on our own opinion, BetVictor have done all the hard work and used statistical player analysis to compile a Premier League starting XI of the best players outside of the ‘Big Six’.
QUIZ: The ultimate 2021/22 Premier League quiz – a question on each club
By using over 25 per 90-minute performance statistics, BetVictor have created an algorithm to find the best player in each position based on this season.
But enough of the science, let’s check out the best XI of players outside of Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham so far this campaign.
Goalkeeper – Jose Sa (Wolves)
Only Man City and Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than Wolves – and Sa has been the main reason for that. He had best save percentage of the goalkeepers analysed with 83.7%, also coming No.1 for goals against per 90 (0.81) and clean sheets per 90 (0.35).
Right-Back – Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)
Trippier is actually rated as the best player outside the ‘Big Six’. He’s only played 316 Premier League minutes since joining Newcastle but has already made a big difference.
Centre-Back – Mohammed Salisu (Southampton)
Salisu has played a big role in Southampton’s relatively decent season and that’s shown in BetVictor’s stats with the defender ranking third for tackles per 90 and first for tackles in which the tackler’s team won possession of the ball.
Centre-Back – Adam Webster (Brighton)
Webster was the top-rated central defender but makes the XI more for his ability in possession than anything else. Webster ranked second for passes completed per 90 and was first for total touches per 90, progressive passes and progressive carries.
Left-Back – Arthur Masuaku (West Ham)
Masuaku plays back-up to Aaron Creswell at West Ham – but should he be playing more? His defensive statistics per 90 minutes suggests he should be but we’re sure David Moyes knows best…
Defensive Midfielder – Declan Rice (West Ham)
Rice makes this XI whether we’re basing it on stats or not. Just how long he’ll be able to feature in a ‘Best XI without the Big Six’ remains to be seen.
Statistically, he’s brilliant too. He ranks second for passes completed per 90, while he’s first for interceptions per 90, progressive carries per 90, along with boasting the best pass completion percentage of 89.9%.
Speaking on his own FIVE YouTube channel, former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand insisted his former club should look to sign Rice.
“Declan Rice, I’ve said enough about him,” Rio said. “I love this player, I love this guy. If you’re one of the top teams, you want to build a team around him.”
Defensive Midfielder – Ruben Neves (Wolves)
A midfield duo of Rice and Neves – there are a few ‘Big Six’ clubs who wish they had those two!
Neves was the top performer for total touches with per 90, and ranked first for total passes ahead of Declan Rice per 90.
According to journalist Pete O’Rourke, Wolves ‘would love’ to keep Ruben Neves beyond this season but have a ‘hard battle’ on their hands.
Right Winger – Raphinha (Leeds)
Another player who deserves his place in an XI without the ‘Big Six’ even despite Leeds’ struggles this season.
His nine goals and two assists in the Premier League see him edge out Jarrod Bowen in this position.
Attacking Midfielder – Michael Olise (Crystal Palace)
The performances of the 20-year-old have probably gone under the radar a little bit, overshadowed by teammate Connor Gallagher who is on loan from Chelsea.
But with five assists this season, Olise has the most assists per 90 amongst attacking midfielders while also ranking first for goal creating actions, completed passes into the 18-yard box and progressive carries per 90.
Left Winger – Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Olise’s Palace teammate may not be having his finest individual campaign but he also makes this XI.
The Ivorian has scored eight goals this season and is often mentioned when the question of the best players outside the ‘Big Six’ is asked.
Zaha edged out Coutinho to the position.
Striker – Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester)
Iheanacho’s inclusion in this XI is a bit of a shock considering he’s only scored twice this season. But he’s only played one full match in the Premier League this season, his per 90 averages are actually pretty strong.