While the Premier League throws thrills and spills with a few strong teams performing brilliantly, a few individuals are seen to be leading them after emerging out of the squads and sometimes it’s usually not the star-studded players but also the ones who punch above their weight for a team. England is quite a competitive league with several teams having very good squads and hence it’s not deprived of individuals who do a commendable job. Here are five players who have punched above their weight this season:-
1) Dele Alli – Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli’s role under Mauricio Pochettino is somewhat of a support striker, lurking between the defence and getting into good positions to score. He had one season where he emerged as a bright talent. It was intriguing to think as to how much the player will develop this season and will he have enough quality to display again and Dele has certainly packed a punch.
In 35 appearances for Spurs, Alli has netted 17 times. His passing accuracy remains at an impressive percentage of 81 and his average shot accuracy is just below the 60% mark. 38 shots he’s had on target in 35 games and this excludes the 20 which were blocked off. Has suffered 60% fouls which is an evidence of the fact that he can lure defenders into fouling him and also shows his ability to take on defenders and beat them.
Alli’s forming a formidable force with Eriksen, Son and Harry Kane supplemented by Danny Rose/Davies and Walker/Trippier down the wings. His role has been immensely important for Spurs, lifting the pressure from Harry Kane. It will be really exciting to see Alli unfold in the next few seasons.
2) Eric Bailly – Manchester United
Signed for £30 million in the summer, Bailly became Jose’s first signing raising several doubts. It was a player no United fan had expected and certainly not even the top pundits but Jose and his scouting team knew what they were doing.
Bailly had been slowly building a no-nonsense attitude in the yellow colours of Villarreal and was building a reputation for himself too. Coming to United, he showed his quality in the opening games itself. A dominant beast who just relishes physical and pacey duels, Bailly has grown to be an integral member of the team. He has won 83% of the take-ons and won 59% of headed duels which is phenomenal for a centre-back. He has a passing accuracy of 86% which just highlights his ability to play the balls neatly from the back. He is reckless at times but since the departure of Vidic, United have needed a player of a similar type and Bailly has definitely stepped up.
3) Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
With two English giants locking horns over him, Roberto Firmino preferred Liverpool over Manchester United. His first season was a decent one in which he was team player contributing well to the team’s demands.
However this season he has become a force to reckon with. He’s an integral member without the ball as well joining enthusiastically in the gegen press of Jurgen Klopp and attacking wise he’s nothing but a focal point which is significant. In 30 appearances, he’s netted 11 times but his shot accuracy has become 10% more than what it was last year. He has won 54% of the take-ons and has made over a thousand successful passes. With Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, the trio is a menace on their day and Firmino has punched above his weight surely and there’s more to come.
4) Leroy Sane – Manchester City
He was rising through the ranks at Schalke and growing into a player to watch out for and Manchester City came calling under Guardiola soon enough. Sane joined a team which had some breath-taking competition in the attack but he cemented his place with some great individual performances. Joining Aguero, Sterling, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, the lad had some stunning quality to beat the defenders with pace and the awareness to pick out players in the box was supreme too. He has created 33 chances in 25 appearances, netted 5 times and has an average passing accuracy of 81% which is remarkable. He has suffered 59% of fouls and has won 56% take-ons. Sane of City has punched above his weight undoubtedly.
5) Pedro Rodriguez – Chelsea
Pedro Rodriguez came under scrutiny following his first season under Jose Mourinho which certainly wasn’t very good at all. He had to make a mark, not only on Antonio Conte but also on the Chelsea faithful who had expected so much of him and this title winning season for Chelsea, he certainly did step up. His pace made him shred through defenders, his eye for goal enabled him to net a few stunning ones and his combination with Hazard and Costa worked sublimely at the top. In 34 appearances for the Blues, he has netted 8 times but created 37 major chances. He has won 56/80 take-ons which is almost 70% and his passing accuracy at an average is nearly 85% which is magnificent.
( Statistics for every player via Squawka.com )