Premier League’s Underrated Players: Matchday 1

Crystal Palace's English midfielder Aaron Wan-Bissaka (L) vies with Fulham's English defender Ryan Sessegnon during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage in London on August 11, 2018. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

The Premier League returns! On Matchday 1, there were many cracking moments such as Bernardo Silva’s cracker for Manchester City against Arsenal, or Jorginho’s startingly cool debut penalty. However, discerning fans must not overlook the hard grafters and rising talents of the Premier League, even with the distraction of the new boys.

The Premier League’s Underrated Players

Hugo Lloris

This is a surprising candidate for a most underrated player. After all, he is captain of both France and Spurs, as well as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. However, last season he came under some flak. He made five errors leading to goals last season in the Premier League. His most recent high-profile error was in the World Cup final, gifting Croatia a goal with a complete lapse of concentration. However, Lloris put in a solid performance against Newcastle in Tottenham’s 2-1 win away from home. None of his saves were spectacular, but most of them were good, smart saves that were executed perfectly.

He doesn’t need to be superhuman for his club, he just needs to cut out those costly errors. This is why he deserves some credit this week, for starting as he means to go on. Marshalling his excellent defence, Spurs have a solid foundation on which to rely on in their toughest matches this year.

Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal started out their Premier League campaign with a dismal 2-0 loss to Manchester City. The start of Unai Emery’s reign did conjure up some hope though. The introduction of Matteo Guendouzi was promising indeed. At just 19-years-old, he made his first Premier League start. As a whole, his performance was rough and riddled with imperfections and one costly mistake. But, it was his attitude rather than his aptitude that impressed most. Full of energy, desire and fight, he left everything on the pitch. Clearly, he does have some technical talent also. It is just a matter of playing more and more minutes for his development.

This is a player to watch out for in the coming matches and the coming seasons. Many clubs, including Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, once pursued this player before he arrived at Arsenal. He is clearly a talented young star who could grow to be a staple under Emery’s new regime.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Wan-Bissaka isn’t new to the Premier League. Last season, he made seven appearances with impressive displays against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. However, this season he has secured the right-back berth to start. He fully deserves this backing from Hodgson after a fantastic opening day performance against Fulham. Crystal Palace ran out 2-0 winners at Craven Cottage. The decisive goal was scored by Wilfried Zaha, who was assisted by a wonderful run and through-ball from Wan-Bissaka.

Hodgson has commented on the battle between the young full-backs in Ryan Sessegnon and Wan-Bissaka. He said:  “I’m sure Slavisa is very happy to have Sessegnon in his ranks just as I am happy to have Aaron in mine. He’s bright in that he’s very receptive to information. He’s very serious about his football.” Clearly, this player is capable of great things. At just 20-years-old, he still has time to develop. But, on this opening matchday, he deserves credit for the excellent work so far.

Fernandinho

The Russian World Cup of 2018 was one to forget for Fernandino. He scored an own goal in the quarter-final against Belgium, losing 2-1. He then received death threats from Brazil fans, blaming him for the defeat of his nation. Fast forward to the new Premier League season and Fernandinho has put away his critics with a fine opening performance, and the Community Shield trophy. Fernandinho is a player that doesn’t attract the most attention. After all, he is often deployed in a deeper position. He still has notched 17 goals in 165 Premier League appearances, though, due to his box-to-box playing style.

In City’s opening match it is easy to see why a player like Fernandinho may be overlooked. Raheem Sterling carved Arsenal apart, beating three defenders before lashing home the first goal. Bernardo started his second season at the club in style to make it two nil. Meanwhile, Fernandinho was the hub for these moments. His passing range was good, spraying balls across the park. It may not have been a sparkling performance, but his hard work should still be noticed and appreciated.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It wasn’t Bernardo’s debut City had him all of last season where he scored 6 and assisted with 5 in 30+ league games I believe. It was Mahrez’s but he didn’t score.

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