The Premier League UnNoticed XI

Guest post by: Juan Mata’s Left Foot : Football Enthusiast blogging everything from scout reports to game reviews. Follow on twitter @LFDFootball




It’s that time of the season again where everyone begins to put together their Under-Rated Team of the Year. However, I have never agreed with this , for me the term under-rated has never been one that I have liked. It is term that takes away from the players true abilities. This is why I have created a team using the term ‘un-noticed’.  This fits the players that I have selected much better, due to perhaps being in teams with better players or playing for a team fighting for survival these players don’t get recognized for the great work that they do for their teams.

GK: Simon Mignolet – Sunderland

Over the last couple of seasons Mignolet has been the Sunderland number one and it has been well justified with the performances that he has put in. However, due to the position that Sunderland find their selves in he has been well over looked as one of the Premier League’s best keepers this season. He has started every league game so far this year and has kept a total of 13 clean sheets in the process, as the image below shows Mignolet has made a total of 97 saves and averages 3.03 saves per game.


So what has he brought to he’s team this year? Well @lewisnho on Twitter said “He has saved our season, without Mignolet we would be in the bottom three, holding onto him will be tough but he has been our player of the season” Great words about the Belgian shot stopper and it justifies Simon’s inclusion into the team.

RB: Seamus Coleman – Everton

Often used at right midfield throughout he’s career an injury to Tony Hibbert this season saw Coleman played in the right back position which he has been played at before and he’s performances there meant that Everton fans were waiting for the day when he cemented this as he’s position. Coleman has suffered with some injuries this season and as a result has only managed 19 appearances this campaign. Seamus has contributed massively to the attacking side of Everton’s game this year and when Osman has been played as a right midfielder that tucks inside Coleman has exploited the space with runs up and down the wing. As a result, he has created a total of 21 chances. @DannySFootball said “Seamus is our best right-back with he’s stand out performance against Manchester City this season. Earlier in the season he’s defensive positioning was one of he’s downfalls, this has improved with experience however.” Coleman has worked wonders down Everton’s right this season none more so than when he has Kevin Mirallas in front of him, their link up is brilliant and has allowed both players to improve massively with Coleman not getting the credit that he warrants for another consistent season in Everton blue.

CB: Sylvain Distin – Everton

Once again Distin has been an ever present in the Everton defence this season and has cemented he’s place in my team by putting in solid performance after solid performance, he hasn’t always been recognized this season for it though and I feel like that is unfair. He has won 70% of the duels that he goes for which puts him at the top of the Everton defence. Stats like this only help you understand why he has been able to go on to have the most appearances for any over seas player in Premier League history. He has been one of the main reasons why Everton have been able to stay so competitive this season, he shows great pace and is the perfect cover for Phil Jagielka in the centre of defence, he also shows great solidity  and averages 12 defensive actions per game. With Sylvain at the heart of their defence this term Everton have been able to take points from games where without Distin in the team this might not have been possible. Another wonderful campaign from the French and a deserved place in my team.

CB: Chico Flores – Swansea

The Spanish centre half was one of Laudrup’s first signings when joining Swansea in the summer and at the start Chico seemed to struggle with the pace of the league and was making a lot of late tackles which earned him he’s only red card of the season.However, the 21 league appearances along side Ashley Williams has helped Flores to go from strength to strength. As the graphic below shows the defensive side of Chico’s game has improved drastically over the course of the season. The increase in the defensive line (yellow line) shows that he quickly adapted to defending in the league and wins 81% of he’s challenges.


Laudrup has built on the passing game that Swansea previously had and Chico has become a main part of the game they play, the centre back has completed 90% of his attempted passes this season and shows that you can build from the back in this fast paced league.

LB: Ben Davies – Swansea

Brought in to replace the injured Neil Taylor at the start of the season, Davies has showed some great potential which earned him he’s first Wales call up this season. The work that Davies has done this season has gone largely un-noticed because of the performances of young English left back Luke Shaw of Southampton. However, I feel that Ben has been able to perform at the same level and Luke and in some situations has put on better performances. What was thought to only be a temporary fix to left back problem has turned into a long term solution for the Welsh club and Davies should be a starter there for years to come. The philosophy of Swansea has helped the development of Davies and he has learnt to play the wing back role brilliantly. Making over lapping runs and being solid with their attacking play is key for any wing back and from the 15 chances that Davies has created this season a large proportion have come in the final third (see below).


If Davies can continue and grow on what he has achieved this season than the young Welshman is destined for great things in he’s footballing career.

RM: Sylvain Marveaux – Newcastle

In he’s first season at Newcastle Marveaux was used mostly as a substitute, however this season Ben Arfa suffered an injury and as a result Marveaux was picked to fill Hatem’s role in the team. He has done this is some quite brilliant performances this season for the Toon Army. He has appeared 20 times in the league and has created 26 chances for the team to score. He brings that French attacking flair to the Toon Army being successful with 61% of the take ons that he attempts. He shows a great deal of composure in possession. He has largely gone un-noticed this season due to the poor league form that he’s club have shown however, in a season without many stand out performers Marveaux is the pick of a very limited group of players. But going forward into the future you should expect he’s stock to rise and the position he plays in the team to be one of the most important.

CM: Darren Gibson – Everton

Darren Gibson is a major player in the success of Everton over the last couple of years, with Darren in the midfield they become a very difficult team to beat. Why? Because Gibson shows an unbelieaveable range of passing and when playing deep in he’s own half he is always able to play the long ball forward and find an outlet. He isn’t just a long ball player though, he can play short passes and through balls to help set up attacks that way. On top of this he shows a gritty determination to win the ball back for he’s side, and although he hasn’t scored many he does possess a great long shot. He brings a lot of pluses to the side and has a pass percentage of 80% and has created 19 chances in 17 games which is very good for a holding midfielder, however an injury this season has meant that the work he has done has been forgotten about.

CM: Ashley Westwood – Aston Villa

My favourite player is this line up, the young man has stepped up from League 2 this season and has performed on a level you wouldn’t expect. Villa’s player of the season in my view but the work that Benteke has done up top has meant that Westwood has not had the media coverage he deserves. In a team that is fighting for it’s Premier League survival Ashley is a major highlight for Villa fans this season. @afansopinion on twitter said “His passing is superb, he has fitted into our (at times, physically weak) midfield easily and looked the most comfortable and at ease player in the side. Could argue he has been our best signing. As composed as Gareth Barry was in a Villa shirt but as good as Michael Carrick is in a Manchester United shirt.” an unbelievable amount of praise for a young man. Many villa fans agree that one he will play for England and I agree 100% with this. The range of passing this man shows is different class, last month only 9 other players in Europe’s top 5 leagues completed more passes than Westwood (233). Not many knew that did you? And that’s why he is in this team because he has performed so well and not been noticed outside the Villa fanbase.

LM: Wes Hoolahan – Norwich

In a team that is limited in terms of creativity Wes has taken it upon himself this season to create goals for the team, Norwich have struggled this season in the league, but Hoolahan has been a stand out player with a Squwaka performance score of 572 (2nd highest in the squad). He has played 29 league games this year and has been the key for attacking influence with 39 chances created and 3 goals scored. He has a freedom to take players on and although some of what he has done the Norwich side is a team which isn’t talked up too much in the media but Hoolahan is a major highlight for the fans this season and should be playing above where he is at the moment.

CF: Shaun Maloney – Wigan

The first part of a Wigan based front two. Shaun Maloney has won games on he’s own sometimes for Wigan, remember Manchester United at home last season? He’s goal in that game put Wigan well on their way to avoiding the drop and he helped again last week with a last minute free-kick vs QPR to put Wigan level on points with Sunderland. If he can continue to perform at this level than Wigan will avoid the drop for another year. He has created almost 50 chances for Wigan this campaign and has put in some great performances when he plays off of the striker.


Without Maloney in the team a lot of Wigan’s attacks would break down, he has a great ability to maintain possession and is the main piece in a very detailed passing game that Martinez implements at Wigan. Due to the level of the team he is playing at though the teams star man has not been noticed and if Martinez moves up the league in the summer than he will most likely take this man with him.

ST: Arouna Kone – Wigan

Signed for £3 million in the summer from Levante, Kone was the new hope for Wigna fans as they looked to stay in the league again this year. Kone has reached double figures this season in the league (10 goals in 27 apps), and comes alive when the ball is in the box, he is never afraid to have a shot when the ball is at he’s feet as the image will show.


So why have I put him in this team? Well Wigan are fighting for survival yet again this year and when he has been paired with Maloney, Wigan have looked a very dangerous attacking side. He has an unbelieveable amount of pace and causes problems for every defender that he comes across, he works so hard for the team and a place in the Premier League next season will be nothing short of what the man deserves.

A very strong line up upon reflection and every player is more than deserving of a place in the team and a chance for football fans to notice them for everything good that they have done this season.

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One Comment on “The Premier League UnNoticed XI”

  1. Alex Stephens May 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Fantastic team. A very good yet underrated XI. As a Crewe fan, where Westwood left, I have to agree with what you’ve written. He played for us and was effective for us from a young age so had plenty of games under his belt. We knew when he left he would be able to cope with the Premier League. For only £2m he was a bargain as well. I wish him all the best of luck.

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