Best Premier League XI outside the ‘Top Six’ this season
The Premier League is often billed as the best football league in the world. On a weekly basis, football fans across the country are treated to unassailable evidence as to why Premier League football tickets remain so popular.
The so called ‘top six’ have pulled away from the rest with Manchester City at the summit, sailing towards another Premier League title. The battle for a top four place continues to hot up between Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. Meanwhile, Arsenal make up the top six with the rest of the teams left to battle for mid table mediocrity.
Some clubs may be tilting towards a European push and battle for the seventh Europa League spot, many may be targeting a top half finish and others will be happy with survival.
This season, the Premier League has seen clubs like Leicester, Burnley and Everton push for European football with Watford making up the top half, yet only four points from the relegation zone. It is this midtable suburbia which makes the top flight so exciting week in, week out. With a third of the campaign still remaining we begin to see Champions League ambitions burn and relegation fears grow.
Football Ticket Pad has selected the best Premier League team formed from players outside of the top six clubs:
Nick Pope (Burnley): Pope has been a revelation since replacing Heaton four months ago and has kept 10 clean sheets so far this season. His success at Turf Moor has been remarkable, given he signed from Charlton 18 months ago as third-choice goalkeeper. Released by his beloved Ipswich Town at the age of 16, his first taste of the Premier League was when he came on for Heaton against Crystal Palace in September. Pope also tops the charts as having the highest save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League. Kasper Schmeichel has also had another impressive season with Leicester City, but Pope pips it.
Jonjoe Kenny (Everton): It has been a breakthrough season for the Everton youngster. Kenny has seamlessly slotted into the right-back position this season to fill the void left by the injured Seamus Coleman. The 20 year-old has a bright future and has been a regular in the side under both David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce as the Blues chase for a coveted European spot.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City): He has been one of the signings of the season. Eyebrows were raised when he joined Leicester City following Hull City’s relegation but he has been a rock in the heart of defence and could even find himself on the plane to the World Cup this summer with England. Maguire has helped the Foxes keep seven clean sheets and has also posed a threat from set-pieces with two goals and four assists so far this campaign.
James Tarkowski (Burnley): Tarkowski has been instrumental in Burnley’s success this season and was recently awarded a new and improved bumper contract at the club to fend off interest from some of the Premier League big boys. Tarkowski has been a key man in the Clarets watertight defence helping keep nine clean sheets. The 25 year-old has also made the most blocks and clearances in the Premier League this term as he fills the void left by Michael Keane in the summer. His centre-back partner Ben Mee also deserves a mention, he has formed a pivotal partnership with Tarkowski as Burnley look to compile their best ever top flight finish.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton): The Saints left-back has affirmed himself as one of the best full-backs in England and will offer stiff competition for a starting place in the England team this summer at the World Cup. Bertrand is sure to be on the plane as he continues to build his growing reputation this season. Southampton may be struggling in the Premier League standings but Bertrand has been a constant threat down the left flank with his pace and energy.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City): The winger appears to have recaptured his form which helped guide Leicester City to a shock Premier League title in 2015/16. After a slow start to the season he has still managed to rack up seven assists and eight goals. The 26 year-old remains one of the hottest properties in the Premier League and it will not be long until a big club in Europe try and secure his services.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford): The midfielder is full of energy and tenacity and is a real box-to-box player enjoying the most lucrative season of his career. He has been one of the best players this season and has managed to score seven goals. Watford are ready to make Doucoure the club's highest-paid player by offering him a new five-year deal which underlines his importance to the club and the progress he has made this season. Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester is also unlucky to have missed out. Much was made following the departure of Ngolo Kante and how Leicester would cope without him. However, Ndidi has proved to be a shrewd replacement and tops the charts with over 100 tackles this season. A key man for the Foxes.
Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United): Shown he has the ability to unlock defences with his pinpoint passing and flair. He embodies the Argentinian creativity yet has the workrate and energy to be a real asset in the Premier League. His three goals and five assists may not be the greatest of returns but he has so much to offer and can still take his game up to the next level between now and the end of the season at West Ham.
Richarlison (Watford): The 20 year-old Brazilian arrived on the scene with a bang, notching five times in his first eleven games following his £11.2 million signing from Fluminense. He has since attracted interest from both Chelsea and Arsenal as the Hornets look to keep hold of their prize asset. However, he has since gone twelve matches without a goal as teams look to cut the supply to the tricky forward. He will be looking to recapture his form under new boss Javi Gracia and help Watford climb the table once more.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City): The striker is the joint top scorer in the Premier League outside of the top six teams with ten goals alongside Wayne Rooney. He has the ability to sniff out a chance and is lethal in front of goal. His pace is a nightmare for defenders and he continues to terrorise the Premier League’s best with his work-rate and movement. Leicester have climbed the table under Claude Puel and Vardy has led the line by example as they look to hold onto seventh place ahead of both Burnley and Everton, eight points adrift of sixth placed Arsenal.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace): He missed the start of the season through injury but has shone at Crystal Palace since his return. Zaha’s fine form has been vital in Palace’s recent run of good form with a string of impressive displays. The winger insists that his ‘best is still yet to come’, but his four goals have given Palace momentum when they needed him most. If one player is capable of changing a game for Palace, it is Zaha.
Further afield, Tammy Abraham has benefitted from regular football in the Premier League and will be pleased with his contribution so far with Swansea. He will have a huge role to play between now and the end of the season if Swansea are to survive. A huge responsibility for such a young player to carry for the club’s top scorer. Glenn Murray has also popped up with six goals at Brighton and his experience could be vital if they are to avoid the drop.
There are sure to be plenty more twists and turns along the way between now and the end of the season. Football fans searching for their Premier League football tickets can do so online today at Football Ticket Pad with hundreds of tickets available to buy with a 100% money-back guarantee!