Liverpool have become the Golden State Warriors, winning every game they play, breaking a new record in every game, pushing so far ahead of the competition that they are skewing our perception of the other 19 teams in the league. In most other years, Manchester City would be in the middle of a title race, but they are still capable of the kind of control, systematic destruction that has bulldozed the Premier League in each of the last two seasons. Just ask Aston Villa or, perhaps, the betting market, which considers Pep Guardiola’s team as the favourites to win the Champions League.
But enough words have been (and will be) spread about these two teams. Guilty as charged. So for those of you who have had it so far with counter-press And posicion juego, let’s take a look at some of the underrated stars of the 2019-20 Premier League season.
We’re going to take one of every phase of the game. In other words: Who has a year of career but will not come close to earning silverware?
The best Spanish goalkeeper in the Premier League is not David de Gea, and he certainly is not Kepa Arrizabalaga. No, he is a 33-year-old man with peroxide-blonde hair who sometimes answers only one word: Guaita. In fact, the Crystal Palace man has not only been the best Spanish goalkeeper in the league this season; he was the best goalkeeper, period.
According to truMedia data, Guaita has prevented more than seven goals so far this year. Depending on their expected goals on the target model, which takes into account the location of a shot, and then where the shot was placed on the goal frame, the average goalkeeper would be expected to concede 26.08 goals. Guaita allowed only 19 (plus only one goal). Here’s what this shooting economy profile looks like: Green dots are goals, and larger points are more valuable xG opportunities:
Despite two missed games, Guaita is the only goalkeeper in the league to score more than seven goals. He is the only goalkeeper to have saved more than six. The rest of the top five: Martin Dubravka of Newcastle (5.51 goals), Watford Ben Foster (5.45), Sheffield United Dean Henderson (3.81), and Brighton Mathew Ryan (3.58). The last five? Southampton’s Angus Gunn (minus-7.39 in just 10 games!), Burnley’s Nick Pope (minus-7.09), Chelsea’s Kepa (minus-5.45), Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton (minus-5.03) and Tottenham’s Paulo Gazzaniga (minus-3.52).
In the 20 games with Guaita in goals, Crystal Palace have allowed one goal per game. In every game he missed, they conceded twice. For a team that has scored the most common goals in the league, Guaita has been essentially the difference between a relegation fight and a comfortable place in the middle of the table.
Think Trent Alexander-Arnold, but exactly the opposite. The Liverpool right-back revolutionised the back position by saying, “Of course, but what if I were Andrea Pirlo?” Meanwhile, AWB interpreted the role in its own way: “What if I were a defender whose main skill was… “I’m not going to do
There are all TAA tackles on the season:
And these are all AWBs:
Manchester United’s right-back is the soccer version of Kawhi Leonard; If you try to dribble the ball in his general neighborhood, he’ll take it from you.
According to the FBRef website, there are 10 players in the Premier League who have faced at least 100 dribbles so far this season. Wan-Bissaka completed a tackle on 78.3% of the attempts against him. Among these other nine, the next best is Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira, all the way down to 67.6%. In other words, the 22-year-old has the league’s 10th highest tackle rate against opposing dribblers. But no one above him faced more than 40 dribbles; Wan-Bissaka faced 106.
Despite United’s first 22 games without interest, their defence is doing very well. By FBRef, they allowed the fewest goals expected in the league (20.7) and the arrival of Wan-Bissaka during the summer is one of the main reasons why.
Do you want your child to be a tight-fitting back? It’s better to make a link with your last name.
If you are in the business of predicting the performance of promoted teams, there are not many better places to look at than defense. According to research from the 21st consulting club, the teams that tend to stay in place are the ones that have conceded the fewest goals in the Championship. Although they were the bookmakers’ favourites to be relegated to the right, Sheffield United conceded fewer goals than Norwich and Aston Villa last season. Of course, Chris Wilder’s team is currently in sixth place, while the other two promoted teams are both in the relegation places. Only Liverpool have conceded fewer goals.
However, the trademark of Sheffield’s season so far is how they seem to be consistent. Attack and defense are always connected; Remember those back-center centres that overlap earlier in the season? But nothing of this coherence would be possible without no one tying it up.
This is Oliver Norwood’s first season in the Premier League, but you wouldn’t know it by watching. By FBRef, only Jorginho completed more passes (147 to 145) in the final third than the 28-year-old. Alexander-Arnold and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Southampton are the only other players to have completed at least 100 assists in the final third and 20 in the penalty area. And Alexander-Arnold and Wolverhampton Joao Moutinho are the only other players with at least 100 final-third passes and three passes expected. In other words, no one in the league is more important to all aspects of his team’s building game than the Northern Irishman. Can you believe it cost less than $2 million to buy brighton?
I doubt many people were wondering “how can your team be if it is completely built around Oliver Norwood?” at the start of the season, but it turns out the answer could be “somewhere in the top six.”
Attacking midfielder: Emiliano Buendia, Norwich City
If I told you that there was a former Real Madrid hopeful and Argentina youth international who competed with the play of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in the Premier League, you probably assume he played for a super-rich team or, perhaps , you are trying to get a copy of James Maddison’s birth certificate to see what you were doing. And if I told you that this seemingly hypothetical player was only 23 years old, you’d probably assume that his name was populating all the other transfer-rumor roundups, with nearly nine figures of fees attached to his name.
Well, that person exists, but he plays for the worst team in the Premier League, and the market doesn’t seem to think of him so strongly. The crowd-sourced ratings to the site transfer market of peg Emi Buendia worth 18 million euros, while the transfer algorithm of the football observatory CIES sees it as somewhere between 20-30 million euros.
Although it may cost less than recent summer signings like Pablo Fornals, Ayoze Perez, or Nicolas Pepe, it has far surpassed all this season. Really, there aren’t many creative midfielders who have been as influential as Buendia.
Choose a passing stat, and Buendia is just near the top of the leaderboard. Of the players who played at least half their team minutes, only De Bruyne and Pascal Gross of Brighton created more chances for their team-mates at 90 minutes. Only De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Alexander-Arnold created more assists expected in 90 minutes. Only De Bruyne, Mahrez, Silva and Maddison completed more balls by 90 minutes. And only De Bruyne, Mahrez, Silva and Alexander-Arnold completed more passes in the penalty area with 90 minutes to go. On top of all that, he completed 31 more passes in the final third than any of his teammates and he leads the canaries in tackles, too. Buendia still hasn’t scored this season, but if you need someone to do all the things before the goal, then he’s your guy.
While Norwich have a better goal differential expected than Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Ham, and Bournemouth, they are at the bottom of the table with the worst goal differential and an eight-point gap between them and safety. So although they were mthey’re probably going to come back to the Championship. And if they do, Buendia seems likely to move on. It will be a flight for whoever signs it.
Forward: Danny Ings, Southampton
You know what? I’ll just come out and say it: Daniel William John Ings – formerly of Bournemouth and Burnley and Liverpool, now of Southampton – was, in his 28th year on this planet, the top scorer in the Premier League.
Of course, Jamie Vardy is currently leading the league with 17 goals, but three of them came from the penalty spot. Take them and he is tied at the top of the league in non-penalty goals with Ings. Except Vardy played almost 300 minutes more. Sergio Aguero is leading the league in non-penalty goals by 90 minutes because Sergio Aguero still leads the league in non-penalty goals by 90 minutes, but it is only – Only — scored 11 goals without a penalty. After Aguero (0.99), it is Ings (0.82) and Gabriel Jesus (0.74), vardy and Tammy Abraham tied at 0.7.
The best part? Barring injury, Ings’ high-level production seems to be sustainable since his shooting card looks like this:
The guy doesn’t take bad shots. Almost everything is within the width of the six-yard box and no further than the penalty point.
Ings is tied with Jesus at the top of the league in the non-penalty goals expected (10.5), and only Aguero and Jesus are edging him in the non-penalty xG by 90. He takes the eighth most shots by 90 minutes – behind Abraham, Raul Jimenez and a bunch of guys from Liverpool and City – and among the players who have attempted at least 20 shots, only Vardy and Sadio Mane are on average an xG higher per shot.
Ings doesn’t play for a super-team, but he does the only thing every world-class striker is supposed to do: take a ton of big shots. If he continues, he should be absolutely in England’s image for this summer’s Euros. If he goes on, he has a legitimate case he should start.