The Premier League’s Unsung Heroes of 2010/11

Posted: June 15, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in England, English Premier League, Guest, Random, Transfers

Callum Maclean gives us a detailed insight into his underrated 11 of the 2010/11 season.  Read on to find out who made the XI.


The 2010/11 season in the Premier League for many was one of disappointment. Teams failed to build on the foundations they had laid down over the period from the end of the 2009/10 season to the first few games of the season, and players suffered from losses of form over Christmas, which may have been down to too much turkey, injury, super-injunctions, or the approaches of another club in the January transfer window. Which brings me great difficulty in writing about who I believe was underrated this year in what is known as the best league in the world. It would’ve been easier to speak of overrated players, or players who failed to impress, but I gave it my best shot.

Going through teams, if there any from them, I picked my players, and will try and get some sort of squad made up out of them. So, to start with, Wojciech Szczęsny of Arsenal. Coming in after injuries to Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski, Arsenal’s third choice ‘keeper became first choice even after an injury to a finger, keeping six premier league clean sheets in the process. If it hadn’t of been for Szczęsny, Arsenal may well have been playing on Channel Five next season.

Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark comes next. Making 16 appearances this season, Clark helped Villa’s topsy-turvy season end in mid-table mediocrity, scoring three league goals in the process, leading to him getting his first call-up for the Republic Of Ireland.

Even though, Birmingham City got relegated, I feel 28 year old Roger Johnson deserves a shout for the underrated players of the season, trying to keep Birmingham up. Courtesy of OptaJoe, he made more headed clearances than anyone else, with 287. Expect to see him in the Premier League again next season.

Up until his injury on the 19th March, Stuart Holden may well have been on for getting into team of the year, with his performances for Bolton helping them make a march up the table with at one point, a possibility of European Football.

Though he played for a big club that didn’t perform nearly as well as early form suggested, and maybe because there is some Chelsea bias, but I think Fernando Torres was underrated for his half a season… Just kidding. John Obi Mikel, yet still not scoring a league goal for Chelsea, he has been pulling the strings from the midfield when players have been injured, or under performing, and goes unnoticed, because he doesn’t whip cross-field passes about and the like. Simple, but effective.

Everton come in with three players that have been, in my opinion at least, underrated. Sylvain Distin, Tim Howard, and Louis Saha. Distin’s consistency and Howard in goal managed to help Everton get to 10 clean sheets for the season. Distin also scored his first Premier League goals, with two against Liverpool. Louis Saha, although maybe not having had his best season, still managed in 22 games seven goals and his performances along with Distin and Howard’s helped Everton get better as the season went on and have a seventh placed finish.

Chris Baird, makes his way into the underrated players for the season. A regular fixture at the back, the 29 year old defender gave Fulham fair defending at the back, which granted them both a top ten spot and a Europa League place. Thanks to OptaJoe, he was only one of four players to score two goals from outside the box in the same game too.

Cheik Tioté of Newcastle United is also a player who I feel was underrated. Granted, his goals against Arsenal wasn’t underrated at all, but it’s his passing, interceptions and tackling that has helped Newcastle in the middle, whilst just getting on with his job, unlike the egos of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan.

Stoke City also have three players that come in as underrated. Former bad boy, Jermaine Pennant, has, this season somewhat transformed, with an untroubled season, with only three bookings, and three goals too. Quiet, but his experience under the watchful eye of Tony Pulis helped Pennant and Stoke have a very successful season. Whether you call gambling a bad boy hobby or not, Matthew Etherington has transformed into a decent winger, alongside the other underrated player, Jonathan Walters, who have contributed with goals and assists in a successful season for the Potters.

Keiran Richardson was also, in my opinion, underrated this season. Versatility is what is needed at a club like Sunderland, and Richardson had that, scoring four goals in the process with his more than able covering abilities.

Peter Odemwingie, of West Bromwich Albion, was also underrated. Although his form was hit and miss at times, when on form, he was one of the top strikers in the Premier League. 15 goals in 32 games for a team that were in serious danger of being relegated is some feat.

West Ham United also have an entry to the underrated players list, in the form of Demba Ba, Scoring seven goals in a team apart from Scott Parker, was ultimately doomed, is an impressive tally, and definitely made the Hammer’s relegation fight last longer.

And the final player is the man who may well be credited with helping Wigan Athletic stay up, Charles N’Zogbia. After a poor start to the season, and trying to get a move away from the DW Stadium for a bigger club, five vital goals towards the end of the season secured Wigan premier league status for another season. Maybe he’ll be at a bigger club next time around?

So there we have it, underrated players. Time to make a starting 11 out of them:

GK: Howard

DEF: Baird  Distin   Johnson   Clark

MID: Pennant  Tioté   Holden  Etherington

     ST: Odemwingie     Ba

Leave your comments below with any players you think may have deserved a mention in the underrated XI.


Written by Callum.  You can follow him on Twitter @callummaclean91

  1. Chad says:

    A really good read. I can see how some of these players deserved more credit than they got. I would like to add Michael Jarvis of Wolves to this list as well.

  2. Isaac Ashe says:

    I’d like to add Hangeland in there – was a rock, and weighed in with a fair few goals to boot.

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