If there’s one thing which fans of Premier League football are guilty of, it’s over-hyping.
To make it in the English top flight, you obviously have to be a good player. Nobody playing in the division is awful, but there are plenty who are nowhere near as good as their reputation and fanbase would suggest.
We’ve had underrated players, but now it’s time to halt the hype train and lool at each club’s most overrated player.
Arsenal – Mesut Özil
Let’s start off with a nice, easy one. Mesut Özil is not nearly as good as his reputation would suggest.
On his day, the German can be the best midfielder in the world. His vision for a pass is absurd and he can do the kind of things you don’t even see in video games. The problem? He’s shown that form about five times since moving to Arsenal.
Despite that, there have still been calls from fans to bring him in. He is still seen as the answer to the Gunners’ creative woes. Why? Get rid to Inter and move on.
Aston Villa – Tyrone Mings
Tyrone Mings looked great in the Championship and he brought that form to the top flight for a few weeks. The budget Virgil van Dijk was even rewarded with an England call-up in October… but has since gone back to looking very much like a Championship player.
Is he being complacent? Or did his purple patch simply trick fans into thinking he was better than he actually is?
If he was as good as many thought, Aston Villa probably wouldn’t be in a relegation battle with the most goals conceded in the division.
Really weirdly, according to the data at WhoScored, Mings has made only seven tackles this season, which unless you are Paolo Maldini, is just odd.
Bournemouth – Nathan Ake
There seems to be some obsession with Nathan Ake that sees him linked with big clubs every single transfer window – the reasoning behind that obsession is unclear, however.
A player famed for his hairstyle and how quick he is on FIFA, Ake has never looked like a £40m centre-back.
Oh yeah, top defender that Nathan Ake – he’s only been part of a team that’s conceded 198 league goals across the last three full seasons.
Brighton & Hove Albion – Lewis Dunk
Right, Lewis Dunk is not a bad footballer. However, Lewis Dunk is definitely overrated.
His partnership with Shane Duffy has been incredibly impressive, and he is clearly good enough for the Premier League, but does that mean Dunk is worth the £50m which has been suggested? Not a chance, Lance.
Players that have completed more tackles this season than Dunk: Lucas Moura, Steven Alzate, Pablo Fornals
Players that have won more aerial duels this season than Dunk this season: Cesar Azpilicueta, Kenny McLean, Lucas Digne
Burnley – Nick Pope
The Nick Pope of the 2017/18 campaign was fantastic. Then he suffered a dislocated shoulder and has never been the same since.
Touted as a soon-to-be England number one, Pope actually has a very poor save percentage, but is shielded by perhaps the most determined defence in the entire division. Burnley keep plenty of clean sheets, but that’s not all down to Pope.
A move to Chelsea to become their new number one? Behave.
Chelsea – Callum Hudson-Odoi
Callum Hudson-Odoi is one of those to have been hit by the curse of being young and English. Plenty of academy gems get built up to be superstars before they really show anything at the top level, and that is exactly what happened to Hudson-Odoi.
He was tied down to a huge (and I mean huge) new contract to fend off interest from Bayern Munich, but would not have earned that kind of money if he was not an academy product.
Hudson-Odoi’s potential is clear. He could very well become an England star, but he’s not there yet. Not even close.
Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
In basketball, the best player on a poor team often ends up putting up outstanding numbers because they spend almost the entire game on the ball, and that’s sort of what happens to Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace.
As the Eagles’ only real goal threat, he gets millions of chances to do something every game, and his dribbling is exciting enough to make highlight reel after highlight reel, but his return in front of goal still disappoints.
For somebody who is tasked with carrying an entire side – and valued at over £80m – you’re well within your rights to expect more from Zaha, who ranks 44th for key passes in the Premier League and boasts just three goals and three assists in 2019/20.
Everton – Jordan Pickford
As a promising youngster with Sunderland, things looked good for Jordan Pickford. However, he’s still at that level now, and he’s 25 years old.
As the starting goalkeeper for England and Everton, Pickford is supposed to be a near-elite talent who is capable of winning trophies, yet his decision making and general ability often let him down. In the last season and a half, he has committed six errors leading to goals.
Somehow, he remains the Three Lions’ first choice, but it’s tough to actually figure out why.
Leicester City – Kelechi Iheanacho
The Foxes are a young, exciting team, so Iheanacho looks like he should be a perfect fit. Leicester are a team on the up, but Iheanacho doesn’t look to be going anywhere. He’s nowhere near replacing Jamie Vardy and is little more than an average backup.
Justifying that £25m price tag looks nearly impossible right now.
Liverpool – Trent Alexander-Arnold
Okay, everyone calm down.
It’s no secret that Trent Alexander-Arnold is an outstanding footballer, but is he actually an outstanding right-back defensively? No.
Defensively, the youngster is average at best and benefits from playing with elite teammates. He’s not there to defend. His job is to cross, run and pass the ball at a fantastic level, and that’s exactly what he does.
He’s a world-class talent but to call him ‘the best right-back in the world’ is a stretch.
Manchester City – Rodri
A lot has gone wrong for City this season. Defensive injuries have seen Fernandinho move into centre-back and record-signing Rodri fill the void in midfield, but it’s not hard to realise which one of those players has been the weak link.
Without Fernandinho in midfield, City have been lacklustre and vulnerable. Rodri’s job is specifically to prevent that, just like the Brazilian has done in recent years, but he is not up to the task.
Seen as the heir to Fernandinho’s throne, Rodri looks more like a temporary fix.
Manchester United – Harry Maguire
If Harry Maguire had not scored against Sweden in the World Cup semi-final, he’d probably still be a Leicester player.
Nevertheless, those few weeks where he was good at attacking free kicks convinced many that he was the world’s best centre-back. For their £80m spend, Manchester United didn’t get a top-tier defender.
He’s fine. He’s absolutely fine. But that’s as far as it goes.
Newcastle United – Sean Longstaff
This one isn’t even the fault of either Newcastle United or Sean Longstaff. The young midfielder looked good in his breakthrough season, and then Manchester United ruined his entire career by lodging their interest in a £50m move.
Now, the 22-year-old is supposed to be a future star, but he just looks so average. He’s not Newcastle’s best midfielder and he’s barely even the best talent in the Longstaff family.
Whatever he does, he will never be able to escape those links to United. The bar is already too high.
Norwich City – Teemu Pukki
When this season started, Teemu Pukki was very average. He then convinced the world he was Pelé reincarnated with five weeks of goalscoring, and now every casual fan sees him as a prolific star.
Don’t get me wrong, Pukki is a decent striker. He can score enough goals, and that’s great. However, he’s not a Golden Boot winner in the making.
In a team with some genuine attacking stars like Emi Buendía, Pukki is starting to look bang average.
Sheffield United – Lys Mousset
When Lys Mousset joined Bournemouth in 2016, he was seen as an enigmatic youngster with high potential. It didn’t work out, but Sheffield United gave him a second chance.
After a few good performances, Chris Wilder was credited as the man who had unlocked Mousset’s talent, as if the Frenchman was taking the top flight by storm along with the rest of his teammates.
In truth, he rarely starts and doesn’t contribute much when he’s on the pitch. Don’t let people fool you, he has still got work to do.
Southampton – James Ward-Prowse
Every few months James Ward-Prowse scores free-kick and half of Twitter touts him for an England call-up.
In between those months however, JWP can be a frustrating player whose contribution other than nice technique is hard to pinpoint.
At 25, he is no longer the ‘prospect’ he was once heralded as and looks less and less likely to follow the career trajectory of say Adam Lallana.
Interestingly, he is also third overall for most fouls committed this season.
Tottenham Hotspur – Dele Alli
Another player to be plagued by his electric form as a youngster, Dele Alli still thrives on the reputation he built when he was 20.
Back then, he was a real goal threat, but he has since looked more like a liability. You can blame the injuries if you want, but the reality is that Alli is no longer able to make a substantial impact in the final third.
He deserves credit for being able to build his name up so quickly, but that doesn’t mean he still merits the excitement.
Watford – Abdoulaye Doucouré
All Abdoulaye Doucouré does is talk about his desire to play in the Champions League for a top side. Yeah, I’d like that too, but that doesn’t mean it’s happening.
The Frenchman is a capable midfield enforcer with strong technical ability, but he has benefited from being part of a disappointing Watford side. A big fish in a small pond.
That’s not to say that Doucouré is bad. He’s actually pretty impressive at times. However, maybe just cool it with the Champions League talk.
West Ham United – Felipe Anderson
When West Ham signed Felipe Anderson back in 2018, it was seen as a real coup. The Brazilian looked like he was a breakout waiting to happen, and a number of top sides were interested.
In 2020, that ship has sailed. He doesn’t look like that kind of player anymore, having failed to transform the Hammers into European contenders.
Anderson still comes with a real reputation as an electric winger, but that’s just not who he is.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Diogo Jota
Last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers‘ rise to prominence was credited to the strike force of both Raúl Jiménez and Diogo Jota. However, this year, it’s all about the former.
Jota has failed to follow his partner’s path and he’s no longer a core part of the side, but he still lives on his reputation as one of the men who made Wolves great.
At best, Jota is a solid rotation piece who is capable of making an impact every now and then.