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Friday, April 19

Premier League

Five underrated players who have important part to play in Premier League run-in

By , Senior Reporter | 1mo
The closing 10 games of the Premier League will have ramifications in all areas of the league table, but which undervalued players could make the difference?

The Premier League has reached the closing 10 games with each of the 20 managers making it clear about which players they favour and which players are little more than squad members, but it is those squad members which could make all the difference over the next two-and-a-half months. When the first-team regulars are beginning to fade because they have been used excessively, their understudies can step in and guide their respective clubs to title glory, a place in the top four, European football or simply avoiding relegation to the Championship.

There are plenty of punters who are placing bets on Manchester City to edge out Liverpool for the top-flight crown, and the majority of those will be calling on Pep Guardiola to start showing more faith in Leroy Sane. The winger has still made 18 starts in the Premier League this season, but that also means he has not featured in 10 first XIs. Despite that, the Germany international has still provided eight goals and nine assists and delivered them at a better rate than Raheem Sterling. Guardiola will have to find a balance between the remaining three competitions which City find themselves in, but Sane has not been used as much as he would want to in the Premier League.

Injury and squad rotation has also resulted in Henrikh Mkhitaryan not been given too many opportunities in the league. The playmaker has only made 12 starts in the Premier League this season, but the Armenian has shown over the past two matches that he is currently deserving of a place in the team. Two goals and three assists have come against Southampton and Bournemouth, and there are signs that the 30-year-old is finally starting to justify Arsenal's insistence on signing him when Alexis Sanchez made the switch to Manchester United.

Wolverhampton Wanderers paid a club-record fee when they signed Adama Traore from Middlesbrough last summer, but the winger has only become a bit-part player for Nuno Espirito Santo. Traore's end product in the final third has been desperately poor for the majority of the campaign and that has left him with just six starts in the Premier League, but Wolves' small squad are starting to show signs of tiredness and may benefit from the pacey Traore being brought into the team. The West Midlands outfit delivered a flat performance at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night without Traore being introduced into the game, and Nuno will surely have to rethink his use of the 23-year-old over the coming weeks.

Charlie Austin was linked with a switch to Wolves in the January transfer window, but the forward remained at Southampton and now finds himself in line to get opportunities under Ralph Hasenhuttl due to injuries in attack. Austin has only provided two goals in the league, but the 29-year-old has been starved of a prolonged run in the starting lineup with neither Mark Hughes or Hasenhuttl regarding him as first choice. However, he is arguably Southampton's best finisher, and three or four goals in the run-in could keep the Saints in the top flight.

The form of Glenn Murray has led to Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton leaving summer signing Florin Andone out of his starting lineup for much of the campaign, but the Seagulls now find themselves in a relegation battle and with Murray making a limited impact since the turn of the year. Andone has spent the last three games on the sidelines due to suspension, but the Romanian now deserves a run in the starting lineup. Three goals have come from his seven starts in all competitions, with another being netted after being introduced as a first-half substitute. Brighton have also only lost one game in which the 25-year-old has featured in the first XI, and the time is now to place more faith in the forward.



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814
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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich422511685513486
2Leeds UnitedLeeds422571069422782
3Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd422310969393079
4West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom4221101181562573
5Aston Villa421815977581969
6Bristol City411811125546965
7Middlesbrough421713124436864
8Derby CountyDerby411712125950963
9Hull City42179166159260
10Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds421514135255-359
11Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest421415135652457
12Preston North EndPreston421512156059157
13Swansea CitySwansea41168175554156
14Brentford421412166658854
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn421411175764-753
16Stoke CityStoke421119124147-652
17Queens Park RangersQPR42139205065-1548
18Birmingham CityBirmingham421316135854446
19Reading421014184763-1644
20Millwall411012194659-1342
21Wigan AthleticWigan421012204562-1742
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham42816184672-2640
23Bolton WanderersBolton4288262972-4332
RIpswich TownIpswich42416223368-3528
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