Premier League XI: Best players outside the 'top six'

Michu, Christian Benteke & Shaun Maloney have all performed well this season for clubs outside the top six

Scott Atkinson
Published 05/05/2013 12:44 by Scott Atkinson, read by 12,822 people.

Most people assume the best players play for the best teams, but here we look at an alternative XI - without players from the top six clubs.

Let's look at the best XI from the so-called less fashionable Premier League clubs:

Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet | Sunderland

The Belgian stopper has been in sensational form this season, keeping 11 clean sheets despite facing the second most shots in the league while picking up three man of the match awards along the way.

At the age of 25, he has unsurprisingly sparked interest from top clubs, with Manchester United reported to be interested. For me, it was between Mignolet and Asmir Begovic, but Mignolet's shots faced stat tipped it in his favour.

Right-back: Matthew Lowton | Aston Villa

Despite Villa's defensive frailties this season, if one player has shone it's young Lowton.

Who could forget his two screamers this season? He has also picked up three assists.

Lowton may not be the most prolific going forward, but he makes on average of 3.9 tackles a game which is impressive for a right-back, as well as making an average of 5.5 clearances per game with a 79.6% pass success, which shows he doesn't just "hoof" it away.

Centre-back: Chico Flores | Swansea City

The 26-year-old Spaniard has looked impressive this season and looks a important cog in an impressive Swansea team this year.

Despite Swansea's recent lackluster performances, Chico has not failed to impress this football fan. With on average nine clearances a game, many coming from headers, he has proved invaluable to Swansea with the team looking vulnerable when he was out through suspension.

As well as clearances, he makes on average 3.5 tackles a game and 3.3 interceptions - both impressive figures for a centre-back who is usually the last form of defence. Not only has Chico impressed defensively but, with 57.8 passes a game and an accuracy of 89.4%, he has helped his Swansea team move forward in the slick passing moves they have become famous for.

Centre-back: Daniel Agger | Liverpool

I hear what you're saying but Liverpool are a big club, but they are not in the top six as I write this article.

Daniel Agger has been unbelievable this season, managing to avoid injury and put solid defensive performances for Brendan Rodgers' side which has been overshadowed by both the best and worst of Luis Suarez.

Agger has managed three goals this season and all were goals you look for off your centre-backs: strong headers and strength in the box, not David Luiz goals that leave the team vulnerable.

He has succeeded in being dispossessed only five times this full season - something quite remarkable for a centre-back in the Premier League these days it seems.

Left-back: Danny Rose | Sunderland

This was a tough one but Danny Rose scrapes it for me. The 22-year-old left-back has been hugely impressive at Sunderland this year and even managed a goal and an assist, but for me it is not his attacking prowess that gets him in the team, it's his pace and strength.

Also with 2.3 tackles a game, he has been hugely successful in dispossessing opponents along with foiling opponents attacks with 2.8 interceptions per game, which is impressive for a left-back. These stats, along with 77.7% passing, get Rose into this team.

Right-wing: Robert Snodgrass | Norwich City

After signing from Leeds last summer, Snodgrass has had a decent season for Norwich, with five goals and five assists - he has been probably the best Norwich player this season.

He has a decent pass completion of 78.5% considering his position on the wing, and he doesn't just reserve his talent for attacking with the Scottish midfielder making 2.9 tackles a game on average - not bad for a man who plays out wide he also has the stat of 1.7 key passes which is what, in my opinion, Norwich have lacked this season. These factors along with his five man of the match awards this year have earned him a place in my side.

Centre-midfielder: Kevin Nolan | West Ham

Nolan has proved this season you don't have to be young and untested to impress in the Premier League with major question being asked about his age at the beginning of the season he hasn't let his club down with his performances.

Playing in his favoured attacking-midfield role, he has managed seven goals and two assists - not bad for a side only promoted last season, and this has undoubtedly helped his side to their mid-table finish. This, along with his 79.2% pass success in dangerous areas of the pitch, earns him a spot in my team

Centre-midfielder: Michu | Swansea City

This one speaks for itself; he may have lost his form a little recently, but the Spaniard has been the difference to the Swansea team this season, with 17 league goals.

Michu has really impressed since his £2m move from La Liga and he has on average 3.3 shots a game. But perhaps more importantly he also provides one key pass a game making the deadly finisher a real headache for defenders. He has achieved 78% pass completion and five man of the match awards and was by far the easiest to pick in this team.

Left-wing: Shaun Maloney | Wigan Athletic

This was a tough one but if Wigan went down I feel Maloney would be one of the players looking to stay in the Premier League. He has been immense this season playing out on the left but has also remained versatile despite being the ripe old age of 30.

He's managed five goals and six assists with an amazing 89.3% pass completion. He also makes a respectable 1.1 tackles a game and an impressive 1.6 key passes a game.

Striker: Rickie Lambert | Southampton

The highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League is Lambert. With 14 goals and five assists this season forget the fact this guys 31 if he scores goals like this there's nothing to stop him playing.

He has put goals past Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, showing he doesn't just score past weaker opposition. Along with his goalscoring prowess, he creates 2.2 key passes a game helping his side out in an impressive campaign.

Striker: Christian Benteke | Aston Villa

The second Belgian star in this team has made Aston Villa's season. His 18 league goals and four league assists have won matches, securing crucial points for his team in the relegation battle not to mention a hat-trick against a lacklustre Sunderland team.

He wins an amazing 8.2 ariel challenges a game and has picked up a massive eight man of the match awards. The fact his is only 22 surely means Benteke is on his way to greatness and his ariel prowess and amazing finishing help him walk into this team.

These are my personal preferences, feel free to disagree in the comments and say who you think should've made it and why.


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