The Premier League is one of the most competitive divisions in world football, with any side capable of beating anyone. We regularly see the 'smaller clubs' cause upsets and claim unlikely victories, but come the end of the campaign there is a big gap between the top 6 and the chasing pack. Last season we saw 14 points separate Arsenal in 6th to Leicester in 8th and after another summer of big spending we could see that figure increase even further.
But despite the end of season gap being so big, it doesn't mean that there's a lack of quality lower down the league. There's some top players plying their trade outside the top 6 and it's got us thinking - if we was to create a starting XI from these who would make it in? It wasn't easy but we've given it a go and complied what we think is the best possible XI from the remaining 14 clubs below.
We think it looks a pretty decent side on paper - but one thing to bare in mind is that we've selected ONE PLAYER PER TEAM - meaning that things were a little more difficult! Check out our side below and let us know if you agree/disagree with our selections by tweeting us @FootyAccums!
First up in our side is Poland international Lukasz Fabianski, who we've selected as our West Ham representative. The 33 year-old has established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League over the last few seasons, which prompted the Hammers to shell out £5m to secure his services last summer. The Pole has made over 180 appearances in the top flight and despite enduring a difficult start with his new club, we firmly believe that he's the right man to go between the sticks in our team.
Right Back: Seamus Coleman
The first part of our four man defence comes in the form of Everton man Seamus Coleman. The Republic of Ireland international has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years but no one can deny that when fit he's up there with the best full backs in the Premier League. A threat in attack and a capable defender, Coleman is the complete package when it comes to the modern day full back and his impressive consistency makes him one of the first names on the team sheet at Goodison Park.
Centre Back: Jamaal Lascelles
Club: Newcastle United
In the heart of defence we've gone for Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles, who continues to enhance his growing reputation in the game with the Magpies. The 24 year-old endured a difficult start to his career up in the north east but over the last couple of years he's really come to the forefront for them, which led to him receiving the captains armband. The arrival of Rafa Benitez has clearly had a terrific impact on him and there are now many calls for him to be called up to the England squad, showing just how much progress he's made.
Centre Back: Lewis Dunk
Joining Lascelles in defence is another man who's worked his way up through the Football League, Lewis Dunk. This is just his second season of top flight football after playing an important part in Brighton's promotion to the Premier League two years ago and he's relished the challenge of playing at the highest level. Dunk is one of the most reliable and consistent defenders outside the top 6 & he played a big part in the Seagulls retaining their PL status last term with some impressive performances alongside Shane Duffy.
Left Back: Ryan Bertrand
Rounding off our backline is in our opinion the best left-back outside the top 6, Ryan Bertrand. The 29 year-old has been linked with moves to the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United over the last few years which tells you all about the level of performance that he's capable of producing and he's imperative to Southampton. Similar to Coleman, he possesses all the key attributes required for the modern full back which makes him a major asset both going forward and at the back & his displays have led to him being made vice-captain for the Saints.
There was only one choice for this position, with Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha the standout candidate to feature on the right in our side. The Ivory Coast international has become one of the most devastating attackers in the Premier League over the last few seasons and his importance to the Eagles cannot be underestimated enough. Since Roy Hodgson's arrival at Selhurst Park he's been deployed slightly further forward, which has resulted in him setting new personal bests when it comes to goal scoring in the top flight. If he was to leave Palace he could easily fetch over £50m and he's one of (if not the) best players currently playing outside the top 6.
Central Midfield: Jean Michael Seri
Next up we've gone for a man who's made just 4 Premier League appearances, but he looks like a real class act already. Fulham pulled off one of the shocks of the transfer window to land in-demand Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri for around £25m, a move which stunned clubs around the continent. The Ivorian has been linked with clubs such as AC Milan, Arsenal and Barcelona over the last few months so the Cottagers pulled something of a coup off him to land him & he's already re-paying his big fee back. A superb goal (v Burnley) and assist (v Brighton) has seen him contribute 2 goals in his first 4 starts and he looks like a natural fit for the PL. Technically excellent and a beast physically, he's the perfect box-to-box midfielder for Fulham's pressing 4-3-3 and we're expecting big things from him this season.
Central Midfield: Ruben Neves
Wolves pulled off one of the biggest transfer coups we've ever seen in English football to land Ruben Neves last summer. Then in the Championship, they paid FC Porto just £16m to land Ruben Neves which looks like an absolute bargain 12 months on. The 21 year-old is the youngest player to ever captain a side in Champions League history & already has a wealth of experience under his belt, which made adapting to the rigours of English football a doddle. He bossed it in the second tier last term where he was clearly a level above and now just four games into the Premier League he's looking right at home - which has led to links with Champions Manchester City. Like Zaha, he's another one who could easily do a job for one of the big clubs and if he continues to perform how he is then he will be a man in demand next summer.
Left Wing: Roberto Pereyra
The final piece of the jigsaw in midfield comes in the form of Watford man Roberto Pereyra, who's enjoyed a magnificent start to the new campaign. The Argentine's Hornets career has been very stop start since arriving from Juventus back in 2016, but when he's fully fit and at it he's a major asset. Pereyra's technical ability makes him comfortable playing across a range of positions in attack or midfield, making him a dream for head coach Javi Gracia. He's had a full pre-season under his belt and he's absolutely flying at the moment, with only Sadio Mane (4) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (4) scoring more than his 3 goals. If he can stay fit he could realistically go on to hit double figures which would be a great achievement and surely other clubs will take notice.
The first part of our two man attack comes in the form of Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The pacey forward is another player who's had woeful luck with injuries but when he's fully fit he's an absolute nightmare for defenders. He's one of the quickest attackers on display in the Premier League and his strength & ability to hold up the ball makes him a key cog in Eddie Howe's team and he can count himself unlucky that he missed up on a first call up to the England squad. He's in good goalscoring form this season already hitting the back of the net on 2 occasions and if he can stay injury free it could be a massive year for him.
Striker: Jamie Vardy
Club: Leicester City
The final man to make up our XI was one of the first names on the team sheet in Jamie Vardy. There were a lot of contenders from Leicester City with the likes of Wilfred N'Didi, Kasper Schmeichel and Harry Maguire all top players but the goalscoring form of Vardy over the last four seasons simply cannot be ignored. The guy is an absolute hero to the Foxes supporters after playing an instrumental role in their stunning title win back in 2015/16 and he hasn't slowed down since - scoring 34 Premier League goals over the course of the last two seasons. The 31 year-old is another menace to defenders with his speed and sheer determination not giving the opposition a moments rest, he could perform for a top 6 club without a doubt so the Leicester board deserve credit for tying him down.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Leading our side is Burnley's very own Sean Dyche, who cemented his place as one of the Premier League's best managers last term. The 47 year-old and his Clarets side stunned the top flight to record a seventh placed finish - which in-turn booked their place in the Europa League qualification rounds. That was their highest ever finish in the Premier League and he deserves an enormous amount of credit for achieving it on one of the smallest budgets in the division. Things haven't started as well for them this year but he's still a top manager and with him at the helm anything is possible for Burnley as last year proved.
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