The Premier League’s Best Xi Outside the Top 6 Based on Form This Season

The Premier League’s Best Xi Outside the Top 6 Based on Form This Season

Rene Otinga
updated at February 27, 2024 at 7:08 PM
In this article:
Jarrod Bowen logo
J. Bowen
West Ham United logoFEngland logo
Ollie Watkins logo
O. Watkins
Aston Villa logoFEngland logo
Pedro Neto logo
P. Neto
Wolves logoFPortugal logo
Emilio Martinez logo
E. Martinez
-MAustralia logo
Anthony Gordon logo
A. Gordon
Newcastle United logoMEngland logo
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
West Ham United logo
West Ham United
  • Some of the best players in the Premier League this season don’t play for the ‘Big Six
  • The likes of Jarod Bowen and Emiliano Martinez have been superb for their clubs
  • A starting XI of the best players outside the Big Six based on form has interesting names

When it comes to the best players in the Premier League, there is no doubt that title contenders and the so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs usually take the cake in that department.

However, several clubs in the English top flight have emerged with an element of fearlessness in recent seasons, and this has in turn produced some criminally underrated players.

Jarod Bowen is among the Premier League top scorers this season.
Pedro Neto and Jarod Bowen are among the best players in the Premier League this season. Photo: James Gill/Justin Setterfield/Malcolm Couzens.
Source: Getty Images

The likes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa are perfect examples, as the two clubs have proven to be extremely competitive in the league.

The Magpies, under the guidance of Eddie Howe, masterminded a return to the Champions League for the first time in two decades last season; a feat which highlighted the talent that is within the team.

Sports Brief attempted to draw up a starting XI of underrated players, who do not play for the so-called ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League.

With this in mind, the XI will not contain the likes of Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne, Bukayo Saka and the likes. Rather, it will focus on other players who have performed incredibly well after 26 games, despite playing for ‘smaller clubs’.

GK: Emiliano Martinez

The 2022 World Cup winner has been a revelation for Unai Emery’s Aston Villa.

In the league this season, the 31-year-old has a positive of +4.9 in his Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed, which is the second best in the league.

Right back: Kieran Trippier

Of course, a Newcastle player had to make the cut.

Despite fluctuating performances this season, Trippier is an asset for Eddie Howe due to his attacking potential as a defender. According to, he averages a rating of 7.2 every game.

Centre back: Lewis Dunk

The ever-present Brighton defender has been a key part of Roberto de Zerbi’s team and is largely recognised as one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League.

Centre back: James Tarkowski

There is a valid reason why Tarkowski is so popular among fans of the popular Fantasy Premier League.

The former Burnley man’s consistent performances sees him average a rating of 7.1. Only Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has had a better rating.

Left back: Pervis Estupinan

The Ecuador international is an asset for Brighton because of his potential to come up with a goal or assist when it matters.

Central midfield: Douglas Luiz

Another Aston Villa star makes the cut, and for good reason.

The Brazilian has been sturdy for the Villains this season, and his nine goal this season make him the highest-scoring player in his position in the league, above the likes of Martin Odegaard and Bernardo Silva.

Central midfield: Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta’s importance to West Ham cannot be overstated.

When he suffered a calf injury in early 2024, the Hammers failed to win all six games he missed.

He is now back in action, and his teammates have clicked instantly, per TNT Sports.

Right wing: Pedro Neto

It would be an injustice to exclude Wolves star Pedro Neto from this list.

The Portuguese star has 11 assists to his name according to Transfermarkt, and has been crucial in keeping Gary Paul O'Neil ‘s side in the top half of the table.

Left wing: Anthony Gordon

Anthony Gordon’s eight goals and six assists for Newcastle in the league puts him ahead of Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma for this position.

Forward: Jarod Bowen

Bowen has been in devilish form this season, and this was evident with his hat trick for West Ham against Brentford on Monday, February 26.

Thanks to his treble, only Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland have scored more goals than him in the league.

Forward: Ollie Watkins

Everything that has been said about Bowen in the previous point can be said about Ollie Watkins as well.

The England striker has 14 league goals and is a key figure in Unai Emery’s bid for Champions League football with Aston Villa.

Title race across Europe’s top 5 leagues

Elsewhere, Sports Brief also reported on how the title race is shaping up across Europe’s top five leagues.

In the Italian Serie A, Inter have a seemingly unassailable lead at the top, and that is the same case with PSG in the French Ligue 1.

The Premier League title race is the tightest among the top 5 leagues, with three teams in contention to win it.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and