Ross Barkley and Morgan Gibbs White
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The 10 Best Players In the Bottom Half of the Premier League

The Premier League is known for having the best teams and some of the best players in the world. But over the last few years, it has become renowned for its depth of talent. Even teams outside the traditional ‘Big Six’ boast players with the potential to play at the highest level. Go as far back as last summer and some of the biggest transfer fees were associated with players not playing for the biggest sides in the league. Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo both left their sides for astronomical fees.

In this list, we go into the top 10 players from the bottom half of the table. All of these players could make a significant impact if given a chance at a top club. Their skill sets vary, but they all share one thing in common: Elite Talent.

10. Ross Barkley – Luton Town

Ross Barkley is currently having a career renaissance at Luton Town. He is a footballer who is rediscovering his form after challenging spells at Chelsea and Nice. Barkley for his technical prowess, decent shot, and ability to drive from midfield. Inconsistent injuries and, well, a lack of opportunities hindered Barkley’s time at Chelsea. Barkley was signed during that time when, if you were English, Chelsea would sign you for £30 million. His stint at Nice was similarly unremarkable, failing to regularly showcase the talent that once made him one of England’s most promising midfielders.

Now at Luton, Barkley seems to have found his groove once again. He is enjoying his football and is playing with increased confidence and effectiveness. This resurgence opens the door for a potential England call-up after many years of being out in the cold. With his experience and rejuvenated form, Barkley could offer a unique blend of creativity and physicality for England. Surely he’d be a better option than Phillips and Henderson.

9. Morgan Gibbs-White – Nottingham Forest

Morgan Gibbs-White is currently plying his trade at Nottingham Forest. He is a rising star in English football and has shown what a player he is following his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers. He is a versatile attacking midfielder. Gibbs-White possesses a unique blend of technical skills, tactical intelligence, and the ability to adapt across various midfield roles. His time at the Wolves was marked by glimpses of potential, but he never really got the chance. But at Nottingham Forest, he has truly begun to grow into himself

He has a keen eye for goals and he is good at creating chances for his teammates. Gibbs-White has become a key player for Forest and displays the kind of performances that could potentially attract the attention of England manager Gareth Southgate. His ability to influence games, combined with his youthful energy and growing experience, makes him a strong candidate for future inclusion in the England squad. Especially if he continues to excel in the demanding environment of the Premier League. At 23 years old, and Nottingham Forest struggling due to FFP, MGW could be one of the players to leave Forest sooner rather than later.

8. Jarrad Branthwaite, Everton

Jarrad Branthwaite is rapidly emerging as one of the most promising talents in the Premier League. His journey from Carlisle United to Everton, which saw him move up the divisions, has been notable for his growth and maturity. Notably, Branthwaite’s loan spell at PSV Eindhoven was a key period in his career, where he gained valuable experience and exposure to European and Senior football. This loan spell abroad honed his skills and tactical understanding. It further enhanced his reputation in the continent and back home.

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At Everton, the left-footed centre back he has demonstrated remarkable composure and a strong aerial presence. He has often outplayed more experienced strikers with his physicality and smart positioning. His ability to play out from the back and maintain calmness under pressure aligns with the evolving demands of a top-tier central defender.

Branthwaite’s performances have not gone unnoticed, with reports of interest from Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United highlighting his potential and desirability as a long-term defensive solution. Such interest from a club of United’s stature underscores the level of his performances and potential. Looking ahead, Branthwaite’s continued growth and consistency at Everton, coupled with his successful European experience, position him as a future England international. He won’t be at Everton for much longer, let me tell you that.

7. Michael Olise – Crystal Palace

Michael Olise is as good technically as he is as bad at giving interviews. He has become a standout talent in the Premier League, known for his creativity and flair. His set pieces are some of the best in the league, and his drop of the shoulder and feints are eye-catching. Since his move from Reading, he’s proven to be a game-changer with his skill in tight spaces and his ability to craft opportunities. Heading into the summer, the spotlight comes back onto him. When he signed a new deal, there was a release clause included in his contract, making him a hot prospect for top clubs.

This clause sets the stage for a potentially significant move in his career, with Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City all said to be interested in the Nigeria-France-England eligible wide man. Olise’s technique and attacking prowess make him an attractive target for teams looking to enhance their creative midfield options. This summer could be a turning point in his already impressive career trajectory.

6. Joachim Andersen – Crystal Palace

Another Crystal Palace player here, is Joachim Andersen. The centre-back has swiftly become a pivotal figure in the Premier League with his defensive performances and progressive ball-playing ability. Since joining Palace, Andersen has showcased his leadership qualities, aerial dominance, and composure on the ball. All traits are highly sought after in modern defenders. His ability to organize the backline alongside Guehi, and his proficiency in playing out from the back mark him as a complete defender. The difference between Guehi and himself is that Andersen has the ability on the ball that Guehi does not. He is capable of thriving in both defensive and build-up phases of play.

Andersen’s impact at Crystal Palace indicates his readiness for even bigger challenges, making him a likely target for top clubs seeking a reliable and skilled central defender. In the past, he has played for Lyon and has been linked with bigger sides like AC Milan. His blend of physicality, tactical intelligence, and technical ability positions him as one of the better defenders in the league. There isn’t a part of me that thinks that he couldn’t succeed at the highest levels of the game.

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5. Pedro Neto – Wolves

Pedro Neto is a livewire winger at Wolverhampton Wanderers. This season has been his breakout season after he has struggled with injury for some time. He has rapidly established himself as a key figure in the bottom half of the Premier League with his explosive pace and technical ability. Since joining Wolves he has impressed with his direct running, dribbling skills, and capability to create and score goals. He is the full package. Neto is known for a combination of his agility, pace and flair on the wing, making him a constant threat to defences. He would be an absolute horror to defend against.

His ability to take on defenders and deliver accurate crosses, along with his knack for cutting inside to shoot, makes him an unpredictable dangerous attacker. That is the kind of description that can only be a compliment when talking about a footballer, isn’t it? Neto’s performances have not only been pivotal for Wolves but have also caught the attention of bigger clubs, with his injury scuppering a move to Arsenal already. His talent and potential suggest he could excel at a Champions League calibre club. Easily.

“And he wasn’t sold for more than 100 million euros because he got injured. It’s my life and what fulfils me and what I’ll continue to do.”

– Jorge Mendes

4. Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace

Eberechi Eze is a baller. He is a key midfielder at Crystal Palace and has become known for his silky-smooth playing style and creative flair in the Premier League. Since his move from Queens Park Rangers, Eze has impressed with his ability to glide past defenders effortlessly and create scoring opportunities. He is a multifaceted threat on the field thanks to his excellent dribbling, vision, and propensity for scoring goals from midfield.

Eze’s calmness with the ball and his capacity to pick out key passes highlight his playmaking abilities, while his agility and speed allow him to be effective in both wide and central roles. His development at Crystal Palace has been notable, and his style of play aligns well with the demands of top-tier football. He has already been touted for a move to Manchester City due to his ability, and seeing three Crystal Palace players on this list makes me think they’re underperforming.

Eze is the kind of player who can add that bit of class to an already well-functioning team. He has that je ne sais quoi about him which could easily translate to an elite club, even outside of England.

3. Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth

Dominic Solanke has emerged as one of the most consistent strikers in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons. He has become known for his combination of physicality and technical ability. Since flopping at Liverpool, Solanke has found a new level of form. And at Bournemouth, he is showcasing a marked improvement in his goal-scoring and overall play. In his first 2 years at Bournemouth, he struggled, and it is fair to say it took him dropping down to the Championship to find his feet, before taking the jump to the Premier League.

Solanke’s physicality allows him to compete with the strongest of defenders, while his sharpness makes him a constant threat in front of goal. To be honest, he is a big lump of a striker. This season alone, he has scored 15 goals; only Erling Haaland, Ollie Watkins, and Mohamed Salah have scored more. His development over the last few years has been impressive, and he has transformed into a complete forward capable of leading the line for any top club.

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He is a player who has not only refined his skillset but also gained confidence at the lower level. With the experience he has gained, it has added the maturity necessary to succeed at the highest levels of competitive football. It isn’t farfetched to think that he would start for Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

2. Ivan Toney – Brentford

Ivan Toney, love him or loathe him is the best striker in the bottom half of the table. Toney has elite confidence, he reeks of it. He has rapidly risen to prominence in the Premier League due to his remarkable goal-scoring ability, penalty taking and all-around play. Since Brentford’s promotion from the Championship, Toney has adapted seamlessly to the demands of top-flight football. He has a unique blend of physical strength, aerial prowess, and clinical finishing. He has an exceptional sense of positioning combined with smart off-the-ball movement. It allows him to be a constant menace to defenders.

Toney excels in holding up the ball and bringing teammates into play. He is strong with his back-to-goal and link-up play. His ability to convert chances, especially from the spot, underlines his status as a complete forward. Toney has scored 29 off the 31 penalties he has taken. The only reason why Ivan Toney isn’t playing for a top side right now is due to him backing himself too much. He was banned for gambling offences. He calls himself the King, but could he have left the building in the not-too-distant future?

“Uh huh huh

Elvis on leaving the building.

1. The Premier League’s Best: João Palhinha, Fulham

João Palhinha is too good for Fulham. Every Fulham fan knows it, it is only a matter of time before he moves onto new pastures. He is outstanding when it comes to his defensive capabilities and midfield control. He is genuinely a world-class defensive destroyer. His tactical intelligence, formidable tackling, and ability to disrupt opposition attacks have been key to Fulham’s performances. Beyond his defensive prowess, Palhinha also exhibits good passing and composure, contributing effectively to both defensive and attacking plays.

This balance of skills has not only made him a crucial player for Fulham but has also attracted attention from top European clubs, including Bayern Munich. The Bavarian club previously agreed to a €75m fee only for the deal to collapse at the end of the window. Such interest from a club of Bayern’s stature highlights Palhinha’s high-level abilities and adaptability. Showing that he is a valuable asset capable of thriving in the upper tiers of European football alongside the elite.

Palhinha is the best of a very very good bunch of Premier League players.

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