Football media might not acknowledge it as much as it should, but there are 20 teams in the Premier League. The division’s ‘Big Six’ often dominate the headlines and news feeds, though there’s no shortage of talent across the rest of England’s top tier.
Recent weeks have seen Team of the Season selections made at the halfway point of the campaign, the usual mix of Big Six dominance with token nominations from the ‘other 14’.
We’re here to give credit where credit’s due, with our non-Big Six Premier League Team of the Season so far.
Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa
Aston Villa fans regularly serenade Emiliano Martinez as the best goalkeeper in the world, an argument strengthened following his award of the Yashin Trophy in 2023.
Martinez starred during Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar and has established himself as one of the best number ones in the Premier League at Villa Park. He’s recorded five clean sheets in the Premier League this season and made big saves at crucial moments, including a fine double save in the recent draw at Everton.
The 30-year-old is a formidable last line of defence for a Villa team targeting Champions League football.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 14, 2024
Right-back: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle
Kieran Trippier took a chance when signing for relegation-threatened Newcastle from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in January 2022, but the right-back has been rewarded for that leap of faith.
His time on Tyneside has coincided with the club’s upturn in performances, securing Champions League football for the first time in two decades last season. This season, Trippier has remained among the elite creators in the Premier League, registering seven assists and ranking among the division’s leading players for crosses (1st), key passes (2nd), touches (2nd), dribblers tackled (5th), shot-creating actions (7th) and progressive passes (9th).
Centre-back: Ezri Konsa – Aston Villa
An often underappreciated member of Aston Villa’s backline is beginning to earn his flowers this season, with Konsa having taken command of Unai Emery’s defence in the absence of Tyrone Mings.
Konsa’s cool and composure have thrived whether centrally or at full-back, in an Aston Villa team threatening to upset the status quo this season. A maiden England call-up was deserved when it arrived in November, though passed without a senior debut. The centre-back will hope there’s still time to secure his place with the Three Lions for Euro 2024.
💪 Ezri Konsa has the best duel success rate (78.1%) in Europe’s top five leagues this season (100+ contested) pic.twitter.com/u6DMuaH3s2
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 10, 2024
Centre-back: James Tarkowski – Everton
If you were to look up no-nonsense centre-back in the dictionary, it would likely be accompanied by a picture of James Tarkowski.
The Everton centre-back ranks second in the Premier League for blocks and interceptions, third for aerial duels won, and fifth for clearances. It might be the bread and butter of defending, but it’s where Tarkowski thrives.
His spirited showings and leadership have aided Everton’s fight in a challenging period for the Toffees.
Left-back: Antonee Robinson – Fulham
Antonee Robinson’s all-action performances for Fulham have turned the heads of recruiters elsewhere, with the USA international linked with an exit from Craven Cottage this month.
Robinson’s fine form has been a highlight of Fulham’s campaign to date, with the 26-year-old leading Europe’s top five leagues for interceptions (55) in 2023/24 to date. The left-back also sits among the Premier League’s most productive players for crosses into the penalty area (2nd), tackles (8th) and dribblers tackled (3rd).
Midfield: Douglas Luiz – Aston Villa
The heartbeat of the Aston Villa team, Douglas Luiz has evolved into one of the most well-rounded midfielders in the Premier League. The Brazilian is equally comfortable screening the defence or making things happen further forward, where he has contributed six goals and three assists this season.
Premier League rivals are sniffing around the 25-year-old, who would be a monumental loss to his side. Champions League football is a realistic prospect for Villa, with Luiz at the centre of their charge.
Douglas Luiz. pic.twitter.com/1LTD4w53kl
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 26, 2023
Midfield: Bruno Guimaraes – Newcastle
Is Bruno Guimaraes the best player in the Premier League outside the ‘Big Six’?
The Brazilian has been a big hit since signing for Newcastle from Lyon, emerging as one of the finest box-to-box performers in the Premier League. Guimaraes competes well in duels, evades pressure with ease and progresses the pall with penetrative passing through opposition lines.
Such has been his level of performance, there have been reports that several clubs are prepared to activate his release clause of around £98m.
Right-wing: Jarrod Bowen – West Ham
Jurgen Klopp called Jarrod Bowen his ‘favourite’ non-Liverpool player in the Premier League last month, a compliment to the West Ham winger after a stunning start to the season.
Bowen has scored 11 goals in the Premier League so far this season, just one short of his best-ever top-flight return. The 27-year-old’s goalscoring form has earned him a recall to the England squad and Bowen will hope to cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s plans for Euro 2024.
First, the focus will be on another successful season at West Ham, who sit sixth in the table and are through to the last 16 of the Europa League. Last season’s Conference League final hero will have a huge say on the club’s fortunes this season.
Left-wing: Anthony Gordon – Newcastle
There was some writing off Anthony Gordon after a disappointing first six months at Newcastle. The winger made just four league starts after signing from Everton last January, struggling to make an impact in Eddie Howe’s side.
The 22-year-old has bounced back this season, however, after a summer schedule that saw Gordon named Player of the Tournament as England’s u-21 side won the European Championship.
He’s scored seven Premier League goals and registered a further five assists, with Gordon involved in more goals than any other Newcastle teammate. The Magpies fans have taken to Gordon, whose relentless running and desire to take on defenders are well appreciated on The Gallowgate End.
Anthony Gordon has now scored or assisted 12 Premier League goals this season. No Newcastle player has more.
Form of his life. ⭐ pic.twitter.com/3As6I9z3oU
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 13, 2024
His mixture of hard work and end product has pushed Gordon within touching distance of a maiden England call up.
Forward: Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth
The Andoni Iraola era got off to a false start at Bournemouth this season, as the Cherries failed to win in their first nine games under the new head coach. Since then, Bournemouth have been one of the most impressive outfits in the division with Dominic Solanke the driving force.
Solanke has scored 12 goals in 19 league games this season, more than he managed in his first 96 top-flight career appearances. The 26-year-old has matured this season and with improving instincts around the area is beginning to fulfil the potential long talked about.
6 – Dominic Solanke scored six Premier League goals in December 2023, the most of any player, and the most by any Bournemouth player in a single calendar month in the competition. He is the first Cherries player ever to win @premierleague player of the month. Fulfilled. pic.twitter.com/003JgfqiJM
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 12, 2024
No English player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Solanke, who has combined a prolific run of form with tone-setting intensity from the front. Last month, he became the first-ever Bournemouth player to be named Premier League Player of the Month and is pushing for a place in the England squad for this spring’s internationals.
Forward: Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
Ollie Watkins has evolved from a reliable goalscorer to an all-round centre-forward threat under Unai Emery, producing the best football of his career across the last 18 months.
Only Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland have been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than Watkins, who has scored nine times and provided a joint-league-leading eight assists.
How good has Ollie Watkins been this season? 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TQqxJRplRA
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 10, 2024
Selfless in his work on and off the ball, Watkins’ ability to occupy defences singlehandedly has made him England’s chief support for Harry Kane ahead of a major tournament summer.