For a variety of reasons, there are a number of quality Premier League players who have found minutes hard to come by this season.
England’s top clubs have squads stacked with talent and this lot have found themselves on the outside looking in for much of the campaign. Each are capable when called upon, and perhaps deserve greater opportunity than has been afforded to them so far this season.
Five Premier League players who deserve more minutes:
Fabio Vieira – Arsenal
Fabio Vieira has failed to earn a regular chance at Arsenal, having joined the Gunners with a growing reputation from FC Porto in 2022. Vieira, who recorded 14 Primeira Liga assists in 2021/22, started just three Premier League games last season and has faced similar frustration during the current campaign.
The 23-year-old has totalled just 238 minutes of Premier League football, with competition from Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka leaving the Portuguese playmaker on the periphery of Mikel Arteta’s plans.
Vieira has shown flashes of real quality when afforded his chance and has averaged a goal or assist every 111 minutes across all competitions this season. However, the calibre of teammates who operate in similar areas of the pitch mean that he has no clear route to a first-team place, barring injury issues.
For how much longer the midfielder is prepared to be patient remains to be seen.
Ansu Fati – Brighton
Ansu Fati’s arrival at Brighton was viewed as a considerable coup last summer, as the Seagulls signed the Spanish starlet on a season-long loan from Barcelona.
The 21-year-old has impressed in continental competition with two goals and an assist in four Europa League games, but Roberto De Zerbi has been more reluctant to hand Fati minutes when it comes to the Premier League.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) November 11, 2023
The Spain international has featured for just 290 minutes in the league, scoring twice, with seven of his nine Premier League appearances having come from the bench.
Fati’s recent fitness issues provide reason for his sporadic use, but the winger will want more minutes across the second half of the campaign.
Ian Maatsen – Chelsea
Ian Maatsen turned down a transfer away from Chelsea last summer after impressing during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.
The Dutchman spent last season on loan at Burnley and was named in the Championship Team of the Year as the Clarets won promotion, before a strong pre-season campaign appeared to place him in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the new season.
Maatsen, however, has failed to break into the Chelsea side. The 21-year-old is yet to start a Premier League game, totalling 131 minutes across nine substitute appearances, despite Chelsea’s disappointing form.
He has played just one full 90 minutes this season, against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup in August.
Maatsen last week angered Chelsea fans after a supportive comment on an Instagram post from Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, having been an unused substitute during Chelsea’s defeat to the Red Devils at Old Trafford. The versatile wide-player swiftly deleted his post.
Harvey Elliott – Liverpool
Harvey Elliott came off the bench to score Liverpool’s late winner at Crystal Palave at the weekend, the midfielder’s latest game-altering moment for the Reds.
Elliott has been the odd one out in Liverpool’s midfield rebuild, with the arrivals of Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister having consigned the 20-year-old to a place among the substitutes.
🏴With his goal at the weekend, Harvey Elliott now has 10 goal contributions for club and country this season.
He is currently averaging a goal or assist every 99 minutes in the Premier League.
— Bence Bocsák (@BenBocsak) December 11, 2023
Elliott made 18 league starts last season but been named from the start just once in 2023/24 to date. He has featured for only 300 minutes in the Premier League, though has shown his ability to influence games from the bench. Elliott helped seal a win at Wolves in September as his effort deflected in off Hugo Bueno for an own goal, before setting up Luis Diaz to equalise at Luton last month.
His 91st-minute winner at Crystal Palace has improved his case for more regular minutes under Jurgen Klopp.
Said Benrahma – West Ham
Declan Rice was named Hammer of the Year at West Ham’s end-of-season awards last season, but there was a large section of the club’s fanbase who felt Said Benrahma deserved the honour.
The Algerian was influential during a memorable season for West Ham, which ended with Europa Conference League success after beating Fiorentina in the final in Prague. Benrahma scored the opening goal for West Ham in that decider, one of 12 goals the 28-year-old scored in all competitions.
Ohhh Saïd Benrahma 🎶 pic.twitter.com/cvMjMtYuHE
— West Ham United (@WestHam) December 7, 2023
Benrahma was West Ham’s leading scorer in the Premier League (6) but has made just four starts in the league in 2023/24. The arrival of Mohammed Kudus from Ajax has reduced Benrahma’s minutes, with the winger having managed just 487 in the Premier League this season.
Given his performances last season, it’s an unexpected drop.