“He is the best player outside of the big six clubs,” Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said of Wilfried Zaha after his stunning performance in Crystal Palace’s 3-0 win over Leicester at the weekend.
The Eagles star has been in fine form since his return from a knee injury with Palace all the better for his availability, but just how does Zaha compare to the best of the rest?
Using WhoScored.com’s unique rating system, we look at the 10 best-rated players not representing Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal or Tottenham…
1. James Tarkowski, Burnley – WhoScored.com Rating 7.40
Pipping Zaha to top spot is the other half of Burnley’s resolute defensive duo. James Tarkowski has gone above and beyond to minimise the impact of Michael Keane’s big-money move to Everton with his WhoScored.com rating (7.40) the 12th best overall in the Premier League this season. No defender has won more WhoScored.com man-of-the-match awards than Tarkowski (4) this term, while the 25-year-old ranks second for aerial duels won (95), shots blocked (28) and clearances (145) in the Premier League this season.
2. Wilfred Zaha, Crystal Palace – WhoScored.com Rating 7.26
Just missing out on top spot is Wilfried Zaha, who despite a number of strong showings for the Eagles, sees his WhoScored.com rating (7.26) rank second of the best of the rest. In the six league games Zaha has missed this season, Crystal Palace have failed to score, while the winger has scored four of their 15 Premier League goals to date. Only Eden Hazard (4.5) is averaging more successful dribbles per game than Zaha (3.9), to match a WhoScored.com strength of ‘dribbling’.
3. Ben Mee, Burnley – WhoScored.com Rating 7.24
One half of Burnley’s defensive resolve, 28-year-old Ben Mee has excelled at the heart of the Clarets backline, ranking third for headed clearances (83) and shots blocked (25) in England’s top tier this term. No team has conceded fewer Premier League goals than Burnley this season (12) and much of that has been down to Mee’s excellent performances at the back.
4. Abdoulaye Doucoure, Watford – WhoScored.com Rating 7.22
Having struggled to break into the Watford first team last season, Abdoulaye Doucoure has become a key man under Marco Silva. He’s one of only 13 outfield players to have played every Premier League minute this term, while no midfielder has scored more top-flight goals than the 24-year-old (6) so far. The Hornets ace has won possession in the midfield third more times (96) than any other Premier League player and is the heartbeat of this Watford side, averaging more passes per game (65.8) than any other team-mate.
5. Harry Maguire, Leicester – WhoScored.com Rating 7.21
Harry Maguire showed enough in the second half of last season to suggest he deserved to retain his Premier League place following Hull’s relegation and he has not disappointed on the back of his big-money move to Leicester. A key man at both ends of the pitch, only Cesar Azpilicueta (5) has registered more assists than the Foxes star (4) of defenders this season, while only Lewis Dunk (89) has won possession in the defensive third more times than Maguire (81) in the Premier League this campaign.
6. Christopher Schindler, Huddersfield – WhoScored.com Rating 7.19
Christopher Schindler makes this list after a storming start to life in the Premier League. Huddersfield’s form may have dipped after they began the campaign brightly, but the German has been a consistent figure at the heart of the defence alongside Zanka. Forty interceptions is the third best return in the Premier League to date and matches a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘ball interception’.
7. Nick Pope, Burnley – WhoScored.com Rating 7.19
Burnley fans feared the worst when Tom Heaton was forced off in the win over Crystal Palace earlier in the season, but Nick Pope has exceeded expectations. Only David De Gea (10) and Petr Cech (9) have kept more clean sheets than Pope (8) this term, while his save success rate of 85.2% is the best in the Premier League. The Burnley man’s good form has gained him a WhoScored.com rating of 7.19, the best of all goalkeepers in England’s top tier this term.
8. Kurt Zouma, Stoke – WhoScored.com Rating 7.19
Stoke may be languishing just a point above the relegation zone, but it’s not for want of trying from on-loan centre-back Kurt Zouma, whose WhoScored.com rating (7.19) is better than any Potters player. The 23-year-old (6.8) is second to Ryan Shawcross (7.9) for clearances per game at the Bet365 Stadium this season and ranks highly for both tackles (1.8) and interceptions per game (1.8) for Mark Hughes’ side.
9. Shane Duffy, Brighton – WhoScored.com Rating 7.17
Placing just ahead of Richarlison, Brighton star Shane Duffy has been a key man for the Seagulls in their debut Premier League campaign. The centre-back has made more clearances (155) than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season, exhibiting a knack for being in the right place at the right time to alleviate pressure on the Brighton goal, while Duffy’s form has done enough to yield a WhoScored.com rating of 7.17.
10. Richarlison, Watford – WhoScored.com Rating 7.16
Since his big-money move to Watford, Richarlison has been superb for the Hornets, scoring five and assisting four. Of the nine league goals he has had a direct hand in, eight have come away from home, and while his form at Vicarage Road has been underwhelming to an extent, the 20-year-old has done enough to return a WhoScored.com rating of 7.16.
Ben McAleer has been a regular contributor to skysports