Premier League’s 7 unsung heroes this season as Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic shines
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been included in our list of unsung heroes at each of the Premier League's top seven clubs as European qualification is targeted.
The Croatia midfielder, who is set to take on England at Euro 2020 this summer, has provided a solid base at Stamford Bridge this season with 39 appearances across all competitions.
The 26-year-old, who joined the club from Real Madrid on a permanent deal following a loan in 2019, has made 40 tackles and 1653 passes in the league, including 88 accurate through balls.
As we recognise the midfielder ahead of his birthday on Thursday, Daily Star Sport have also looked at the unsung hero at the other sides in the current top seven in the Premier League.
Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City
While the likes of Ruben Dias, John Stones and Joao Cancelo have been widely praised for their efforts in defence for the champions in waiting, Riyad Mahrez has been back to his best.
The 30-year-old Algerian forward has managed nine goals and four assists in the league, adding another three goals in all competitions across 44 appearances.
With only Ilkay Gundogan scoring more goals in the league for City this season, Mahrez looks set to pick up a third Premier League winners medal with a shot at Champions League glory.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
Luke Shaw may have received plenty of praise for his efforts under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United so far this season, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka not so much.
The 23-year-old defender has vastly improved on his first season at Old Trafford, losing only three times across his 31 Premier League starts this season.
Having also chipped in with two goals and two assists, Wan-Bissaka has played a key role in United’s quest to again qualify for the Champions League.
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Timothy Castagne – Leicester
Caglar Soyuncu, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho may have all been lauded for their efforts under Brendan Rodgers this season, but Timothy Castagne has also shone.
The 25-year-old fullback has been tasked with filling in for the injured Ricardo Pereira, making 23 starts in the Premier League as Leicester sit third in the table.
Castagne is also now a regular for Belgium, and has shown his versatility in both defence and midfield as he looks to made his Champions League return next season.
Vladimir Coufal – West Ham
West Ham remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification with just four Premier League games to play, with Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek stealing the show alongside Declan Rice.
However, the presence of Vladimir Coufal in defence has been a vital one for the success of David Moyes and his team, with 30 Premier League starts and 16 victories.
The 28-year-old has also managed six assists in the top flight, three of which coming in his last five outings against each of Wolves, Leicester and Burnley.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Tottenham
During what has turned out to be a rough run of form for Tottenham, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been a steady presence in midfielder as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min grab the goals.
His 2,488 passes and 101 accurate long balls have helped the team move from defence to attack, with 88 tackles and 267 recoveries coming alongside 194 successful duels.
While the 25-year-old has not been able to add to the trophies he won with Bayern Munich, his career looks to be on the up before Spurs find a new boss.
Curtis Jones – Liverpool
In what has been a dismal season for Liverpool, Curtis Jones has emerged as a serious option for future season in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old stepped up in the absence of Jordan Henderson to show his leadership qualities, appearing in 21 league fixtures and 10 more in all competitions.
His 901 passes have also included 19 accurate long balls, chipping in with 71 recoveries and 18 interceptions as his side eye European qualification.
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