Five unlikely Premier League stars of 2013/14

Tom Huddlestone

Arsenal, Hull City, Liverpool, and Everton men feature.

Beyond the obvious class acts of this year's Premier League season, there have been several unlikely candidates to find themselves amongst the form players.

Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero may be tearing up the league each week but in all honesty, is anyone really surprised?

Here we will take a look at some players who probably didn't feature in too many fantasy football teams on the opening day of the season.

Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal fans had, on occasion, not only grown increasingly frustrated with their Welshman's persistent knack of getting dispossessed, but also his failure to fully live up to the hype that surrounded him.

A bout of injuries (one very serious) had prevented his career from blossoming into what was promised to Gunners fans, however, having played the majority of Arsenal's league games over the past two seasons, the excuses were beginning to fade.

Shoot forward to January 2014 and Ramsey has cemented himself as central to the Arsenal title bid. His 13 goals in all competitions have not only helped his team head the table, but also led them into the knockout round of the Champion's League.

He has now scored more goals this season than the past five combined and only a recent injury has prevented him from adding to that tally. He is everywhere on the pitch for Arsenal, and if they are to take the title race down to the wire, then his contribution is integral.

Per Mertesacker

An experienced player who was brought in to tighten up Arsenal's defence in the aftermath of their 8-2 drubbing by Manchester United. What followed was an unsuccessful season, as it became apparent that the German international was struggling to deal with the pace of the Premier League.

As a result, Mertesacker garnered a lot of criticism, and this somewhat unfairly filtered through to his 2nd season as an Arsenal player. The criticism was unwarranted for a man who featured so regularly in a team that finished the season with the 2nd best defensive record in the league. However, defenders (much like goalkeepers) get a tought time trying to turn that stigma around.

This season may be different though, as Mertesacker has proved to be a rock in the back line of an Arsenal team that has only leaked 19 goals. His strong defensive work has played just as much of a part in the team's success as the attacking input of Ramsey, Giroud and Ozil.

Seamus Coleman

Few ever doubted the potential of the 25-year old Irishman and he has seldom ever been labelled anything other than a quality player. But the sheer strength of his contributions this season have caught everyone by surprise.

The Everton back-line have held an impressive nine clean sheets this season and Coleman has been instrumental in creating that record.

But it is not just the success of his defensive duties that has got people talking about him, but also the 5 league goals he has notched up. This fine form has led many to call him the best right back in the league.

Jordan Henderson

Luis Suarez has clearly been Liverpool's key player so far this season. But whilst most people are busy finding superlatives to describe his performances, a few other players are grafting away to keep Liverpool within touching distance of that top spot.

One in particular has to be Jordan Henderson. His £17 million move to Merseyside has rarely ever seen any justification and the former Sunderland player often became labelled as another one of Dalglish's big money Kop flop's.

In 2012 the club tried to offload him as part of a deal to bring Clint Dempsey to Anfield, but instead of swapping Liverpool for a better chance of regular first team football at Fulham, Henderson decided to stay on and fight for his place.

The hard work paid off and he has now asserted himself as a pivotal player with an exceptional work rate in a very good Liverpool side. His creative spark has elevated Liverpool to a new level this year and not many would have predicted such a turnaround in his career.

Tom Huddlestone

A player who so often looked out of shape and out of his depth in the Premier league. Many felt that he was undeserving of his 4 international caps and that his input rarely stretched further than a bi-seasonal wonder strike.

When he was offloaded to Hull City for £5 million in the summer the newly promoted side appeared like a more suitable team for a player of his calibre. But Hull - now sitting pretty in 10th - have performed far above what anyone would have expected of them and Huddlestone has largely been responsible for that.

Looking like a player reborn, the 27-year-old has put in enough work to warrant a 5th international cap and who knows, perhaps a seat on that plane to Brazil if he improves even further.

image: © apasciuto

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