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The Premier League has already had its fair share of surprises.
While it is early days, few would have expected to see Everton and Aston Villa flying high, with Manchester City and Manchester United languishing in 12th and 15th respectively.
Of course, transfer business over the summer has shaped the opening few weeks. Everton have been rejuvenated by their new arrivals, with James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan all impressing, while Villa have a new weapon in attack in Ollie Watkins, who scored a hat-trick in a stunning 7-2 demolition of champions Liverpool.
And the new recruits up and down the league have increased the competition for places, forcing managers to leave some high-profile players on the bench.
We have now taken a look at the Premier League’s most valuable XI made up of players who have spent the majority of this season either warming the bench or out of the matchday squad despite being available.
All transfer values have been provided by Transfermarkt.
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson (£18m)
Despite an excellent two-year stint on loan at Sheffield United, Henderson is yet to dislodge David de Gea as Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has kept faith in the long-serving Spaniard, who has started all of the Red Devils’ league games so far.
Henderson, meanwhile, has had to be content with two Carabao Cup berths.
Still only 23, Henderson is expected to replace De Gea in the near future, but he is having to exercise patience after returning to Old Trafford.
Right-back: Serge Aurier (£14.4m)
Aurier has been replaced as Tottenham Hotspur’s first-choice right-back following Matt Doherty’s arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Ivorian spent the first three league games of the season on the bench before strengthening his claim for a regular starting berth with a goal and an assist in Spurs’ 6-1 hammering of Manchester United.
Spurs signed Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain for £23m in 2017.
Centre-back: John Stones (£22.5m)
Stones cost Manchester City £47.5m when they signed him from Everton in 2016.
However, his first-team prospects under Pep Guardiola have been hindered by the summer arrivals of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias.
With Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia making up a formidable quartet for Guardiola, Stones faces an uphill battle to win his place back.
Stones did partner Ake in City’s win over Wolves with Laporte and Garcia both unavailable, but he is yet to feature since that win at Molineux.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger (£27m)
Signed from Roma for £29m in 2017, Rudiger established himself as a regular in the Chelsea defence over his first three seasons.
This campaign has been a different story, however, with the Germany international having been frozen out of the first-team picture at Stamford Bridge by Frank Lampard.
The 27-year-old has missed out on several of Lampard’s squads since the opening-day win over Brighton & Hove Albion and failed to secure a move away from the Blues.
Having featured in all three of Germany’s games over the recent international break, Rudiger will now set his sights on elbowing his way back into Lampard’s good books.
Left-back: Danny Rose (£9m)
While he may not be worth as much as he once was, with 29 England caps to his name, Rose is the league’s most high-profile out-of-favour left-back.
With over 200 Spurs appearances to his name, the 30-year-old attempted to breathe new life into his career with a loan stint at Newcastle United last season.
That spell on Tyneside has done little to elevate his standing at Spurs, however, with new signing Sergio Reguilon and Ben Davies set to contest for the left-back spot under Jose Mourinho this season.
It seems Rose’s days at Spurs are numbered. A two-time member of the PFA Team of the Year, the 30-year-old may need to drop down into the Championship in order to get his career back on track.
Midfield: Fred (£15.5m)
Fred’s Manchester United career has been up and down. Signed for £47m, he struggled to keep his place during an underwhelming first season before making steady strides during the 2019/20 campaign, making 48 appearances in all competitions.
But the Brazilian will have been left frustrated by a lack of involvement so far this term, but did play a key role in the draw against Chelsea after losing to Spurs.
Given Paul Pogba’s loss of form, the 27-year-old would be right to feel aggrieved having performed admirably during the first half of last season.
Midfield: Van De Beek (£39.6m)
A surprise United benchwarmer, Van de Beek has endured a slow start to life at Old Trafford after arriving from Ajax for a reported £35m.
Having starred in the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019, the 23-year-old has started all three of United’s league games on the bench, failing to nudge his way into Solskjaer’s line-up despite scoring during his late cameo against Crystal Palace.
Van de Beek sent another message to his club manager over the international break, scoring in the Netherlands’ Nations League draw with Italy.
Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil (£8m)
Once a key figure in the Arsenal attack, Ozil faces a total first-team exile at the Emirates Stadium.
The German, who cost £42.5m from Real Madrid in 2013, has been left out of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League squad having already been omitted from the Spaniard’s Europa League panel.
Ozil, 32, has not played for Arsenal since March and now risks being left out in the cold until January.
Left wing: Dele Alli (£46.8m)
Alli is another mercurial attacking talent whose future in north London does not look as rosy as it once did.
A Tottenham Hotspur star under Mauricio Pochettino, the 24-year-old has fallen out of favour under Mourinho after being hooked at half-time in the opening day defeat by Everton.
Alli has since started two Europa League games but his involvement in the league has amounted to late cameos against Everton and Manchester United.
Keen to remain in Gareth Southgate’s England plans for next summer’s Euros, this is shaping up to be a pivotal season in Alli’s career.
Right wing: Nicolas Pepe (£36m)
Arsenal’s record signing at an eye-watering £72m, Pepe has fallen down the pecking order under Arteta following Willian’s arrival.
With the Brazilian having been parachuted straight into the starting XI, Pepe started Arsenal's first four league games on the bench.
He made little impact in cameos against Fulham, West Ham United and Liverpool but did come off the bench to score what proved to be the winner against Sheffield United.
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Striker: Sebastien Haller (£27m)
Another club-record acquisition who has struggled for game time in his sophomore year in England, Haller’s four substitute appearances for West Ham this term have amounted to 33 minutes.
The Frenchman, signed from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45m in 2019, has kept Michail Antonio on his toes, however, with a couple of Carabao Cup braces and a first league strike of the season during his fleeting appearance against Wolves.
Antonio, who has been in phenomenal form since football returned from lockdown in June, remains David Moyes’ go-to striker, but Haller is certainly giving the Scot food for thought.
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