With there being so much talent in the Premier League, it’s inevitable that some of it won’t always be able to make it onto the pitch.
Even so, with five games gone, there are still plenty of players waiting to get their first minutes of the league season.
So, we decided to make an XI out of those players, but left out the likes of Marcus Rashford and Tariq Lamptey, who have been unavailable purely due to injury.
GK Alphonse Areola
When the Frenchman signed for West Ham on loan from PSG, it looked like long-term stopper Lukasz Fabianski could be in danger of seeing his place taken.
That has proven to be far from the case, though, as Areola hasn’t featured in the league yet and didn’t even get to play in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb. He did play in the Hammers’ League Cup victory away at Manchester United, however.
RB Nathaniel Clyne
Having originally signed for Crystal Palace in October 2020 and getting a fair bit of game time, Clyne hasn’t played a single minute of Premier League football since 13th February.
The former Liverpool man will have hoped for more time on the pitch after returning to his original home, but he’s been confined to the bench so far this term as Patrick Vieira looks to build a young and vibrant side.
CB John Stones
Stones put in brilliant performances for England during the Euros, having become a starter under Pep Guardiola at Man City last term.
However, this season has been a bit of a non-starter for the 27-year-old as Aymeric Laporte has seemingly got back ahead of him in the pecking order. Stones hasn’t been helped by a recent injury, but he only made the bench in the opening games.
CB Eric Bailly
The Ivory Coast international was injured at the start of the season, which will be frustrating for him. There’s next to no chance of him staking a claim to play ahead of Harry Maguire and summer signing Raphael Varane.
Bailly is back now, but has been stuck on the bench, and that is how we imagine things are going to stay as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes the most of his new centre-back partnership.
READ: 15 times Man Utd’s Eric Bailly was the funniest player in the world
LB Ben Chilwell
It’s amazing to think that Chilwell’s last competitive start for club or country was helping Chelsea to win the Champions League final – until he featured in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa in the League Cup. He missed a penalty in the shootout, but Thomas Tuchel’s Blues still made it through.
He didn’t get on for England at the Euros and has managed just eight minutes off the bench against Zenit St. Petersburg. It’s not even his fault, as Luke Shaw and Marcos Alonso have been outstanding.
CM Morgan Sanson
Things haven’t gone quite how Sanson would have wanted after his move from Marseille to Aston Villa, as he struggled to get starts and then picked up an injury.
The Frenchman is now back, but his only minutes have come for the U23s in the EFL Trophy, where he played a half against Wycombe and got an assist. He subsequently played against Chelsea in the League Cup, but was withdrawn in the first half due what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
CM – Ruben Loftus-Cheek
When asked about Loftus-Cheek ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup match against Aston Villa, Thomas Tuchel said: “We gave him some [minutes] against Zenit in a close game.
“That was not a gift, he deserved it and I trust him. He accepts his situation and what he makes out of it is good training every day. There is a big chance tomorrow he can show it.”
The midfielder actually came on in the 93rd minute, so we’re not sure what he was meant to do with that. Still, it’s more time than he’s got in the league.
RW Takumi Minamino
Minamino didn’t look rusty in the slightest when he scored twice in Liverpool’s 3-0 Carabao Cup win against Norwich City, with the first goal coming after just four minutes. That was the Japan international’s first competitive appearance of the season, though.
With Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane in Jurgen Klopp’s front three, it perhaps isn’t too surprising that Minamino isn’t starting, but surely that display will at least get him some time off the bench.
GOAL! Norwich 0-1 Liverpool (Minamino, 4)
The ball falls to Minamino in the box and he strikes under the goalkeeper from five yards out to put Liverpool in front!
Watch live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event pic.twitter.com/IXfBlnls0s
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 21, 2021
CAM Juan Mata
Mata has probably had loads of time to think of different strategies for Common Goal while sitting on the bench this season.
The Spaniard has been named as a substitute for every game this term without making it onto the pitch at all. With the talent at Solskjaer’s disposal it’s no real surprise, but hopefully that time is being spent well anyway.
LW – Ryan Sessegnon
After Sessegnon’s time on loan at Hoffenheim last season, in which he made over 20 Bundesliga appearances and chipped in with five goal contributions, it might have been expected that the 21-year-old would get some game time at Tottenham.
However, there’s been nothing in terms of Premier League minutes, as the versatile left-sided player has made the bench twice. So far, he’s had two starts against Pacos de Ferreira and another in PL2 against Chelsea before picking up a knock.
ST Liam Delap
Speaking about Delap, Guardiola stated: “Liam Delap for me, for the club, is so important for the future,” and compared his situation to Phil Foden’s in his early City career.
It looks like the striker will need to be just as patient, as he hasn’t even made the bench this season. So far, the 18-year-old’s only minutes against senior opposition have come in the EFL Trophy, as City’s U23s lost to Doncaster Rovers.
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