Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace, 30)
While Palace didn't quite miss their captain as much as they feared during the Asian Cup, and others have grabbed the headlines during their recent remarkable run, Jedinak has still been the rock at the heart of their team this season. The Australian midfielder provides the steel that Alan Pardew's team needs with the more skilful and rather more 'flighty' talents in front of him, among them Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie.
Jason Shackell (Burnley, 31)
There are only a few remaining underrated players left in the Premier League, such is the attention that every aspect of the division enjoys. However, Shackell might just be one of them; the Burnley skipper being just as vital to their survival attempts as the more prominent Danny Ings or George Boyd. Shackell's career has been something of a slow-burn, and taken in spells at Wolves, Norwich, Barnsley and Derby before he reached Turf Moor a couple of years ago. He's settled to become a solid presence in their defence.
Michael Carrick (Man United, 33)
Carrick made his top-flight debut some 16 years ago, but it seems that many people still aren't quite sure what to make of him. In the end, he will probably be regarded as a very good player who ultimately fails against the very best, which in a team like United is ultimately not quite good enough. This season, and particularly in recent weeks as Louis van Gaal has finally figured out how to get United playing, he's been an excellent, unfussy conductor who sits deep and allows those around to him to do the fancy work.
Bobby Zamora (QPR, 34)
It might seem odd to include a striker who has scored just three times all season, but Zamora has been important to QPR for reasons other than his (admittedly infrequent) goalscoring abilities. At some points this season it's seemed that the R's only gameplan was to hoof the ball in Zamora's general direction and hope his hip holds out, and in some games (notably the bonkers 3-2 defeat to Liverpool) that has proved devastatingly effective. Various ailments have restricted him to just 17 starts, but one wonders if QPR may have fared better had Zamora been fit for more of the campaign.
John Terry (Chelsea, 34)
In many ways it's quite annoying that Terry, a man who is difficult to warm to, to say the least, has been so good over the years. And not just past tense, either – you could make a case for the 34-year-old still being England's best centre-back (Fabio Capello certainly seems to think so), and perhaps even the best in the Premier League. He looked on his way out a couple of years ago, but has been revitalised under Jose Mourinho to the extent that he's missed just one Premier and Champions League game all season.
Esteban Cambiasso (Leicester, 34)
Leicester's season hasn't had much to recommend itself so far, although a late and implausible dash for Premier League survival might change all that. If they do drop, the sheer unlikeliness of having Cambiasso in their midfield all season, Champions League winner and league champion in Spain, Argentina and Italy, will have provided one of the bright spots. And he hasn't just been loafing around either, with only he and Riyad Mahrez really providing much to lift the spirits of Leicester fans... unless they enjoy watching their manager wrestle opposition players on the touchline, of course.
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