Premier League: The 10 most disappointing players of the season so far

January 23, 2013 in Premier League

Lists are cool. Lists about failing are cooler. But rather than just write a list of the worst players in the league and fill it with a combo QPR/Aston Villa squad, I’d rather look at the ones who are letting us down, who have greatness in them but have let it slip away this season, for one reason or another. On with this.

Papiss Cisse

When Cisse was signed last January, he looked like the rare kind of player who could combine the spectacular with the clinical. The only thing more amazing than the number of gif-able goals Cisse was scoring, was the frequency with which he was doing it. Cisse scored a whopping 13 goals in 13 games, a ratio that if carried through to a whole season would have seen him score as many goals as Robin van Persie. This year though, he’s struggled to adapt to a wider position whilst Demba Ba has thrived in the centre, scoring 4 goals in 19 starts. Now that Ba has left for the greener (or bluer) pastures of Chelsea, Cisse is perhaps the only fit, first choice attacking player Newcastle have available. Continued bad form could be very costly to his club indeed.

Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen

The departure of Robin van Persie soured Arsenal’s season before it had even begun, but Vermaelen’s promotion to captain was something that the gunner faithful were happy with. I won’t say he was one of the best centre-backs in the league last year, but I think he was very good in an otherwise shaky Arsenal defence. A few months later and not only are people questioning his captaincy, but his place in the team. Vermaelen’s made a lot of mistakes this season, most poetically when he gifted van Persie a goal in the opening minutes at Old Trafford. He’s looked shaky and unsure and perhaps most tellingly a poor leader, and seemingly lacking Mertesacker’s brains or Koscielny’s (if erratic) ability. I would be surprised if he’s still Arsenal captain at the beginning of next season.

Mario Balotelli

What to say. Balotelli is paid 170,000 a week. He is a 24 million pound centre Forward. He has scored one goal in the Premier League this season. Separating him from all the drama, all the hysteria and all the discussion, it’s an atrocious return any way you look at it. Balotelli’s behaviour is no worse than last season, but last season he scored 17 goals. This year braking ten would be an exceptional return to form. Mancini was wrong it seems, and City, if in their right minds, should move the boy on. Not worth the hassle and then some.

Fernando Torres

Obvious one is obvious. Torres isn’t doing THAT Badly in the Premier League viewed solely in goal tally, though he’s hardly tearing it up either. But Torres has had a multi-million pound team built around him this season, with three monstrously talented AMFs there to provide him. He’s had threats removed (Even Balotelli, as bad as he’s been, has had to fight for his place) and his favourite manager appointed. Every effort is being made to create an ideal scenario for him. With that in mind, 7 premier league goals in 20 is pretty appalling especially when you’re supposed to be a 50 million pound striker.

Jonny Evans

This season was perhaps Evans’ last chance to stake his claim to a permanent, long term place in the United defence. But United have shipped in more goals this season than they have in my living memory and Evans is woefully lacking in consistency. Rio and United’s midfield are not without blame, but Evans doesn’t look up to snuff. Vidic’s injuries keep giving him chances, but one has to think he’s blown it for good this time, and United will venture into the market in the summer, leaving Evans to being left to prepare himself for the inevitable season on the bench followed by a transfer to Sunderland.

Clint Dempsey/Gylfi Sigurdsson

This summer these were the players wanted by everyone. Liverpool, Arsenal, Swansea, you name it, it seemed like every team wanted to sign Gylfi and Clint. Now it’s January, both players can be found looking glum on the Tottenham bench. Sigurdsson has been worse, looking not at all the player he was at Swansea last season, with the goals and danger gone, replaced with a glaring lack of pace and a general sense of looking lost. Dempsey’s been stop and start, a few good games here and there, but hardly the guy who put 17 goals away for Fulham last season. Adebayor’s disappearance to the African Nations cup should give him a few games, but his match –winning days appear behind him.

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll’s stock was actually reasonably high at the beginning of this season. After being Liverpool’s best player in the FA Cup final and scoring what arguably could be considered THE textbook header for England against Sweden, Carroll got some sympathy when Liverpool shuffled him off to West Ham without so much as a goodbye. He was coming good people said. Injuries have to be considered, but in the games he did start, goals were hardly forthcoming. The solitary one means a sale to a bottom half premier league club in the summer looks to be Andy’s future.

Adam Johnson

I’m a City fan, and I think Mancini treated Adam Johnson badly. His negative attributes were accentuated, whilst his positive ones were just ignored by the Italian. Mancini didn’t seem too bothered by the fact that Johnson added a steady supply of goals from midfield for City last season, something they’ve been lacking this season, and showed a refreshing directness off the bench that City can’t seem to turn to these days. That said, Johnson has been an absolute sh*thouse for Sunderland. Better in recent weeks perhaps and hardly alone, with seemingly all of Sunderland’s attacking midfielders suffering harmonious woeful form. But Johnson was a £10 million signing; Johnson was supposedly going to prove why he should be in the England team. He’s probably killed his chances of ever being chosen for England again, and needs to pick up his game to avoid being benched for Sunderland too.

Nikica Jelavic

This is essentially the same story as Cisse. When signed by Everton last January, Jelavic barnstormed through his first 6 months at the club, with a finish so deadly it was almost scientific. This year, despite starting almost every game for Everton, Jelavic has only scored 6 goals. For comparison, the much derided Torres has started 1 less and scored 1 more. Jelavic didn’t cost 50 million either you might say, but he looks a far cry from the player who averaged a goal a game and seemingly took every chance that came his way last season. If Everton are to make the champions league, they need Jelavic better than this.

Joe Allen

I liked Allen last year for Swansea, and even at the beginning of this year in a Liverpool shirt, but I’m sorry to say Allen is looking to be in the early stages of being another expensive British flop for Liverpool. He seems to be less expressive every game, passes being increasingly timid. He is being bullied out of far too many games, and rarely influential. The ageing Gerrard has far more assists and although Liverpool have jettisoned the also under-performing Nuri Sahin, Allen needs to start making his mark creatively, or he may well go the way of Charlie Adam.