With the Premier League season winding down the focus has understandably been on winners and heroes. But Natter Football always likes to provide a different perspective and so here highlights the poor performers of the season, because they deserve some recognition too! Why not submit your Worst XI? Email: Natterfootball@gmail.com!
We’ve all seen the 2010/11 PFA Team of the Season, and to be honest, we all know it was mostly on point. Of course, there will always be a few who try to tinker with the side, but with the exception of Baines, Modric, Yaya Toure and Parker as alternatives, the rest of the side pretty much picked itself.
Therefore I have decided to devise a Premier League Worst XI for this season as it much more of a challenge.
Now, to make it clear, this team is not purely a line-up of the worst players in the league. Of course a player like Shefki Kuqi is considered a worse striker than Fernando Torres both regarding talent and goal-scoring records, but in relation to their natural ability and reputation, Torres, for his performances this season, has made the cut.
GK – Heurelho Gomes – Gomes has made costly errors in the following league games this year (from memory): Chelsea (H), Chelsea (A) & Manchester United (A). There are probably more. His clumsy, clown-like behaviour is unrivalled by any other keeper in the league and it bemusing how he retains his place in such an ambitious side.
RB – James Perch – Perch is simply a Championship-standard player playing in the Premier League. The former Forest man has looked way out of his depth whenever he has turned out for Newcastle, but his club seem to have clocked on. Since the turn of the year Perch has not started a game – perhaps it was the 6 yellow cards he earned from 9 starts at the beginning of the campaign.
CB – Sebastien Squillaci – It is safe to say, the Frenchman is possibly one of the worst buys of the season. Not only that, he has also been the worst centre-back of the season. Poor positional play, a lack of either real strength or pace and silly mistakes, topped off by his own goal, have earned him a spot in this team.
CB – Johnny Evans – After looking fairly promising in recent years, this season Evans has been in dire form. It started with a few errors and some small mistakes but then Evans’ confidence went. He looked nervous on the ball, a step behind the play without it and also has seemed to lack presence, which is worrying considering his size. He is improving again but not enough to steer clear of this list.
LB – Stephen Crainey – I’m not simply picking on the smallest club in the league and possibly the most unfashionable left-back. Blackpool’s defence has conceded 70 goals this season and part of this is down to Crainey. He is comfortable going forward but lacks recovery pace and at times tends to neglect his defensive responsibilities, like most of his teammates you could say.
RM – David Bentley – Bentley barely played for Spurs so was shipped out to Birmingham where, unfortunately for him, he has not made the kind of impact he would have hoped to. He has been unable impose himself on games whichever jersey he has been wearing. The winger even stormed out of St Andrew’s when he was not snubbed for their match-day squad.
CM – Christian Poulsen – Brought in under Roy Hodgson, Poulsen has been a massive flop at Anfield. It was widely known before he arrived that he lacked pace but even his reading of the game around him has been dire. He has looked lost among the frantic tempo of English football and squanders possession all too easily.
CM – Stephen Ireland – He was tipped to be James Milner’s replacement… Ireland was anything but, even drawing criticism from his own manager at one point. He rarely featured for Villa and moved on to Newcastle, where he has appeared even less. Some say he has lost his passion for football and has become too preoccupied with the lavish lifestyle that comes with the profession.
LM – Joe Cole – It is rumoured Roy Hodgson opted to sign Cole ahead of Rafael Van der Vaart last summer. What a mistake. He is this season’s poorest signing. Cole was sent off on his debut for Liverpool and returned only to miss a penalty. Since then he has only featured sparingly and it looks as if he has piled on a few extra pounds.
ST – Fernando Torres – This inclusion goes without saying. At Liverpool, Torres looked disinterested and sluggish. At Chelsea, after a momentous £50M transfer, he seems hungry again but confidence is lacking. He looks slow off the mark and has been let down by poor decision making and a lacklustre first touch. Torres has scored just 1 goal in a total of 11 appearances for his new club.
ST – Franco Di Santo – Di Santo’s record, 1 goal from a total of 23 appearances, which also happened to be his first in over two years, tells you a lot about the player. Signed from Chelsea, the Argentine has failed to make an impression at Wigan and has even incensed Latics fans by tweeting about his eagerness for the season to finish.
By Matthew Aquino – Luton Town fan – @ElevenAgainst11