With the Premier League season finished 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!
Every season I enter a Fantasy Football League. I get nine months of enjoyment for only $50. Not a bad investment. However, six seasons into the league, I have never finished on the top half of the table. I’ve actually never finished above 12th. I’m currently in 17th place. Yes I’m the Birmingham City of old, overweight punters. Actually, I’m not even Birmingham City… they at least have a trophy.
So, when I saw Natter Football requesting “My Worst Premier League XI” I thought this was something where I could shine. Of course, I could just use the boys I have on my fantasy team now, but I thought this was worthy of a little more research. I also want to put the disclaimer out there that a couple of my selections might not make much sense. They make perfect sense to me and my little warped football brain. However, to rational people they might seem a bit off. I try to explain my selections, but I’m sure most, if not all of them, could be scrutinized. Lastly, please don’t remind me that my left back tends to play in the center or on the right… it’s just a list
GK – Manual Almunia – One of the first things people will criticize about Arsenal is their goalkeeping. The Gunners have been spoiled with the ponytailed one David Seaman and the insane one Jens Lehmann. Manual Almunia has taken the spot between the sticks since the 2007-08 season. Since then, it’s been a comedy of errors for the Gunners. He lost his starting position in October 2010 and has only featured in 2 Premier League matches since. In 8 starts, Almunia did have 2 cleansheets this season (against the powerhouse Blackpool and Blackburn clubs). To add insult to injury, Wenger resigned 88 year old Jens Lehmann since he had so little faith in Almunia’s ability to be a backup keeper.
RB – John Pantsil – I hesitate to put Pantsil into this group, but I must. The biggest reason is that John has scored 3 OWN GOALS in only 1,343 minutes this season. That’s 1 own goal for every five complete matches he’s played. It’s the most own goals of anyone in the Premier League this season. On the other hand, his club has had 6 shutouts in the 13 matches he completed (46%). The other reason I have to include him on this list is because he’s Ghanian and they have kicked the United States out of the last two World Cups. Any chance I can take to kick a member of that team, I will.
CB – Sebastian Squillaci – It shouldn’t be easy to pick out the worse ingredient in a bad recipe. However, when looking at Arsenal’s shockingly poor defense, it’s incredibly easy to pick out the rotten apple of the bunch. New boy Squillaci never really fit into the defense. To be fair, their entire defense was just a ragtag group of guys thrown together due to injuries. Arsenal were only able to keep a clean sheet 5 times when Squillaci played the entire 90 minutes (26%).
CB – Sotirios Kyrgiakos – I can’t think of another defender that is substituted as much as he is. He is truly a poor defender. In only two of his complete matches, did Liverpool pick up a clean sheet. His club conceded 20 goals while he was on the pitch. He is slow thinking and even slower on the pitch.
LB – Ledley King – More than anything, I’m just sick of this guy. I had to hear way too much about him in the World Cup and whether he’d be fit enough to play consecutive matches. 45 minutes into the World Cup and he was finished. Since then, he’s only started and completed 4 premier league matches. His knee has not allowed the thirty year old to play anymore than that. He’s been called a warrior and thoroughbred by Harry Redknapp. I think it’s time they either take that horse out to pasture or put him down.
RM – Emmanuel Eboue – I don’t need stats to explain this selection. If you truly don’t know why he was selected then please search on YouTube “Eboue stupid foul Lucas Liverpool jackass fool”. I’m pretty sure you’ll get the clip of Eboue needlessly “fouling” a Liverpool player in the 96th minute to all but throw away Arsenal’s season. (Many can say that their season ended at the Carling Cup final at Wembley). Nevertheless, Eboue absolutely deserves a spot on this infamous squad of losers.
CM – James Milner – 1 goal, 6 assists all season long. Dividing this Premier League into two halves, he has played 1288 minutes in 2010 (20 games) and only 743 minutes in 2011 (17 games). Although he scored in the first match of the season on August 14th, that was his first and ONLY goal all season long. Not taking away his talent, but he’s simply not producing and is guaranteed to become even more lost at Manchester City as that club continues to improve as a whole.
CM – Tomas Rosicky – He tallied no goals and one assist in 939 minutes. If you’re not convinced yet, then throw a missed penalty in for good keeps (a draw against Sunderland). A few years ago there were high hopes for this speedy Czech. Now it looks as if there’s an open door with an exit sign above it.
LM – Cheik Tiote – Two main stats stick out when looking at Tiote’s line. Firstly, he led all midfielders in the Premier League in yellows (14). These cards forced Alan Pardew to leave Cheik in Newcastle for the remainder of the season since any additional cards would lead to a suspension at the beginning of the next season. Liability? In addition, he was only able to contribute one goal and one assist in over 2,300 minutes of action.
ST – Edin Dzeko – A striker’s job is to score goals. End of story. Dzeko wasn’t exactly able to do that too frequently. As a matter of fact, he only scored 1 goal in 789 minutes (in comparison to Torres who scored a goal every 256 minutes he played this season). He has to be on my team of shame.
ST – Carlton Cole – 5 goals in 2120 minutes which averages out to be 1 goal every 424 minutes. Horrible return and by far one of the worst finishers I’ve ever seen play. Should be no surprise his team is going down.
By Jeff Henderson – Arsenal fan – @BritishFooty4US