Worst Premier League XI Of The Season!
The PFA Team of the Year was announced yesterday and caused little controversy, save for the inclusion of Philippe Coutinho perhaps.
While the PFA Team of the Year recognises the league’s best players this season, what about the worst ones? We’ve put together a Worst XI – in a 3-5-2 formation – to spark some debate. Who do you think should be included?
Keeper – Wojciech Szczęsny
Arsenal’s Polish keeper has endured a miserable season, particularly the latter half. He was at fault for two goals on New Year’s Day against Southampton and was later fined for smoking in the changing room shower afterwards. He was subsequently dropped in favour of David Ospina and has rarely been seen in the league since.
Defender – Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand’s been included in the PFA Team of the Year on six occasions but age has caught up with the 36-year-old QPR defender. He’s only managed nine league appearances for his new side but his form has been so poor that he’s decided to retire at the end of the season.
Defender – Dejan Lovren
Many Southampton fans could have warned Liverpool last summer that they were probably signing the wrong centre-back from them. Lovren commanded a £20 million fee to move to Merseyside but many believe the Saints’ Jose Fonte to be the better defender. Lovren has yet to win Brendan Rodgers’ trust and has played in just half of Liverpool’s league games so far this season.
Defender – Vlad Chiriches
The Romanian defender has failed to impress this season, leading to speculation he could leave White Hart Lane this summer. Roma offered to take him on loan in January and it will be no surprise if Spurs decide to cut their losses on the error-prone 25-year-old.
Midfield – Steven Gerrard
Gerrard’s season was encapsulated in his recent sending-off against Manchester United, managing to damage his side’s chances and grab all the headlines simultaneously. It has been sad to witness the decline of one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players but his form this season means his departure this summer will not be detrimental to Rodgers’ team.
Midfield – Gareth Barry
Barry was inspirational for Everton last season whilst on loan from Manchester City, helping to guide them to fifth in the Premier League. However, his form has dipped dramatically since making that loan move permanent last summer. Robert Martinez’s side have often performed better without Barry, whose lack of pace has been exploited regularly this term.
Midfield – Erik Lamela
After a poor first season following his £30 million move from Roma, it was felt the Argentine would shine this term following a bedding in period in London. Sadly, this has not been the case. Apart from his infamous rabona in the Europa League, it’s hard to remember anything else positive from Lamela this season. However, it’s likely that Spurs will persevere with the winger, as they would only recoup a fraction of what they paid for him should they wish to offload him.
Midfield – Remy Cabella
There’s an argument for including eleven Newcastle United players in this team, but Cabella’s been arguably their most disappointing performer this season. Cabella was one of the most exciting young talents in Ligue 1 with Montpellier but has failed to reproduce this in his first season in England. His tally of one goal and three assists is simply not good enough for a £12 million attacking midfielder.
Many will wonder why Angel di Maria hasn’t been included but the Argentine has scored three goals and assisted twelve – much better than the likes of Yaya Toure, Christian Eriksen and the aforementioned Coutinho. Much more troubling for Manchester United fans will be the progress of Januzaj.
Granted, he hasn’t played as many minutes this term but when he has been on the pitch his end product and creative output has been disappointing. David Moyes once referred to him as “young Johan Cruyff” but he’s resembled young Jordi Cruyff more this season.
Forward – Mario Balotelli
The Italian has often been made scapegoat for Liverpool’s malaise this season but there’s no getting away from the fact that he’s not shown his inarguable talents since joining the Reds last summer. Despite many appearances being from the bench, a return of one paltry league goal in 30 outings is pathetic for an allegedly world class striker. It will be interesting to see if he remains at Anfield next season or, if not, what club would actually buy him.
Forward – Falcao
Falcao’s in a similar situation to Balotelli in that there’s a field of thought that he hasn’t got enough chances to prove himself this season. But he has, and he’s missed most of them. The Colombian’s looked a shadow of his former self this season and has often cut a forlorn figure at Old Trafford. Louis van Gaal hinted at the weekend that Falcao does not feature in his long-term plans and it would be a major surprise if United signed the 29-year-old on a permanent basis in the summer.