Talent, Brilliance, Genius. Some of the superlatives that we associate with some of the most remarkable footballers in England’s top flight. Words that may also go some way to describing the players chosen in the recently announced Premier League team of the season. But as the dust settles on this ever iconic moment and fan debates over the chosen XI begin to heat up, we can perhaps turn our attention to another XI that would be just as interesting to consider; those who have been the rotten apples of this season and caught the eye with some dreadful performances. There is certainly no personal glory for the footballers unlucky enough to be involved in this team, and even less superlatives to credit them with or compare to the best. Using the classic 4-4-2, which players have earned the unwanted honour of a place in this team?
GK: Claudio Bravo (Manchester City) Credit: MCFC Watch
Perhaps the most obvious pick from the entire league, and surely a contender for one of the worst signings ever made in the Premier League era. Whilst he was arguably up against it from the start due to taking the place of City favourite Joe Hart between the sticks, nobody could’ve envisaged such a spectacular fall in performance level from the Chile international. He may indeed be good with his feet, but a double digit number of mistakes and a fear of pretty much any aerial ball played into his penalty area has been the single biggest dent in Manchester City’s stuttering season. Surely won’t be the Citizen’s starting goalkeeper next year.
RB: Simon Francis (Bournemouth) Credit: Sky Sports
It has been another impressive year for Bournemouth in the top flight, although defensively they hold the third worst record in the league. That has been in no small part down to Simon Francis, who has not only struggled against a number of wingers, but has also been guilty of an array of high profile errors and poor passes that have led directly to goals conceded. If Bournemouth are to strengthen their defence in the summer as expected, Simon Francis will surely be fearing for his place in it.
CB: Mike Van Der Hoorn (Swansea City) Credit: From The Stands
Given Swansea’s abysmal defensive record that has left them embroiled in a relegation battle, it is no surprise to see one of their centre-backs featured. Mike Van Der Hoorn was brought in to in some way fill a part of the void that Ashley Williams had left behind, but has hardly played this season. When he has, results have verged on awful, with strikers toying with him at will. The Dutchman certainly has time on his side, but it’s fair to say his debut season in English football has been a nightmare.
CB: John O’Shea (Sunderland) Credit: Daily Express
With his side rock bottom of the Premier League and staring relegation straight in the face, we realise that age eventually catches up to everyone, even John O’Shea. No doubt one of the better defenders in English football over the past decade or so, but having endured a dreadful season as Sunderland captain, must take some responsibility for the mess his team is currently in. Even the most determined warhorse can’t go on forever, and at the age of 35, the future of his football career is looking increasingly bleak with relegation surely being a matter of time now.
LB: Patrick Van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Credit: Sky Sports
Having made the leap from Sunderland to a Crystal Palace side that looks near-certain to stay up, Van Aanholt arguably made a smart move. However, despite his usefulness going forward, his contribution should not overlook his complete ineptitude as a defender. Consistent exhibits of how to fail at basic defending and hold minimal concern for your flank were brutally exposed when his new side were thrashed 4-0 at the hands of former employers Sunderland. Despite the Eagles now being out of trouble, his defensive weaknesses will surely be of concern to those in the Crystal Palace Hierarchy.
RM: Jordan Ibe (Bournemouth) Credit: Sky Sports
When Jordan Ibe moved to the south coast for £15million last summer, it seemed a reasonably good bit of business on all sides. However, with Bournemouth attackers such as King and Stanislas continually using their talents to drive the Cherries away from trouble, Ibe has failed to make an impression. The young Englishman’s combined number of goals and assists totals a big fat zero and whilst he may still have a bright future, he currently looks like an expensive flop.
CM: Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: talkSPORT
On the topic of expensive flops, Moussa Sissoko has perhaps been the biggest one of all this season. Signed from Newcastle for a whopping £30 million, the Frenchman has contributed virtually nothing to a high-flying Spurs side, and is certainly nowhere close to challenging any of their mercurial front four for a regular starting berth. On his day Sissoko can be magnificent but when the effort isn’t there he is virtually invisible, and so far in his Tottenham career he has exclusively been the latter.
CM: Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) Credit: Chronicle Live
It may have been a tale of success for Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season but certainly not for his compatriot Sebastian Larsson. Despite possessing undoubted talent and set piece ability, the Swede has contributed virtually nothing to Sunderland’s survival bid despite having a considerable number of minutes under his belt this season. Again, his combined goals and assists totals zero, and in truth has appeared to be on the decline at Sunderland for a few years now.
LM: Adnan Januzaj (Sunderland) Credit: GiveMeSport
Poor Adnan Januzaj. Once a young footballer so highly regarded in football, continually falling out of favour has resulted in him being loaned to the club against which he originally made his name way back in 2013. Unfortunately, much like Sunderland’s season, it has not worked out for the young Belgian. The fact that he scored more goals at the Stadium of Light for Manchester United than for the team that actually play on it speaks volumes of his fall. Another player who is still young enough to have a decent future in the game, but chances to recapture his early form are evaporating fast.
ST: Borja Baston (Swansea City) Credit: Wales Online
Although dismal in defence, Swansea have never looked toothless when going forward, although sadly the same cannot be said for Borja Baston. Bought for a club record £15million after a fruitful season in La Liga, the Spaniard has just one Premier League strike to his name, and has made nowhere near the same impact for the Swans as compatriot Fernando Llorente. If his side are to avoid relegation, now would be a perfect time to rediscover his form of last season. On the current evidence of his ability in English football however, you certainly wouldn’t bet on it.
ST: Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: FourFourTwo
Another summer buy from Tottenham that has so far spectacularly failed to work out. Brought in with the goal to provide reliable backup to Harry Kane and perhaps even challenge his place in the team, the Dutchman has performed far below expectations and didn’t score his first Premier League goal from open play until very recently. Like Sissoko, is not mounting any particularly significant challenge to the now established front four at Tottenham, and completes our worst XI for this Premier League season.
Do you agree with our selection? Did we miss any other under-performing players? Are some of the choices harsh? Let us know your thoughts!