By Chris Wright
With end-of-season awards and adulation coming thick and fast at the moment, Pies thought we’d get all up on our high horse and cast a beady eye in the direction of the players that have completely underwhelmed us over the course of 2014/15.
10. Emmanuel Riviere/Facundo Ferreyra (Newcastle)
Which one’s this? Who knows…
Not that we expected much in the first place you must understand. In fact, we’re not entirely sure if this is two separate players or just the same guy playing under a pseudonym – either way both of them look like they’ve won their Newcastle contracts in some kind of Mike Ashley-funded postcode lottery.
Worthless wastes of space, the pair of ’em.
9. Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
“Who is this Sol…da..do of whom you speak?”
There was hope that Mauricio Pochettino’s loving hand may reignite the fire under Soldado but it would appear that the flame has been extinguished completely – like Fernando Torres before him, the industry and toil is there but the aggression and focus just isn’t coming naturally any more.
An expensive write-off and a forlorn husk of the striker he once was, the Spaniard needs a move back to La Liga, pronto.
8. Luke Shaw (Man Utd)
Bit harsh as endless injuries and fitness wobbles have undoubtedly played a part in The Most Expensive Teenager in World Football™’s nondescript first season at Old Trafford, but the fact remains that not once has Shaw really looked like a £30million left-back or anything close to it.
7. Erik Lamela (Tottenham)
By ‘eck, that rabona seems along time ago now doesn’t it? Having contributed little to nothing of note over the course of this season, it’s apparent that Lamela is stagnant and idling at Spurs. The guy needs impetus.
Like the aforementioned Señor Soldado, you get the distinct impression that, while there’s an ever-narrowing chance he may eventually come good at White Hart Lane, Lamela would definitely benefit from a fresh start somewhere far, far away.
6. Fernando (Man City)
First touch, five-yard pass? Fernando can misplace them all
Bit of a specific personal entry here in that we thought Fernando looked like an absolute world-beater at Porto (so much that we extolled his virtues to anybody that would listen) only for him to arrive at City and instantly cultivate the happy knack of making all the easy things look incredibly difficult all the time.
5. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool)
An unapologetic non-entity from start to finish.
4. Ross Barkley (Everton)
The once and future king. The heir to Gazza’s throne. Jack Wilshere v2.0 (now with non-blancmange ankles!). The most exciting, creative young prospect in English football today, yadda yadda yadda.
While the hype was arguably undue, premature and a wee bit silly following a smattering of impressive performances during the latter half of last season, Barkley has done nothing to live up to his exalted breakthrough billing this year in the middle of Roberto Martinez’s largely flat Everton side.
He’s only 21 years old and two full seasons into his senior career, mind, so let’s not abandon all hope quite yet.
3. Oscar (Chelsea)
Sadly, after a decent start to the season at the tip of the Mourinho diamond, Oscar has spent the majority of the remainder proving how adept he is at falling over under the slightest duress and not much else – a great shame, as he’s shown himself capable of being cuteness personified in the past.
All in all, it’s not been a vintage year for Mr dos Santos Emboaba Junior.
2. Radamel Falcao (Man Utd)
The oodles of money being frittered away aside, Falcao has managed a paltry four goals in 25 appearances for United – that’s compared with the hulking total of 138 goals he’d managed in his four seasons directly previous.
How is it possible that the player we’ve watched lilt around submissively and take up such unassuming positions in the box at Old Trafford all season is the very same rapier-sharp, all-action striker (the man they once called El Tigre!) we were watching single-handedly destroy the centre-backs of Europe just a couple of years ago?
1. Angel Di Maria (Man Utd)
He looked like he might be a god-send (despite the result) against Leicester way, way back in September but Di Maria has been the square root of piss weak ever since.
Adding the £60million transfer fee into the equation, Di Maria and his insipid levels of application have unwittingly made Alexis Sanchez (at half the price) look like the greatest purchase man has made since the United States took the entire state Louisiana off France’s hands for $15million back in 1803.
That’s roughly four cents per acre. Not bad, not bad at all.
(Dis)honourable mentions: Tim Krul (incredibly unsure and porous for long periods), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (decent start that faded to injury-stymied nothingness), Steven Gerrard (not the finest farewell tour in history), Romelu Lukaku (struggled in a system which doesn’t suit him), Dejan Lovren (a bit of a plonker), etc, etc.
Agree/disagree Pies fans? Any more to add?
Feel free to tell us how clueless we are in the comments…