The ten biggest flops of the Premier League season

We’re into the last week of the season, Leicester have picked up the Premier League trophy and the majority of the individual baubles have already been dished out.

But who’ll be skipping the Sky Sports re-runs of Premier League Years 2015/16 in years to come?

 

Here’s our run down of ten players who’ve had a horror show this term, featuring new signings, former stars and a certain award winner from last time out.

10. Bafetimbi Gomis

‘The Panther’ started the season like a house on fire, leading the goalscoring charts at the end of August after netting in each of his first four games for Swansea.

After the January sale of a man we’ll go on to mention later in this article, Gomis was expected to lead the line for the Swans, but as the team’s form declined (to Garry Monk’s cost), the Frenchman often looked lost, failing to score again until December.

His current tally for the season stands at six, and were it not for the exploits of Gylfi Sigurdsson, he would probably be looking forward to a season or two of Championship football.

9. John Stones

Look. John Stones is still only 21, and he could turn out to be a fine player. But Titus Bramble was also regarded as a good, young, ball-playing centre-back and you don’t need reminding how things worked out for him.

Stones is perhaps the embodiment of Roberto Martinez’s class of 2015/16: talented and pretty but lacking substance and, above all, organisation. Stones has had a horrendous 2016 so far, even being dropped for a time in February after costly mistakes against Swansea and Manchester City.

City, Chelsea and Manchester United are all in the market for a centre-back, so the Barnsley-born England international will probably get a big money move in the summer, but he needs to improve on his often gutless and brainless showings this season if he’s to prove the doubters wrong.

 

8. Jeremain Lens

Lens was purchased by Dick Advocaat for big money in the summer, having worked with the Dutchman at PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar

A year previously, Lens had played the full 120 minutes in the Netherlands’ World Cup semi-final against Argentina, and big things were expected on Wearside.

But Sunderland started the season poorly, and Lens failed to adjust to English football, scoring twice before new boss Sam Allardyce dropped him for disciplinary reasons prior to the Christmas period.

The winger suffered a hernia injury in February, and despite making a full recovery, Lens has played just 14 minutes since, in part due to the form of mid-season signing Wahbi Khazri.

If Sunderland, as it looks, stay up, it’s unlikely Lens will be in Big Sam’s plans next term.

7. Florian Thauvin

Three years ago, the highly rated French under 21 international Thauvin caused a furore in France after walking out on Lille – without playing a game for the club – to sign a lucrative deal with big boys Marseille.

A couple of solid seasons followed, before the diminutive, but creative, midfielder made his way to Tyneside, with Remy Cabella going the other way.

Newcastle paid £15 million for Thauvin, but it was soon apparent that the Frenchman did not have the physical requirements to succeed in English football.

After no goals and no assists in 16 games, Thauvin took a pay cut to return to Marseille on loan in January. Whether he returns to England – and probable Championship football – remains to be seen.

 

6. Joleon Lescott

Joleon Lescott has won two Premier League titles. He has played for England 26 times, and was the first choice centre-half at Euro 2012.

When Aston Villa signed him and the similarly experienced Micah Richards in summer, fans were expecting more than the utter embarrassment of a season that followed.

Shouldering arms before October was out could have been forgiven, but tweeting pictures of cars and deliberately infuriating the fans by suggesting relegation was a ‘weight off the shoulders’ took the proverbial biscuit.

Stan Collymore put it better than we ever could: “It should hang on your shoulders in Dubai, in Marbs, with the gold bottle with the ace of spades on it when you and Gabby and Leandro are gonna be laughin’, when your agents go off and tout you to other football clubs.”

Any self-respecting Premier League manager will be avoiding Lescott like he avoided making any kind of effort in a claret and blue shirt. Now, how do you fancy the MLS, Joleon?

5. Wilfried Bony

Who do you think the Premier League’s top scorer was over the whole of 2014? Sergio Aguero? Nope. Wayne Rooney? Guess again. The correct answer is Wilfried Bony, a man who has become rather accustomed to the blue heated leather seats at the Etihad Stadium.

After his £30 million move from Swansea in January 2015, Bony started slowly, scoring twice in 10 games, but with Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic leaving Manchester in the summer, the Ivorian was expected to crack on this term.

Instead, he’s been forced to watch as Aguero, Kelechi Iheanacho and even Raheem Sterling have been given game time ahead of him. Bony hasn’t scored since Boxing Day, and surely won’t be getting acquainted with Pep Guardiola any time soon.

 

4. Saido Berahino

Tottenham tried to offer West Brom £22 million but Jeremy Peace said no, no, no… and then the striker came out on Twitter saying he’d never play for the club again.

Spurs did just fine without Berahino, but the 22 year-old found himself victim of Tony Pulis’ one striker system, with the more physical Salomon Rondon often preferred.

Daniel Levy’s coveted man has managed just one goal since Christmas, and the path ahead looks unclear for the as-yet-uncapped Englishman: stay at the Hawthorns, and continue to be back-up to Rondon, or move to White Hart Lane and watch from the bench as Harry Kane scores goals left, right and centre?

3. Patrick Bamford

Bamford came into the season as Championship Player of the Year, but 118 minutes and no goals at Crystal Palace and a continued lack of playing time (and, er, no goals) in a less than prolific Norwich City side.

He’s very unlikely to get a chance at parent club Chelsea any time soon, even if Antonio Conte decides to rid the Stamford Bridge treatment room of the permacrocked Loic Remy and the forgotten Radamel Falcao.

Bamford could be a classic example of a player too good for the Championship and not good enough for the Premier League, a list topped by fellow Norwich forward Cameron Jerome.

 

2. Memphis Depay

Manchester United fans hoped the Dutchman would be the new Ronaldo, rather than the new Nani – but he’s turned out to be more in the realm of Gabriel Obertan and Zoran Tosic in terms of effectiveness.

Despite early goals in Europe, Depay has netted just twice in the Premier League, failing to provide any assists. He met the ire of United fans in February, when his sloppy pass cost them a priceless three points at Chelsea, and has barely featured since the emergence of Marcus Rashford later that month.

The former PSV winger is now behind Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Ashley Young in the Old Trafford pecking order, and a loan move abroad surely awaits next season.

1. Eden Hazard

Forget Chelsea’s limp defence of the title: has there ever been a more cowardly, half-arsed set of performances by a reigning player of the year than those vomited out by Hazard for 95% of the season?

The Belgian limped off during the infamous defeat to Leicester that sealed Jose Mourinho’s fate and took the guise of the lesser-spotted Eden for the bulk of Guus Hiddink’s caretaker spell.

Hazard finally broke his season-long duck with a brace against Bournemouth, and handed Leicester the title with a stunner against Spurs, but will not be a Chelsea player in August, with the vultures from Paris and Madrid circling.

Author Details

Sam Carney

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