The Premier League is widely regarded as one of the toughest leagues in the world. Unlike other strong league's such as La Liga or the Bundesliga, there are no gimmes in the English top flight. Even the teams at the bottom have players capable of hurting you, and shock results are far more common place. As such, the Premier League tends to tell the weak from the strong, and those who aren't up to it are quickly found out.
There are though, as always, exceptions to the rule. Some players look to be world beaters for just a single season before fading into obscurity. For foreign players coming into the Premier League, they may make a blistering start in their first season before falling away. There can be a number of reasons for a one-season wonder. Some players are simply 'confidence' players, with it they are outstanding, without it they are poor. Others pick up nasty injuries or have fitness problems while some can be 'figured out'.
It should come as no surprise that there are a large number of forwards on this list. Strikers and attacking players tend to be the most prone to highs and lows and having their form dictated by confidence. Some players people often remember as being one-season wonders such as Andy Johnson or Tony Yeboah actually had a couple of impressive seasons, hence their omissions. Bizarrely, six of this list played for Manchester City at some stage in their careers. Here are the top 15 one-season wonders in Premier League history.
14 Michael Johnson
13 Mikael Forssell
12 Michael Turner
11 Georgi Kinkladze
10 Michael Ricketts
9 Habib Beye
8 Michael Bridges
7 Marcus Stewart
6 Stephen Ireland
3 Amr Zaki
Amr Zaki is more remarkable than most in that you could argue the Egyptian was not even a one-season wonder, he was a half-season wonder. He joined Wigan Athletic from Egyptian giants Zamalek and made an instant impression few could have anticipated in the Premier League. It was the 2008-09 season and Zaki was electric, looking like one of the most natural goal scorers in the division.
2 Roque Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz joined Blackburn Rovers from Bayern Munich in 2007, and had an emphatic start to life in the Premier League, appearing one of the bargains of the century after commanding just a $5 million fee. The Paraguayan had an outstanding opening season in 2007-08, scoring 19 goals in 37 games, with only Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Emmanuel Adebayor scoring more in the Premier League.
In the top spot, when it comes to Premier League one-season wonders, no one rivals Swansea City player Michu. The Spaniard appeared the real deal when he arrived from La Liga. Playing in an advanced midfield role, he appeared to have the physical attributes required to play in the Premier League, as well as having the technical prowess one expects of a top Spanish player. His intelligent movement from midfield saw him outscore most of the division's top strikers, despite playing for a less fancied club.
Michu scored 18 goals in 35 games in his debut season in the Premier League, which was the 2012-13 season, when only Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale and Christian Benteke scored more. He started the 2013-14 season less impressively, scoring twice in 17, before picking up a nasty injury. He hasn't played for Swansea since, and played only five times while on-loan at Napoli. The 29-year-old's future remains up in the air.
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