Domestic leagues around the world are entering the crucial stretches of the season when champions are determined and clubs struggle to avoid relegation. Managers have typically found the formations and lineups that work for their clubs, but the ongoing evaluation of form and quality must continue. The atmosphere in the dressing room must be assessed to determine if it is in accordance with the club’s current objectives. In many cases, those objectives may be very different than at the beginning of the season, with many teams currently out of the title race and competing for spots in European competition.
During the 2014-15 campaign, we have seen a select few teams transcend the level of their competition. However, this dominance has not necessarily been an indicator of sustained individual performances. In some cases, these teams have several underperforming players that could be holding the squad back from excellence. Clubs that are not currently near the top of the table can look to some of these individuals as scapegoats for a decline in overall quality. When it comes to the players on this list, that finger pointing may be warranted when players are not performing to their past standards.
The players on this list may be considered among the great players of football’s current era, but at this point in their careers cannot be considered among the best in the world. Their decline in form may not necessarily be permanent, but may indicate that these player are not what they once were. The following players are regarded too highly by the general public, while underperforming for their respective teams.
20 Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
Jack Wilshere is regarded by some as a future prospective captain of the English National Team. However, the young midfielder displayed little of the quality necessary to earn that position during his time with Arsenal this season. Aside from a goal and assist against Manchester City, Wilshere only contributed to one other goal for the Gunners last season in league play. He has also found himself on the physio table once again with a serious ankle injury that kept him off the pitch. Once considered a top prospect in English football, it's possible that we jumped the gun with Wilshere.
19 Nicklas Bendtner – Wolfsburg
Nicklas Bendtner has long been regarded as a tremendously talented player that continuously fails to deliver for the clubs that invest in him. The Danish striker has world class confidence in his ability, but has failed to find a regular place in the Wolfsburg lineup. He ended with only five goals last season, with two of them coming in a Europa League tie against FC Kuban Krasnodar. Bendtner was recently quoted as saying, according to this article by ESPNFC.com, “People either think that I am the greatest or throw bottles at me.” That is an interesting quote from a striker that is now struggling at his fourth club in four years.
18 Ciro Immobile – Sevilla
17 Yohan Cabaye – Crystal Palace
16 Christian Benteke – Liverpool
Last year, Christian Benteke suffered a devastating injury to his Achilles tendon, which caused him to miss six months and the 2014 World Cup. After returning from this injury, Benteke had a decent season, scoring 13 goals in 29 league appearances. Benteke wasn't exactly surrounded by talent, but the striker also struggled to convert the limited opportunities he had seen. Despite his far from elite season last year, Liverpool decided to spent way too much on the striker (£32.5m) and will likely be hugely disappointed this season.
15 Kevin-Prince Boateng – Free Agent
14 Sami Khedira – Juventus
13 Gabriel Agbonlahor – Aston Villa
12 Jozy Altidore – Toronto FC
11 Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
10 Gerard Pique – Barcelona
9 Steven Gerrard - L.A. Galaxy
8 Javier Hernandez – Manchester United
7 Giovani dos Santos - L.A. Galaxy
6 Iker Casillas – Porto
5 Edin Dzeko – AS Roma
4 Paulinho – Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao
3 Mario Balotelli – Liverpool
2 Shinji Kagawa – Borussia Dortmund
1 Radamel Falcao – Chelsea
Manchester United paid an extraordinary amount in loan fees and salary for Radamel Falcao, but he failed to produce at a level commensurate to his compensation. While he produced four goals and five assists in his 26 Premier League appearances, that is hardly what is expected of a player on a salary of £346,000 per week. He has also only scored against teams ranked 10th or below, while going scoreless against top tier competition. He's since moved to Chelsea, also on loan, where he'll look to regain his form alongside Jose Mourinho.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!