Throughout Premier League history, there have been a host of ‘one-season wonders’.
Normally, the phrase is associated with a striker who scores goals for fun in one campaign and then decides to forget how to play football soon after.
However, the dreaded three-word description is not just reserved for strikers. Down the years, there have been goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders who have all reserved their quality for just one solitary season.
So we here at GIVEMESPORT have decided to give our thoughts on the greatest one-season wonder XI in Premier League history.
The formation used is a very Antonio Conte-like 3-5-2.
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GK – Tomasz Kuszczak
When Chris Kirkland picked up an injury at the start of the 2005/06 season, Kuszczak well and truly stepped up for West Brom.
He couldn’t save them from relegation, but his performances as first-choice – a position he kept after Kirkland’s return – earned him a move to Manchester United.
But barely ever saw the light of day at Old Trafford before leaving in 2012, where he embarked on a Championship journey with Brighton, Wolves and lastly, Birmingham.
CB – Sebastien Bassong
A promising defender who just couldn’t break into Tottenham’s first-team, Bassong was handed his season in the limelight with Norwich City in 2012/13.
The centre-back was an absolute rock for the Canaries as they surprised everyone by finishing 11th in the Premier League table.
Bassong was even voted the club’s Player of the Season in 2013 but it all went wrong for both player and club after, with the Frenchman suffering two relegations in the space of three seasons.
CB – David Wheater
Back in 2007/08, Wheater was a wanted centre-back after a stunning season with Middlesbrough.
The Englishman looked on course to break into the national team setup and more, but the following year his performances dipped as Boro were relegated.
Wheater’s return to Premier League football with Bolton Wanderers didn’t exactly go to plan and the 32-year-old is still playing for the club in League One.
CB – Titus Bramble
A player often ridiculed for his clumsy defending, but back in 2000/01 with Ipswich, Bramble was a defender revered throughout the Premier League.
He was a regular starter for the Tractor Boys as they managed to secure a European spot by finishing fifth.
But that was to be his crowning achievement, with spells at Wigan, Sunderland and Newcastle producing mostly comical performances and highlight reel mistakes.
RM – Adnan Januzaj
The future of Manchester United. That’s what everyone thought the Belgian winger was going to be when David Moyes gave Januzaj his chance in first-team back in 2013/14.
A memorable brace away at Sunderland had everyone believing the Red Devils had their new Eric Cantona, but Januzaj’s ‘breakthrough season’ was a mere flash in the pan.
He couldn’t even cut it when he was sent on loan to Sunderland, such was his fall from grace.
CM – Jack Rodwell
Back in the 2011/12 season, Rodwell was shining bright as a box-to-box midfielder with Everton.
His performances were so good that he earned a move to Manchester City, but that’s where it all went very, very wrong.
Game time was scarce, leading to an ill-fated move to Sunderland, where his contract was eventually terminated in the summer of 2018. He’s now a free agent.
CM – Michu
Has there ever been a better one-season wonder in the Premier League? Probably not.
Signed for just £2m from Rayo Vallecano, the Spaniard took English football by storm, scoring 18 goals during his first season and earning a call-up to the Spain squad.
What followed was an unprecedented decline, with Michu seemingly unable to control the ball let alone score. At just 31, he called time on his career back in 2017 after a year with Real Oviedo.
LM – Andrey Arshavin
Following his stunning performances with Russia at Euro 2008, Arsenal were quick to bring the electric winger to the Emirates in the 2009 January window.
And his first season was a memorable one in which he scored four goals at Anfield, won the Premier League Player of the Month in April and finished second in Arsenal’s Player of the Season vote.
That’s right, he managed all that in just half a campaign, but that was as good as it got, with Arshavin that descending into a meme-like figure with the Gunners.
CF – Robinho
The first of City’s big money signings and after a few months, it looked as if the Citizens had a club legend in the making.
Goals, skills and Brazilian flair were all part of Robinho’s repertoire during 2008/09, but the following season his form dipped, as he scored just one goal in 12 games.
He was sent out on loan to Santos in January 2010, before being sold to AC Milan in the summer.
ST – Roque Santa Cruz
In 2007/08, the Paraguayan lit up the Premier League.
Nineteen goals for Blackburn Rovers made him the envy of England’s top-flight, but it was only a one season show.
A £17.5m move to Man City in 2009 couldn’t re-trigger his past brilliance and he’s now back playing in Paraguay with Olimpia at the age of 38.
ST – Michael Bridges
Possibly the most underrated one season wonder of all time.
Santa Cruz, Michu, Michael Ricketts and a select few others are often the names chucked around, but Bridges’ was arguably far more impressive.
He scored 19 goals in his first season for Leeds United in 1999/2000, including a hat-trick in his second appearance against Southampton.
However, injuries then took a toll on his career as he failed to score a single goal during the next four seasons and his form never really recovered – bar a goal-filled spell with Carlisle United in 2006.
So there you have it, a full XI of one season wonders.
If that team had played together during their separate campaigns of glory, it would be one of the greatest XIs ever assembled!