There was always that one person at school who did little work but still got an A+ in the group project.
The same applies in football and in the Premier League, where certain players have picked up a winner’s medal without actually doing a whole lot during the course of the 38-game season.
Props to them. Regardless of how it’s attained, anyone with a winner’s medal has done well for themselves.
To be a part of a side that became champions of England is a story that players will enjoy telling their grandchildren later on in life, even if they only made five appearances.
So, what sort of players are we talking about?
The Mirror have named the 10 worst players to win the Premier League in each season of the past decade.
In their list, all of the players featured in enough games in the season to earn a medal, which was 10 appearances prior to the 2012/13 campaign and five since then.
2009/10: Yuri Zhirkov | Chelsea
Russian left-back Yuri Zhrikov played in 17 games as Carlo Ancelotti’s side won the title in 2009/10.
He was signed as Ashley Cole’s backup, so didn’t get many opportunities.
2010/11: Darron Gibson | Manchester United
Man United’s squad in 2010/11 included the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and Darron Gibson wasn’t quite at their level.
The Irishman played in 12 games - six of those from off the bench - so he qualifies for the list.
Gabriel Obertan (seven appearances) and Federico Macheda (seven appearances) just missed out on the requirements to be contenders.
2011/12: Stefan Savic | Manchester City
Stefan Savic has developed into a fine defender at Atletico Madrid, winning the Europa League in 2018, but he wasn’t all that at Man City.
The Montenegro international just did enough to receive a medal, playing in 11 games under Roberto Mancini.
2012/13: Alexander Büttner | Manchester United
Alexander Büttner was stuck behind Patrice Evra in the pecking order in his first season at Old Trafford but he managed to make five appearances, becoming the first beneficiary of the new rule introduced at the start of the 2012/13 season.
Brazilian midfielder Anderson could have made the list as he played in 17 games, but the Mirror opted for Büttner instead.
2013/14: Costel Pantilimon | Manchester City
Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon earned seven appearances in City’s title winning 2013/14 campaign, in which they pipped Liverpool at the death.
He stuck around in England after leaving City at the end of the season and currently finds himself on loan at Cypriot side Omonia from Nottingham Forest.
2014/15: Filipe Luis | Chelsea
A controversial one considering Luis was without a doubt one of the best left-backs of the past decade.
But things didn’t work out for the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge and he lasted just one season before returning to Atletico Madrid.
Cesar Azpilicueta was Jose Mourinho’s preferred choice at left-back, with Luis limited to just nine starts in the league.
Andre Schurrle, who played in 14 games, must have been in the Mirror’s thinking when they came up with the list.
2015/16: Gokhan Inler | Leicester City
Having played in the Champions League with Napoli and two World Cups for Switzerland, Leicester City fans must have been buzzing when they signed Gokhan Inler in the summer of 2015.
But he lasted just one season at the club - although it turned out to be the greatest season in their history.
Inler played in just five games as Claudio Ranieri’s side completed a miracle.
He left for Besiktas at the end of the campaign.
2016/17: Nathaniel Chalobah | Chelsea
Nathaniel Chalobah has developed into a fine player at Watford, but his contributions in Chelsea’s successful 2016/17 season were minimal.
He made 10 appearances and nine came as a substitute.
In a general list of the worst players to win the league, there’s no way Chalobah would be on it.
But one Chelsea player had to be on it and unfortunately for Chalobah, it was him.
2017/18: Eliaquim Mangala | Manchester City
Man City’s 2017/18 squad didn’t have many bad players in it.
Any team that finishes with 100 points is pretty good.
But centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, signed for £32 million in 2014, stood out as a weak link and was limited to just nine games under Pep Guardiola.
2018/19: Danilo | Manchester City
Again, it’s tough to criticise anyone who played for a team as good as Man City have been under Guardiola.
But, barring a goal in a 3-0 win over Huddersfield, Danilo didn’t play a memorable part in City’s historic season and joined Juventus in the summer of 2019.
There are some good players in this list.
But as the Mirror are including players from every season of the past decade, it’s they’ve had to include the likes of Luis and Chalobah.
Not that either of them will care, of course. A Premier League winner’s medal is something a small percentage of the world’s population can claim to own.
- Compilation of Dimitri Payet's incredible 15/16 season
- Thread of football's greatest commentary moments
- Luis Suarez in 2013-14 was unreal