Premier League: Players who have failed to meet fans' expectations

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This XI disregards transfer prices and wages of any sort. Rather, it seeks to highlight those players who have failed to live up to supporters' expectations this season.

Players who started the season with low expectations, such as Fernando Torres for instance, do not make the list as they have not disappointed in their expected mediocrity.

There are many cases where injuries or other unfortunate factors have contributed to the decline in form, but such is the reality in football, and thus they are rightfully part of my considerations.

Manager: Rafael Benitez | Chelsea

It is difficult to say whether there were any expectations of the abhorred Spaniard. While Chelsea supporters were clear about their personal disdain for him, as well as his replacing a club legend in Roberto Di Matteo, it is fair to say that they expected a certain quality of management from a man of considerable experience.

Shockingly, Rafa's teams have been generally boring and unspectacular. Were it not for the consistent heroics of Juan Mata and yet another year where Frank Lampard has proven himself useful, Chelsea could be further down in the league table. One has to wonder why Roman Abramovich hated Di Matteo to the point where he would refuse a full season to the 'bald genie' who granted his Champions League wish. 

Goalkeeper: Wojciech Szczesny | Arsenal

The name is mind-boggling and Joe Hart might have been the easier choice on that basis alone. However, Hart barely escapes this XI as he has recovered from early season losses of concentration.

Pepe Reina is fortunate as well but deservedly excluded as laughable mistakes like the one against Manchester City have been countered by improved performances of late.

It's fast becoming a cliche, but Szczesny has clearly not recovered mentally from the Euros. His hesitancy off the line and mix-ups with defenders are making David De Gea look like Oliver Kahn.

It is a true shame that this young goalkeeper is "mentally affected", as his own manager Arsene Wenger concedes.

Hopefully, unlike a certain blonde Spaniard, he will recover from this slump and return to the cocky, decisive goalkeeper that won supporters over during his breakout season.

Centre-back: Jose Bosingwa | QPR

QPR's right-back had just come from a Champions League winning season with Chelsea, in which he himself had featured and contributed heavily. As far as QPR were concerned, they were getting a man of top level experience and strong, recent form.

Supporters were quickly shocked to find that the man who helped tame Barcelona was prone to leaving giant spaces behind him and tracking back far too late from runs that resulted in very little. 

Centre-back: Vincent Kompany | Manchester City

His inclusion is likely to incite rage from the blue half of Manchester. For this reason, it must be reiterated that this list is not one of transfer flops, but rather a compilation of disappointments. The higher the expectations, the likelier to be featured in this XI. And there is no other player in the Premier League than the great Vincent Kompany who came in with higher expectations this year from his supporters.

Off the back of a season full of commanding, champion worthy performances, Kompany's undeniable part in a poor City defence saw them fall behind Manchester United and exit the Champions League at the bottom of their group. If City is to return to the heights of last year, Kompany's return to his best is of the utmost importance. 

Centre-back: Christopher Samba | QPR

As Harry Redknapp's solution to a relegation-threatened QPR defence, Samba brought the supporters hope. Not only had he left lasting memories of colossal performances for Blackburn, but his invaluable experience as someone who'd been in the relegation zone made him the perfect leader to drive their great escape.

However, sluggish performances and a clear lack of full fitness has seen Samba perform quite differently from what Premier League fans are used to. He was often aggressive for Blackburn, intercepting and tackling early,  and excelling at man-marking target-men with his strength.

Nowadays, he consistently lies deep his own box and seems hesitant to come out, finding it aggravatingly content to jump like a frog all game. This is not the mean ogre that QPR expected, and they will have been disappointed by his lukewarm contribution to the team thus far.

Centre-midfield: Esteban Granero | QPR

He was a Real Madrid midfielder coming to QPR. A young man with a world-class education and experience of having played against the best teams in Europe. This magnificent hype has seen him take away crowd-favourite Alejandro Faurlin's playing time, only to prove a colossal disappointment.

Perhaps it was not right of QPR supporters to hold him in such high regard based on reputation and Castilla pedigree alone. Not only has he had trouble adjusting to the physicality and speed of the Premier League, but his passing game has been disappointing as of late.

He is all but permanently dropped from a Redknapp squad that is likely to feature an experienced and finally resurgent Ji Sung Park instead. 

Centre-midfield: Abou Diaby | Arsenal

Diaby is a difficult case because he is one player that could be Arsenal's first name on the teamsheet were it not for frequent and unlucky injuries.

A return to the pitch early season raised the hearts of Gunners everywhere as they saw the speed, strength and technique they had been so impressed by in his early days. It seemed that Alex Song would not be missed, especially when a 'Man of the Match' performance against Liverpool validated Wenger's faith.

But yet more injuries have seen the defensive midfielder's form decline, and he has gone from one of Arsenal's potential key players this season to a player currently devoid of confidence.

With their only physical presence in midfield suffering, there is no doubt that Arsenal supporters are disappointed. 

Right-wing: Antonio Valencia | Manchester United

Brilliant performances in the 2011/12 season saw Valencia receive the Manchester United fan's 'Player of the Year', 'Players' Player of the Season' award and the 'Goal of the Season' award.

These were all well-deserved as his relentless runs down the right-wing and cruel torturing of Premier League left-backs saw United pull ahead of eventual Champions Manchester City at one point late in the league.

The ultimate compliment and recognition for his fine performances was signified by the subsequent receipt of the number 7 shirt. Unfortunately, United supporters worldwide have been devastated this season by his lacklustre performances, bizarrely decreased speed, and an inexplicable shying away from crosses that got him into the infamous shirt. 

Left-wing: Fabio Borini | Liverpool

Oussama Assaidi could have just as easily been selected for this position. Unfortunately, no-one in Merseyside except maybe Brendan Rodgers currently knows Assaidi's whereabouts so we will refrain from further abuse.

Borini, unlike his teammate, came with a wider-known reputation and higher expectations. The Kop were encouraged by his previous history with Rodgers as well as a proven record for AS Roma.

However, a season completely blighted by injuries has had supporters groaning, the last of which ended in a disturbing, surprisingly audible scream on the pitch.

When he has played, perhaps hindered by incomplete returns to fitness, he has shown no particular display of pace, finishing or guile. A definite disappointment, although by no means entirely his fault. 

Attacking-midfield: Stephen Ireland | Aston Villa

Towards the end of last season, it seemed as though Ireland was slowly but surely returning to the form that earned him recognition at City.

Solid displays towards the end of the season as well as mediocre teammates saw him to the 2011/12 Aston Villa supporters 'Player of the Season' award. This season, he has managed to lower the bar that he worked so hard to raise last season through lacklustre performances.

It has become clear that he is no longer in Paul Lambert's plans, and that he has no particular interest in endearing himself to the Holte End either.

Supporters hopeful of his revival have all but given up on the playmaker. 

Striker: Andy Carroll | West Ham United (on loan from Liverpool)

Despite his torrid start to his Liverpool career, West Ham supporters maintained high expectations of the tall Geordie.

It was said that a much needed change of environment, Big Sam's direct style of play, and the familiar presence of best friend Kevin Nolan would galvanise the maligned striker to goalscoring greatness at Upton Park.

Supporters hoped, and expected, and have received a prolific two goals in 13 West Ham appearances. Say no more.

Striker: Emmanuel Adebayor | Tottenham

After a long, drawn up summer negotiation, the saga made the situation seem as though Adebayor was being released from a Manchester jail cell. More importantly, the permanent transfer of the lanky Togolese striker finally gave the Spurs supporters a proven target-man.

Not only did he already have a reputation as a good player, he had the unique advantage of being a wanted criminal at Arsenal. Furthermore, expectations of a fine season were high as he had proven himself worthy with his 18 goals and 12 assists at White Hart lane the year before.

The arrival of Andre Villas-Boas as manager, the consistent early form of Jermain Defoe, as well as the shift of Gareth Bale into a centralised role, has seen the Adebayor net just three measly goals in 20 appearances this season.

All of these players are fine players on their day, but it just goes to show what combinations of injury, loss in confidence, and manager changes can do to players. Furthermore, it takes a lot more than just talent alone for a top player to stay a top player.

Do you agree with this XI? Get in touch and let us know.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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Andrew Carroll
Emmanuel Adebayor
Fabio Borini
Stephen Ireland
Premier League
Christopher Samba
Wojciech Szczesny
Vassiriki Abou Diaby
Antonio Valencia
Jose Bosingwa

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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