Premier League: 2012/13 Flops XI

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As another exhilarating Premier League season approaches its conclusion, it is inevitable that those who have either been a success or failure will come under severe scrutiny. 

Primarily focussing on those who haven't quite lived up to expectations, we will assess the Premier Leagues 'flop' XI - specifically looking at those who signed in the summer or January, and haven't quite offered the impact initially desired from their managers and fans alike.

The formation used will be the traditional 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Robert Green | QPR

It is no secret that the 2012/13 season hasn't quite lived up to Robert Green's expectations. His transfer from newly-promoted West Ham was meant be a step up in quality and potential from his perspective.

Upon signing he even stated that he was "excited about the challenge ahead and hugely encouraged by the direction in which the owners and Mark Hughes are looking to take the club." 

With the power of hindsight, the decision to move across London wasn't the most intelligent. Following the signing of Brazilian international Julio Cesar, it quickly became apparent that Green wasn't really part of Hughes' vision for the club - soon becoming bench-bound for the majority of the season. Watching on as QPR became rooted to the foot of the table and subsequently relegated.

Whilst all of this was occurring, Green's former club, West Ham were achieving Premier League safety and pushing for a top ten finish. All in all, not the wisest decision from Mr. Green.

Right-back: Maicon | Manchester City

Maicon was once one of the most effective attacking right-backs in Europe and contributed significantly to Inter Milan’s treble success back in 2010. However, in recent years his level of performance has considerably dropped. His defensive frailties were visible first hand for the British audience, as Gareth Bale destroyed him during the 2010/11 Champions League campaign.

Since then, his demise has coincided with Inter's drop down the Serie A hierarchy, and eventually found himself subject to a £3m move to Manchester City. For a player who lacked such defensive ability, despite the fact he is a defender, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for him to cope with the wide talent within the Premier League. With players such as Bale, Eden Hazard and Theo Walcott eyeing up the challenge.

The impressive form of Pablo Zabaleta has seen him become frozen out of the City squad. His move from Inter was always going to be an uphill struggle for a player in such decline, and it seems a difficult task for him to resurrect his Manchester City career.

Centre-back: Daniel Carrico | Reading

The former Sporting Lisbon captain arrived in January to act as the noble saviour for Reading’s relegation woes. However, it hasn't quite gone as planned for former Portuguese U21 international.

Following an injury-hit first campaign on English soil, Carrico has been limited to just three Premier League appearances, contributing to no clean sheets during those appearances, and subsequently finding himself on the sidelines for both Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins.

Unfortunate for Carrico, as there was such excitement from Reading fans who were anticipating the prospect of seeing a club captain, from a fairly high profile club like Sporting Lisbon, grace the Madjeski Stadium turf. 

Centre-back: Christopher Samba | QPR

It is no coincidence that there has been a considerable inclusion of QPR signings within this XI. It is a combination of excessive spending and subsequent lack of success that has triggered the inclusion of so many of their players.

Christopher Samba was signed in January to tighten up a defence, which had been leaking goals throughout the season. Unfortunately, a combination of a hefty transfer fee, considerable wage packet and inconsistent performances led to constant questioning from QPR fans and even led to a backlash of abuse via twitter following the 3-2 loss to Fulham.

This led to Samba offering an online apology regarding his performance and much needed support from Harry Redknapp to try and restore faith in him as a player. Not the most pleasant experience for the man who was signed to transform a weak back-four and contribute to the safety of the club. 

Left-back: Jose Bosingwa | QPR

Going from Champions League winner with Chelsea, to relegation bound with QPR was certainly a fall from grace for Jose Bosingwa.

The free transfer from Chelsea seemed to be reaching the twilight of his career, but Hughes felt he could still offer some vital top level experience to his QPR side. However, it soon became apparent to the footballing world that Bosingwa wasn't really 'all that.'

His inconsistent performances, combined with his off-the-field issues with newly appointed Redknapp, meant he became a weakness to an already fragile QPR back-four - contributing to just three clean sheets over the course of the season. 

The end of season incident featuring him laughing following QPR's relegation epitomised his lack of affection with the club, and a lack of concern over their current situation.

Right-wing: Oussama Assaidi | Liverpool

It seemed as if Oussama Assaidi was a real bargain for Liverpool at just £3m. With a proven record at both club level for Heerenveen and international level for Morocco, it seemed as if he would be able to offer Brendan Rogers a real outlet in the wide areas.

However, after being limited to just four Premier League appearances, Assaidi hasn't had the positive impact on the field as Rogers initially desired. Following the recruitment of Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho in January, it has become apparent that his chances of figuring across the front line for Liverpool remain limited.

Centre-midfielder: Jack Rodwell | Manchester City

It was an unusual season, in terms of signings, for Manchester City. They had gone from the marquee signings of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri, to a predominant focus on squad and fringe signings in the summer of 2012.

Jack Rodwell proved to be one of those fringe signings. The surprising £15m acquisition from Everton was a significant gamble based on his injury-ravaged career. The season started relatively well for the Englishman, who had featured in key Premier League and Champions League fixtures.

However, following a series of costly errors and unfortunate injuries, Rodwell found it difficult to regain his place in the centre of midfield. Finding himself behind the consistent pairing of Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry. Finishing with just 14 appearances and no goals over the course of the 2012/13 season.

Fortunately for Rodwell, at just 22 years of age, time is on his side. But failing to battle frequent injuries will inevitably shorten his career at City and dent any hopes of fulfilling his unquestionable potential for both club and country.

Centre-midfielder: Alou Diarra | West Ham United

Alou Diarra was somewhat of a mysterious figure within the West Ham camp. Having signed as an experienced figure and seasoned French international, it was of the impression that Diarra would be the next tough tackling enforcer within the Hammers midfield.

However, his time at West Ham seemed to disintegrate over a short period of time. Following a poor impact on the field and injury troubles off it, Diarra surprisingly requested a transfer away from Upton Park. Sam Allardyce swiftly reacted by immediately loaning him to Rennes in January, after just making just five appearances in all competitions for the Hammers.

Diarra went on to blame a "well known" agent for "making false promises in order to lure him to Upton Park". Not a pleasant experience for all parties involved.

Left-wing: Scott Sinclair | Manchester City

Following Swansea City's success in their maiden Premier League campaign, it became no secret that Scott Sinclair wanted to test himself on a bigger stage and soon forced a move away from the Liberty Stadium. Clubs such as Liverpool and Spurs were being linked with the Englishman. However, it came as a shock that newly crowned English champions, Manchester City, were in the hunt to sign the wide-man.

He soon signed for £6m, immediately raising the question as to where he will fit in within the squad. The lack of wingers within the City squad meant that, in order to accommodate Sinclair, Roberto Mancini had to alter his trusted formation.

However, Mancini seemed unwilling to do this and instead stuck with attacking midfielders Samir Nasri and David Silva to cut in from their flanks. This inevitably led to Sinclair watching City participate in a trophyless season from the sidelines. He went on to make just nine Premier League appearances, only two of which as a starter.

Ironically, during the same season in which Swansea lifted the Capital One Cup. Not exactly how Sinclair initially saw his move to Manchester ending up.

Striker: Pavel Pogrebnyak | Reading

The position of striker caused a dilemma. Who to pick? Emmanuel Adebayor or Pavel Pogrebnyak? In the end, I felt that the end of season importance of Adebayor's goals inevitably led to the inclusion of Pogrebnyak in the flop XI.

Following his successful loan move to Fulham during the 2011/12 season, it seemed as if Pogrebnyak had all the potential to become a seasoned Premier League striker.

This led to a transfer tug-of-war between Fulham and Reading. Eventually, Reading were willing to pay his £65,000-a-week wage packet. The Royals were certainly hoping Pogrebnyak would fit the billing of club talisman, and this seemed to be the case in the early stages of the season. Scoring on his debut v Chelsea and 3 goals in three Capital One Cup fixtures.

However, just five goals in 21 Premier League appearances highlights that his lack of game time has significantly contributed to his lack of success on the pitch. Largely due to needless red cards and persistent injury.

Adam Le Fondre, who often came of the bench to offer Reading much needed firepower up front, frequently overshadowed him.

Following Readings relegation, Pogrebnyak has since hinted at a move away from the club, after completing just one of his four years in his contract. Readings potential talisman not quite fulfilling his potential. 

Striker: Danny Graham | Sunderland

A player, like Scott Sinclair, who saw his future away from Swansea City. And, like Sinclair, Danny Grahams move to the North hasn't quite unfolded as he initially planned. 

His lack of game time for Swansea - largely due to the impressive form of Michu - led to Graham handing in a transfer request away from the Liberty Stadium. Subsequently leading to a controversial transfer to Sunderland. Controversy being based around the fact that he has a strong affiliation and attachment to boyhood club, Newcastle United.

Initially, Graham struggled to get into the Sunderland team thanks to the performances of Steven Fletcher. However, following a season ending injury to Fletcher, the striking responsibilities were forced upon Graham. It's fair to say that since then, Graham hasn't quite filled the boots left by Fletcher. 

Eleven appearances without a goal has since led to Sunderland fans already questioning the move. Hopefully for all parties involved, Graham will be able to find his shooting boots during the pre-season, and subsequently rebuild his Sunderland career at the start of the 2013/14 campaign.


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Jose Bosingwa
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