The 2021/22 Premier League season will go down as one of the greatest in history.
Fans were back in the stadiums and there was entertainment on pitches across the country from start to finish.
So, now that the dust has settled on the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, it’s time for people to give their opinion on the best and worst individual performers.
When it comes to the best, the same names crops up – Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Heung-min Son, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, you get the picture.
But when it comes to the worst, opinions differ greatly and they are often far more controversial.
And the clearest proof of that is Ian Darke’s ‘worst Premier League XI of the 2021/22 season’.
Take a look at the XI in full…
The ‘worst Premier League XI of the season’
Ian Darke names his worst Premier League XI of the season 🤐 pic.twitter.com/vtc9Zv9YQT— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 25, 2022
The XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd), Raphael Varane (Man Utd), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), Junior Firpo (Leeds Utd), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd), Paul Pogba (Man Utd), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd).
Erm, yeah, that’s a pretty bold XI.
Here’s what Darke had to say about each player selected…
The reasons behind Darke’s controversial XI
On Kepa: “The most expensive goalkeeper in the world was a distant second to Edouard Mendy at Stamford Bridge. Then when brought on as a ‘shoot-out specialist’ substitute in the Carabao Cup final, he failed to make a single save and then missed his own spot kick as Liverpool won 11-10 on pens.
On Wan-Bissaka: “The £50 million right-back lost his way and his place to Diogo Dalot in United’s calamitous season.“
On Maguire: “Often excellent for England, he looked a shadow of himself for United. Cruelly and wrongly booed at Wembley, expect him to bounce back. The disappointment of losing the Euro 2020 final and United’s struggles undoubtedly hit his confidence.“
On Varane: “The arrival of one of the most-decorated players in the game today was universally acclaimed as a coup, but his first season at Old Trafford ended with him spending plenty of time out injured and the club conceding more goals than relegated Burnley.“
On Firpo: “Signed from Barcelona, he failed to win many friends among the Elland Road faithful. Part of the Premier League’s second-leakiest defence, which gave up 79 goals.“
On Pogba: “Almost the ‘invisible man’ at Old Trafford and seemingly on his way out. The obvious talent he displays frequently for France has rarely been seen in a United shirt. Mostly injured.“
On Kante: “A vital cog at Stamford Bridge and still a top player, but a series of injuries saw him only start have of the games in a frustrating season. His frequent absences were a big reason Chelsea lost momentum, as Thomas Tuchel admitted last week.“
On Fernandes: “Seemed to be inhibited by Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival and never looked the same player who starred with goals and assists last season. Cut a frustrated figure. Getting a tune from him a key task for new boss Erik ten Hag.“
On Rashford: “No apologies for so many United players in this team of ‘disappointments’. Frequently left out, he looked bereft of confidence and belief. Body language spoke volumes. Needs a manager who believes in him again.”
On Lukaku:”After a stellar title-winning season at Inter Milan, he was seen as the last £97.5m piece in the Chelsea jigsaw. But he has looked a misfit and a match at Crystal Palace when he had only seven touches rather summed up a mysteriously poor campaign.“
On Lacazette: “A sad final chapter to his Gunners career. Scored only one Premier League goal in open play and lost his place to Edward Nketiah.“
Fair play, Ian. Just don’t expect everyone to agree with your selections…