Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for a fourth time in five years following a closely run fight with rivals Liverpool in an epic 2021/22 season.
With the two top sides again finishing in the 90 point range, a top four fight between Tottenham and Arsenal going down to the wire, and a relegation battle that only saw Burnley succumb to the drop and Leeds United survive on the final day, we really did have it all in 2021/22.
But within all the chaos in different areas of the Premier League table, there was of course serial underachievers, which is part of what makes a season so unpredictable and thrilling.
Manchester United’s title charge resulted in a painstaking sixth place finish, Chelsea‘s fell away into a battle for third with nobody else, and Leicester spent the season trying not to fall away from the top half of the table, while the likes of West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton continued to improve.
In and amongst all the drama, are players who have had difficult seasons. Underachieved, if we want to be on the nose about it.
And with the 21/22 season over, Whoscored have deemed it the perfect time to identify the English top flight’s most muted performers, composing an ‘ineffective XI’ based on individual statistics from the season.
Reality hits hard, and for these players, the stats don’t make for pretty reading. Let’s not waste anymore time and get stuck into this XI.
GK – Ben Foster (Watford)
Stat – Worst save success percentage in the Premier League (58.3%)
Ouch. While Foster has been a revelation on the internet with his podcast and ever entertaining YouTube vlogs, the season on the pitch has been anything but great. He has since left Watford upon the expiry of his contract after they were relegated with ease.
RB – Sergi Canos (Brentford)
Stat – Worst pass accuracy in his own half out of all outfielders (69.4%)
While the 2021/22 season was a wildly successful one for Brentford who managed a 13th place finish, Canos couldn’t quite get to grips with the top flight, evidently. Passes in your own half should be the easier part, too. Got to improve next season.
CB – Daniel Amartey (Leicester)
Stat – Most errors leading to a shot out of any outfielder (4)
Leicester had torrid luck with injuries this season, having been forced to play without Johnny Evans and Wesley Fofana for most of the campaign. This meant Amartey – now a squad player at best – was called upon too often, and it unfortunately showed.
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CB – Diego Llorente (Leeds United)
Stat – Worst aerial success out of all centre backs (43.9%)
If there’s one thing you have to get right as a central defender – even if nothing else goes your way – it’s winning the header. Leeds were seriously poor across the pitch and need to improve the quality of their squad drastically to avoid a relegation battle again next season; shoring up their defence is a good start.
LB – Romain Perraud (Southampton)
Stat – Worst cross success of players to attempt 2+ per game (9%)
Nine percent. That’s glaringly bad. Perraud ought to be in the door first for pre-season, purely to spend an extra hour or so whipping balls in from the side of the pitch, because a 9% cross accuracy rate as a modern day full back will not cut it.
RM – Milot Rashica (Norwich)
Stat – Worst dribble success rate in the Premier League (21.9%)
For a winger who arrived at Norwich from the Bundesliga carrying plenty of promise, Rashica came unstuck almost immediately in England. The Canaries looked well off the level immediately and could never catch up. What happens next with Rashica will be telling; if he stays in the Championship with them, that stat needs to improve.
CM – Jack Cork (Burnley)
Stat – Worst tackle completion in the Premier League (35.1%)
For a team previously founded upon hard work and getting joy out of the labours of football – winning duels, smashing through tackles and scoring ugly goals – Cork boasting this stat is rather alarming, and telling of how poor a season Burnley have had. Simply put, they ran out of steam and their tactics finally proved ineffective.
CM – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Stat – Fewest tackles per foul in the Premier League (0.3)
Combined with this is a stat of 2.6 fouls per 90; the second-highest total in the league. Pogba‘s form was disastrous in what was more than likely his final season for a broken United team. One of many horror shows in a season fans of the Red Devils are desperate to forget.
LM – Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
Stat – Most shots without scoring (52)
When he burst onto the scene a few years ago, McNeil looked capable of using Burnley as a stepping stone to carve a path to a competitive, top half side as a young English winger. That early promise has evaporated, though, and his inability to create and score goals is part of the reason Burnley have been relegated. Needs a new lease of life in the Championship.
ST – Josh Sargent (Norwich)
Stat – Worst shot accuracy of all Premier League forwards (12.5%)
It’s not hard to see why Norwich went down when reading stats like these. They put all their stock in the variety of young talent they brought in from further afield, and it hasn’t worked. Sargent has struggled tremendously to adjust from the Bundesliga to the Premier League; his abhorrent firing rate demonstrates that.
ST – Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
Stat – Worst ‘big chance’ conversion percentage in the Premier League (20%)
Benteke hasn’t really looked like much of a goal getter for a number of years now, but his qualities outside of scoring have still proven effective for Crystal Palace in the past. Now under the management of Patrick Vieira, though, Palace look more fluid and effective, meaning the Belgian has essentially become useless without the goals. Time to move on, perhaps.