Foster, Pogba, Benteke: Premier League’s ‘ineffective XI’ for 21/22 has been named

Paul Pogba

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.

Foster was relegated with Watford
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 23: Ben Foster of Watford FC looks dejected following their side’s defeat in the Premier League match between Manchester City and Watford at Etihad Stadium on April 23, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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.

Canos underwhelmed for Brentford
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – MARCH 12: Sergi Canos of Brentford encourages the fans during the Premier League match between Brentford and Burnley at Brentford Community Stadium on March 12, 2022 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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.

Amartey was relied on too much
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Daniel Amartey of Leicester City looks on during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City at Molineux on February 20, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Kane to replace Mane? (Football Terrace)

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.

Perraud has been poor
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – APRIL 16: Romain Perraud of Southampton clears the ball during the Premier League match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium on April 16, 2022 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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.

Rashica has been disappointing for Norwich
NORWICH, ENGLAND – MARCH 05: Milot Rashica of Norwich City in action during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Brentford at Carrow Road on March 05, 2022 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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.

Cork tackles Jacob Ramsey
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – MAY 19: Jacob Ramsey of Aston Villa is tackled by Jack Cork of Burnley during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Burnley at Villa Park on May 19, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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.

Pogba looks on in despair for United
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: Paul Pogba of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford on February 26, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

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.

McNeill has disappointed for Burnley
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 23: Dwight McNeil of Burnley runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on February 23, 2022 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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.

Sargent rues a missed chance
LEEDS, ENGLAND – MARCH 13: Josh Sargent of Norwich City reacts during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Norwich City at Elland Road on March 13, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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.

Benteke misses a chance vs Leeds
LEEDS, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 30: Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace reacts after a missed chance during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Crystal Palace at Elland Road on November 30, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

QUIZ – How well do you remember the 21/22 Premier League season?

1 of 20
Ilkay Gundogan

We’ll start with an easy one – who provided the assist for Ilkay Gundogan’s title winning goal?

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