There is a reason why the Barclays Premier League is the most exciting top-flight league in the world. Its fast, its full of drama on and off the pitch and they boast the most expensive line-up of players that can be found anywhere on the planet.
However, there are some players who are simply not living up to the hype. Frankly, they owe us a bit more than we are getting right now. Here are the 10 players who need to give their clubs a refund after 25 games in the 2014/15 season.
1. MARIO BALOTELLI – LIVERPOOL
2014/2015 League Stats – 13 appearances, 1 goal, 0 assists, goals per game: 0.08
After losing the mercurial Luis Suarez in the summer transfer window, Liverpool needed to act fast to replace him. The best answer they could come up with was “Super” Mario. This has proven so far to be the wrong answer in every way. The only thing they replaced was the “mercurialness”. He lacks the pace to keep up with the attack, he seems to only get in the way of his fellow forwards and he just does not look like a happy camper. Brendan Rodgers has finally had the blinkers torn away and has relegated the striker to the position of not-so-super sub. Liverpool fans will be glad to see the back of this guy.
2. RADAMEL FALCAO – MANCHESTER UNITED
2014/2015 League Stats – 16 appearances, 4 goals, 4 assists, goals per game: 0.25
United fans were going crazy when the news broke on transfer deadline day that “El Tigre” was on his way to Old Trafford. So far, the tiger looks more like a newborn kitten. While he has had his injury problems and is getting used to life in the premier league, he has looked far from comfortable. He has missed a series of easy scoring chances, is easily dislodged from the ball and seems a bit timid when being challenged. Currently costing the Red Devils £250,000 per week on his loan deal; the only positive right now is that he can be sent back from whence he came and be written off as an expensive mistake.
3. ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN – ARSENAL
2014/2015 League Stats – 21 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist, goals per match: 0.05
Many Arsenal fans would not complain about the work rate of the aptly named “Ox”. However, more was expected of this highly talented speedster. One would suspect that he would’ve made more of the absence of Theo Walcott to stake his claim in the squad. Walcott, after a long injury layoff, has already knocked in two goals in the league. Right now the Ox may need to swap his boots for a pair of spikes as track and field seems more his game.
4. JACK WILSHERE – ARSENAL
2014/2015 League Stats – 9 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist, goals per match: 0.11
Not only is he a disappointment to Arsenal but also for England who has really been pining for a new young leader in their midfield. Known for smoking more off the pitch than on it, this player is certainly showing that he cannot make the grade. His last notable contribution for the Gunners was a foolish claim that he had been spit on by Marouane Fellaini during their losing clash against Manchester United in November. I’d suggest that Arsene Wenger give this lad a pack of Benson and Hedges and send him on his way.
5. ROSS BARKLEY – EVERTON
2014/2015 League Stats – 17 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist, goals per game: 0.06
After the 2013/14 season, Ross Barkley was the pick of the litter. His whirlwind season prompted interest from top European Clubs, among them Manchester United and Real Madrid. This season was expected to be a breakout season for the youngster, but so far he has failed to really stamp his name on things at Goodison Park. Then again, Everton as a unit seems a little off the boil after last season’s lofty exploits.
6. ANGEL DI MARIA – MANCHESTER UNITED
2014/2015 League Stats – 17 appearances, 3 goals, 7 assists, 108 crosses, goals per game: 0.18
The reigning Argentine Footballer of The Year and Champions League final Man of the Match came into Old Trafford as the most expensive player in British football history. With him came high expectations of thrilling creativity and goals from the maestro who wears the legendary number 7. His start in England has been a mixed bag. Coming off injured after 70 mins in his debut at Burnley, scoring in his home debut then falling injured soon after and now suffering a dip in form. His play seems inexplicable at times, either holding the ball for extraordinary lengths with no end result or sending in a barrage of crosses and shots that have no aim. Some may blame the tactics of LVG – who has played him outside his favoured role on the left, but he sometimes has the 1000 yard stare of a man on another planet. Looks like when they broke into his home recently the only thing stolen was his mojo.
7. DANNY WELBECK – ARSENAL
2014/2015 League Stats – 17 appearances, 4 goals, 2 assists, goals per game: 0.21
The most disappointed people on earth on summer transfer deadline day were the fans piled up at the Emirates as news broke that their beloved Gunners had sprung for Danny Welbeck. The former Red Devil had failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and was summarily shipped off to London with barely a shrug from United fans. Welbeck started the season lively, almost making United fans rue the transfer. Recently, he has failed to inspire and has helped to solidify Olivier Giroud’s status as the go-to-guy in the striking role. United fans say: “Par for the Course”. Gunner fans say: “Sigh!”
8. ELIAQUIM MANGALA – MANCHESTER CITY
2014/2015 League Stats – 14 appearances, 1 own goals, 8 blocks
The French defender came in to the City lineup amidst a flurry of high praise. He was expected to stand beside Vincent Kompany and form an impregnable wall that City would use to keep out all attacking threats while their vaunted attack made mince meat of opposing defenses. Well, that didn’t work out as planned. Mangala has been shaky and uncertain in his positional play and has been a step behind on many occasions. As a newcomer to the league, he will have to adapt quickly to the pace if he is to avoid the scrap heap.
9. ROBIN VAN PERSIE – MANCHESTER UNITED
2014/2015 League Stats – 23 appearances, 10 goals, 2 assists, goals per game: 0.43
The Dutchman is United’s top scorer after 25 league games. Sounds good right? Not surprising right? But when you consider that United’s top scorer has only 10 goals; the picture seems a little more grim. RVP netted 26 goals in his first season with the Devils, winning his 1st league title in the process. Things have gone downhill from there. The grey hairs that the prolific striker now sport seem to be a clear manifestation that he has seen better days. He his a step too slow, his positioning is off and the lack of service often sees him cutting a lonely figure up front. His frustration has brought out a mean streak which sees him getting into more frequent altercations. Unless RVP starts piling on the goals… He will be out the Old Trafford door. I guarantee it.
10. WILFRIED ZAHA – CRYSTAL PALACE
2014/2015 League Stats – 18 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist, goals per game: 0.06
Premier League life has been unfair to the lad. Brought to Old Trafford by Sir Alex Ferguson and hailed as the next of United’s great wingers; he quickly fell down the pecking order. With barely a chance to prove himself under David Moyes and ruled as surplus to requirements by Louis Van Gaal, it has been frustrating. Zaha is now back “home” at Palace and hopefully he will settle and find the form that had the big clubs salivating.