Premier League: 5 Players Who Have Disappointed This Season

Paul Pogba

Pogba’s £89 million arrival in the summer, a world-record transfer, was seen as a move that made Manchester United favourites for the Premier League crown this season.

The Frenchman’s powerful performances for both Juventus and France made him one of the most sought-after players in world football and United fans had every reason to be excited about their club finally securing his services.

However, Pogba has failed to adapt early to the high intensity of the Premier League.

Admittedly, manager Jose Mourinho has recently been playing Pogba out of position in central attacking-midfield as United adopted more defensive line-ups, given the strength of the opponents they have been facing over the past few weeks.

And given the form of chief creator Juan Mata, it would make sense for Mourinho to move Pogba back to central midfield so that he can dictate play more often.

This was evident during the 4-1 home victory against Leicester, when both Pogba and Mata played in their natural positions and in doing so, each scored and produced excellent displays.

United need Pogba back in this sort of mood if the Red Devils are to turn their fortunes around, especially in the league.

 
Jamie Vardy

Last year’s Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Vardy, who was so prolific during Leicester’s title triumph, has struggled to hit the heights of last campaign.

Vardy is currently on a barren run of nine games without a goal in all competitions and his having his place in the side under the threat from new signing Islam Slimani.

Vardy turned down a tempting offer from Arsenal during the summer to commit his future to Leicester, yet his side have suffered a poor start to their defence of the title, sitting 12th in the table with just 11 points from just nine games.

This has partly been due to the lack of goals coming from Vardy.

Why the 29 year-old has suffered a slump of form is up for debate. The lack of regular starts for himself and Riyad Mahrez, with whom he shared such a devastating partnership last season, has meant that Leicester’s attack has lacked bite, especially against the big teams so far.

However, after a tough start, Leicester do have some easier games on the horizon and they will be hoping that Vardy will return to form sooner rather than later.

 
Nacho Monreal

This one could be up for debate, yet plenty of Arsenal fans could be forgiven for being concerned over left-back Monreal’s recent form.

The Spaniard was one of the most consistent performers last season as his composure in defence, combined with his experience led to him becoming one of the most reliable defenders in the league.

Stats such as Monreal’s total interceptions of 106 last season – the second most from any Premier League defender – prove just how impressive he was.

Yet Monreal has failed to show the same level of consistency this season, as Arsenal’s last two home league games prove.

The first of which, against Swansea, he suffered a torrid time at the hands of Modou Barrow, whose pace and trickery caused all sorts of problems down the left-hand side. This was evident in the build up to Swansea’s second goal, as the Gambian went past Monreal with ease to set up Borja Baston, who slotted home.

Monreal had similar problems against Adama Traore in the Gunners’ last home match against Middlesbrough.

Although Arsenal had their customary domination of possession during the match it was, in fact, Boro who created the best opportunities, spearheaded by Traore. Monreal was caught out of position several times during Boro counter-attacks and was thankful that Petr Cech pulled off the saves he did to keep Arsenal in the match.

Arsenal, who have a good defensive record this season, will want Monreal to return to his past form in order to boost their title chances.

And with substitute left-back Keiran Gibbs performing well in cup matches, Monreal’s stint as a regular starter could be coming to an end if he does not arrest his current slide.

 
Wilfried Bony

After enjoying an excellent start to his Premier League career at Swansea, Bony’s £25 million move to Manchester City in January 2015 failed to live up to expectations.

Given the form of Sergio Aguero, Bony could not nail down a starting spot in the first team. That prompted a loan move to Stoke City on transfer deadline day.

Many were of the notion that Bony would regain his form with the Potters, as his strength and link-up play would combine well with Stoke’s creative talent.

However, in six his league games so far this season, Bony has failed to get on the score sheet, with Stoke getting off to a poor start, lying 16th in the table.

With Mame Biram Diouf returning to full fitness and Peter Crouch already scoring three goals in the EFL Cup, manager Mark Hughes could be tempted to replace either one for Bony in the starting eleven if the Ivorian does not find the goalscoring prowess that made him such a hit at Swansea City.

 

Daniel Sturridge

There is little doubt that Sturridge is seen at Liverpool as the club’s best finisher, as he showed on Wednesday night with a brace during the win against Tottenham in the EFL Cup.

However, along with his failure to score in the league so far this season, Sturridge’s style of play is not currently matching what Jurgen Klopp desires, therefore leading to him being left out of the side.

The 27 year-old has lost his league place to Roberto Firmino, a player who Klopp sees as more versatile and having more movement for his high-pressing system.

And while Sturridge offers more capable finishing, Klopp’s emphasis on his players finding spaces and winning the ball high up the pitch means that Firmino is starting more and in the process, enjoying success as the single striker.

Perhaps Sturridge’s form in the EFL Cup will boost his chances of returning to the Liverpool starting line-up sooner rather than later. And there will surely be moments during the season when Klopp will require that bit of magic.

Whether Sturridge, after his poor start to the season, will provide that, remains to be seen.

 

Written by Sean Wilson

Follow Sean on Twitter @WilsonFC2012

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