Premier League: The Three Most Disappointing Star Players This Season

We’re well into the 2016/17 campaign, and it’s been a whirlwind campaign already with so many intriguing storylines emerging since it kicked off in August.

There have been some real highs for some clubs.

Whether it was when Chelsea thumped Manchester United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge, when Liverpool started eyeing the top of the table or Dimitri Payet’s wonderful solo goal against Middlesbrough at the Olympic Stadium, a handful of moments have stood out.

That said, there have also been more than a few downs along the way for certain English top-flight figures.

 

Paul Pogba

His arrival at Old Trafford was supposed to act as the catalyst for Manchester United’s return to the top of British football, but reality hasn’t followed suit with the hopes and dreams of the Stretford End faithful.

The French international has blown more cold than hot this season, and that’s not something a Red Devil can be found guilty of too much before he ultimately becomes a scapegoat for the fans.

He was anonymous against Chelsea away from home, mediocre against Manchester City in the League Cup and hardly produced anything of note – except one single good cross – against Liverpool.

He was hardly much more effective during their scoreless draw with Burnley, either.

Across the board, the ex-Juventus playmaker’s performances have been well below the expected level and it’s quickly becoming a serious problem for the club to deal with.

It’s his duty to link the play, be a powerful force from the midfield and carry the team as their kingpin, but he has fallen miserably below that mark.

Patience is running low – will he turn things around with a series of stellar displays soon? Time will tell.

 

Jamie Vardy

Last season was an incredible high for all the Leicester City players and their fans, and although Riyad Mahrez was the Foxes’ PFA Players of the Year, Jamie Vardy was perhaps the most outstanding individual success story of all.

This term, though, Claudio Ranieri’s charges have not hit the same heights and Vardy has been particularly off-key, netting on less than a handful of occasions this season.

There are no real signs that the England international will come anywhere near the impressive goal haul he managed last time around, and an 11-game consecutive scoring streak seems highly unlikely also.

Admirers will suggest that it was always going to be more difficult for the reigning champions to come close to their fairytale, and that Vardy can still become an attacking force to be reckoned with once they finally adapt to their congested fixture list and increased responsibility.

That hasn’t stopped the likes of Alan Shearer from chiming in with criticism. Still, though, knowing the type of character Vardy is, he’ll only be happy once he starts scoring a lot more regularly.

 

John Stones

Pep Guardiola’s City started the season incredibly well and were the toast of the country for the opening six matches, but now that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has hit a turbulent patch, many are starting to question him.

Whether or not he’ll prove a success is no longer a certainty for so many and having shown Joe Hart and Samir Nasri the exit door, there are question marks hanging over the collective futures of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and even Sergio Aguero.

Arguably the most intriguing subplot to all of this, however, has been the unconvincing displays of City’s backline, and in particular John Stones.

Drafted in over the summer from Everton, Stones was expected to become a significant cornerstone in the foundations of the Toffees, but he hasn’t been able to assert himself in the same way some of Guardiola’s former protégé’s have.

 

Written by Trevor Murray

Follow Trevor on Twitter @TrevorM90

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