We're heading into the final stretch of fixtures for the 2020-21 season and some players who have impressed us hugely in the recent past have been underwhelming throughout this term.
Football at the highest level can be a very demanding profession. In such a competitive environment, what separates the best from the rest is consistency. Being able to produce numbers on a regular basis is no mean feat.
It has been a tough season for clubs and players alike as they haven't had the fans egging them on from the sides. But there has not been a severe shortage of excitement or surprises this season and that includes some top players not being able to replicate their incredible form from the seasons prior.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five players who have looked like a shadow of their former selves this season.
#5 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Arsenal
Arsenal's 2020-21 season has gone rather poorly. The Gunners are languishing at ninth in the Premier League table and have lost a total of 13 matches this season. This perhaps has a lot to do with the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had his worst season in years.
Arsenal were heavily reliant on the Gabonese international's goals last season and as his contribution has dwindled this season, the Gunners have stuttered. The 31-year-old has scored just 14 goals and provided two assists in 35 appearances across all competitions this term and in turn, Arsenal have struggled in front of goal.
Aubameyang is not getting any younger and Lacazette is too inconsistent to be relied on a regular basis. Arteta will need to sign a new out-and-out striker at the club before it's too late or they will suffer even more.
#4 Gabriel Jesus - Manchester City
Manchester City announced earlier this month that Sergio Aguero will leave the club after a decade of impeccable service when his contract expires in the summer. What that means is that they will need to find a proven goalscorer to lead the line as Gabriel Jesus just doesn't seem to be at that level.
Manchester City have been flying this season but their goals have come from a lot of players and not primarily Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian has, in fact, had an underwhelming campaign so far. He has scored just 13 goals from 35 appearances across all competitions this term and that's a huge dip from last season.
Jesus has scored just eight goals and provided three assists in the Premier League so far after finishing the 2019-20 season with 14 goals and seven assists to his name.
The 24-year-old lacks finesse in front of goal and a team of Manchester City's standards should be able to have themselves a striker who can guarantee 20 goals in the league alone.
#3 Dele Alli - Tottenham Hotspur
The narrative here will be a bit more lenient as Dele Alli was one of the scapegoats for all of Jose Mourinho's shortcomings at Tottenham Hotspur. Alli will be one of the most relieved players in the Spurs camp now that Jose Mourinho has been given the sack.
The Englishman got off to a flying start under the 'Special One' but was soon ostracized from the squad as his numbers started to dip. A few years back, Alli was one of the most impressive youngsters in the world. He is now 25 and hardly playing for his side.
Hopefully, that will change now. But he has scored just two goals and provided three assists in 21 appearances and all of his goals and assists have come in the Europa League. There's a lot of ability there and we hope Spurs can find a manager who can bring the best out of him.
#2 Sadio Mane - Liverpool
Just a season ago, Liverpool looked like an unstoppable force. Fast forward to the 2020-21 season and a few injuries later, Jurgen Klopp's unit are looking rather average. While losing three of their first-choice centre-backs has definitely added to their troubles, their attackers' underwhelming performances have certainly not helped.
Sadio Mane is the chief culprit while Bobby Firmino has not exactly covered himself in glory either. Mane scored 18 goals and provided seven assists in the Premier League last term. He only has eight goals and five assists in the Premier League this time around.
Worse yet, Mane seems to have lost that chemistry with Salah and seems to consistently make some poor decisions in the final third.
#1 Paulo Dybala - Juventus
From being touted as the successor to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala has almost faded into irrelevance this season. The Argentine's season has been hampered by injury and an inability to fit into Andrea Pirlo's plans at Juventus.
Dybala couldn't break into the starting XI for a while in the beginning of the season. But when he eventually did, he struggled to produce anything of note. Having played just 20 games across all competitions this term, Paulo Dybala has scored just four goals and provided two assists this term.
He has not been able to agree a new deal with Juventus either and is now tipped to depart in the summer. Dybala came close to leaving Juventus in the summer of 2019. But he stayed put and proved how important he is in the 2019-20 season. That's why his fall from grace this season is quite upsetting.