Disclaimer: The author does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any fans with this article. If anyone is offended by the portrayal of the chosen players, the author offers his sincerest apologies.
The likes of Bale, Suarez, Van Persie and Mata have played some tremendous football this season, and have been suitably rewarded with the fans’ appreciation of their skills. However, there exists another set of players who haven’t just flattered to deceive. Indeed, all they have done is turn up and collect their wages. Their performances will not be talked of in songs on the terraces, nor will clubs fight with each other for their signatures once the summer transfer window opens. Yes, they are professional footballers earning thousands of pounds every week, but their football is nothing to write home about. I present to you, the Premier League Worst XI.
Criteria for selection:
Well, it would have been extremely easy to just list the entire QPR squad and get done with things. Never has another squad consisted of so many highly paid mercenaries, and terribly incompetent mercenaries at that. But for diversity’s sake, the Team of the Season (henceforth TOTS) will not contain more than three players from any club.
Selection will depend on two sets of qualifications:
On-field non-performance: The player is just terrible at the game, keeping in mind the expectations at the beginning of the season, and his price tag [if transferred in at the beginning of the season]. Minimum playing time of 500 minutes has to be fulfilled.
Off-field stupidity: The player acts rather strangely at any point during the season, such that it affects his on-field performance in one way or the other. No minimum playing time requirements for such gems.
Now that the guidelines have been laid out, we can work towards building a team of “winners”. The formation will be a fluid and attacking 4-3-3 – as if that would save this team from relegation.
A tough one to begin with. There are two glorious candidates: Adam Federici and Ali Al Habsi. The former conceded a goal every 47.25 minutes, while the latter was even worse with a goal slipping through every 45.82 minutes. That means Reading and Wigan effectively began a game knowing they would concede twice – on average. However, Al Habsi takes the top spot for two reasons: One, for being John ‘’Budgie’’ Burridge’s “discovery” (whatever that is supposed to mean) and two, for having done this against Reading.
Jose Bosingwa – The Portuguese has done it all. From Champions League winner to being the most abused player. An absolute star if there ever was one, with a salary to match. From refusing to play to laughing on being relegated, our man Jose is probably second only to Joey Barton for the most fines paid among the QPR players.
Titus Bramble – A TOTS without Titus Bramble? Are you out of your mind? The lad has everything!
Sebastien Squillaci – Well, sometimes, you have to make exceptions. And for Squillaci, they are made rather easily. Bought for a full £4 million three years ago, Toto has been previously described as “a player who reads the game well and is strong in the air and on the ground.” No wonder he has been a rock in the Arsenal defence, having played a grand total of TEN minutes in the league in the last two seasons.
Roger Espinoza – I confess. The qualifying requirement was brought down to 500 minutes purely to accommodate Espinoza, who has played for 521 minutes as of May 15th, 2013. Brought in by Wigan in January from the MLS (an indicator of his undoubted talent), Espinoza, at left back for Wigan has been a revelation. The man can’t pass more than ten yards, has made 10 crosses in eleven league appearances, and commits less than one foul per game. Truly, a force of nature.
Ji-Sung Park – A fan favourite at Old Trafford, the South Korean grew tired of his squad player persona and wanted more game time. Fair enough. Good old Sparky buys him and makes him captain for a fee potentially worth £5 million. Not bad, eh? Alas, 1262 minutes later, a return of zero goals and three assists means Sir Alex recovered some money from that Bebe transfer.
Samir Nasri – A gem of a player when he can recognise what a football looks like, Nasri is not an enigma; he is just overrated. A goal return not befitting a player bought for £25 million just two years back means that it will be a miracle if he remains at City next season.
Anderson – Surely, there must be a reason behind Anderson’s continued presence at Manchester United. 20 million reasons.
Scott Sinclair – Sinclair had it all at Swansea. Played pretty much every game, scored goals and created chances. Having moved to the Liberty Stadium due to the lack of playing time at Chelsea, Sinclair thought it was the right time to make a move, and forced a move to… Manchester City, a club famous for paying incredibly high wages to players and allowing young and promising players a lot of game time to develop into world class players (sarcasm intended!). Well, it looks like it’s time to move again.
Peter Odemwingie – Incredible things have been known to happen on transfer deadline day, with managers and agents making deals no one saw coming. Odemwingie wanted to be part of Redknapp’s revolution at QPR, and to request a move to QPR has to get you into the TOTS. Wait, not request a move, but to actually drive down to Loftus Road. And then get locked out.
Nikica Jelavic – When you score more goals last season in one third the time played this season, you know you have not just underperformed, but performed incredibly poorly. Jelavic arrived last season in January from Rangers and set Goodison Park on fire. Since then, Jelavic has cooled down a bit. One goal in the last 21 league games has led to the Croatian being replaced by Victor Anichebe up front by David Moyes. And the Toffees thought they had got a natural goalscorer on their hands.
If the aforementioned players aren’t enough to guarantee relegation in record time, one needs the right manager to do the job. That makes Martin O’Neill the best man for the job. What an inspiration.