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Flop XI of the Weekend

SENIOR ANALYST
29 Apr 2013, 20:11 IST

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League

It’s all well and good seeing who is the best of the weekend but how about the worst. This is not a team you want to be getting in to.

Donkey Team of the Weekend: Newcastle United
Newcastle put in a performance which was beyond disgraceful in losing 6-0 at home to a Liverpool team with nothing to play for in their first home showing since the humiliation against Sunderland. Unfortunately for those concerned, they will wear their colours.

Joel Robles – Wigan Athletic Robles was directly responsible for gifting Spurs an early lead in a game that ended 2-2. He displayed a calmness which over spilled in to complacency and carelessness as a daft exchange of penalty box passes near to Gareth Bale resulted in the concession of a goal as he tried chipping it out only to hit the sole of Bale’s boot. Joe Hart only just escapes this after his latest clanger because it didn’t affect the result of a game with no importance whilst Robles cost his team the chance to escape the bottom three.

Bacary Sagna – Arsenal Sagna had 30 seconds where he not only lost his head but lost Arsenal two points. The Gunners had dominated Manchester United for the whole of the first half before Sagna intervened. He played a blind backwards pass which was hopelessly under hit straight in to the path of van Persie who started heading for the box. Mertesacker seemed to have quelled the danger before Sagna sythed through van Persie to give away a lamentable penalty.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League

Steven Taylor – Newcastle United Media often wonder why Taylor isn’t in the England reckoning and why he has never left the club. Well, the truth is that he’s not very good. The terror he displayed when ‘defending’ the rampaging Coutinho for Liverpool’s third and killer goal was pathetic and it was damning that all bar one Liverpool goal came straight through the middle of the defence.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – Newcastle United If Newcastle had been operating with a back three you could have been forgiven for thinking you were watching the Marx brothers but as it is we’ll settle for the Chuckle Brothers. Yanga-Mbiwa would be the Paul to Taylor’s Barry, hopelessly following the terrible instructions of his partner. His defending for the first Liverpool goal was much funnier than anything the Chuckle brothers could hope to write and it only got worse from there. All it needed to top it off was one of them spilling paint on another or hitting one with a plank. The sight of a Liverpool player running at them left both defenders in to an extended ‘to me to you’ routine which inevitably lead to goals. Six of them. At home. To Liverpool. Without Suarez.

Daniel Fox – Southampton Fox is no replacement for young superstar in the making Luke Shaw and he showed why against West Brom. He spent most of his game ‘defending’ against only West Brom right back Steven Reid with much of the attack flowing down the West Brom left, and still had a hard time. In the end he compunded his showing with a ridiculous red carded two foot lunge on Reid.

Cheick Tiote – Newcastle United What on earth has happened to Tiote? 18 months ago he was being talked about as the future of the Manchester United midfield. Now, he’s getting overwhelmed by Jordan Henderson. His passing was awful, his tackling non existent and he could have been sent off at least once.

James Perch – Newcastle United Perch is a right back. At best, a Championship right back. But for Newcastle he plays in central midfield. How’s that going? Well, in order to accommodate him Pardew moved Yohan Cabaye forward in to an area of the field where he hardly saw any ball. The Frenchman doesn’t have the pace or inventiveness to play number 10. As a result of this strange move, the Magpies lost the passing and defensive shield that Cabaye offers deep and they were decimated by Liverpool as a result. Perch was terrible and also missed a sitter of a header.

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Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal It’s easy to criticise Ramsey, and I’m not about to spurn the chance to. Whenever he plays, Arsenal look slow and cumbersome. They managed to get past that early on, mostly because of their impressive frenzied high pressing, but as that faded into more of a possession pattern game, Ramsey’s limitations were obvious. He takes too long to pick too negative a pass. His defensive work was decent, and he led the high-pressing well but it’s impossible to look over his awful decision when through on goal just after the first Arsenal goal. He had a choice of passing to Podolski who had a worse angle and men around him or a wide open Theo Walcott who had just scored from the exact same spot. He chose Podolski and then over-hit the pass.

Nani – Manchester United
Talking of ‘what’s happened to him?’. Nani was woeful. Again. Hauled off after offering nothing, he looks less than a shadow of last year when he was the club’s Player of the Year. Baffling.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League

Marouane Fellaini – Everton This is the harshest selection, as Fellaini only gets in after one shocking miss, but it really was awful. He missed when presented with a Leighton Baines cross 4 yards from an open goal which he bounced into the ground and over. It might have cost them the win if Fulham offered any threat.

Adel Taarabt – QPR When Harry Redknapp got the job he pinpointed Adel Taarabt as the man who would dig his side out of trouble. He pointed to his creativity and ability to make something happen out of the ordinary. The thing is though, he can’t. He does the same thing every time; dip his shoulder, move in to space, blast a shot wide and high. That he was hauled off after 67 dire minutes in a 0-0 which QPR needed to win says it all.

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