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With a quarter of the season gone,

We have had enough games to make early verdicts on various topics in the Premier League.

Top 10 biggest Premier League flops of the season so farThe plaudits for the top performers this season have been well documented. Here is the verdict for those that have turned in the most disappointing performances this season. Behold our top 10 Premier League flops of the season so far (in no particular order):

1. Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea

Chelsea’s vice-captain has become such a liability for Jose Mourinho that he is now a target for opponents coming up against Chelsea. Every winger with decent pace has troubled Ivanovic this season.

The once Mr Reliable suddenly looks bereft of all his powers that made him one of the league’s most consistent right backs in seasons past. Having made the wrong end of 30, there will be genuine concern at Stamford Bridge that the Serbian could be well on his way to a terminal decline.

2. Patrick van Aanholt – Sunderland

Van Aanholt has not made the progress that many expected since joining Sunderland in July 2014. The Black Cats continue to be exposed on the left by any half decent runner at van Aanholt. A year to settle should have reaped much more from the former Chelsea player.

Admittedly, injury problems have kept him from making a consistent claim for the left back position at Sunderland but at five appearances in all competitions this season (four in the league), the Dutchman has a job on his hands to prove to Sam Allardyce that he can hold his own in the starting XI.

3. John Terry – Chelsea

When Jose Mourinho sought to shut Chelsea up in January and drag them to the title, John Terry was the man he turned to, just as he has always done in the past. Chelsea’s ‘Captain, Leader and Legend’ played every minute of the title-winning campaign last season and the effects of that appears to have caught up with him.

He was brought off at half time in Chelsea’s defeat at the Etihad earlier in the season and has regained his place in the side mostly because of a lack of a better replacement. His waned powers are another facet that explains the general collapse at Chelsea this season so far.

4. Nemanja Matic – Chelsea

Another current league champion whose trajectory has followed that of his club. There were periods during last season when Nemanja Matic threatened the heights of Claude Makelele at Chelsea. The Serb owned the defensive midfield role so much so that it was not uncommon to hear phrases like ‘Matic role’ being used by pundits to illustrate their points.

However, like many variables at Chelsea, this season has seen a nosedive of his abilities on the pitch, at least according to his manager. The humiliation he suffered against Southampton, when he was withdrawn within 25 minutes of coming on as a substitute illustrated the difference in importance to his manager this season.

Perhaps the most crucial difference is Matic’s failure to make clean but effective tackles and escape bookings this season. His two quick yellow cards at Upton Park recently summed up the early season form of a player who has it in himself to dominate the centre of the park like any other in world football.

5. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United

Wayne Rooney retains his admirers. However, for the first time, one can confidently say that not many Manchester United fans would frown at his inclusion in this list. Indeed, most would have him among the first names on the list. Like Hazard, Wayne is also a victim of his lofty standards. He retains an influence on United’s games and, like Memphis Depay, has looked close to rediscovering his form when United have come up against mediocre opposition.

Whereas the England captain retains the confidence of his managers both at club and country level, there is a genuine concern that his decline is leaning towards the trajectory of a terminal one as opposed to the usual periods of bad form. What is more certain is that he is not misplaced in a list of under performers in the league so far.

6. Memphis Depay – Manchester United

That Louis van Gaal is frantically searching all of Europe for a fast-paced winger is testament to the failure of Memphis Depay to step up to his manager’s expectations this season so far. Jesse Lingard, who is a year older, has now edged ahead of him in the pecking order and the Dutchman appears to have a battle on his hands to regain his place between now and when that fast paced winger eventually arrives at Old Trafford.

More than anything, it is the adjustment to the higher level in England that has held Memphis back. His abilities are unquestioned but abilities in England count for little if you cannot translate them into anecdotal nightmares for defenders. Until then, he fully merits his place in this list.

7. Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea

In context, Cesc Fabregas’ poor form for Chelsea can be traced back to the turn of the year. The burst of assists at the start of last season through to Christmas had laid him down firmly as the early favourite for signing of the season. He remains such an integral part of Mourinho’s set up Chelsea that his slump has coincided with his side’s decline.

Indeed, Chelsea are unlikely to recover from their shocking start to the season without a similar recovery from Fabregas. His form and Chelsea’s fate seem intertwined for as long as Mourinho keeps him a member of his first team.

8. Radamel Falcao – Chelsea

We were led to believe that it wasn’t all his fault at Manchester United last season. That Louis van Gaal’s methods did not play to the strengths of Europe’s best striker once upon a time. Jose Mourinho played his part. In what would have been an astute piece of management, the Chelsea boss talked up Falcao in pre-season, stating his disappointment with the perception that his latest signing had lost a lot of his old self after that ACL injury.

It turns out, the perceptions were not wide of the mark. Falcao is a shadow of the striker he was before his knee-ligaments injury. One goal with a third of the season gone is testament to his waned powers. It’s a rate of scoring that more or less matches the one that saw his loan move to United fail to translate into a permanent one. There is little to suggest that Chelsea still hold out hope for him this season.

9. Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Strange territory for the reigning Player of the Year in England’s top division. His personal high standards are the reason he makes this list. If the Champions are in a slump and are looking for inspiration from someone to dig them out of a hole, then Hazard is supposed to be that player. That he has failed to live up to that expectation marks him down as an early season flop although his performances have improved in the last few matches.

10. Roberto Firmino – Liverpool

You have to go back to the euphoria surrounding this signing to acquaint oneself with the context of failure in which Roberto Firmino is being judged so far. He was the big money signing from Hoffenheim for whom Liverpool had apparently beaten of competition from, among others, Manchester United.

Two goals and a string of average performances later and it’s already looking like another expensive gamble by the infamous Transfer Committee at Liverpool. However, he retains the benefit of the doubt especially now that Jurgen Klopp is in charge of the side.

Originally published at oneshotfootball.com

Post written by Chrispus Mutabuuza
for One Shot Football, Blog: One Shot Football, Twitter: @O_S_Football

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