With questions and concerns growing at one end of the pitch over Wayne Rooney, the form of Matteo Darmian must relieve Manchester United fans. All praise Mr. Dependable...
That's the general consensus in a bumper Mailbox, which says we have reached 'Peak Brendan'. Also, Arsenal don't need a striker, and is Klopp being lined up by Chelsea?
10) Cameron Jerome (Stoke)
'Player has no significant strengths' are the rather damning five words on WhoScored.com about the achingly average Jerome. Somebody should have told Tony Pulis before he paid £4.5m for his services in 2011 as he continued his mission to stockpile average strikers that would never, ever command that fee again. Remember this deal the next time you wonder why Stoke finally lost patience with Pulis. To be fair to Jerome, he mostly scored so low because he never got the ball - only Adam Le Fondre and Markus Rosenberg passed the ball less than Jerome amongst PL regulars this season. When you look at those figures, it's remarkable that Jerome somehow scored three league goals, taking his total for the last three seasons into double figures. Just. Reminder: He cost £4.5m.
9) Dean Whitehead (Stoke)
Unlike his teammate Jerome, Whitehead at least has a strength ('Blocking the ball'), which is presumably why Pulis felt the need to spend £5m on a player who must wake up every day slightly baffled that he is a Premier League footballer. His weaknesses are listed as 'passing' and 'tackling', which can be fuled under 'unfortunate' for a central midfielder. Whitehead's season began with a red card at Reading and never really got any better. He started 12 league games and came off the bench in 14 more but created only eight chances. Whitehead is out of contract this summer; expect him to turn up at Hull.
8) David Vaughan (Sunderland)
Like the man just below him in this list, Vaughan has what we would generously call an interesting face. Unlike the man just below him in this list, Vaughan is massively unlucky to feature at all. The Welsh midfielder has been vastly under-used this season (he has started only six games) and Sunderland were actually unbeaten in the four Premier League matches Vaughan completed. But unfortunately he a) made a massive error against Aston Villa during his three minutes on the pitch for their 6-1 drubbing and b) got rather stupidly sent off on the last day of the season.
7) Shola Ameobi (Newcastle)
There's some suggestion that Ameobi has played his last game for Newcastle. If indeed May 4's 0-0 draw with West Ham was Ameobi's last game for Newcastle, it seems apt that he bowed out with 25 minutes off the bench in which he had a shot (off target), won a couple of balls in the air, lost the ball a few times and gave away a free-kick. Ameobi may have only started four Premier League games but he came off the bench in 19 other games and had a not-inconsiderable 28 efforts at goal. He scored once. Everywhere we look on this list, we see players who may sign for Hull this summer.
6) Marc-Antoine Fortuné (West Brom)
Ah, another striker who has 'no significant strengths'. And another player whose marks were marred by a ridiculous red card late in the season. It's no fun being the fourth-choice striker at West Brom and Fortune may not hold even that dubious honour next season as his contract expires this summer. It's not simply that the Frenchman has not had a chance to prove himself this season - one rare start against Fulham saw him substituted at half-time after he contrived to lose the ball five times purely from a poor touch.
5) Matthew Etherington (Stoke)
It seems an awful long time ago (it's actually less than three years) since Etherington was being strongly tipped for an England call-up. Now he has just finished a completely rotten season in which he played the majority of PL games and attempted 164 crosses without producing a single assist. That's a hell of a lot of crosses without Peter Crouch awkwardly bundling away a single one. Etherington's lack of attacking contribution would perhaps be forgiven if he showed any slight inclination to work back and defend. what does the future hold for a lazy 31-year-old winger?
4) Noel Hunt (Reading)
Available for free this summer, Hunt should do his own Michael Owen-style brochure. He probably shouldn't mention that only four outfield players (Andy Carroll, Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones) had worse pass completion rates in the Premier League this season. He probably shouldn't mention that he committed more fouls (26) than he had shots (18) during his 24 appearances for Reading. There were two goals in two matches in the heady days of September/October but Hunt has since offered little to suggest that he even vaguely belongs in the top flight.
3) Jamie Mackie (QPR)
Mackie was in fine company this season in losing the ball with a poor touch an average of 1.8 times a game - the same frequency as fellow attacking midfielders Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard, Steven Pienaar and Oscar. The caveats to that stat are that a) Mackie only started 17 of his 29 Premier League matches, b) Mackie only occasionally managed to dribble past the opposition (0.6 times per game) and c) he was credited with zero assists. That's an awful lot of ball-losing with no real reward. Harry Redknapp once said that if he had 11 Jamie Mackies, QPR would not be in trouble; if he had 11 Jamie Mackies, QPR would have never had the ball.
2) Ali Al-Habsi (Wigan)
Poor lad. Now we like Ali Al-Habsi but he has made an awful lot of errors this season - the spilled Nani cross v Manchester United, the bizarre over-head spill against Reading, a series of blunders at home to Liverpool - and kept just four clean sheets in 29 games. We never thought we would see Al-Habsi lose his place in this Wigan side but that 4-0 Liverpool horror show gave Roberto Martinez no choice but to reluctantly drop his Omani hero and bring in Joel Robles, who was - as is traditional at Wigan - equal parts clownish and inspired.
1) Markus Rosenberg (West Brom)
There's a danger that Markus Rosenberg's season is only going to be remembered for the Swede being punched in the head by Jonny Evans on the final day of the campaign. "If you look back at the season it's been a terrible one for me," admitted Rosenberg, who started just five games (all defeats) and scored a grand total of zero goals for the Baggies. At least he's honest.
Players were only included if they had played in a minimum number of PL games this season.