Five Players Simply Not Up To Scratch...

We're not talking about bit-part players but first-team regulars who are operating way below the rest of the team. We're looking at you, Ashley and Kolo...

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Tottenham were said to be too dependent on the goals of Gareth Bale last season; Manchester United too dependent on those of Robin van Persie; Aston Villa have been said to rely on the aerial threat and out-ball provided by Christian Benteke too heavily.

Teams are oft-criticised for being too reliant on one player, but at the other end of the spectrum, an individual being too dependent on their teammates is undoubtedly worse. Here, we look at five Premier League players being carried by the rest of their team this season, and who might well be on borrowed time as a result.


Kolo Touré
With an average WhoScored rating of 6.96 so far this season, Touré has not by any means had an awful campaign, but rather it has been one fraught with inconsistency. This has been a season in which Touré's career has shown all too many signs of serious plight, with the defender making far too many mistakes and exuding nervousness when in possession which, fortunately for Brendan Rodgers, has not spread across his team. Of Premier League outfielders this season, only Jan Vertonghen and Jonjo Shelvey (3 each) - both of whom have significantly more appearances than Touré - have made more errors directly leading to an opposition goal than him (2).

His look of despair after gifting West Brom's Victor Anichebe an equaliser in February epitomised his season, and that might have been his final appearance if other players had not suffered injuries. Liverpool have kept only two clean sheets in the last 15 league games in which Touré has featured and he has unquestionably been bailed out by the club's incredible strikeforce. Even though he has another year left on his contract, he might well have played his final game for the club.


Ashley Young
Remember the days when Ashley Young was England's next big thing. He was tearing it up for Aston Villa and won a move to Manchester United which, in its first few months at least, didn't even seem all that outrageous. A few years on and it is a wonder how he was ever given the chance to don the red of United. He has, on almost all fronts, been ineffective this season, providing two goals and only one assist. That assist, it should be noted, was an aimless hoof up the line from which Wayne Rooney scored from the half-way line at West Ham a fortnight ago.

Playing alongside Rooney and Robin van Persie, it is not unreasonable to expect more in the creative department than an average of just 0.9 key passes per game and only eight accurate crosses from 68 attempts (excluding corners). He contributes little in an attacking or defensive sense, and his WhoScored rating of 6.55 sums up how poor he has been, even in comparison to an under-performing Manchester United side who have an average rating of 6.94.


Kyle Naughton
The size and depth of Tottenham's squad makes their lack of options at full-back almost unbelievable. André Villas-Boas had tried to sign an established left-back, while the two Kyles - Walker and Naughton - were considered sufficient on the right. Naughton was the more senior of the two when they both arrived from Sheffield United, but has fallen behind Walker and rightly so. Naughton has made a large proportion of his appearances at left-back, where he is less comfortable, but he has been below par - particularly for a team with Champions League aspirations - on both sides.

An average rating of 6.52 is way down on Tottenhams's 6.8, with Naughton's latest performances amongst his worst. He was at fault for both Southampton's early goals at White Hart Lane and provided very little resistance to Liverpool's onslaught in Sunday's 4-0 loss. Technically, he is certainly half-decent, but that makes it such a wonder he gives so little in an attacking sense. When playing on the left he constantly looks to play back to his centre-back and Spurs suffer as a result. Tottenham's positive results this season give little credit to Naughton, and some, including the win over Saints, are in spite of his efforts.


Michel Vorm
In WhoScored's Premier League team of the season in his debut campaign, Swansea's Michel Vorm has seen his form dip lately. Rated at just 6.49 this season, he is WhoScored's worst-performing 'keeper in England's top flight with at least 20 appearances. Having saved only 61.7% of the shots on target he has been tested with, he is providing very little resistance as the last line of Swansea's defence, and he has the players in front of him to thank for the fact that the Swans only allow their opponents an average of 4.2 shots on target per game. Swansea have the fourth-worst defensive record in the Premier League this season and, but for their goalscoring record, might be even more heavily entrenched in a relegation battle.


Andreas Weimann
It is something of a surprise that Andi Weimann has managed to hold on to a place in the Aston Villa starting XI all season. An average rating of just 6.53, with just three goals and four assists over 28 Premier League appearances is an extremely poor return for such an attack-minded player, who is largely favoured for his work rate. For a team like Paul Lambert's Villa, defensive shape is key, and Weimann performs his duties without the ball very well, but going forward he is ineffective.

More recently he has even been deployed in behind the striker, but 0.8 key passes per game simply isn't enough for the lethal Benteke to work off. That the lumbering Libor Kozak, who has made just eight starts, has scored more goals than him this season speaks volumes of Weimann's failings: a more threatening number 10 or winger could well be on Lambert's wish list for the summer.

Ali Tweedale

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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