The weekend’s fixture list lined up two of the biggest games of the season as the top four battled it out on Valentine’s Day. But while those matches stole the limelight, there were two other encounters in gameweek 26 that will also be remembered, albeit for very different reasons.
The evening kick-off on Saturday, effectively serving as a warm up for ‘Super Duper Sunday’, saw Chelsea bulldoze past a pitiful Newcastle back line. With the Magpies previously having played some of their best football with the cameras rolling this season and Chelsea’s underwhelming form in consideration, their capitulation at Stamford Bridge was somewhat unexpected, undoubtedly ranking among the worst performances of the season. Little did they know Aston Villa would do their bit to mask the inadequacies of Steve McClaren’s men the following day.
In the space of 90 short minutes – although it would have felt an eternity to the home fans at Villa Park – Remi Garde’s men went from being tipped gingerly with a chance of survival to being the worst side in the history of the Premier League. Both opinions are probably a little extreme, though Aston Villa’s surrender not only in the match against Liverpool but seemingly in the battle against the drop was rightly touted as the worst team display of the season, outdoing Newcastle from the day before in terms of the shambolic nature of their defending.
Here we reveal the worst five team performances of the campaign so far according to WhoScored.com‘s statistical ratings.
ASTON VILLA vs Liverpool (14.02.16) – Team Rating 5.87
The worst score from any team in a single game by a considerable distance, Villa’s no-show on Sunday was actually one of the first times this season that they have been utterly humiliated – although that has certainly been the case over the course of the league campaign as a whole.
Villa had just one effort on target in the game and though they only conceded 11 shots in total – down on their season average of 12.8 – Liverpool were able to fire off nine attempts on target, with the quality of chance they created the real concern. Moreover, despite falling to a 6-0 defeat, the hosts made fewer tackles than their visitors (19 – 24) and were it not for the efforts of Idrissa Gana – who produced seven tackles and 10 interceptions for a rating of 8.03 – the result and consequently Villa’s rating could have been far worse.
Chelsea vs NEWCASTLE (13.02.16) – Team Rating 5.99
While Saturday’s farce may be Newcastle’s only appearance in the bottom five here, Steve McClaren’s men occupy four places in the lowest ten team performances this season (Everton – 3-0 (a), Crystal Palace – 5-1 (a), Manchester City – 6-1 (a)). In terms of being guilty of simply not showing up on numerous occasions this season, Newcastle have been most culpable.
The Magpies were not completely outgunned by their opponents at Stamford Bridge, firing off 10 shots to Chelsea 14, but their soft centre was unforgivable. A tally of just 14 tackles was seven fewer than their hosts, with Jack Colback – only introduced at the interval – leading the way for Newcastle with three. Moussa Sissoko, who has saved some of his best performances for Chelsea in the past, was particularly poor, being tackled five times and losing possession due to an unsuccessful touch on four occasions.
LIVERPOOL vs West Ham (29.08.15) – Team Rating 6.04
For a side that had not conceded a single goal, Liverpool’s early-season collapse at home to West Ham came as a real shock. The 3-0 defeat was one of only two losses under Brendan Rodgers prior to his sacking, though it remains their worst performance of the campaign.
Against a Hammers side proving to be a real handful on the break away from home, Liverpool couldn’t cope, with Dejan Lovren epitomising that fact. The Croatian was guilty of trying to be too clever at the back before being pick-pocketed for West Ham’s second, after the Londoners had taken the lead through Manuel Lanzini inside three minutes. It went from bad to worse after the break as Philippe Coutinho was sent off for a second bookable offence and while the Reds mustered 13 shots in total, it was Lovren who was the only player to test Adrian for the home side.
SWANSEA vs Arsenal (31.10.2015) – Team Rating 6.04
Another 3-0 home defeat sees Swansea make the worst five here, securing a marginally higher rating than Liverpool’s aforementioned efforts. They were actually competing well for the first 45 minutes against Arsenal back in October, but things went to pot for Garry Monk’s men thereafter.
The Gunners dominated the game after the interval and took just two minutes to take the lead through Olivier Giroud. Former Emirates benchwarmer Lukasz Fabianski then gave his old club a helping hand by dropping the ball under a challenge from Laurent Koscielny for the visitors’ second, before Joel Campbell scored his first league goal for the club to complete the rout. The Swans produced just nine tackles and with only three in the second half to Arsenal’s 13, they were simply outfought by Arsene Wenger’s side.
NORWICH vs Tottenham (02.02.16) – Team Rating 6.06
Any hopes of Norwich securing an unlikely upset against high-flying Spurs earlier this month were dashed inside two minutes when Dele Alli scored from the rebound after Christian Eriksen’s effort had been saved by Declan Rudd. Indeed, it’s a lack of focus that Alex Neil has bemoaned throughout the season, with his side picking up their first point in six games at the weekend.
While not decisive this time around, Martin Olsson would commit the kind of error that has proven costly for the Canaries in the current campaign for Kane’s late second – with only two sides making more mistakes leading directly to an opposition shot (20). And, with Sebastien Bassong conceding a penalty against his former employers for Tottenham’s second goal of the game, the hosts only had themselves to blame.
Martin Laurence of the wonderful WhoScored.