Chelsea defensive duo and £220million attacking trio in Prem’s most disappointing XI

Ian Watson
Antony, Mudryk and Richarlison among Premier League disappointments

The Premier League’s biggest disappointments features a forward line with two record signings, bought for a combined £90million, with just a single goal between them.

Some of these players have failed to reach the standards they’ve previously set; others have so far struggled to achieve the potential their clubs see in them. Either way, they’re all probably glad to see the back of 2022/23…


GK: Illan Meslier (Leeds)
Leeds, like Meslier, made many mistakes this season. On the club’s part, not having a quality back-up or alternative to the France Under-21 international was an error, but there was more to Meslier’s decline than a lack of competition. And the warning signs were there. Last season, he conceded a stunning 16.2 goals more than his xGA, so 12.4 this term might be painted as an improvement. And his defence has been non-existent. But some of Meslier’s mistakes have been dreadful, especially for one of the most highly rated young keepers in Europe.


RB: Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
Lamptey was expected to be the next cab off the Brighton rank but numerous team-mates have passed him on the way to big moves. Injuries are largely to blame and the right-back is crocked once again. But when he was fit and available, up to the middle of March, he managed only three starts – Brighton lost two of those. Lamptey has gone from catching the eye of the biggest boys to needing simply to get fit and win back his place at Brighton from Joel Veltman.


CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)
We could reasonably have picked any of the Tottenham centre-backs but Sanchez’s fate sums up Spurs’ season. The Colombian, once a club-record signing, is expected to be packed off this summer after a campaign in which the low point came at home to Bournemouth when Sanchez was subbed on, culpable for two goals, then hooked off amid boos from his own fans.


CB: Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea)
Koulibaly hasn’t been wretched – there was a spell of a few games not long ago where it looked like he might have settled – and there are certainly players at Chelsea more culpable for the mess they have found themselves in. But we expected and the Blues hoped for so much more from a defender who was viewed as the best centre-back in the world not so long ago. Reports suggest he wants to go back to Napoli, who have hardly missed him.


LB: Marc Cucurella (Chelsea)
Todd Boehly went balls-out for the Spaniard who we thought would be a sure thing if he’d moved to Man City. But amid the dumpster fire at Stamford Bridge, Cucurella has floundered badly. Not helped by the fact his replacement at Brighton is flying.

Read more: Haaland omitted from one-per-club Premier League team of the season


CM: Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)
We can factor in the fact that it takes a season or so to adjust to Pep Guardiola’s demands, but two Premier League starts all season, both coming in the last week when the title was already won, is damning. As was the fact he returned to City overweight after a World Cup held in one of the planet’s hottest places. Still, he could end up with Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League winner’s medals, so it’s hardly been a dead loss.


CM: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
We could have gone for Fabinho or any one of a few Liverpool midfielders but Henderson gets the nod since he’s the skipper and he ought to be setting the standards, which the Reds have failed miserably to maintain. The fact many Liverpool fans feel he should be the first one replaced in Jurgen Klopp’s refit of his engine room speaks of a season of underperformance, even if he has had to adapt to a new more advanced role in possession to accommodate Trent Alexander-Arnold in a crowded midfield.


RW: Antony (Manchester United)
The Brazilian might be brilliant next season having had a year to adapt to the Premier League. Erik ten Hag is certainly banking on it since he’s persisted with the winger despite an abject lack of consistency. But it remains to be seen how a right winger who’s not very fast and refuses to use his right foot or go on the outside can thrive against packed defences.

Antony celebrates scoring for Manchester United.

LW: Mykhaylo Mudryk (Chelsea)
Arsenal were pretty pissed off at the time, but half a season later, the Gunners are feeling pretty chipper, seemingly having dodged an £88million bullet. Mudryk has looked terrified in some of his performances, failing to score so far despite missing big chances in games Chelsea have gone on to lose. It would be tough for anyone to thrive at Stamford Bridge this season and the winger is still very green but even simply encouraging signs are few and far between.


FWD: Georginio Rutter (Leeds)
Leeds really needed a striker in January and they broke their transfer record to sign one. Then they hid him away for much of the season, including all but half an hour of the final seven games when they were really in the sh*t. His only start, at Chelsea at the start of March, only came because Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford were both injured. Perhaps he was signed for the future but Leeds, as they now recognise, needed a goalscorer for the present.


FWD: Richarlison (Tottenham)
The £60million recruit from Everton has ended his first season at Spurs with more yellow cards for over-excessive celebrations than actual goals. And even that solitary strike came in the Spursiest of circumstances, a last-minute leveller from 3-0 down only to give away a winner a few moments later.


READ: Are these the worst F365 predictions ever? We absolutely f***ed it across the board