Maguire escapes as Shelvey, Pogba make the weekend’s worst XI

Date published: Monday 18th October 2021 1:16 - Ian Watson

The Premier League returned after a fortnight’s break but some of this XI may be given another breather next week after some less than stellar performances.

As always, all ratings are taken from the splendid WhoScored.


GK: Emiliano Martinez – 5.67
The Villa keeper might justifiably pin his performance in Villa’s surrender to Wolves on fatigue since he was lining up just 36 hours after keeping a clean sheet for Argentina in Buenos Aires. And it wasn’t that he was particularly poor – Martinez could hardly be blamed for any of the three goals Villa shipped in the final 15 minutes. But if we’re being mean-spirited then he deserves his place just for being a massive spoilsport after denying Adama Traore a wonder goal in the first half.


RB: Kiko Femenia – 5.24
Five of Watford’s back five and keeper scored under six in the defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, which can happen when you meet the Reds in that form. Still, Femenia managed not a tackle, block or interception in his defensive duties, nor a shot, key pass, cross or dribble on the rare occasion he was able to venture forward before being replaced just before the hour mark.


CB: Craig Cathcart – 5.66
The Watford centre-back is still making his way back to Vicarage Road after being sent for the papers by Mo Salah before the Liverpool star’s wonderful goal to make it 4-0. Cathcart himself tried to score Liverpool’s third but Ben Foster delayed the inevitable by parrying the defender’s clearance straight to Roberto Firmino.


Leicester top Premier League winners as Newcastle lead losers


CB: Axel Tuanzebe – 5.44
Tuanzebe was bailed out by his keeper when the Villa centre-back gifted Traore the ball in the first half before the Wolves winger took on everyone in claret and blue. But the centre-half’s blushes could not be spared when he made a God-awful mess of trying to clear immediately before Wolves scored their equaliser.


LB: Luke Shaw – 5.94
Shaw was not the worst Manchester United defender on parade at Leicester – that dubious honour belongs to Harry Maguire and his 5.79 after being rushed back to supposedly rescue Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from the Lindelof-Bailly axis of sheer terror. Shaw, though, was no more impressive than anyone else, especially going forward. The left-back attempted five crosses and failed to find a red shirt with any.


RM: Jonjo Shelvey – 4.75
We normally spare substitutes but Shelvey’s contribution to Newcastle’s defeat to Spurs was too awful/hilarious to ignore. In 23 minutes after replacing Sean Longstaff on the hour, his only tangible contributions were a single tackle and two yellow cards. No amount of Saudi money can cure stupid.


CM: Ashley Westwood – 5.44
The Burnley midfielder worked tirelessly in Sean Dyche’s engine room against Manchester City but was marked down for giving the ball to Kevin de Bruyne to score the champions’ second. And even then, Westwood might claim to have been fouled.


LM: Paul Pogba – 5.79
Pogba is either incapable or unwilling to play as part of a double pivot, especially when his partner lacks the mobility to do a decent chunk of the Frenchman’s dirty work. But Solskjaer tried once more to sit Pogba in a deeper role and, shockingly, once more it did not work. Pogba lost possession 13 times and failed to find the target with his three shots.


RF: Rodrigo – 5.86
The Leeds attacker will be happier with his WhoScored mark than the local media’s 3/10 rating of his display in one of the worst Leeds performances since their return to the Premier League. Rodrigo will point to a lack of quality service but the Saints centre-backs barely broke a sweat in pocketing the Spaniard before he was on the end of Marcelo Bielsa’s hook.


CF: Hwang Hee-Chan – 5.72
The South Korean looked a little bereft without Raul Jimenez to play off, and he certainly appeared lost when gifting Ollie Watkins the ball near his own box in the build up to Villa’s second goal – one of a dozen times he lost possession.


LF: Alex Iwobi – 5.49
Rafa Benitez evidently sees something in Iwobi but it certainly wasn’t visible in Everton’s defeat to West Ham. The £35million winger managed not a single dribble or key pass while a couple of crossing attempts only found Hammers defenders. His headline contribution: a swing and a miss, failing to connect with Demarai Gray’s low centre when Iwobi really should have put Everton in front in the second half.

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