Five Prem players who made a Carabao c*ck of themselves

Date published: Wednesday 16th September 2020 11:17 - Matthew Stead


Joelinton was made to look foolish by a Newcastle striker half his price. Anwar El Ghazi might also be done at Aston Villa.


We used to have a problem on F365 whereby a story would often struggle to get going because it did not land on aggregator websites like NewsNow until another piece on the same club was published, at which point it sort of pushed the original through. Both stories would then garner better levels of traffic but not until and unless the first had a second to usurp it.

Steve Bruce clearly hoped the same would happen with £40m clickbait Joelinton when he plagiarised Callum Wilson for half as much from Bournemouth. Yet, judging by Newcastle’s narrow victory over Blackburn, the arrival of a new striker will only underline just how disastrous the old one was.

Joelinton was clunky, awkward and every bit as out of position and place as he looked last season, and this against a Championship defence. Not scoring is fine but the caveat has to be a good all-round performance. That was not that. It is never a good sign when a fan site can only really put across its frustration with incredulous exclamation marks.


Sean Longstaff
As regrettable as any waste of money is, the squandering of any homegrown potential carries a different and arguably more damning air of failure. What makes the stagnation of Sean Longstaff worse is that no-one is really to blame.

The 22-year-old broke through under Rafael Benitez in early 2019 but started just 14 Premier League games last season under Steve Bruce due to injury, suspension and the inevitable dips in form that followed. It is simultaneously not long ago but also a lifetime since Manchester United were circling.

Longstaff is now feeding off scraps: two minutes against West Ham and a second-round cup appearance that seemed to pass him by without event. He was not terrible, but if this was his opportunity to stake a midfield claim ahead of Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden, a far from compelling case was made.


Jeff Schlupp
There is sympathy for Jeff Schlupp, who ‘didn’t really thrive in the advanced role’ despite often making Roberto Carlos look like a reserved left-back. Some reports had him down as playing as a striker and others more as a No. 10 against Bournemouth but Roy Hodgson will hope neither is anything resembling a long-term option.

There was one decent ball into the feet of similarly but forgivably disappointing new signing Michy Batshuayi, which alone equalled Schlupp’s tally of successful passes against Southampton at the weekend. But there should be no place for the 27-year-old in Palace’s improved forward line.


Anwar El Ghazi
The most cherished 25-year-old at Villa Park toiled while some Jake Grealand fella – there was some news about him signing a new contract or something – impressed at Burton. Anwar El Ghazi will have better nights; many supporters might hope they come away from the Midlands.

He was, by most accounts, a bit rubbish. The impending challenge and competition for places provided by Bertrand Traore somehow engendered an even more anonymous performance than usual from a player that might have to adjust his diet to accommodate feeding off scraps. If the Villa hierarchy really does have “ambition” for the future, El Ghazi will play no part in it.


Aaron Cresswell
As harsh as it is to suggest someone who didn’t play had his stock lowered, David Moyes might have been intrigued to see Arthur Masuaku thrive versus Charlton where Aaron Cresswell failed against Newcastle. The gulf in quality from League One to Premier League opposition must be taken into account but so too should how the respective left-backs acclimatised to the task at hand.

Masuaku was excellent in attack, forming a potent partnership with Felipe Anderson and admittedly benefiting from a distant lack of actual defending to do. That is his obvious weakness but going by Saturday, the same stands for Cresswell, who has never offered nearly as much going forward.

It should have at least planted that seed of doubt in Moyes’ mind as he decides between perhaps the two most underwhelming options for a starting place in the entire Premier League. Get Patrice Evra back in.


Matt Stead


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