With two wins between them in their last 25 Premier League games, there really is a very f***ing shit five. But who have been the best of those terrible teams? We have an XI.
We’ve based it entirely on the WhoScored ratings, so don’t shoot the compilers.
GK: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Largely blameless in this utterly rotten season for Everton; this ranking would suggest he has saved the Toffees about three goals in a campaign that could have been so much worse. He remains England’s No. 1 and a possible target for Manchester United.
RB: Serge Aurier (Nottingham Forest)
The numbers are stark. With Aurier (currently injured) in the team, Forest have picked up 1.22 points per game. Extrapolated across the season, Forest would have 39 points so far and be well clear of relegation in mid-table. Obviously it’s utter nonsense that the former Spurs right-back’s absence has made that kind of impact, but it’s doubtless true that they have missed an experienced and wily campaigner who defends like a centre-half and attacks like a winger.
CB: Felipe (Nottingham Forest)
Yet to appear on the winning side for Forest after arriving on what we were astonished to discover was an actual permanent deal in January. Wins a shedload of headers, which is absolutely crucial for the algorithms and just edges part the 10-game barrier which we have arbitrarily set that rules out Michael Keane.
CB: James Tarkowski (Everton)
There is only room for one former Burnley centre-half who wins a lot of headers for a really sh*t side and that man is James Tarkowski.
LB: Pascal Strujik (Leeds United)
It definitely helps the algorithm to score a couple of goals from full-back; almost nobody would argue that Strujik has been a roaring success at left-back for Leeds this season. Though the real disasters – and there have been many – have definitely come at centre-half.
CM: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
At times a one-man dam against the rising tide of relegation, Ward-Prowse has scored seven Premier League goals and created more chances than any other Saint. He will be snapped up by Tottenham or Manchester United this summer.
CM: Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
Nowhere close to his best this season and yet he remains the pick of the real sh*t at the bottom of the Premier League, based very much on the Tielemans of the first half of the season (when he scored three goals) rather than the injury-hit Belgian who has laboured in recent weeks. It will be fascinating to see where he goes this summer.
RM: James Maddison (Leicester City)
Nine goals and six assists this season make him an absolute no-brainer inclusion in this F***ing Sh*t XI. Arsenal and Newcastle have both been heavily linked with the England man.
AM: Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest)
A goal and an assist v Liverpool on Saturday took Gibbs-White to three and six for the season in the columns that matter. It’s a season that’s taken him damned close to England honours and even closer to a guarantee of Premier League football next season with Forest or otherwise.
LM: Jack Harrison (Leeds United)
The statistics suggest that he fares far better on the left than through the middle or from the right, with five of his six assists coming from that side of the pitch. Recently signed a new five-year deal just weeks after a deadline-day move to Leicester City fell through.
ST: Rodrigo (Leeds United)
This one is easy: he’s scored 11 Premier League goals this season. Though many Leeds fans would still prefer Patrick Bamford up front for his work-rate, Rodrigo is the man who knows how to score.