U ok hun? A player from each club who has lost their mojo

Date published: Friday 15th December 2017 8:00

Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez
You may have heard that Sanchez is considering leaving Arsenal when his contract expires, but even if you somehow didn’t know you might well be able to tell. Sanchez is back on the left after the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette and it has sapped away plenty of his verve. Four goals from 49 shots, but plenty of arm waving.

 

Bournemouth – Josh King
Sixteen goals in 31 league starts last season but only two in 15 so far in 2017/18, and both were in defeats. If King was the surprise star of the last Premier league campaign, outscored by only one player outside the top six (Romelu Lukaku), his decline has hampered Bournemouth badly.

 

Brighton – Anthony Knockaert
There is no blame attached here. In September Knockaert did an interview with the Daily Mail in which he spoke of the inability to cope with the loss of his father. Brighton have been wonderful with Knockaert, getting him the help he needs, but this is a cruel reminder (that shouldn’t be needed) that footballers suffer the same toils and trials as everyone else. Fame and wealth is no barrier.

 

Burnley – Charlie Taylor
Given the protracted faff of Taylor’s move from Leeds United to Burnley, a fee eventually settled at £5m without the two clubs having to go to a tribunal, big things were expected. But while Chris Wood has settled in quickly at Turf Moor, Taylor has some impressing to do. He finally came off the bench for his first Premier League appearance against Stoke in midweek.

 

Chelsea – David Luiz
“We have put him back as one of the best defenders in Europe and, I hope, in the world” – Antonio Conte, April 2017.

“He has to work really hard otherwise he is on the bench or in the stand. Christensen is the present and the future for Chelsea” – Antonio Conte, November 2017.

 

Crystal Palace – Andros Townsend
Townsend was the key element of Crystal Palace’s improvement towards the end of last season under Sam Allardyce. So far this season, he has registered one assist and no goals in 17 league games. He’s not exactly hungry like the Wilf.

 

Everton – Michael Keane
From the future of Everton’s central defence and the next cab off the rank for England, Kane has struggled alarmingly since his £25m move from Burnley. The arrival of Sam Allardyce will surely help Keane’s form once he regains match fitness after injury, but for now he’s in. Don’t lose that World Cup spot.

 

Huddersfield Town – Elias Kachunga
Probably a little harsh, because the truth is that Kachunga has less lost his mojo and more just been proven as of insufficient quality for the Premier League. Laurent Depoitre has been better than most expected and Aaron Mooy as good as Huddersfield could have hoped, but the wide forwards just flatter to deceive.

 

Leicester City – Kelechi Iheanacho
The standout stinker of the season. In the summer, some questioned the logic of City selling one of their best young players having seen Iheanacho score seven times in all competitions. So far at Leicester, he has started two Premier League games, scored one EFL Cup goal and was most recently seen starting against Scunthorpe United in the Checktrade Trophy. That £50m buy-back option looks slightly superfluous.

 

Liverpool – Sadio Mane
The inspiration for the list. From Winners and Losers on Thursday morning: At this stage of last season, Sadio Mane had contributed 11 goals and assists in the Premier League, had 14 shots on target and created 27 chances. He is down by four on the goals and assists, five on the shots on target and ten on the created chances.

 

Manchester City – Ilkay Gundogan
Tough to pick anyone in this all-passing, all-scoring Manchester City team, but Gundogan is the obvious disappointment. His appearances were limited last season due to injury, but so far in 2017/18 the German is firmly behind Fernandinho in the pecking order and perhaps even Fabian Delph too. Gundogan has played 226 minutes in this 15-match winning run.

 

Manchester United – Ander Herrera
Between the start of 2017 and the end of last season, no outfielder played more Premier League minutes for Manchester United than Ander Herrera. He was United’s Player of the Year, but has quickly become persona non grata, The suspicion is that, sadly, there just isn’t quite enough ability to keep him in the team. Plenty enough snide, though.

 

Newcastle United – Dwight Gayle
Crystal Palace fans could have told Newcastle United supporters that Gayle wasn’t going to be good enough for the Premier League, and reports suggest Rafael Benitez also knew and wanted to replace his striker this summer. Still, after 23 goals in only 26 starts last season, we might have expected more than this. Sold to Aston Villa in January?

 

Southampton – Manolo Gabbiadini
Gabbiadini has managed to fit three years into his first 11 months at Southampton. Arriving in January, he immediately hit the ground running by scoring five times in his first three matches. He was awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award for February and looked to have made himself a cult hero. By December, he had become a staple on the Southampton bench having scored twice from open play in the league since March.

 

Stoke City – Joe Allen
Poor Joe Allen, forever hampered by the ‘Welsh Xavi’ nickname bestowed upon him by Brendan Rodgers. And then, for four or five months last season, everything Allen touched turned to gold. He scored six league goals from midfield, but most evident was the calmness under pressure and driving runs forward. It was fun while it lasted; Allen has been just as miserable as everyone else at Stoke this season.

 

Swansea City – Leroy Fer
You can’t blame Leory Fer for being a little peeved. He was one of Swansea’s best players last season in the fight against relegation, sees his club sell their best two attacking players (Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente) and then replace them with three players in his position, none of whom look better than him. Fer: “F*cks sake”.

 

Tottenham – Dele Alli
“I think he is calm,” said Mauricio Pochettino. “He feels [it] too, because he is disappointed with himself that he’s not at his best but it’s coming. Like the winter, it’s coming.” Well it’s sodding cold outside and Alli is still not back in form. Heung-Min Son might take his place if Pochettino switches back to a three-man central defence.

 

Watford – Etienne Capoue
No player on this list has suffered more from last season to this than Capoue, who had a massive row with Marco Silva after a friendly defeat to Rangers in July. The Frenchman started 37 league games last season but hasn’t played more than 25 minutes of a Premier League match since September. Expect him to be sold in January or next summer.

 

West Brom – Jake Livermore
For all the (merited) surprise at seeing Livermore start a competitive game for England as recently as September, the lack of other options wasn’t the only reason for his inclusion. Last season, he marshalled West Brom’s midfield under Tony Pulis, at least until the team downed tools having reached 40 points. This season, Livermore’s form has been dire. And that should be that for England.

 

West Ham – Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll goes in waves. For a while he will stay free from injury, score a few goals and get touted for a place in England’s World Cup squad by people with short memories. Then the odd injury will come along, he’ll spend time on the bench and the goals will come less frequently than the elbows. We’re currently in the middle of the second part.

Daniel Storey

 


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