The ‘worst’ Premier League XI of the season so far

Date published: Friday 7th February 2020 8:02

And we’re talking regulars here, so all these players have started over half of their club’s Premier League games. We have used WhoScored’s ratings as a guide…

GOALKEEPER: Kepa (Chelsea)
Finally, Frank Lampard ran out of patience and dropped him for Saturday’s draw against Leicester. He has the lowest save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League (52.8%), making him even worse than Angus Gunn (who let in a barely believable nine goals in one game). Kepa has conceded more often than David De Gea this season but he has faced a ridiculous 20 fewer shots on target. He has been rotten.


RIGHT-BACK: Max Aarons (Norwich)
This is no slur on Aarons and there is no suggestion that he would be unworthy of an expected £30m summer move to Tottenham, but he has undoubtedly suffered in the Premier League’s worst team this season. It has been a thankless slog. And he has not been credited with a single assist, which works against him in any performance algorithm.


CENTRE-HALF: Conor Coady (Wolves)
Well this is awkward. The problem with Conor Coady is that the statistics don’t show him actually doing a great deal. He leaves most of the heading, the clearing and the tackling to Willy Boly and Roman Saiss; he can afford to take the role of the cultured, passing centre-half – aptly for a converted central midfielder – because there are generally three of them. But all those passes (50 per game) have actually created only four chances all season.


CENTRE-HALF: Ben Godfrey (Norwich)
Another harsh Norwich inclusion but the bare facts are that the Canaries have conceded an awful lot of goals and Godfrey has played more games than any of their centre-halves. And he has claimed the club’s only red card of the season. It has not helped that he has had four different partners and it’s that kind of perspective that might still make him a summer target for Premier League clubs after Norwich’s likely relegation.


LEFT-BACK: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
Being sent off 12 minutes into a 9-0 defeat was probably the low point of a season which might well be his last on the south coast. He is being dribbled past more than at any point throughout his career, and losing the ball more often than ever before, too.


CENTRAL MIDFIELDER: Oriol Romeu (Southampton)
We confess that we absolutely missed this, but Spanish midfielder Romeu was dropped by Ralph Hasenhuttl in November after six defeats in seven Premier League games. He’s back in the side, but only because the now-crocked James Ward-Prowse was moved to right-back. No goals, no assists and a lot of substitute appearances land him in this XI. He just does not have the pace to thrive in this Saints side.


It’s not that Jack Cork is a poor player, it’s just that you don’t get to touch the ball an awful lot if you play in Burnley’s midfield. But he’s now 30, his pass completion is at an all-time low and he is tackling less than ever. It is still astonishing that he played for England little more than two years ago.


ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Jeff Hendrick (Burnley)
Burnley are not a free-scoring side but one Premier League assist in 20 Premier League games really is an abysmal record. The Irishman’s saving grace is that Sean Dyche really, really doesn’t like making changes. So that might keep incomer Josh Brownhill on the bench alongside Kevin Long and Matej Vydra.


ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Harry Wilson (Bournemouth)
A haul of seven goals makes Wilson’s Bournemouth loan look like a success but he has not logged a single assist all season – an unbelievable statistic for an attacking midfielder. He doesn’t really take on the opposition, he is not particularly impressive defensively and he gives possession away a lot. But my word, he can hit a ball. Is that enough? It is probably enough to keep up Bournemouth but it might not be enough for Liverpool next season.


ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
“The first four months of the season I wasn’t myself,” admitted the Scottish winger, peeved at being denied a summer move to Arsenal as the Cherries insisted that he ran down his contract at the club. But Fraser is now back in some semblance of form just as Bournemouth need him and the two Wilsons to deliver goals.


STRIKER: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
This looks awful harsh because non-scoring strikers simply do not start half their club’s games but Wilson’s six goals have not been supplemented with a single assist this season. Neither the football nor the goals have been flowing. For example, the Cherries beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Saturday, but Wilson lost the ball nine times with a poor touch, logged a 45.8% pass completion rate and picked up his sixth yellow card of the season. He did not score.


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