By Josh Powell | Premier League Nightmare XI
The Premier League season has drawn to a close and Gareth Bale is making room on his windowsill for both PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards. As pundits and fans queue to praise the likes of Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, the Paddy Power Blog team has taken a completely different view, choosing to root through the stats and pick out the worst 11 players this year.
This is team of footballers not even Harry Redknapp would want to manage. Ill-discipline, poor passing, loose defending and an inability to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. This Nightmare XI has it all.
Goalkeeper – Mark Bunn (Norwich)
What they say: Promising young keeper who has served as a more than able deputy for John Ruddy. The only reason he’s not in the Ireland team is because Giovanni Trapattoni probably thinks he is English.
What we say: He’s definitely consistent, just consistently good at picking the ball out of his own net. Bunn conceded a goal on average every 45 minutes this season.
Left back – Jose Enrique (Liverpool)
What they say: Hailed by Brendan Rodgers as ‘sensational’ last December. He used to post loads of pictures of him eating in Nandos on Twitter but then Suso called him gay and Enrique deleted his account.
What we say: All that sweet piri-piri sauce might be having negative consequences. He attempted 68 crosses this season and just seven of them found a Liverpool player.
Centre back – Sebastien Bassong (Norwich)
What they say: Physically strong and powerful. Graduated from the famous Clairefontaine Youth Academy which produced talents like Thierry Henry, William Gallas and Nicolas Anelka.
What we say: From our limited understanding, challenging attackers for the ball is a key area of defending. Bassong attempted a tackle once every 141 minutes this year.
Centre-back – Jonas Olsson (West Brom)
What they say: A tough-tackling defender similar to Olof Mellberg (presumably because they are both Swedish). Steve Clarke regards him as a key player for West Brom in the last few years.
What we say: Reading the game isn’t his strong point. Olsson made an interception on average once every 13o minutes this season.
Right-back – Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)
What they say: Regarded as one of the league’s best young full-backs and reportedly straight on Arsene Wenger’s summer shopping list.
What we say: One fantastic goal is doing an awful lot to blur people’s judgement. Lowton was dribbled past 40 times this year, the worst record of all the Premier League full-backs.
Left wing – Steven Pienaar (Everton)
What they say: One of Everton’s most creative players with the ability to find the back of the net from distance. Hailed by pundits for his link-up play with Leighton Baines on the left.
What we say: To quote any one of the Match Of The Day panel, ‘You are definitely 86 per cent less likely to score if you don’t have the ball.’ Pienaar was dispossessed 84 times this season, more than any other midfielder.
Centre midfield – Craig Gardner (Sunderland)
What they say: A versatile midfielder who isn’t afraid to get stuck in. When both players were at Aston Villa, Gareth Barry said that Gardner would be a key player for years.
What we say: Gareth Barry is a fool. Gardner has the worst disciplinary record this year with 10 yellow cards and one sending off. 34 per cent of his tackles have been fouls this season.
Centre midfield – Adel Taarabt (QPR)
What they say: Hyped as the next Zinedine Zidane when he first came to England and regarded as one of the best players in the Championship three years ago. Signed for Tottenham in 2007 and used to be link with a move to Arsenal or abroad.
What we say: What he lacks for in ability he makes up in confidence. Although, he does lack a significant amount of ability. This season he took 98 shots and scored just five goals.
Right wing – Jason Puncheon (Southampton)
What they say: Saints fans rave about Puncheon’s work rate, his eye for goal and creativity coming in off either flank. Nigel Adkins described Puncheon’s season as ‘excellent’ at the turn of the year. Most memorably went to destroy some porcelain mid-way through a match with Everton in January.
What we say: The only thing more questionable than his toilet antics is his eye for a pass. Just 14 per cent of his through balls found their target this season.
Striker – Bobby Zamora (QPR)
What they say: A bullish English centre-forward who is renowned for his hold up play and ability to play as a lone front man. Teddy Sheringham has urged Roy Hodgson to include Zamora in the England set-up.
What we say: Zamora falls straight out of the Heskey mould. He completed just two successful dribbles in 21 appearances this year.
Striker – Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
What they say: Tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson to be the future of England and Manchester United. Tireless striker who works the flanks and looks a lot like Gerald from Hey Arnold!
What we say: One goal in almost 22 hours of Premier League football this year. Unbelievable.