You’re better than this: Each Premier League club’s most underwhelming performer of the season
A certain £50m striker with no Premier League goals feature as nine summer signings are included in our list of each club’s biggest disappointment of the 2022/23 season.
Arsenal: Fabio Vieira
It isn’t easy to pick out a player who has been underwhelming for a team defying the odds to lead the Premier League.
Signed for over £30million last summer, Fabio Vieira didn’t get much of a pre-season due to an ankle injury and then didn’t make his first league appearance for the Gunners until matchday six when he was thrown on against Manchester United. He made his first top-flight start a week later against Brentford and scored a belter. Since then, he has struggled for minutes in a winning side, which is perfectly understandable.
Hopefully Vieira can get some minutes in the latter stages of the Europa League to set up a more successful 2023/24 campaign.
Aston Villa: Philippe Coutinho
It is hard to believe Philippe Coutinho once cost a club over £100m. It is safe to say he is not a shade of the player we saw at Liverpool. Barcelona seems like the dream move – and players often push to make it happen – but it can be a challenging club to play for at the best of times, and these were not the best of times for Coutinho.
The Brazilian joined Villa on loan last January and did okay during the second half of 21/22, with many expecting him to kick on this season. But his fate has followed that of his old pal Steven Gerrard – one goal contribution in 22 games this season is a bitterly disappointing return for a once world-class footballer.
Bournemouth: Scott Parker
Bending the rules a tiny bit never hurt anybody.
Scott Parker was the first top-flight manager dismissed this season and lost his job as Club Brugge boss on Wednesday. Yikes.
Ranking all 32 Premier League managers this season: Parker to Arteta via Moyes, Conte and De Zerbi
Brentford: Mikkel Damsgaard
Denmark winger Mikkel Damsgaard really made a name for himself at Euro 2020, scoring in the semi-final defeat to England. When it was confirmed he had joined Brentford, many were excited to see what he could do, but he has failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Thomas Frank.
The 22-year-old has only managed two Premier League starts, coming off the bench 11 times, and is yet to pick up a single goal or assist. A lot can change between now and the end of the season and Damsgaard might well come back a different player in August after a full season in England.
Brighton: Billy Gilmour
Having seen Billy Gilmour star for Scotland on several occasions, I expected him to transfer those performances over to Brighton. Minutes have been hard to come by under Roberto De Zerbi, with Moises Caicedo impossible to drop. Incidentally, the only time Gilmour has played the full 90 in the Premier League is the only game this season Brighton have conceded over three goals. Caicedo was suspended that day.
Chelsea: Everyone except Thiago Silva
Where do you even start with this lot? At first I was going to pick Marc Cucurella, then I changed my mind to Kalidou Koulibaly, then I considered Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling. But the truth is, every single player – except Thiago Silva – has been utter s**t.
Crystal Palace: Tyrick Mitchell
This time last year, Tyrick Mitchell was about to become an England international. It feels like he has become a forgotten footballer since then. He hasn’t been bad this season, not at all, but I think everyone expected him to keep improving after making his Three Lions debut.
Crystal Palace have actually underwhelmed as a team this season. Not enough people are speaking about them as relegation candidates, but they ought to be careful. Selhurst Park under the lights has not been the same this season; Arsenal and Tottenham waltzed away with three points there this season after both being smashed in 21/22, while even Chelsea managed a win there.
Everton: Neal Maupay
When Neal Maupay was signed for around £15m last summer, I don’t think many expected him to be the answer to all Everton’s problems, but people didn’t expect him to be the answer to literally no question other than ‘Who’s the worst Everton player?’.
The French sh*thouse has one goal this season – the winner against West Ham in September – and Sean Dyche preferred to start no striker at all on Sunday against Nottingham Forest. If that isn’t a sign you are doing poorly, I am not sure what is.
Fulham: Harry Wilson
Fulham have done anything but underwhelm this season. Many – myself included – predicted them to go down, yet they are looking good for a top-half finish. Huge credit goes to Marco Silva, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Joao Palhinha.
But a few players have failed to impress. Tom Cairney, Vinicius, Kevin Mbabu and Dan James come to mind, but I have opted for Harry Wilson, who probably had the highest expectations out of that lot. After an outstanding 20 assists and 10 goals in 41 Championship games last term, the Wales international has one assist in 17 Premier League appearances in 22/23.
Leeds: Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford has not scored in a Premier League win for Leeds since May 2021 and is being owned by his xG this season.
The former Nottingham Forest, Chelsea, MK Dons, Derby, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley striker was unlucky not to be in England’s Euro 2020 squad. He is now a million miles away from a call-up.
Leicester: Jamie Vardy
I think it is safe to say that Jamie Vardy is past his best. The 36-year-old has accepted a role as a substitute this season and has one goal in 25 appearances – 14 of which have come off the bench.
Leicester have disappointed in general this term; Youri Tielemans is perhaps thinking about what he will do at the end of the season and easily could have been selected over Vardy.
Like Chelsea, there are a lot of players not performing at their best for Liverpool. Alisson has probably been their outstanding player this season while Stefan Bajcetic has impressed. Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez are also finding their feet and Mohamed Salah was electrifying against Manchester United, hopefully turning a corner in the process. Basically, the Reds are having a poor season, but not as bad as Chelsea.
Going into the season, I believed that Joel Matip and Fabinho were two of the best players in the Premier League in their respective positions. But they have both been really poor this season. Choosing one over the other here proved quite difficult. I have opted for Fabinho because his peak was higher than Matip’s and he was probably widely regarded as a world-class player this time last year. Not so much now.
Man City: Kalvin Phillips
Signed from Leeds for around £45m last summer, Kalvin Phillips has undergone shoulder surgery, been labelled ‘overweight’ by Pep Guardiola, and has barely kicked a ball.
Phillips is a brilliant player – but clearly not brilliant enough to usurp Rodri as City’s first-choice no. 6.
Man Utd: Cristiano Ronaldo
One of the greatest players of all time – if not the greatest – pretty much went from being a brilliant footballer to a shambles overnight.
It has been a great season for Man Utd and Erik ten Hag; he has made some big decisions and getting rid of Cristiano Ronaldo was an easy and superb one.
Newcastle: Chris Wood
Eddie Howe’s Tricky Mags are defying all expectations in their push for Champions League football, so it is pretty hard to single out someone as a disappointment.
I have selected Chris Wood. He was shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest in January after scoring two goals in 18 games for Newcastle in the first half of 2022/23. That is not great for a £25m striker.
Nottingham Forest: Jesse Lingard
I think it is safe to say that a lot of football fans thought the signing of Jesse Lingard on a free was an incredible coup for Forest. Unfortunately for both club and player, it has been incredibly underwhelming.
The 30-year-old only signed a one-year contract with the City Ground club and it would not be surprising to see him play elsewhere next season. In 15 Premier League games for Forest, Lingard has zero goal contributions and has only played 13 minutes of top-flight football in 2023.
Southampton: Joe Aribo
Scorer of Rangers’ goal in last year’s Europa League final, Joe Aribo decided to make the big jump to the Premier League in the summer transfer window. Having watched a lot of the 26-year-old during his time in Scotland, I expected him to adapt pretty quickly to life on the south coast, but he most certainly has not.
Aribo has as many yellow cards as goal contributions (2) in 26 games this season and fell out of favour during Nathan Jones’ comical stint in charge and has failed to re-establish himself under Ruben Selles.
Zero Premier League goals by March is pretty rubbish for a £50m striker, isn’t it? Obviously, when it comes to Richarlison, you cannot fault his work rate and overall play, but he really needs to get that monkey off his back and find the back of the net in a league game for Tottenham.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham ‘stars’ take pride of place in our 2022/23 Transfer Flops XI
West Ham: Lucas Paqueta
From one Brazilian to another, Lucas Paqueta finally made the move to England last summer after being linked with Arsenal and Newcastle for all of the years.
I, like many, expected big things from a player I have always wanted to see ply his trade in England, but Paqueta has really struggled to stamp his authority on this West Ham team, who are dangerously flirting with relegation.
Wolves: Diego Costa
Wolves’ signing of Diego Costa was met with excitement as one of Our League’s biggest s**thouses of all time returned.
While he has been pretty bad since coming back to England in September, he has only been sent off once. What an enormous disappointment.
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