The Fail XI
May 15, 2012 in Premier League
So the dust has settled, and the plaudits have been handed out. Time for a bit of Schadenfreude.
Welcome to Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah’s Fail Team of the Season.
Played in a fashionable 4-2-3-1, the criteria is simple: they must have rendered me incoherent from laughter at their expense at least once this past year. Ready?
GK – Adam Bogdan
Club – Bolton
When talismanic goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen fell to injury early this year, it could have been seen to be an omen. But they had cover. Cometh the hour cometh the man and all that.
Adam Bogdan came in with all of the assurance of a drenched kitten and around the same agility, a recipe for disaster in front of an already shaky defence. The other reason he’s my pick? He’s like an inverted Leprechaun, a black hole for unfortunate incidents.
Also, Tim Howard chipped him from his own penalty area. Can’t say fairer than that.
LB – Stephen Warnock
Club – Aston Villa
There were a few candidates for this, but none has looked as shaky as the man who snuck into a World Cup squad because of homesickness. While his rival back then has driven on to become this season’s outstanding performers, Stephen Warnock has seemingly discarded all the key concepts of full back play.
Positioning, marking, tackle timing? Warnock was the man who said “Bitch please” to all of the above and kept on trucking. I’d love to compile how many goals conceded he was indirectly involved in, but I have the rest of this article to write.
CB – John Terry
Club – Chelsea
Every defender goes through it.
That period where their body’s not quite responding as quickly as it used to be; they lose that yard of pace and us spectators have to wait for the penny to drop before they begin to rely on their nous instead of their deteriorating physicality.
That JT has done this during a season marred with repeated failures at the top level and an on-pitch row culminating in a court case fills me with a joy that only a bitter fan can have.
CB – Roger Johnson
Club – Wolves
Roger Johnson was brought in to do a job in Wolverhampton. He was brought in to be the bedrock that they built the back line around, and to cement this, they gave him the armband.
Defensive clumsiness has been the least of his problems, the on-pitch argument with Wayne Hennessey revealing a lack of authority in the dressing room and prompted the fans turning against him. If the captain of a side is meant to be an expression of the manager’s will on the pitch, Wolves’ backroom must have been utterly clueless.
RB – Alan Hutton
Club – Aston Villa
Many modern football fans hear the word “wing-back” and associate it with defenders that don’t really defend; sleek, pacey, technical players that add another layer of excitement to a game.
Many modern football fans hear the word “Scottish” and associate it with strong, workmanlike players who can be seen as a little cumbersome with the ball at their feet.
Alan Hutton is a Scottish wing-back. Your argument is invalid.
DM – Darren Pratley
Club – Bolton
What exactly does Darren Pratley do?
I watched the game where he got his only goal of the season and am still bewildered by his exact M.O. on a football pitch. I suppose you could call him an all-action box-to-box midfielder, but he’s just seemed to be played to make up the numbers.
This is a mystery that’ll bother me throughout the summer.
DM – Joey Barton
Club – QPR
He had to go in.
For he seemed a man more enamoured with his own celebrity than anyone else. Whether it was spouting pop psychology on his Twitter feed, starting a war of words with the cast of “The Only Way is Essex” or just generally being a massive cock, Mr Barton seemed to slowly lose the plot. The only player crazier (sort of) justified it with 19 goals and his first assist at the most vital of moments.
He’d totally be captain, if it wasn’t for…
LW – Stewart Downing (c)
Club – Liverpool
0 assists. 0 goals. First player in Premier League history to miss three consecutive penalties.
TAKE A BOW.
AM – Adel Taarabt
Club – QPR
19 goals, the team built around him, Championship player of the year. The fans love him, the manager loves him even more, and he’s been rewarded with the chance to strut his stuff in the “Most Exciting League in the World”.
That was last season. This season he’s spent his time trying to get sold, having his lack of work rate exposed and generally not helping matters at his club. Yes, he came back to haunt us at Tottenham, but a footballer needs to do more than act on old grudges.
RW – Gervinho
Club – Arsenal
He just hasn’t settled, has he?
Between the three match ban on the first day of the season (where he was outwitted by Joey Barton, of all people), the African Nations Cup and every other Arsenal midfielder hitting form at the same time, he’s just been a bit ordinary. Also his hair is unforgivable.
(Anyone holding up the “adjusting to a new football culture” excuse will be slapped in the face with Yohan Cabaye’s immense time at Newcastle. Less hype and less plaudits: they came from the same club).
ST – David N’gog
Club – Bolton
Expecting someone different?
But seriously, this graduate from the Emile Heskey School of Finishing™ has done absolutely nobody at Bolton any kind of favour. I thought he was unfairly maligned at Liverpool, used as a scapegoat for the entire team’s shortcomings, but it seems that away from there, he really is that bad. A worthy spearhead for a shocking side.
Manager: Steve Kean. See here
Honourable mentions go to Stefan Savic, the Olsson twins, and every Liverpool summer signing apart from Sebastian Coates.
Roll on the Euros!