Hot on the heels of yesterday’s mysteriously out-of-favour Premier League players, here are five players who are being regularly picked for reasons best known to their managers.
Where do you start? Arsenal splashed out £10.8million on Gervinho and have seen very little return. Arsene Wenger persists with the enigmatic Ivorian, presumably on the basis that he’s slightly better than Marouane Chamakh. His regular starting berth could probably be put to better use.
2. Papiss Cisse
He made a great impression after joining in January last season, but Cisse’s form has been pretty woeful for Newcastle this campaign. So, you’ve got a number 9 who’s out of form… but is being accommodated in the team as a winger instead. Probably better to play a winger, Mr Pardew.
3. Gareth Barry
One of football’s great mysteries: how can you spend as much as Manchester City have spent, sell Nigel De Jong and still have Gareth Barry playing as you’re holding midfielder? Firstly, he’s not really a holding midfielder. Secondly, he’s not really at the level City would like to pitch themselves these days.
4. Samir Nasri
Unlike Barry, Nasri does have the quality to command a starting place for City. But his form has been so up-and-down for such prolonged spells of his time at the Etihad Stadium that it’s a bit of a surprise that he continues to start so regularly.
5. Steven Gerrard
He’s not exactly a Brendan Rodgers-type player and his legs are gradually stopping him from being a Steven Gerrard-type player. All of which has left many Reds questioning whether their former talisman should be getting quite as much playing time as he is at present. Perhaps Rodgers’ dealings in January will see Gerrard take up a new role as an impact sub.
It seemed a bit harsh to include Fernando Torres given his recent spurt of goals and Chelsea’s lack of strikers. Who would you include in the list?