Premier League flops of the season – part two
10. Heurelho Gomes
The ultimate Jekyll and Hyde goalkeeper. No one has given away or saved more penalties than him this season in the Premier League, and Gomes is now second only to Rob Green in goalkeepers whose errors have been directly responsible for the conceding of a goal.
Whether Harry chooses to buy a keeper in the summer (Ben Foster surely a probability if Brum are relegated) remains open to debate, but surely it would be advisable: many Spurs’ fans openly cheer when he saves a ball cleanly.
9. Robbie Keane
How far can a striker fall in one loan spell? Whilst he was certainly the fourth striker at Spurs, the performance of some of his counterparts ironically meant that he may have got a game at the Lane had he stuck around.
Instead he moved to West Ham, where he set about impressing no-one. Two goals in four months was an inefficient return, but it was the standard of some of his missed opportunities that grated most on Hammers fans, including a shocker against Blackburn.
Keane will undoubtedly move on, but presumably on a downward spiral.
8. Jermaine Defoe/Peter Crouch
I see no problem with lumping together the underperforming strike partnership. Effective for country and ineffective for club, Spurs have suffered from the fact that their two most high –profile forwards have simply not delivered the goods.
Relying on Bale and Van der Vaart was always unlikely to bring Champions League football back to the Lane, and Harry may need to seriously invest in some goalscoring talent this summer. Could Defoe be on his way? Would Spurs miss him?
7. James Perch
As a Forest fan, I could have told Newcastle fans how this one would run, although I wouldn’t have predicted how quickly he would fall.
Paying £1.6million for a player that Forest fans did not even want on their bench seemed ridiculous, as did starting Perch in their first game at Old Trafford. No matter, Perch set an impressive record for being booked in the first five games of the season, and has made one league start since October (and none since December).
It just never made sense.
6. Marcos Alonso
In July 2010, after Alonso was signed by Bolton for a fee reportedly around the £2million mark, the Daily Mirror ran a story as to how Bolton had persuaded the player to not sign a new deal at Real Madrid, and had stolen him from the clutches of Benfica.
Nine months later and a lot has changed. Alonso has made just four starts for Bolton in the league, and earlier this month was at the wheel of a car that crashed, killing one of the occupants. It is reported that Alonso was over the legal alcohol limit. With his license removed, Alonso is waiting for the legal instructions to discover if he will face trial.
Not the best first year in English football.
5. Mauro Boselli
Despite his previous goalscoring prowess, there were always suspicions that the signing of Boselli would blow up in the face of Wigan Athletic, particularly as it was a club record fee.
As with James Perch, it all fell perfectly into place (for this list rather than the players concerned). Boselli scored one goal, in the Carling Cup against Swansea, and missed a vital penalty against West Ham in the league.
By January, Wigan’s record signing had moved out on loan to Genoa.
4. Avram Grant
When you have been personally bottom of the Premier League for the best part of two years, you know that it might be time to move countries and try your luck elsewhere. It’s not that Avram may be an awful manager, but merely the fact that he is so uninspiring that Scott Parker was left to do team talks on occasions.
Having said that, this West Ham squad contains five players that have played for England in the last two years, and contains 21 full internationals. Grant has been shafted by the West Ham owners, but the wrong is not that he has been sacked, but that he should have been removed of his duties four months earlier.
3. Fernando Torres
Ahh yes, young Fernando. Torres may start next season on fire, and it would be a brave man that bet against it, but when you shell out £50million squid on a striker, it is presumably with the aim of him starting to score pretty quickly.
Whatever happens, it has been an inauspicious beginning to his Chelsea chapter. One goal (with the aid of a puddle) and a touch akin to a sexual predator has led to the joyful derision of Torres from the majority of the football community.
A quick recovery is needed.
2. Arsenal’s central defensive signings
Or more definitively Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny. In that order.
Whilst Koscielny’s ability to intercept play at times is impressive, he is more suited to playing with a big man, as is heading is not up to much. Therefore if Vermaelen stays fit a £10million signing will not be first choice.
When you add to this a £4.5million player that makes fans long for Mickael Silvestre or Sol Camppbell, you know you have problems.
For all the (deserved) criticism of Arsenal’s lack of alternative to the tika-tika, it has been the defensive frailties that have cost them dear. They have scored more league goals that anyone but Manchester United this season, but conceded the same as Fulham and more than any of their other top four rivals.
How not to run a football club:
• Take over and immediately announce that you will make your club a force in world football
• Publicly discuss signing former World Player’s of the Year (Ronaldinho) and the nation’s footballing sweetheart (Beckham) but then fail to make any progress in actually persuading the players to join
• Sack a manager that, whilst the football wasn’t pretty, was keeping you steady in midtable
• State that you wanted an experienced manager, before appointing someone who had never before had a managerial role
• Sit back and watch as your side slide down the table, having greater patience with the newbie than the with his predecessor
• Oversee a relegation from the top league
Venky’s are on their way, but still have the last one to tick off the list. Possibly a step to far, but they have done well. Huge investment is needed to get the fans back on their side, and at least persuade them of their capability.