With all the benefits that come from being a Premier League footballer, the heaviest of burdens laid upon any star’s shoulders is living up to the expectations of others.
Whether it be a massive price-tag that turns out to have been unjustly paid, or a one-club hero that just isn’t doing his part, many a player can fall short of the mark.
The 2012-13 season has been the same as any other and while there are those who surprise us with their success, there are others who surprise us with their failure.
A team’s failings can’t be put down to one person, of course, but that won’t stop your everyday pundit from filtering out individuals who aren’t performing to specification.
They may yet reverse their luck this campaign, but these are the 15 who just aren’t doing it as they should be so far this season.
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Last season, David Silva was arguably Manchester City’s leading man and, in what was his second campaign playing in the English top flight, managed to score eight goals and make 21 assists.
What’s more, the Spaniard created the most goalscoring opportunities in the Premier League last season (according to WhoScored.com) and had set the bar exceedingly high for himself.
Silva has failed to make one assist or hit the back of the net in his first six appearances for City this time around.
While he was a substitute for several of those games, it makes the midfielder’s lack of involvement all the stranger given that he hasn’t had any serious injuries to speak of.
Having just signed a new long-term contract with the club Silva will undoubtedly improve but so far, he has been a victim of the standards he produced last term.
Yet to make a Premier League start this season, it would appear that Daniel Sturridge is suffering as a direct result of Chelsea’s summer spending spree.
The Blues brought in Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Victor Moses and Oscar in the summer break, all of whom are capable of playing in a similar position to Sturridge.
The England international hasn’t truly got the chances to prove himself that he would have liked, but after Didier Drogba left the club, the projection was that Sturridge may get a chance in a more central striking role.
As it goes, that hasn’t happened and the youngster has played less than a half of Premier League football so far. Just how much the youngster now figures in Roberto Di Matteo’s plans is questionable, but disappointing nonetheless.
While he may be only 21 years old, Fabio Borini’s age won’t have stopped many a Liverpool fan looking to the Italian as their savior and piling a heap of pressure squarely on his lap.
So far, the youngster has reacted unfavorably to that pressure and has netted just once in eight games for the Reds.
Brendan Rodgers will need Borini to improve vastly upon that ratio if he is to succeed in his first season at Anfield, especially given the shortage of strikers at Liverpool.
Borini has featured in every Premier League fixture for his club so far but is yet to score a goal in the competition, and while it’s not for lack of trying, you don’t get an “A for Effort” in the harsh wilds of the English top flight.
And it’s Borini’s striking partner, Luis Suarez, who follows the Italian in terms of disappointment so far this season.
In all fairness to the Uruguayan, if Borini thinks he’s feeling the heat, life must be like a sauna for Liverpool’s only seasoned striker, who is now in his third season at Anfield.
Suarez will be looked upon as Liverpool’s most likely source for goals and while the whole team is performing badly, it’s talismans like the pint-sized poacher who need to stick out.
While he may have scored to earn draws against Manchester City and Sunderland, it's games like the losses against West Brom and Arsenal that also require input.
Many Arsenal fans will tell you otherwise, but when you look at it in the most simple terms, Olivier Giroud has been disappointing so far this season.
At the end of the day, strikers and centre-forwards are signed to score goals, something Giroud managed in abundance for Montpellier last season, but has failed to do in his new surroundings.
Regular arguments in the Frenchman’s favor will be that his positional play is impressive and his vision for a pass is also sublime.
While that may be true, a record of no goals in five games doesn’t inspire confidence, especially when Giroud is effectively being looked at to replace the prolific Robin van Persie.
Unless the former Montpellier man can find his shooting boots soon, he risks slipping down the Gunners’ ranks and possibly being dubbed “Marouane Chamakh v2.0.”
David de Gea has resumed this season where he left off last time around, jostling with Anders Lindegaard for a starting spot in Manchester United’s setup.
The Spaniard arrived at Old Trafford last season and managed to find his place after what was a difficult beginning, leading many to believe he would only improve in this campaign.
Save for an inspiring performance against Everton, De Gea has been inconsistent in his performances, and was dropped from the team following a bounty of mistakes in a league game against Fulham.
It seems Lindegaard will continue to get his bite of the cherry for the Red Devils, while De Gea may have to settle for a seat on the bench at times.
Having missed just 11 minutes of Newcastle’s Premier League season so far, one would think that Papiss Demba Cisse is rolling in the goals at this stage.
The Senegalese striker arrived upon Tyneside last January and was an immediate hit with his new club, scoring 13 goals in 13 starts.
However, Cisse is yet to hit the mark this season and it’s Demba Ba who has taken the spotlight once more, leaving his international compatriot in the shadows.
There was always going to be a question over whether or not Grant Holt would be able to transfer his scoring form from last season to the new term.
So far, the answer would seem to be “No” for the Norwich frontman, who has just the one assist and no goals for the Canaries this campaign.
It took Holt a while to get into his scoring stride last season, but Chris Hughton’s side need the veteran to open his account soon if they’re to see a third consecutive season amongst the English elite.
When his contract with Blackburn Rovers ran out at the end of last season, a host of clubs were vying for the signature of Junior Hoilett, who had a highly impressive 2011-12 campaign.
In the end, it was big-spending QPR who won the race and kept the 22-year-old in the Premier League, despite interest from other European leagues.
Given the Rs’ exuberant spending policy in the last two seasons, it would appear that just about every name in that squad is replaceable, and Hoilett is no exception.
After failing to make huge impacts in the first two encounters of the campaign, Hoilett has spent the last two matches on the bench and is even further from impressing.
After playing only 60 minutes of Premier League football, it’s understandable why some may be skeptical as to why Oscar is necessarily a disappointment in his budding Chelsea career.
With the economy in a fine balance, one would think that whenever a club spend over £23 million on a player, that player’s acquisition is made with a view to impacting first-team matters.
Regardless of how much Roberto Di Matteo has used the playmaker or not, the money that was spent on Oscar means that he’s billed as a starter and as such, hasn’t yet lived up to expectations.
There’s no doubt that the Brazilian international will get his chances to shine, he just needs a lot more of them.
Although the Benin international has been suffering with niggling injuries, Mackems will still be saddened by the fact that Stephane Sessegnon hasn’t revived some of his 2011-12 form just yet.
For a time last season, the Sunderland asset was probably the club's most likely source of goals and with a shortage of strikers on Tyneside, moved further and further up the field.
Sessegnon has played in all three of Sunderland’s league fixtures this season but is yet to record a goal or an assist as the side continue their offensive struggles.
With Steven Fletcher now in their ranks, it's likely that "Sess" will revert to a role in midfield, but has fallen short of last season's sky-high standards regardless.
In truth, Dempsey’s selection is more down to the fashion in which he went about his business at Craven Cottage in his dying days with the club.
The U.S. international has played just 13 minutes of football for his new club, but could have racked up considerably more minutes if he got on with business as a Fulham player earlier on in the season.
The attacker could very well be the same prolific talent that we saw in west London last season but, so far, Dempsey’s stubbornness has prevented him from being anything other than disappointing.
Another Liverpool star who may have helped their season slightly if he were at his peak is Pepe Reina.
Past seasons have shown us that the Spaniard is a worldly talent when playing to his potential, but we are yet to see much evidence of that form in the current campaign.
Reina has already been lackluster in some performances and goals against Sunderland, West Brom and Arsenal may have been prevented if the stopper were at his best.
Even the player’s agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon, was reported by The Mirror as admitting his client was in a bad patch of form, leading to the speculation of a possible move away.
Upon their return to the Premier League, West Ham supporters will have been excited to see Sam Allardyce making moves for a player such as Modibo Maiga, who came in from Sochaux.
The Malian international may have completed a move to Newcastle were it not for a failed medical (via Daily Mail), but is showing no signs of why the Magpies would have wanted him as of yet.
Maiga has featured sporadically for West Ham so far, and will have been pleased that Andy Carroll suffered an injury so early in his East London tenure, otherwise he could have slipped even further down the ranks.
Yet to score a goal in the claret of blue of West Ham, Maiga’s £7 million transfer fee looks to have been overvalued as of yet.
When it emerged that Manchester City were in the running to sign Scott Sinclair from Swansea City, a common opinion was that the British Olympian would fade into obscurity at the Etihad Stadium.
While those claims haven’t quite been proven true just yet, the Englishman will undoubtedly feel like he has a lot to prove with the Premier League champions.
Sinclair made his debut for the Citizens in a 1-1 draw against Stoke City and it’s so far unclear as to how prominent a part the winger will play under Roberto Mancini.
You can follow me on Twitter @TomSunderland_