5 EPL Players Who Need to Save Their Season
The season may be quickly approaching its conclusion, but for several players, these last eight games could decide their future for many years to come.
While certain big names will be coasting through the remaining fixtures on autopilot, others do not have that luxury.
These upcoming performances will have a huge factor on whether they ultimately stay or go.
Here are five men who are on the block.
5. Wojciech Szczesny
Szczesny has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde player for Arsenal, with his future constantly questioned by the media.
Arsene Wenger has come to the defence of his goalkeeper on many occasions, but may lose patience with the Poland international if the club doesn’t qualify for Champions League football.
If Wenger stays over the summer, he is expected to spend big, which may not bode well for the 22-year-old.
Arsenal have not had a solid keeper since David Seaman and there is already talk (per the Daily Express' Charles Perrin) of Sporting Lisbon's Rui Patricio coming to the Emirates
However, there is still time for Szczesny to prove the doubters wrong. Games against Norwich, West Brom and Wigan look enticing for clean sheets.
But it’s the big matches with Manchester United and Everton that could ultimately decide his future.
A fourth-place finish may just be enough.
What do you do about a problem called Nani?
Probably the most frustrating player at United, Nani constantly flatters to deceive.
Blessed with everything it takes to be world-class, the Portuguese international has produced two labored seasons after initially promising so much following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Granted, the rest of the United midfield have not been much better, with the likes of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia also disappointing.
But it’s Nani who may well be man to go if Sir Alex decides to have a summer shake-up.
Additions to the midfield are likely and there must be a fall guy to balance the books.
After United's FA Cup elimination, the 26-year-old will hope to get some EPL starts and make a big impact with games fast running out.
Home matches with Aston Villa and Swansea could produce big returns for the midfielder, provided he is named to the team.
3. Andy Carroll
Whenever you mention Andy Carroll, you can’t help but think of “that transfer”.
Whether it has been a burden or not, the story of Andy Carroll’s career post-Newcastle has been nothing short of disastrous.
It was hoped the loan move to West Ham would make the England international relevant again, but an injury-ravaged campaign has all but ruled out a permanent signing.
However, Liverpool will be buoyed by his recent double at the weekend and hope the 24-year-old can finish the season strongly.
Carroll’s future may take some time to be decided, but a positive, injury-free finish will at least add a few million to his resale price—unless Brendan Rodgers makes a huge U-turn.
A trip back to Newcastle may well be in the offing depending on his next few performances.
2. Fernando Torres
It’s been another vastly disappointing season for the $75 million striker.
Many gasped when the figures of the deal were initially reported, but the real shock has been the severe lack of production.
Three different mangers have tried to accommodate the Spanish international without genuine success.
And while his determination and resilience cannot be faulted, ultimately he must and will be judged on goals.
But with an FA Cup semi-final and potential final to come, plus a highly important fixture to ensure Champions League football, Torres will have ample opportunity to save his Chelsea career.
Games against Sunderland and Aston Villa should provide plenty of scoring opportunities if he gets the start instead of Demba Ba.
With reports Jose Mourinho could be on his way back to Stamford Bridge (per the Daily Express' John Richardson), Torres could well be the odd man out unless he does something very special between now and the end of the season.
1. Christopher Samba
It may be a surprise to see a player who only joined in January topping this list, but Samba’s position is arguably the most volatile of the five.
Yet the leaky defence that greeted his arrival has shown no signs of being fixed while the huge goal presence he delivered at Blackburn looks to be a distant memory.
If QPR do the impossible and survive, Samba should perform better next season.
But get relegated and there will be a player exodus out of Loftus Road.
Chairman Tony Fernandes is almost certain to resign and the fire sale that must surely follow will be headed by Samba.
QPR are not paying Premier League wages, they’re paying Champions League wages.
Even with the parachute payments, Samba will be the first name to depart unless he can lead the team to survival—you have eight games and counting.