15 Most Frustratingly Inconsistent Footballers in Europe This Season

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentApril 8, 2013

15 Most Frustratingly Inconsistent Footballers in Europe This Season

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    Here are the 15 most frustratingly inconsistent footballers in Europe this season.

    Do you know when pundits use the oxymoron “consistently inconsistent?”

    Well these 15 European-based footballers would qualify under that category for their performances this season.

    Please comment below with your thoughts.  

15. Andre Schurrle, LF, Bayer Leverkusen

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    Stefan Kießling's biggest foes: opposing defenders, Joachim Löw [1] and Andre Schurrle.

    Schurrle needs to facilitate, but he literally plays himself as a No. 9 (he does wear the number) despite being a wide forward.

    He has less assists (5) than Stefan (7) and Andre's created shots per game (1.2) is significantly inferior to Bayer Leverkusen's actual centre forward (2.1). 

    If you haven't been following Andre this season, think Daniel Sturridge when the current Liverpool forward was forced to the wings at Chelsea. 

    Speaking of the Blues, they want to sign Schurrle (per Charles Perrin at The Express) in a deal that has so many holes in it.

    1. £22 million plus Kevin De Bruyne (on loan) excessively favours Bayer. 

    72 players in Europe's top leagues have scored more (10+) than Andre.

    95 players have accumulated more assists (6+) than Schurrle.

    2. Why would Bayer take Kevin on loan when they can spend a chunk of the £22 million on a full-time replacement? 

    3. Assuming CFC don't feel De Bruyne is ready for first-team football, wouldn't it make more sense to loan him out to a Premier League team?

    4. Let's say Leverkusen wanted £22 million and another Chelsea player—why KDB? Marko Marin, who has no future at the London club, would be a more logical target for Bayer 04.

     

    [1] a reference to Joachim strangely dismissing Kießling as a viable forward for the national team. 

14. Sebastian Giovinco, DLF, Juventus

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    When Sebastian Giovinco was one of the best Serie A players with Parma, he constantly talked about not receiving a fair go with Juventus. 

    Now that he has crawled back to the Bianconeri, he has been lackluster despite having a world-class backline and an MVP midfield. 

    The six-game goalless streak he is on isn't anything new given that he's been on a three-game and seven-game scoreless drought this season. 

    Playing off a complete striker like Fernando Llorente next season will give Sebastian a chance at redemption—that's assuming Beppe Marotta doesn't sign a replacement for Seba in the summer. 

13. Gervinho, CF/WAM, Arsenal

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    Fun Facts

    All of Gervinho's Premier League assists (3) this season have come in his last two league games. 

    He loses the ball 70 percent of the time he attempts to dribble. 

    His 85.1 passing completion percentage is surprisingly high for someone who routinely makes the wrong decision. 

    Arsenal's No. 27 has scored more league goals (5) than Oscar, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and Yossi Benayoun combined (3). 

     

    How Bad is Gervinho? 

    The Ivorian receives a lot of harsh criticism because he's such an un-Arsene Wenger-type player. 

    His football IQ is the attacking footballer's equivalent of Titus Bramble. 

    Yes, Gervinho often makes bone-headed plays but he possesses the tangibles to perform at an elite standard.

     

    But that's Gervinho in a nutshell: 18 minutes of dire football followed by 10 seconds of awkward brilliance.

    — 7amkickoff (@7amkickoff) April 6, 2013

12. Benat, CM, Real Betis

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    Benat started the season like an established superstar—three goals and five assists in his first 12 La Liga games. 

    Since the rampant speculation linking him with a move away from Real Betis, he hasn't been the same player. 

    For an intelligent footballer, some of his hacks at opposing players are daft, and his passing has been hit-and-miss. 

    In a 2-1 win over Osasuna, he misplaced 43 percent of his passes, which was an indication of his mind being elsewhere as opposed to a technical deficiency. 

    He spoke about how mentally drained he was from the transfer saga (from Stephen McIlkenny at Goal.com): 

    The club has now had more time and we have waited. I would like to close talks on a new contract or arrange to leave before June.

    It is not nice to be in a situation like that of [Fernando] Llorente. The anxiety is taking its toll.

    I notice the murmurings of the crowd, but I try to stay focused.

11. Felipe Santana, CB, Borussia Dortmund

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    Felipe Santana is 6'4", mobile, disciplined and can play out from the back. 

    Yet, he was diabolical in both league games vs. Hannover 96 (a 1-1 draw and a 3-1 win). 

    In a 1-1 draw against Fortuna Dusseldorf, he surprisingly struggled to deal with Robbie Kruse's movement. 

    The less said about Felipe's display in the 4-1 loss to Hamburg, the better. 

    Santana is Borussia Dortmund's answer to Jerome Boateng in that the Brazilian has the makeup of a world-class centre-back but just can't get it together.

    Compatriot Dante—now the league's best CB at Bayern Munich—shaved his head when he avoided relegation with former club Borussia Mönchengladbach.

    Felipe did it in an attempt to reverse his poor displays (via Dietmar Nolte at Bundesliga.com):

    Nolte: Was there an element of superstition behind you decision to shave your head?

    Santana: I’m the kind of guy who thinks a lot about things, especially when they aren’t running so smoothly.

    I just wanted to shave my head again because I’ve had some great times in Dortmund with that hairstyle and we’ve also had a laugh about it already.

    The boss [Jurgen Klopp] asked whether we had signed a new player.

    That new player made has now completed his debut against Donetsk (laughs) and he did an excellent job! 

10. Adel Taarabt, DLF, WAM, Queens Park Rangers

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    If you were to rank Adel Taarabt on technique alone, he would be in the top percentile. 

    His combined shots created/dribbles completed average is 5.8, 2.6 higher than Cristiano Ronaldo (3.2). 

    Though, CR7 has scored 41 more goals than Adel this season. 

    The predicament Taarabt often finds himself in is the propensity to choke in front of goal. His 17.4 shots per goal sums up why Queens Park Rangers are headed for the drop. 

    At the present time, Adel will be classed with the likes of Ricardo Quaresma, Djalminha, Denilson and Jorge Valdivia as footballers who didn't fully maximise their ability. 

    QPR playing with flair and belief. Most of it coming through Taarabt, who is shooting on sight as usual

    — Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) February 2, 2013

9. Antonio Valencia, RAM, Manchester United

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    Antonio Valencia's shelf life at Manchester United has expired. 

    He huffs and puffs in midfield, but he isn't producing the goods. 

    Well, is he good enough to be a backup to Rafael at right-back? 

    Antonio has done okay when he's started as a make-shift RB but his completed tackles (34) to free kicks conceded (28) is inefficient.

    Even with his best attribute (crossing), he is living off past reputation. 

     

    LEAGUE ONLY A C% P% SCPG
    Antonio Valencia 4 21.1 84.1 1.4
    Damien Duff 7 27.2 86.7 1.5
    Jean Beausejour 6 27.9 77.1 2.1
    Jonathan De Guzman 34.7  88.5  1.6 
    Leighton Baines 5 31.1 82.7 3.1

     

    A = assist/s, C% = crossing percentage, P% = passing percentage, SCPG = shots created per game

8. Alexis Sanchez, WF, Barcelona

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    No surprise that without Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez flourished vs. Mallorca, scoring twice and registering a brace of assists. 

    Even though Alexis didn't start in his preferred deep-lying forward role, Cesc Fabregas was world-class filling in for Leo, the Chilean played more freely.

    According to Tuttosport (via Football Italia), Juventus will target Sanchez in the summer transfer window. 

    Juve are planning to pair Alexis behind Fernando Llorente which could re-kindle the form the Chilean showed at Udinese. 

7. Angel Di Maria, RAM, Real Madrid

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    Angel Di Maria averages 2.9 shots per game in this season's UEFA Champions League—he hasn't scored.

    How many assists does he have? Four in eight games. 

    Therein lies the unpredictability of Angel, who can be world-class vs. Manchester City, but drift out of the game against Celta Vigo. 

    Di Maria doesn't have a goal or an assist in his last five games for Real Madrid.


6. Kevin-Prince Boateng, DLF/WF, AC Milan

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    Kevin-Prince Boateng isn't reliable as a deep-lying forward who doesn't create or a wide forward who completes 0.8 dribbles per Serie A game. 

    People often forget that he is a box-to-box midfielder converted into a quasi-No. 10, who had phenomenal highlight reel moments, which are entrenched in the memories of casual football fans.

    However, those who follow AC Milan know the future is with M'Baye Niang, Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy. 

    Move KPB back into midfield. 

5. David Luiz, CB, Chelsea

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    Luiz Felipe Scolari is a FIFA World Cup winning manager, so you're forced to give him the benefit of the doubt when he named David Luiz as captain against England and Italy. 

    Then again, Scolari once gave the comical Roque Junior a leadership position (via the Associated Press from Asia One):

    When leading Brazil to the 2002 title, Scolari named a similar group of captains after Emerson was dropped from the squad just before the competition.

    At the time, Cafu had the title on the field, but Ronaldo, Roque Junior, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos were also captains.

    Here are several reasons why Luiz shouldn't have been the captain. 

    1. He is one of the worst players on the national team. 

    2. How can he speak with authority when he doesn't even play centre-back properly?

    3. David has enough problems trying to play a clean game, so adding the stress that comes with being a captain makes no sense. 

    At 18 years of age, Marquinhos is already a better CB than Luiz.

4. Victor Valdes, GK, Barcelona

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    Whatever happened to the Victor Valdes that was an instrumental reason in Barcelona's 2006 UEFA Champions League final win over Arsenal?

    From Andrew Haslam at UEFA.com

    FC Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard—the fifth man to lift the European Champion Clubs' Cup as player and coach—underlined the crucial role played by goalkeeper Víctor Valdés as "each and every part" of his team contributed to their 2-1 UEFA Champions League final triumph against Arsenal FC. 

    Rijkaard: Víctor Valdés once again played a decisive role. He saved us at a crucial moment with the stop from Thierry Henry. He contributed to the victory and I like that. 

    From Phil McNulty at BBC Sport:

    Thierry Henry's failure to beat Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes and give Arsenal a two-goal lead was a defining moment in the Champions League final. 

    Arsenal's captain [Henry] literally led from the front, setting the tone for early domination, only to find Valdes an immovable object.

    From Jonah Freedman at SI.com:

    The goaltending was fantastic. Víctor Valdés was a wall, and probably made Spanish national coach Luis Aragonés think twice about his decision to call on Pepe Reina as a backup instead of the Catalonian.

    Victor has made the right decision to seek a new challenge away from Barça, which enables him to rectify his reputation. 

3. Fernando Torres, CF, Chelsea

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    Fernando Torres netted three goals in his first four games this season—El Nino is back! 

    Chelsea being utterly humiliated 4-1 by Fernando's former club Atletico Madrid weighed heavily on his psyche. 

    Many Blues supporters were wondering why Torres couldn't take over a game like Atletico's Falcao, who had scored a classy hat trick.  

    Torres went through a patch where he scored six times in a five-game stretch. 

    Then he went two months without finding the back of the net in league play.

    No need to buy Falcao because CFC already have their replacement—Romelu Lukaku.


2. Joe Hart, GK, Manchester City

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    When David de Gea made blunders, the English press were rightly lambasting how Manchester United weren't aware of his meekness at crosses, his vulnerability to long-range shots and his lack of leadership. 

    Yet, when Joe Hart is making errors left, right and centre—why doesn't he receive the same harsh treatment? 

    Sure, all keepers go through some lean phases, but, gosh, some of Hart's mistakes are even more tragic than de Gea, who is one of Europe's best keepers right now. 

1. Sercan Sararer, DLF/WAM, Greuther Furth

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    Sercan Sararer is one of the few players in Europe who can dribble past three or four players and still mess things up. 

    He fails to convert 94.7 percent of chances even though he can create his own shot. 

    Sercan's 0.8 key passes per league game is unusually low, considering he causes disarray to opposing defences. 

    You'd think he would find an open teammate, but he doesn't because he plays hero ball all the time. 

    Sararer is football's answer to Austin Rivers. 

    Next season, the Turkish international will be joining Stuttgart (via Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC).

    The German club now have two world-class dribblers in Ibrahima Traore and Sararer. 

    Combined with an elite finisher in Vedad Ibisevic and an instinctive player like Martin Harnik, Stuttgart will be a fun team to watch.  

     

    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.comFox Soccer and Squawka.com.