Martin Demichelis and 10 Players Managers Keep Picking but Shouldn't
They're managers' favourites, but nobody else can quite figure out how they came to occupy such an important role in their side.
Such players are common around the footballing world and often draw the ire of their respective supporters for their repeated below-par showings.
One such player this season has been Manchester City's Martin Demichelis who, while not as bad as many reports have suggested, is simply not at the level that would be hoped for at a club with City's ambitions.
However, he is a long-standing favourite of manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Who joins Demichelis in being selected in spite of their on-pitch displays? Bleacher Report takes a look.
Former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young has, at times, shown glimpses of his match-winning ability since arriving at Manchester United. In between frequent injuries, though, it has all been too little, too infrequently.
When fit, he is often quickly rewarded with a slot in the team—largely due to his willingness to offer the side defensive protection on the left. However, his performances are often well below the level the Red Devils have come to expect from their first-choice wide players.
At times Young has been a scapegoat for supporters and is often unfairly criticised. Yet he remains a favourite of manager David Moyes when perhaps he should be made to work a little harder to retain his berth at Old Trafford.
John Obi Mikel
It appears that the 2013-14 season is the one in which Chelsea's patience with soon-to-be 27-year-old John Obi Mikel has finally run out. For too long, the midfielder's subpar displays were accepted by virtue of his potential.
Mikel has, at times, played well for Chelsea—most notably over the course of the club's 2012 Champions League success—but such levels of performance have been few and far between over the course of his time in London.
Signed for big money as a teenager, Mikel has never stepped up to the level that was hoped of him on arrival. With Nemanja Matic at the club, his run in West London appears to be coming to an end.
Another who when fit is an automatic starter for his side, Glen Johnson is in dire need of some competition for his slot as Liverpool's first-choice right-back next season.
Johnson's attacking ability has always been better than his contributions defensively, but even in attack he has been subdued for some time now. Indeed, even his improved recent form cannot hide his subpar showings for much of the season.
Liverpool still have a shot at this year's Premier League title, but largely based on a prolific attack. Defensively, an overhaul is still required, and Johnson is one of those in grave danger.
To say that Bobby Zamora has been poor since joining QPR two years ago would be somewhat of an understatement. For long periods of that spell he has been a shadow of the player who once guided Fulham to the Europa League final.
Zamora scored this past weekend thanks to a goalkeeping howler but has generally been abysmal in his time at Loftus Road, with Rangers fans left wondering how he has been continually selected for long stretches of the season.
QPR spent a lot of money to sign Zamora, who is doubtless on a hefty wage. Perhaps he can still repay that fee in part with crucial goals to earn a Premier League return. At present, it appears unlikely.
While he wouldn't start for the club if all were fit, it has been increasingly obvious for some time now that full-back Kyle Naughton is not up to the level required to play for a top Premier League side.
Naughton is now 25 and in all honesty has shown little since his early years to suggest he has another level to reach in his performances. A drop down to a lower Premier League side or high-end Championship club would seem the inevitable outcome.
In spite of failing to meet the standards that Spurs would hope, Naughton has received regular playing time this season as the club's injuries mount. It would have to be assumed, though, that his time at White Hart Lane is coming to an end.
Aston Villa's young side have endured another roller coaster of a season again in 2013-14; safety is far from secure as yet. There are members of the side who have the potential to achieve more but also others who must now have their long-term roles at the club questioned.
Among those is Austrian forward Andreas Weimann, who at times has looked like a decent prospect in previous seasons. Indeed, last year he scored seven goals en route to Premier League survival. However, in general he would appear to have reached the highest level his abilities will take him to.
Weimann has his uses: He works hard, he has pace on the counter and he has shown he can score goals. However, he can be wasteful in possession and contributes to Villa's lack of creativity in forward areas. A change is required.
Big Shola was never the best option but for a long time was useful up front for Newcastle managers, with his abilities in holding up the ball an asset to the side as they fought to climb into the top half of the table.
But Newcastle are now a good side, and with just three goals in his last 69 appearances, Ameobi is a passenger in the North East. He has started 10 games this season largely due to Papiss Cisse's complete loss of form, but his contribution has generally been minimal.
There will be many Newcastle fans sad to see Shola depart, but the time would seem to have come. With no Premier League goal to his name since December 2012, his non-goalscoring contributions can no longer justify his inclusion.
Welsh youngster John is a good player and has a bright future ahead of him at only 18 years old. However, Cardiff are fighting a relegation battle, and over the past couple of weeks it is becoming clear that John is not ready for the fight.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently has two Premier League-level full-backs at his disposal in Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Fabio Ferreira, both of whom have performed well of late and have decent experience that will serve them well in the battles ahead.
John may prove to be a better player than both, but for now he is not as prepared for the backs-to-the-wall effort needed. Liverpool tore him apart this weekend with a deliberate strategy to attack his side evident.
Everton, too, looked to exploit his inexperience a week earlier, and it may be time to give the youngster a few weeks off as Cardiff fight for their Premier League future.
A jack-of-all-trades, Wilson can play a number of roles in the defensive half of the pitch. However, at present, it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly which he has mastered.
He does a job and is a useful squad member—that is understandable. But as a first-team regular in a Premier League side, he comes up short. He simply isn't of the level required.
Stoke have managed to turn around their season and should shortly confirm their Premier League survival, but it would be a surprise if Wilson were to continue in a regular first-team role next year.
Poor old Martin has found himself blamed for everything of late, often when there was at least one other player who played a major role in whatever the disaster may have been.
But the truth is that Demichelis has long since been error-prone, and while he may be a favourite of manager Manuel Pellegrini, his reputation is far from that of a top-level central defender.
Manchester City have a good defender in Joleon Lescott and a potentially excellent one in Matija Nastasic. What they needed was a world-class partner for Vincent Kompany.
Demichelis was an unnecessary purchase who has done little to demonstrate any improvement on his predecessors. City have continued to lack a quality partner for Kompany, as evidenced in recent weeks.