10 Players Likely to Flop in the 2014/15 Premier League Season
Every player wants to make an impact in the Premier League this season, but there are always a selection who fall short in the top flight over the course of a campaign.
Last season, former Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, ex-Liverpool loanee Victor Moses and Swansea forward Michu all endured disappointing seasons, as per WhoScored.com.
But who are the 10 Premier League players likely to flop in 2014/15?
Arsenal: Jack Wilshere
Colin Harvey of the Daily Star reports that football pundit Paul Scholes has been critical of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, suggesting the England international’s career had stalled due to his manager not correctly aiding him in his development.
“I was disappointed he wasn't being helped by his club, by his manager or his assistant manager.”
This season could be a difficult campaign for the 22-year-old, as he faces fierce competition for a starting place—with Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby all vying for a start.
Demonstrated by Transfermarkt, injury problems have seen him miss a lot of games over the past few seasons. He made just one start for England in this summer’s World Cup, so this season Wilshere must prove he can reach his potential.
As reported by Nick Callow of The Telegraph, he wasn't able to keep out of the headlines last season, and unless the Englishman can focus solely on his football, he will be in for a difficult campaign.
Aston Villa: Gabriel Agbonlahor
Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor has been overdue a standout season. He is in the last 12 months of his deal with the club, and despite his unwavering loyalty when the likes of Arsenal were linked with his services in 2007, per the Daily Express (h/t Daily Mail), there are still no contract talks underway just yet.
As per WhoScored.com, the 27-year-old wasn’t at his best in 2013/14, and if he can’t find some form, his time with the Villans could well be up in the summer. In Villa’s first league game this season, he missed an open goal against Stoke, per BBC Sport, so he hasn’t gotten off to the best start. He could struggle for form in 2014/15.
Liverpool: Glen Johnson
Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson had a torrid time in the Premier League last season and was criticised by This is Anfield in Metro. This campaign may not be any better for him.
He underperformed in this summer’s World Cup for England and was part of a Liverpool defence that shipped 50 goals in 2013/14, per Statto.
Manager Brendan Rodgers signed young Spanish defender Javi Manquillo as cover this summer, and the new recruit has already impressed Rodgers, as reported by Alex Sharp of the Daily Mail, so he will be looking to oust Johnson this season. The former Chelsea man has a lot to prove in 2014/15.
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had an error-strewn debut season with the Reds, as per Bloomberg Sports and Martin Laurence of WhoScored.com. The Belgian shot-stopper made the most errors leading to goals during 2013/14, while making less saves than many of his counterparts.
But he remains the Merseyside outfit’s No.1 choice for 2014/15, and the side could suffer as a result. Mignolet was shaky in the Reds’ first league game of the season, dropping crosses and coming off his line at the wrong times to claim aerial balls. He could endure a testing campaign.
Manchester United: Luke Shaw
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw was criticised by his manager Louis van Gaal for a lack of fitness just days after signing, reported by Mark Ogden of The Telegraph, and the England international further admitted, per The Guardian via the Press Association, that he didn’t anticipate how hard it would be upon his move to United.
I am not at the high level [Van Gaal] demands. It’s something I have got to work on. I didn’t come into United thinking it would be much harder. That’s something that I think I made a mistake on.
With Manchester United getting off to a poor start in the 2014/15 season, Shaw could struggle when he returns from injury.
Manchester United: Juan Mata
Manchester United supporters haven’t seen the best from Juan Mata since his arrival from Chelsea, and this season could be another disappointing campaign as the Spaniard looks short of confidence.
Despite playing a new style under manager Louis van Gaal that sees him revert back to his preferred position in the hole, the playmaker hasn’t been able to link up the attacks as he did during his Chelsea days. With United losing at home to Swansea on the opening day, he could be in for a real grind.
Queens Park Rangers: Charlie Austin
Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin has a lot of pressure to perform in the attack this season, and he may struggle to live up to expectations.
Last season, he was pivotal to the Hoops' promotion hopes and thrived on the pressure. But now he’s in a league with a higher standard of opponent, and the striker failed in his first test.
Austin missed a penalty against Hull City in QPR's opening game of the 2014/15 campaign, per BBC Sport, and there’s reason to believe the Premier League could be too much of a step up for him.
Southampton: Fraser Forster
It wasn’t an ideal debut for Southampton's Fraser Forster during their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool. The former Celtic goalkeeper let in two goals that, on closer inspection, could potentially have been avoided on another occasion.
Forster came to the Premier League from Celtic with a high price tag, and this is the season England manager Roy Hodgson will be paying attention to the goalkeeper for his international prospects. With such pressure from all angles, he could fail to live up to his own hype in a tougher league.
Southampton: Shane Long
As per Transfermarkt, Southampton paid Hull City around £13 million for striker Shane Long this summer. He didn’t get off to the best start, missing an open goal during his debut for the Saints against Liverpool.
Long scored just seven goals in 30 Premier League games for West Brom and Hull last season, so it’s hard to see what he can bring to a Southampton side who sold two of their biggest goal threats in the summer. It could be a testing time for Long at St Mary's.
West Ham: Enner Valencia
While West Ham’s new boy Enner Valencia had an impressive World Cup, scoring three goals in as many games for Ecuador, he could struggle with the Londoners this season.
Manager Sam Allardyce has continue to favour target men to spearhead his attack, which could mean Valencia has to operate from a wider position instead, potentially hampering his goalscoring prowess.
The Hammers only made six of their 18 shots in the six-yard box against Tottenham, per WhoScored.com, which means Valencia may not get too many clear-cut chances to tuck away.