Gervinho's Arsenal Red Card and the 15 Worst Premier League Debuts Ever

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2011

Gervinho's Arsenal Red Card and the 15 Worst Premier League Debuts Ever

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    Gervinho's Arsenal and Premier League debut got off to a pretty horrible start. 

    Not only did he get a foolish red card ruling him out for the following three Premier League matchups, but he also got drawn into the antics of consummate bad boy Joey Barton. 

    But the Ivorian was far from the first player to have a nightmarish debut for his club, and he's got plenty of time to fix it. 

    Some players meanwhile, never recovered from their terrible debuts, and some are still trying to prove they can.

Honorable Mentions

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    Jonathan Woodgate: Woodgate was signed by Real Madrid (yeah, Real Madrid) in 2004 but didn't make his debut until September of 2005 because of injuries. In that debut, he scored an own goal and was sent off for two bookable offenses.

    Marco Boogers: Boogers had a nightmarish second appearance for West Ham in 1995, as he was sent off almost immediately after coming on for a horror challenge on Manchester United's Gary Neville.

    Jason Crowe: Crowe lasted just 33 seconds into his Arsenal debut in a League Cup match against Birmingham City in 1997. It was the fastest sending off in English football history, and he played in only two more matches for the Gunners.

    Curtis Davies: Aston Villa made one of the biggest signings of the summer in 2007 when they got Davies from West Brom on a season-long loan, but he had a horrible debut by his own admission. Davies said he played "like a pub player" in the League Cup match against Leicester. 

15. Laurent Koscielny

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    A year before Gervinho saw red on his Arsenal debut, Laurent Koscielny saw two yellows cards after 90 minutes in the opening match of the 2010-2011 Premier League season at Anfield.

    It was a pretty bad game overall for the center-back as in the first half he was on the receiving end of a harsh tackle from a player to be mentioned later.

    Koscienly had an up and down first year with the Gunners, but he's improved overall and will be vital for the Gunners this season partnering Thomas Vermaelen in the center of defense.  

14. Patrice Evra

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    Patrice Evra's career at Manchester United got off to a slow start as he could not keep up with the pace of the Premier League.

    Manager Sir Alex Ferguson even said that he maybe should not have given the Frenchman the start against Manchester City in January of 2006, and Evra claimed he may not have been entirely prepared for it.

    The next week however, Evra put on a sterling display to help his side defeat arch-rivals Liverpool 1-0. 

13. Emmanuel Frimpong

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    Yet another Arsenal debut ends in red. The worse part is Emmanuel Frimpong was putting in a pretty good performance and was the best player for the Gunners, after Thomas Vermaelen, while he was on the pitch against Liverpool Saturday.

    In the eighth minute, the 19-year-old, who was only in the match because Alex Song is serving a suspension, stupidly squared up to Jordan Henderson, not allowing him to take a quick throw-in. Not exactly taking one for the team.

    In the 70th minute, Frimpong followed through in a tackle with Lucas Leiva and was shown a second yellow.

    Two cards that very easily could've been avoided.  

12. Fernando Torres

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    Fernando Torres had a brilliant start to his Liverpool career with a sublime goal against Chelsea at Anfield just 16 minutes into his first home start. 

    His Chelsea debut was the exact opposite. Less than a week after he moved to London, Torres' first action came against his old team.

    He was almost given a goal just minutes into the match when his twice former teammate Maxi Rodriguez gifted him the ball in Liverpool's final third, but he hit it wide and very high. 

    After that, he was kept under control by his former teammates, and he even got a slap in the face from old pal Daniel Agger (totally inadvertent I'm sure). 

    Torres was substituted in the 66th minute and had to watch from the bench as three minutes later, his former team went ahead and went on to win 1-0.

11. Joe Cole

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    Joe Cole actually had a pretty decent opening 45 minutes for Liverpool against Arsenal last season.

    Then he made an ill-advised tackle on fellow debutante Laurent Koscielny and saw red for it just before halftime. 

    His Liverpool career has yet to recover. 

10. Rio Ferdinand

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    Rio Ferdinand is proof that you can recover from a poor debut, even an extremely poor one. 

    When Ferdinand moved to Leeds United from West Ham in 2000, he cost £18 million, a British transfer record at the time. 

    But the world's most expensive defender couldn't stop Leicester City from going up 3-0 inside 30 minutes.

    It was a nightmare of a debut, but Rio did pretty well to pick himself up and carve out a rather decent career. 

9. Gervinho

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    Gervinho was having as good a performance as could be expected in an overall dull game at Newcastle in his Premier league debut for Arsenal before he made one huge mistake. 

    He let Joey Barton get under his skin. 

    Barton thought Gervinho had dived (debatable), so he hoisted him up by the scruff of his neck, and had the Ivorian just backed away, Barton likely would've been the one sent off, giving Arsenal a great opportunity to snatch an undeserved winner. 

    Instead, the 24-year-old tapped Barton across the face and saw himself sent off and banned for the next three league matches. 

8. Jaap Stam (Charity Sheild)

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    Jaap Stam eventually helped Manchester United win the Premier League title back from Arsenal in the 1998-99 season, but it didn't look like it was headed that way in his debut in the Charity Shield.

    The pace of Nicolas Anelka was too much for the Dutchman, especially when the Arsenal forward just blew past him for the Gunner's third and final goal. 

7. Chris Sutton

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    Fernando Torres missed a glorious opportunity on his debut, but Chris Sutton missed an even more glorious chance. 

    Sutton scuffed a one-on-one chance with the keeper, and it eventually ruined his career.

    The one-time free-scoring center-forward only scored once in 29 Chelsea appearances. 

    So far, Torres is one for 20 in Blue. 

6. Glenn Keeley (First Division)

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    Glenn Keeley made just one appearance for Everton, and he didn't make it count. 

    On a loan spell from Blackburn, Keeley was sent off in the 30th minute of a Merseyside derby, and Liverpool cantered to a 5-0 win, with Ian Rush scoring four of the goals. 

5. Tomas Repka

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    Tomas Repka had the nightmare debut that he couldn't wake up from. 

    West Ham's record signing at the time, he was sent off for two bookable offenses in his debut against Middlesbrough and was sent off again in his third game with the club. 

    As predicted, he gained somewhat of a reputation for picking up cards, but it didn't stop the Hammers faithful from loving him throughout his five-year stint in London. 

4. Sean Dundee

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    Sean Dundee spoke very highly of himself when he came to Liverpool for £2 million in 1998, and he placed a lot of praise on his lightning speed and great knack for scoring goals.

    None of which Liverpool ever saw in his three appearances for the club. 

3. Garry Flitcroft

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    Garry Flitcroft lasted just three minutes into his Blackburn debut when he was sent off for an elbow to the face of Everton's Duncan Ferguson.

    Flitcroft stayed with the club for 10 years though and even became captain.  

2. Wayne Bridge

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    Things have been pretty bad for Wayne Bridge in the last year and some change. 

    His horrible West Ham debut against Arsenal in January was probably the lowest point. 

    Bridge played a hand in all three of Arsenal's goals as he let Theo Walcott glide past him, he played Robin van Persie onside and he gave up a penalty.

    But at least he's only making £90,000 a week from the now Championship club.  

1. Ali Dia

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    Ali Dia tricked Southampton manager Graeme Souness into believing he was the cousin of the Liberian legend George Weah, and he earned a one-month contract for it.

    An impostor also told Souness that Dia had played for Senegal 13 times and had played for Paris Saint Germain. A simple background check could've prevented this whole debacle for the former Liverpool player and manager. 

    In his one and only appearance for the Saints, he showed nothing resembling talent, and Souness and Southampton were left incredibly embarrassed.