World Football: Picking a Premier League Worst XI of the Season

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IApril 26, 2011

Robert Green is not having a good campaign with West Ham.
Robert Green is not having a good campaign with West Ham.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Fans of the game embrace the best: the complete players, the goal-scorers, the flashy dribblers, the standout defenders, the impenetrable goalkeepers.

These footballers often represent the centerpiece of the organization, and as the form of these stars go, typically goes the form of the team. 

In the Premier League, one might see names like Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs, John Terry or Edwin van der Sar atop the list of the league's best XI, and the merit is well deserved given their respective resumés and consistency.

But just as it takes a tremendous amount of talent and effort to receive that sort of honor and recognition, the opposite—that is the EPL's Worst XI—requires a similar type of concerted effort, though it typically will result in nothing good.

Selection to the EPL's Best XI is high praise. But to be named to the Worst XI is something else.

Of course many will be exchangeable with others who have had less than memorable campaigns this year, but a list of this nature will always be debatable.

Premier League Worst XI:

GK: Robert Green, West Ham
LB: Stephen Crainey, Blackpool
CB: Sebastien Squillaci/Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal
CB: Sol Campbell, Newcastle
RB: James Perch, Newcastle

MF: Christian Poulsen, Liverpool
MF: Stephen Ireland, Newcastle (on Loan from Aston Villa)
MF: Gareth Barry, Manchester City
MF: Paul Konchesky, Liverpool
FW: Bebe, Manchester United
FW: Fernando Torres, Liverpool/Chelsea

Dishonorable Mention: Heurelho Gomes, Tottenham

Breakdown:

Keeper

Perhaps it was the Clint Dempsey mishap during the World Cup that sent England's former No. 1 reeling to quite a forgettable campaign with the Hammers.

On multiple occasions did Green mishandle shots on goal that had no business of being mishandled. Despite a handful of performances that merit an applause of approval, let's face it, he has not had a good year. Granted, his defense is also less than mentionable.

Were it not for Green, Spurs' Heurelho Gomes could take a close second. At times, the Brazilian has been brilliant. But such high points are easily dismissed when paired with clumsy handling (see Champions League Quarterfinal Second Leg).

Defense

To be fair, the entire back third from Blackpool deserves some recognition here, having conceded a league-high 70 goals to date.

But Stephen Crainey at right fullback has been absolutely atrocious. Any regular Premier League observer could provide a case for Crainey's bid for the Worst XI.

Between Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny, pick your poison. While both have offered reasonable performances on occasion, the vast majority of their games have been poor.

Fortunately for these two, Arsenal's scoring potential is arguably tops in the Premiership.

As for Sol Campbell, he looks exactly the part of a slow, out of shape, 36-year-old center back would look. Period.

Six yellow cards in nine Premier League appearances is not the statistic one would wish to have, but that's exactly what James Perch has accomplished.

Five of those bookings came in his first five fixtures of the season, and he has since been relegated to a substitutes role. Fittingly, he has not started a league match since 2010.

Midfield

For all of the price and promise that Christian Poulsen brought with him to Anfield, he has delivered virtually nothing in return for the club's consideration.

Fortunately for the Reds, his lack of production has been of minimal consequence during their climb towards the top of the table.

Stephen Ireland was supposed to be a good fit for Aston Villa as part of the James Milner deal. Instead, the 24-year-old has made just 10 appearances for Villa before he was loaned to Newcastle, where he's only seen the pitch as a substitute twice.

Consider Gareth Barry to be one of those pricey Manchester City stars who was left behind. Barry's turtle pace, despite praiseworthy passing ability, has not gelled with the rest of City's superstar roster.

Instead, the England international has been a turnover machine in the middle third, and clearly has not had the same type of influence as he has displayed in past seasons.

Liverpool dished out a couple of promising young prospects to Fulham for the addition of Paul Konchesky, who has proved to be one of the least promising players in the Premier League this season.

He has failed so miserably that he was loaned out to Nottingham Forest in the winter window.

Forward

Atop this EPL Worst XI is a couple of expensive strikers not fulfilling a striker's duty. The £50 million that Chelsea spent to bring Fernando Torres to Stamford Bridge has resulted in a single goal from the Spaniard.

Regrettably, he is still searching for that untouchable form from over two seasons ago.

Bebe, meanwhile, cost Manchester United £7 million over the summer. However one wants to look at it, signing the 20-year-old Portuguese has been a head-scratcher.

With just seven appearances to date, there is little to suggest that he hasn't been a waste of money (not that it matters at all for United).

The interesting thing is, apart from a very questionable back third, including the one between the sticks, this year's version of the EPL's Worst XI is quite talented.

But talent and cost in mind, poor form and no production is enough for nomination to this roster.

Related

    Gattuso Confirms Higuain Injury and Milan 'Mole'

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Gattuso Confirms Higuain Injury and Milan 'Mole'

    Calciomercato.com | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo reale
    via Calciomercato.com | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo reale

    Ramos at the Pizjuan: Great Goals, Own Goals and Whistles

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ramos at the Pizjuan: Great Goals, Own Goals and Whistles

    MARCA
    via MARCA in English

    Simeone Upbeat Over Giménez Injury

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Simeone Upbeat Over Giménez Injury

    Into the Calderon
    via Into the Calderon

    Salah Wasn't in Egypt Coach's Top 3 for 'The Best' Award

    Liverpool logo
    Liverpool

    Salah Wasn't in Egypt Coach's Top 3 for 'The Best' Award

    African Football
    via African Football