The 2020/21 Premier League season has begun in unbelievable fashion with ludicrous penalty decisions, outrageous tackles and an absurd amount of goals. However, amidst all the headline-hitting moments some players have had truly disappointing starts to the season. The following five players are top quality footballers with heaps of ability yet, so far this season, simply haven’t performed. So here are the biggest underperforming football players in the Premier League this season.
5 underperforming football players in 2020/21
When Chelsea signed Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for £50 million it appeared that Frank Lampard had solved his goalscoring issues but so far it’s been the opposite. Werner has struggled since making the jump from Bundesliga to the Premier League, with the forward even commenting after his debut that he was shocked by the sheer size and speed of Brighton’s defence.
Obviously, players can take time to adapt to the top-flight of English football but it it still a source of frustration for Blues fan who hoped that he would fit in seamlessly but have seen him record no goals or assists in his first four games.
In mitigation, Werner hasn’t yet been played in his preferred central position due to Chelsea’s injuries. Lampard has been playing Werner on the left-wing and playing Tammy Abraham as a number nine in order to have a proven scorer on the pitch.
It is surely just a matter of time until Werner clicks and sets the division alight but, until then, he remains one of our top five underperforming football players of the season so far.
When you sign for one of England’s most prestigious clubs for a position world record fee of £80million, an inevitable expectation for you to perform as though you are one of the best defenders in the world follows. However, this season Harry Maguire has looked like a defender who needs to be playing outside of the big six to regain some confidence.
Understandably, off-field matters in Greece might have had an impact, meaning that his time to refresh and regroup before the beginning of the season will have turned to a period of stress and fear.
The performances the England centre-back have put in have been incredibly shakyand he no longer looks like a leader, despite having the captain’s armband, and has been slow and sluggish.
Manchester United legend Patrice Evra went as far as saying that Maguire’s lack of a defensive partner is no longer the issue and that perhaps he should be dropped.
The Red Devils will be hoping a few good performances for England in the Nations League can see their defender return to form so that their embarrassing and worrying start to the season can come to an end.
Many thought the 2020/21 season would be another two-horse race between Liverpool and Manchester City, with a very small minority also crediting Chelsea and United with a chance. However, the defensive ineptness of City and Liverpool has meant that the title race seems to be wide-open for most teams in the top six now.
Surprisingly, one of the weakest teams defensively so far this season is been last season’s winners, Liverpool. In just four games they have conceded eleven games, and despite playing Chelsea and Arsenal, they conceded the most against Leeds United (3) and Aston Villa (7).
Large parts of the blame can be attributed to the midfield and defensive trio of Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, who haven’t clicked on the right hand side. Keita is often caught pushing on too far and, with TAA also striding forward at every opportunity, it leaves Gomez very isolated and left to fend for himself.
However, despite the mitigation, Gomez has been incredibly sub-par this season, a sentiment Klopp appears to agree with given that he was substituted against Villa after several costly mistakes. The England defender seems to lack the ability to track his man and is caught up playing the offside trap meaning that, if mistimed, it sends the opponent through on goal nearly every time. The defender is usually solid in the air and good with his feet, however both of those attributes have yet to be seen this season.
Obviously, managers can see talent within the former Charlton defender and he has shown glimmers of that in the past. However, so far he has been comfortably one of the most underperforming footballers in the Premier League this season.
Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy has been incredibly unfortunate since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in 2017. Several injuries and consequential surgeries have meant that the £52million signing has had a very stop-start beginning to life under Pep Guardiola.
However, the Frenchman has failed to hit the ground running this season after being handed four starts. Both him and Kyle Walker have been well and truly found out so far, with Mendy getting the overall vote in the list of underperforming football players due to how poor he was against Leeds last weekend. Indeed, a 54% passing accuracy tells you everything you need to know.
The defender was signed due to his attacking threat as well as his ability to track back and defend. However, the former AS Monaco man has shown no signs of the former as his crosses have been wayward and overhit and key passes into the front men are often intercepted.
Mendy hasn’t been a stand-out poor performer defensively and that’s purely because the whole backline haven’t looked good at all. The full-back looks a lot slower than in previous performances and his overall movement has been quite sluggish and lazy, often having to commit cheap fouls away after not being alert enough to track his runner.
City are a ruthless side when it comes to bringing in new talent so the defender will need to improve upon his recent performances if he wants to keep his spot in the starting 11.
Despite scoring 22 goals last season, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has looked like a forward that isn’t familiar with scoring goals so far this term. The left winger/striker has only scored once in four appearances this season, with that solitary goal coming against relegation inevitabilities, Fulham.
It isn’t like the Gabonian captain hasn’t had opportunities, in typical fashion the former Dortmund man has been fizzing shots at the opposition goal. However, they have lacked the panache and confidence of a striker expecting to hit the back of the net.
There is no doubt that Aubameyang will bag plenty of goals this season but, given that the Gunners have scraped past Sheffield United and West Ham s far, the sort of fixtures where you’d expect to see a good few goals from Auba, you have to look at the captain as not playing up to his usual standard.
Manager Mikel Arteta does seem to be settling with the 4-3-3 now and playing either Alexandre Lacazette or Eddie Nketiah down the middle, Aubameyang on the left and Willian on the right which will obviously mean less goals for the player in question as he is out wide. However, because of his previous goal records and frequency of cutting on to his right foot, Arsenal fans would definitely be hoping for a better return against the three relegation-battling sides he has played so far.