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News

11 May 2018

Premier League flops of the season: Midfielders and strikers

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Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

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Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)

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Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)

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Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea)

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Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)

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Notable mentions

Reuters/SUSANA VERA

With Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Kevin de Bruyne dominating the headlines this season it can be forgotten that some players have not quite lived up to the expectations set on them before the season started. 

Earlier, we looked at the goalkeepers and defenders which disappointed, which you can find here. 

Now it is time for the list of midfielders and strikers who have disappointed most this season:

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Another Gunner who has not been at the races at all this campaign...

There are lots of issues surrounding the German - his attitude, his desire, and his strange reluctance to allow himself to play to the level which he has demonstrated so many times throughout his illustrious career.

But there is also so far a reputation can take you, and Ozil's is disappearing before his eyes.

The German's form has been slipping away for some time; his impressive 2015/16 campaign now a distant memory. 

A man who has built his career on a being relied upon as a creative force has been anything but this term and has only nine assists to his name - less than half of his output two seasons ago.

Rumours were swirling around him and Alexis Sanchez back in December, not least for the obvious lack of desire to play for Arsenal. Sanchez essentially forced his move while Ozil elected to upset the odds and sign a new deal.

Next season is a big one for Ozil and Arsenal, and perhaps a change in manager and regime may help the ex-Real Madrid one get back to his best. At the moment, he's not good enough.

Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)

Reuters/JOHN SIBLEY

Alexis Sanchez has had a season to forget.

After rather childishly forcing his way out of Arsenal, he finally got a move that he desired as he headed up north to join Manchester United back in the January transfer window. 

Sanchez was in electrifying form for Arsenal last term, scoring 24 goals and notching 11 assists. This campaign, though, it's been a very different story. 

His new career at Old Trafford got off to a bad start as his side were comfortbaly beaten by Spurs, and since then, it's not gone as smoothly as the Chilean would have expected. 

He's scored only twice for the Red Devils in the league, and notched only four assists in 13 - a stark contrast to his numbers last time out.

Sanchez was brought into a United side to provide the flair, creativity and attacking threat that was so evidently lacking. 

He hasn't done an awful lot to change that though, and despite not commanding a fee in his switch after trading places with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, he'll have to do much, much more to justify his pay packet.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)

As far as loss in form goes, it can't get much worse for Gylfi Sigurdsson. 

The Icelandic international has been injured since the middle of March but didn't do nearly enough prior to being sidelined to not be touted as one of the flops of the season.

After being so instrumental in a Swansea City side, who are feeling the loss of their star player, Sigurdsson just hasn't got going at Goodison Park.

Everton broke their transfer record, spending a whopping £45 million to acquire the services of a usually reliable creator whose highlight of the season will be a 50-yard goal in a dismal Europa League campaign. 

Sigurdsson was the sixth most expensive transfer of the summer window and hasn't remotely well enough to justify such a high price tag.

Scoring nine goals and chipping in with 13 assists for the Swans last term; Sigurdsson has amassed a meagre four of each, this.

A much-improved 2018/19 is in order. 

Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea)

Reuters/ANDREW YATES

The Blues spent a fee of £35 million to bring Tiemoue Bakayoko to Stamford Bridge from Ligue 1 in August.

Bakayoko was a part of the league-winning AS Monaco side - which also reached the semi-finals of last season's Champions League - that was dismantled during last summer's transfer window. 

The box-to-box midfielder was brought in to sit alongside workhorse N'Golo Kante, and his paying style was likened to that of Chelsea favourite, Claude Makelele. 

Since arriving in West London, though, he's been very much in the shadow of his long-retired compatriot. 

Bakayoko just hasn't got going this season, and Chelsea fans have often criticised his ability to play in a squad which demands such a high level of quality. 

The Frenchman has often had to play second fiddle to a partnership of Kante and the aging Cesc Fabregas; a dismissal for two first-half challenges in the 4-1 drubbing away at Watford hadrly helping his cause.

As a club, Chelsea have been under fire for much of the season, and their form is seeing them hard pushed to qualify for the Champions League next term.

Bakayoko's Chelsea days may well be over before they've even started.

Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)

Reuters/HANNAH MCKAY

The second of two Blues in this season's underperformers, is, rather unsurprisingly, Alvaro Morata. 

The Spaniard was drafted in from Real Madrid in July, as Chelsea broke their club transfer record to acquire the striker's services.

Morata was seen as the ideal replacement for troubled Diego Costa, and at £58 million, big things were expected of him. 

Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge though, things just haven't worked out. Often on different wavelengths to creator-in-chief Eden Hazard - whose deadly partnership with Costa last term won Chelsea the title - the Blues have struggled going forward.

The shrewd acquisition of Olivier Giroud from Arsenal in January was bad news for Morata, who has seen his chances and playing time fall drastically since the Frenchman's arrival.

Despite starting the season relatively well, Morata has only scored five times since his hattrick at Stoke City way back in September. 

Conversely, Giroud's form and different threat level has limited Morata's chances to make amends. Whether he will remain at Chelsea for next term remains to be seen, as rumours suggest Roman Abramovich has seen enough. 

Notable mentions

Renato Sanches (Swansea City)

The promising youngster was arguably the shock transfer of the season. Somehow the Swans managed to convince Bayern Munich to allow the youngster to head to South Wales on loan for the campaign. The move has been a complete failure though, and he's completed 90 minutes only four times all season

Javier Hernandez (West Ham United)

Hernandez was brought to the London Stadium to bring a different dimension to a West Ham United attack that has been lacking potency. It hasn't worked out for the Mexican international, though, and he's seen much of his chances limited to appearances from the bench. The form of Marko Arnautovic hasn't helped, but fans would have been hoping for more than eight goals.

Have we missed anyone out? Let us know in the comments section below.