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Top Ten: Premier League Underperformers

By Jonny Abrams

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Aston Villa striker Darren Bent
Bent… Benched (Img: Vic.t – flickr)

Does exactly what it says on the receptacle. Here, in no particular order, are Football Burp’s top ten underperformers of the Premier League season thus far…

1. Park Ji-Sung, Queens Park Rangers

His Manchester United pedigree was sufficient for Mark Hughes to award him QPR’s captaincy, but the South Korean’s form has largely mirrored that of his team’s: woeful.

2. Cheick Tioté, Newcastle United

The Ivorian midfielder has been so impressive over the last couple of seasons that the press have fallen over themselves linking him with the likes of Manchester United, but this time around he’s just looked like a red card waiting to happen.

3. Stéphane Sessègnon, Sunderland

Adam Johnson’s form has picked up of late, thus consigning the Beninese playmaker – so impressive last season – to this top ten in his place. Perhaps Martin O’Neill’s system doesn’t bring out the best in him, but a couple of recent goals notwithstanding Sessegnon hasn’t been showing what all the fuss was about.

4. Mario Balotelli, Manchester City

Perhaps the very definition of ‘wayward talent’, Roberto Mancini frequently mentions that the Italian could be amongst the world’s very best if he applied himself properly. He hasn’t shown that potential this time around, and furthermore he has Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko to compete for a starting berth with. His non-showing in the Manchester derby may well have been his last chance.

5. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur

Blessed with pace, power and a powerful shot, Walker has unfortunately been unable to add defensive solidity to his list of attributes for Spurs this season. His worrying lack of progress under Andre Villas-Boas has undoubtedly seen him fall behind Glen Johnson in the England pecking order.

6. Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal

A beacon of competence in recent Gunners back lines, the Belgian’s frequent errors this time around have played their part in a stumbling campaign so far for Arsene Wenger’s men. He may be captain but he could wind up playing second (well, third) fiddle to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny if he doesn’t pull it together.

7. Peter Crouch, Stoke City

It may not be his fault that he’s been asked to play as a lone front man so often, but Crouch has struggled badly after a fruitful start to the season. Kenwyne Jones has stepped in and showed him how to approach the role, so Tony Pulis’s Potters could be frequently Crouchless from here on in.

8. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

A true great, as you’d have to be to be considered a legend at a club of Liverpool’s standing. However, his presence in the side nowadays is arguably more of a hindrance than a help. Past it, it would seem.

9. José Bosingwa, Queens Park Rangers

If it feels like years since the Portuguese right-back was tearing it up at Chelsea, that’s because it has been. He hasn’t looked like the same player since his return from a long-term injury, and to say that he’s failed to impress at Loftus Road might be putting it kindly.

10. Darren Bent, Aston Villa

The former (!) England striker has largely been consigned to the bench by Paul Lambert’s preference for new boy Christian Benteke, and if you factor in last season it has been a good while since he’s shown his best form.

Dishonourable mentions…

Hatem Ben Arfa, Newcastle United

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

Fabio Borini, Liverpool

Pepe Reina, Liverpool

Joleon Lescott, Manchester City

Vincent Kompany, Manchester City

Joe Hart, Manchester City

Robert Green, Queens Park Rangers

Julio Cesar, Queens Park Rangers

Esteban Granero, Queens Park Rangers

Bobby Zamora, Queens Park Rangers

Djibril Cisse, Queens Park Rangers

Shaun Wright-Phillips, Queens Park Rangers

Danny Graham, Swansea City

Pavel Progrebnyak, Reading

Johnny Heitinga, Everton

Charles N’Zogbia, Aston Villa

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tottenham Hotspur

William Gallas, Tottenham Hotspur

Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal

Andre Santos, Arsenal

Ali Al-Habsi, Wigan Athletic

Which players have you been disappointed in so far this season? Have your say in the comments section below…