They’re players who follically challenge every supporter as we tear our hair out at the lack of end product. Stephen Tudor picks out the six most exasperating talents in the top flight.
Back in November the Togolese forward had the sheer gall to criticise Spurs supporters for creating a negative atmosphere at White Hart Lane. It was staggering hypocrisy from a player who has spent a career showing early endeavour at clubs before phoning in a series of abject half-hearted ‘performances’. The slew of 4/10 ratings for Adebayor from Arsenal to City to Spurs amounts to habeas corpus and his casual disregard for effort is made all the more annoying by the occasional flash of what could be.
The hardest working winger in the Premier League is merely a back-handed compliment – like being the best looker in a burns unit – but even so Navas surely deserves the title. His first-team selection at Manchester City is secured thanks to becoming an auxiliary full-back who allows a revitalised Zabaleta to bomb forward at every opportunity. If only the winger, blessed with truly blistering pace, would do likewise. Time and again the little Spaniard finds himself isolated with a full-back – fear glistening in his eyes – only to check his run and play a safe pass.
Jesus scared of crosses? Natch.
A Bentley Continental that can only tick over is essentially just a lump of shiny metal in your driveway.
That’s what Liverpool have with Mad Mario, a chalk-and-cheese replacement for Suarez who was – literally – never going to work.
While King Luis was hell-bent every game to show exactly what magic he is capable of Balotelli is content to delude himself of greatness in a mind any psychiatrist worth his salt would run a mile from.
A jack of very few trades and master of none McGeady has finally snapped the patience of Evertonians with a number of underwhelming showings in a season where they desperately needed fresh impetus going forward.
The Scot was outstanding at Celtic – but then again, so is Georgios Samaras – and attracted half the Premier League in 2010 before surprising everyone and plumping for Spartak Moscow. A largely successful four years there made him an intriguing summer purchase for Roberto Martinez who must have viewed McGeady as a creative upgrade on Osman and Naismith.
Instead he has been a lacklustre presence from the bench barely hinting at the forthright wing-play he has in his locker.
Prior to Christmas it was tempting to feel some sympathy for Dembele, a busy craft-and-graft midfielder whose application cannot be questioned, as he was over-looked for one rookie kid in Bentaleb then another in Mason. Perhaps there was a personality clash with the new gaffer or he simply wasn’t a fit for Pochettino’s new Spurs?
Then we witnessed the thousandth occasion where the French schemer carved out an opening only to take the easy option and knock it sideways.
A lack of confidence maybe but with Delph reportedly on Tottenham’s radar this month it seems Dembele’s time at the Lane is numbered.
There was a time when I loved ‘AJ’. He looked like Ian Curtis and wasn’t adverse to an unnecessary step-over or three. His approach to a jockeying full-back was almost Waddle-esque with his teasing glimpse of the ball before a gawky shift of balance sent him away. Johnson was a throwback to the days of rolled-down socks and muddy fields.
Then I noticed the run he would make when possession was inevitably lost. You know the run; the type that’s made to look like he’s trying really hard but is actually just a casual amble. The Sunderland wide-man doesn’t only flatter to deceive; when it comes to work-rate he physically deceives too.