We once again revisit the Premier League’s weekend action in the column no player wants to find themselves featuring in, overlooking the poorest performers over a round of games that was headlined by a Mourinho masterclass in the north London derby.
Arguably the Premier League’s most notorious ‘super sub’ in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer passed on the baton with some inspired introductions as Manchester United won at West Ham, whilst Liverpool thrashed Wolves courtesy of a helping hand from a former academy graduate.
It’s that time of the week again where we poke fun at some of the division’s dodgiest displays, here are six Premier League players who ‘had a mare’ in gameweek 11:
Not for the first time this season, Hector Bellerin waltzes into our Donkeys of the week courtesy of committing one of football’s most hideous crimes – the foul throw.
It’s an embarrassment that leaves most Sunday League players more than a little red-faced, but one that Bellerin – a Premier League regular and four-cap Spain international – has now committed a staggeringly shameful FIVE times so far this season.
Bellerin now accounts for five of the 16 foul throws produced in the Premier League this season, with no other player having been penalised on more than once occasion.
Unsurprisingly, no player has committed more across Europe’s major leagues and his inability to complete the most basic of full-back tasks is yet more ammunition for those revelling in Arsenal’s disastrous start to the season under Mikel Arteta.
😯 There have been 16 foul throws in the Premier League this season, Hector Bellerin has been responsible for 𝗙𝗜𝗩𝗘 of them…
🥴 No other player has managed more than one pic.twitter.com/YcFO85CUEe
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 6, 2020
Bellerin’s latest faux pas was the lowlight of a dreadful defensive display from the 25-year-old, with the Gunners having now won just one of their past seven Premier League fixtures.
Conor Coady has largely been a model of consistency as the voice of a resilient Wolves backline, his recent absence against Southampton ending an incredible run of 121 consecutive league starts for the club.
The 27-year-old has won plenty of plaudits for his role in Wolves’ recent rise, Coady having established himself as an England international and one of the Premier League’s most respected captains.
He’s come a long way since leaving boyhood side Liverpool in search of regular first-team football six years ago, so there was perhaps no worse place to make an uncharacteristic error than at the home of his former club.
Coady’s attempted effort to control a long ball on his chest seemed ill-advised given Liverpool’s livewire attack, and Mohamed Salah promptly capitalised on the defender’s error of judgement to rob him of possession inside his own penalty area.
There was only going to be one outcome with Salah gifted a glorious chance to open the scoring, the Egyptian setting the Reds on their way to an impressive 4-0 victory.
Conor Coady's reaction says it all. 😩 pic.twitter.com/ygzZATHP56
— 90min (@90min_Football) December 6, 2020
Coady’s attempts to atone for his mistake by going down easily in the Liverpool penalty area hardly covered him in glory either, whilst he missed a great chance to equalise on a return to forget on Merseyside.
Donny van de Beek
Much has been made about Donny van de Beek’s treatment at Manchester United since his summer signing from Ajax, with the midfielder having been used sparingly over the opening months of the campaign.
The Netherlands international made his first Premier League start against Southampton last weekend and was included in the XI for the second successive fixture at West Ham, deployed in a preferred central attacking role at the London Stadium.
United were utterly dominated in the first half and were fortunate to head into the interval just 1-0 down, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making changes as Van de Beek was hauled off at the break alongside Edinson Cavani.
It was perhaps harsh given he was one of a number of players who failed to make an impact, though this was a wasted opportunity for the Dutchman to prove he can be a key figure in the side.
The 23-year-old was typically tidy in possession but struggled to shoulder the creative responsibility thrust upon him in the absence of Bruno Fernandes, failing to link the midfield and attack as he was largely nullified by Declan Rice.
Fernandes’ stunning second half introduction – creating eight chances in just 45 minutes – showcased his importance to the side and visibly demonstrated the task facing Van de Beek to become an automatic starter in his preferred position at Old Trafford.
Timo Werner endured yet another frustrating evening during Chelsea’s 3-1 win against Leeds at Stamford Bridge, missing a succession of chances including one that truly has to be seen to be believed.
Olivier Giroud’s flicked header looked like it may have just been going in without a touch, only for Werner to react in a bid to make sure the ball crossed the goal line.
The Germany international somehow contrived to stop the seemingly goal-bound effort, before flicking a second attempt against Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier and onto the crossbar from just a yard out.
It was an incredible passage of play that would have seen Werner lauded for his defensive work had it occurred at the opposite end, whilst the summer signing could have had a hat-trick after being given two further clear sights of goal in the second half.
Werner has now missed six chances worth more than 0.40 xG so far this season and despite his encouraging overall performances there remains concerns his wastefulness may prove costly in tighter contests.
West Brom remain mired in the relegation places with just one win from their opening 11 fixtures of the campaign, their fortunes reaching a new low with a 5-1 home hammering to Crystal Palace this weekend.
It was a humiliating home defeat for Slaven Bilic’s side as the visitors made their man advantage count in ruthless fashion, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke each scoring twice for Palace after Matheus Pereira had been sent off for West Brom in the first half.
The Brazilian has been a bright spark for the Baggies so far this season but his needless red card cost his side dearly against the Eagles, his kick at Patrick van Aanholt leading to an early bath for the midfielder following consultation with VAR.
A harsh and soft red card, no doubt, but Pereira gave the officials a decision to make with his actions and made an uphill battle for West Brom ever more steep.
We’ve seen many leading players suffer sharp downturns in form throughout the Premier League era, but the current performances of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are as contrasting to his best as any in recent memory.
The Gabon international has been one of the division’s deadliest forwards since arriving from Borussia Dortmund almost three years ago, though he has looked a shadow of his former self during Arsenal’s disappointing start to the campaign.
Once more he failed to make an impact as the Gunners slumped to a 2-0 north London derby defeat at Tottenham, wasting a good headed opportunity and generally looking short of confidence.
The service provided to the 31-year-old has been poor with Arsenal void of creative threat, but the seeming disinterest of the club captain will be hugely concerning as the Gunners look to revive their fortunes.
Arsenal were desperate to secure the long-term future of the player following his prolific form since moving to the Emirates, though must be wondering if their huge investment was worthwhile given the fall-off in output since Aubameyang put pen to paper.