5 Premier League Players with uncertain First-Team Futures feat. Manchester City and Chelsea Stars
Having given Premier League managers enough time to discover their best starting line-up, The Boot Room has established the players who have the bleakest of chances getting regular minutes on the pitch. From a former favourite of Van Gaal to a true Chelsea legend, this list is a sharp reminded of just how harsh the Premier League can be.
At the start of summer, Navas’ first team place seemed fairly secure. However, with the Spaniard hardly setting the world alight since his arrival from Sevilla, it was clear to see a replacement was needed.
Since July, both Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have joined The Citizens for a joint sum of over £100m. Manchester City fans were pleased to see the investment however I imagine that Navas was less so. With the fees and wages of the two new City stars weighing heavy on Pellegrini’s mind when he selects his team, Navas could well become a forgotten man.
Navas has started in all six Premier League games so far but with Silva yet to return from injury and De Bruyne scoring on his full debut, Navas is the expendable man in the attacking department. His shocker against West Ham will do him no favours in retaining his first team place.
At the start of Louis Van Gaal’s reign, it seemed Ashley Young was to be jammed into the side in anyway possible. Appearing at left wing-back, left wing and occasionally more centrally, Young was given game time and he greatly impressed.
However, like Navas, new signings have done the Englishman no favours in getting time on the pitch. The arrival of Memphis Depay has displaced Young from his favoured left-wing position while Martial’s form has left Van Gaal no room to manoeuvre Young into his team.
The former Villa man has not benefited from Shaw’s leg break either as Marcos Rojo seems to be the preferred choice to fill in at left-back with Daley Blind retaining his spot at the heart of the defence.
As club captain, it may seem unthinkable to see a Chelsea team out on the pitch while John Terry warms a seat on the bench. Despite his legendary status at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho has made the decision to remove him from the status of guaranteed starter.
Terry has under-performed during the opening games of the Premier League season, along with a handful of others; most notably Ivanovic, Matic, Hazard and Costa. Despite this sharing of the blame, it is Terry who is the only one to be axed to date. The game against Arsenal saw the club legend on the bench with Kurt Zouma coming in. Adding insult to injury, Zouma scored the opening goal while making a superb tackle to deny Walcott from racing through on goal.
Zouma has developed at a fast rate over his time at Stamford Bridge and is knocking on the door for a constant first-team place. With Terry ageing and in the last year of his current contract, maybe the bad form is not the sole reason that he has been dropped.
In a process not too dissimilar to Gerrard in his final year at Liverpool, the phasing out of John Terry by Mourinho may have been the ‘Special One’s’ plan all along, with Kurt Zouma’s more youthful approach on defending truly a sight to behold. The Frenchman also possesses a superior amount of pace and alertness to that of John Terry’s.
Having started every Premier League fixture so far this term, it may seem a far fetched suggestion that Nacer Chadli has little hope for future game time. However, Mauricio Pocchetino now has a variety of options going forward and unless Chadli can add goals and assists to his game, he may see himself out the team.
Squawka has also noted that Chadli’s first team position is under fire, with the £22m signing of Bayer Leverkusen forward Son Heung-Min surely destined for game time, especially if recent displays in a Spurs shirt are anything to go by.
It may seem that a fairly simple solution could be found. Chadli can just switch over to the right and Eriksen will slot in behind Kane, yet Lamela seems to be Pocchetino’s favourite, making him likely to retain his place. The Spurs manager seems to want Lamela to prove himself after joining for a club record fee.
It leaves Chadli with nothing more than a seat on the bench this season, no matter how impressive he was last term. Watching from the touchline may just be the worst thing for the Belgian, with him needing to impress ahead of Euro 2016.
The English left back needs to displace Monreal to ensure he gains a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad next year after Luke Shaw’s unfortunate injury. However, the form and composure of his Spanish team mate seems to hint that Gibbs won’t be starting any time soon.
Gibbs has only played 11 minutes of a possible 540 this term and with the constant injury problems plaguing his progress, he cannot ensure himself a run in the first team.
The England man also hinders himself with his lack of versatility. Monreal however can fill it at centre half and seems to have put defensive lapses to bed, but does still lack raw pace, something which Gibbs has in abundance. With a little composure, maybe Gibbs can change this bleak judgement on his near future.
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