Are these Manchester United and Tottenham stars the most disappointing performers of this Premier League season?
Another international break throws up the opportunity to reflect on the Premier League season thus far, including those players who have underwhelmed.
Gauging just how disappointing a player has been is a tricky business, because disappointment is always linked to expectation levels. If a majority of the footballing public conclude a player is average, and he produces average performances, he can’t really be said to be a disappointment.
This might be why big-money signings such as Paul Pogba and Mesut Ozil have attracted such fierce scrutiny and criticism; when expectations are so high it seems that nothing is ever quite good enough. Moreover, there are players who have had disappointing campaigns but through little fault of their own, such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Then there are players such as Dimitri Payet, whose struggles can’t really be separated from the collective problems faced by his team. Bearing these factors in mind, we tried to suggest the three most disappointing performers of the season so far…
The England international had a solid game against Arsenal on Sunday, but Dier has been far less influential in Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs team this season. Last term, he was part of a formidable axis in central midfield alongside Moussa Dembele. The Belgian has been absent for a chunk of this season already due to suspension and injury, and his absence may well have impacted on Dier. Dembele is exactly the type of technically assured midfielder who can receive the ball from the Spurs backline under opposition pressure; something Dier isn’t especially comfortable with. Pochettino has also experimented with a 4-1-4-1 system with just one holding midfielder, which has tended to be summer signing Victor Wanyama.
Wanyama’s arrival has given Pochettino a different option, and Dier has completed 90 minutes in the league on only six occasions. He also endured a near horror night in Slovenia with England, and he is not the only England player to suffer the affects of what looks like a post Euro 2016 hangover. Dier’s confidence seems a little shaken, and this has affected his composure on the ball. However, he may have found a niche for himself on the right of a back three should Pochettino stick with the system.
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