It may only contain 11 players but the Premier League worst XI of the season, as picked by ESPN, contains three Arsenal players which, if you ask me, seems a bit excessive.
There are 20 teams in the Premier League, each with 25 squad members. That’s 500 players. ESPN want you to believe that out of those 500 players, Arsenal had the majority of crap players despite being the second best team in the second half of the league, behind only champions, Manchester City.
Now, I know that Arsenal have had an awful season overall, but are we really going to say that they had more rubbish players than any of the relegated sides, who between them have 75 squad players but only one player in the Premier League’s worst XI of the season? (Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United.
The headline screams “Premier League Worst XI: Arsenal, Van de Beek, Lloris have forgettable seasons” but the author of the piece, Ian Darke, then adds, “here is my selection of disappointments in 2020-21, in a 4-4-2 formation. Some of this might seem unfair, but it is really only meant as a starting point for playful debate!” If you know it’s unfair and only including some players for ‘playful debate,’ then you’re trolling. Plain and simple.
Arsenal get named as a whole while Spurs just have one player mentioned in the headline (despite having two on the list, being only one point ahead of Arsenal at the time of writing, and tanking out of Europe long before Arsenal).
Smacks of laziness more than wanting a debate, if you ask me.
The picks from Arsenal’s squad are Hector Bellerin, Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Now, Bellerin has not had his best season by a distance, but is he the worst right back in the league? Do me a favour.
Nobody will argue with Willian’s inclusion, but he still managed five assists which is 28th best in the league. For context (not comparison) that’s the same number as Riyad Mahrez and more than quite a number of players when you go back to that ‘500 squad players’ stat.
The final Arsenal player selected is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had his worst return in front of goal since he was a youngster.
Auba also had to deal with his mum being so ill with covid he had to return to Gabon where he then caught malaria, and he still finishes the season as Arsenal’s second-highest goalscorer, unless Nicolas Pepe has a party against Brighton (writing this before the match).
Here is Darke’s full Premier League worst XI of the season:
First XI: Hugo Lloris, Hector Bellerin, Eric Bailly, Davinson Sanchez, Benjemin Mendy, Ryan Fraser, Ross Barkley, Donny van de Beek, Willian, Rhian Brewster, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Romaine Sawyers (midfielder, West Brom), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (midfielder, Brighton & Hove Albion), Oli McBurnie (forward, Sheffield United), Alexander Mitrovic (forward, Fulham), Fabio Silva (forward, Wolverhampton Wanderers).