The worst Premier League team of the season so far - including Everton, Fulham, and Sheffield Utd stars
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The international break, while unwanted by many football fans, does at least give us the opportunity to reflect on what we have seen during the early stages of the current Premier League campaign. By now most clubs, with the exceptions of Luton Town and Burnley, have played four matches in the top flight, and while many are thriving, there are plenty of others who are not.
Earlier in the week we took a glance at the Premier League Team of the Season so far, according to the statisticians at Whoscored, and now, using that same data, we’re looking at a starting XI of the division’s lowest performing players at the present moment in time.
But there will be no hatchet jobs here, only an understanding that form is temporary, class is permanent, and Premier League football is really, really bloody difficult. Our only other stipulation is that a player must have featured for 180 minutes or more to make it into the side. To Michael Keane, who has played 181 minutes for Everton this season, we apologise profusely.
Sam Johnstone - Crystal Palace - 6.11
The stats are not kind to Johnstone, but after being included in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, the Crystal Palace goalkeeper is evidently doing something right. In fact, only Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than the Eagles so far this season, and given that the 30-year-old has played every minute of every game so far, his inclusion here is somewhat baffling.
Tim Ream - Fulham - 5.79
By contrast, one team who have been leaking goals are Fulham. Marco Silva’s men have shipped 10 in four matches so far, although in fairness, half of those did come against Manchester City in their last outing. Given that they are the only side in the Premier League to have already hit double figures in the GA column, however, it is perhaps unsurprising to see one of their foremost defenders, Ream, sneak his way into this XI.
Ameen Al Dakhil - Burnley - 5.63
According to Whoscored, the worst player in the Premier League so far this season, but it is worth reiterating that it is still very, very early days, and that Al Dakhil, at 21, is a talent with plenty of growing left to do. Much like this Burnley squad writ large, the best is yet to come.
Michael Keane - Everton - 5.95
Keane started the season at the heart of defence for Everton, but has since drifted out of the side a little after struggling to produce his best form. A player of his standard doesn’t become poor overnight, but right now, he does look a touch out of sorts.
Connor Roberts - Burnley - 5.74
Another Burnley defender who hasn’t been at the top of his game during the early exchanges of the campaign, Roberts will know that his experience will be vital if the Clarets are to avoid an immediate relegation back to the Championship. At the moment, you suspect that many of the recent issues at Turf Moor have been emblematic of the teething problems that tend to come with moving up a division, rather than individual problems, but the hope will be that when everything does eventually click for Vincent Kompany’s men, it clicks to great effect.
Sander Berge - Burnley - 6.00
Brought in by Burnley to add a dash of quality to the centre of the park, Berge is still yet to properly hit his stride at his new club. Still, it would be remarkable if a player of his obvious talent didn’t find his groove sooner rather than later.
Tahith Chong - Luton Town - 5.96
Evidently a huge talent with pedigree and potential in abundance, Chong hasn’t quite adjusted to the rigours of the Premier League just yet. If and when he does begin to show the best of himself, however, the former Manchester United academy prospect could end up looking like an absolute bargain at £4 million.
Andreas Pereira - Fulham - 6.19
Undoubtedly a question of form rather than a lack of quality, Pereira proved on countless occasions last season just how significant a presence he can be for Fulham. Even in spite of his underwhelming displays this time around, he has already hit the back of the net, and will be hoping to kick things up a notch after the current international break.
Justin Kluivert - Bournemouth - 6.19
An eye-catching summer signing for Bournemouth, Kluivert is still yet to show the Cherries’ faithful what he is truly capable of. Like many in this XI, you would imagine that he will improve as the season progresses, and given the immense CV that he already boasts at the age of 24, you would fancy that he will become a real asset on the south coast.
William Osula - Sheffield United - 5.79
Joining the Premier League as a striker is never easy. Joining the Premier League as a 20-year-old striker playing for a side who are more than likely set to face a relegation battle this season is almost unthinkably difficult. Osula will need time to settle, but whether that’s something Sheffield United can afford him remains to be seen.
Benie Traore - Sheffield United - 6.04
You can take literally everything we just said about Osula and apply it here. Traore has only just arrived at Bramall Lane from Swedish outfit Hacken, and while he has struggled to impress thus far, the expectation will be that he grows into his new role in England, but the sooner that happens, the better for everybody involved.