West Ham, Man United… The Premier League’s roll-over XI

So that’s another Premier League season over and done with and, given that there were so many twists and turns at both ends of the table, there’s a lot to look back on.

Aside from Manchester City winning the league and Liverpool pushing them to the final day, it has been something of a disappointing season for a number of top-flight clubs.

The same can be said of some of the players who just didn’t enjoy the best of campaigns. The clubs who will be frustrated will have had their players who just didn’t perform to the best of their ability, didn’t live up to their huge price tag or were simply the weak link in their side.

And so with that in mind, here’s a look at a combined XI of the easiest players to play against this season…

[ffc-gallery]Click on Kevin Nolan to reveal[/ffc-gallery]

Midfielder - Kevin Nolan (West Ham)

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Goalkeeper – John Ruddy (Norwich City)

Goalkeeper - John Ruddy (Norwich City)
Despite still being in with a chance of going to Brazil right up until the last minute, John Ruddy’s part in Norwich’s relegation to the Championship was fairly straightforward.

The Canaries stopper made nine defensive errors over the course of the season, which was the highest in the Premier League.

And given the fact he’s conceded 62 goals as well (third highest in the league), there’s no doubt he was the keeper that every striker wanted to see on the team sheet.

Defender – Chico Flores (Swansea City)

Defender - Chico Flores (Swansea City)
The Spaniard did play his part in stages of what eventually turned out to be a decent season for Swansea, but there were a number of occasions when you just wondered what he was up to.

His two red cards, both of which resulted in them losing games against Crystal Palace and Chelsea respectively, could’ve proved costly for the Swans, while he also committed four defensive errors over the course of the season.

His unreliability has had some Swans fans calling for him to be sold this summer. The uncertainty surrounding his ability means he’d be a player most strikers would like to play against each week. Apart from Andy Carroll.

Defender – Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

Defender - Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
Ok, so he was part of a Liverpool side that came agonisingly close to lifting their first ever Premier League title.

But that doesn’t mean to say he was a difficult player to play against. In fact, when you consider the four own goals he netted throughout the season, the other four defensive errors and the fact Liverpool shipped a massive 50 goals, it turns out he wasn’t as good as the Reds’ title bid would have many outsiders believe.

Defensively, he was a dream to play against at times but, on the other hand, his seven goals in attack kind of made up for it. Maybe Rodgers should play him up front next season?

Defender – Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur)

Defender - Younes Kaboul (Tottenham)
Kaboul only played 13 league games for Tottenham this season, but he still managed to ensure he was a liability.

He picked up two straight red cards – in embarrassing defeats to London rivals Chelsea and West Ham – and made three defensive errors, one of which led to a goal.

The Spurs fans aren’t too impressed with him and it seems the club aren’t either – they’ve decided not to renew his White Hart Lane contract this summer.

Defender – John Heitinga (Fulham)

Defender - John Heitinga (Fulham)
The defender opted to join Fulham instead of West Ham in January, but didn’t back up his claims for a bigger challenge by helping them survive the drop to the Championship.

Instead, in just fourteen outings with the Cottagers, he oversaw the shipping of 32 goals and made minimal impact all round.

His 33 per cent average headed duel success is a clear indication that most strikers in the Premier League were getting the better of him.

Midfielder – Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)

Midfielder - Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)
Well, most of Man United’s players were easy to play against this season, but the Belgian midfielder stands out more than most.

Most fans expected him to hit the ground running after his extremely successful campaign with Everton the season before, but that never quite happened.

Just 16 appearances saw 0 goals, no presence in midfield, several runs in to no man’s land and a disappointing 46 per cent average duels success rate.

Midfielder – Kevin Nolan (West Ham)

Midfielder - Kevin Nolan (West Ham)
The Hammers skipper may have chipped in with seven goals and five assists this season, but he was a shadow of his former self for most of the season.

On several occasions he appeared missing in West Ham’s midfield and was nowhere near his usual combative, attacking self.

His two red cards in four games over the festive period didn’t particularly help either.

Midfield – Gary Medel (Cardiff City)

Midfielder - Gary Medel (Cardiff City)
The Chilean defensive midfielder signed for Cardiff last summer for a club-record £11million and boasted the nickname ‘The Bulldog’ because of his feisty style of play and no-nonsense midfield dominance at Sevilla.

Many fans and teams expected him to be a tough opponent throughout the season, especially the Cardiff fans, but they were left bitterly disappointed.

He wasn’t a bad performer, but he wasn’t exactly the toughest midfielder to face in the league and struggled to live up to his reputation as Cardiff slipped straight back down into the Championship.

Striker – Jozy Altidore (Sunderland)

Striker - Jozy Altidore (Sunderland)
This may not come as a surprise to many, given his previous Premier League experience with Hull City a few years ago where he was extremely disappointing.

And it was much of the same this time around with Sunderland, as he managed just one Premier League goal in 31 outings.

That sort of record was never going to strike fear into even the weakest of top-flight defences this season.

Striker – Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)

Striker - Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
A lot was expected of the Spaniard when he agreed a £26million move from Valencia to Spurs last summer.

But he quickly turned in to one of the biggest Premier League flops. He could only manage six goals in 28 Premier League appearances; with just one coming from open play (the other five were from the penalty spot).

His first season in the Premier League was certainly one to forget as he rarely caused problems for defenders in the same fashion he used to do so well in La Liga.

Striker – Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich City)

Striker - Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich City)
The Dutchman arrived at Carrow Road last summer on the back of 28 goals in just 55 league outings for Sporting Lisbon.

And it looked as if he was going to continue such goal scoring exploits in the Premier League when he netted on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Everton on the opening day of the season.

But that turned out to be his only goal of the campaign as he squandered chance after chance, finishing the season with just 47 per cent shot accuracy over 25 top-flight appearances. Not exactly the toughest test for most defenders this season.


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