Some Players Just Aren’t What They Used To Be

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Updated: March 24, 2017

The old adage that form is temporary and class is permanent is often thrown out and is a favourite cliché of the game. Yet there are some players that showed great form either last season or at the start of this season, and yet have failed to kick on and become the class player we thought they might be. Here are the worst offenders, guilty of the heinous crime of being great – and now not being so great.

Philippe Coutinho

 

Source: Philippe Coutinho via Facebook.

A player often linked with either Barcelona or Real Madrid, Philippe Coutinho has chalked up a decent six Premier League goals and five assists for Liverpool this season, but has looked sluggish since returning from injury in January.

His poor form has coincided with The Reds’ drop down the table and manager Jurgen Klopp will hope the Brazilian is back to his best before the season ends. Failing to make an impact on matches in the same way as he did before the injury has resulted in Klopp withdrawing the player early, as was the case against Manchester City last time out.

A player that looked a few months ago as though he could be another elite Brazilian superstar in the mould of Neymar Jr. or Ronaldinho now looks increasingly likely to lose his place in a faltering Liverpool squad. The player called The Little Magician needs to find his magic again soon or there’ll be no Champions League football on Merseyside next season.

Anyone from Leicester


 

 

Source: Leicester City Football Club via Facebook.

You could pick the Jamie Vardy, who beat Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for scoring in consecutive Premier League matches and who is now receiving death threats for his perceived role in getting the lovable Claudio Ranieri fired.

You could select Riyad Mahrez the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or nominee who scored 17 Premier League goals last season but has just five this term.

You could choose anyone from the Leicester defence that looked so impenetrable last season and yet is leaky enough to concede 47 goals this season. You could also pick any of their midfield players, who looked so inspired last season, but with N’Golo Kante tipped to keep on winning at Chelsea, they all look lost without him.

In truth, it was a hard ask of any of the Leicester players to pick up after last seasons’ incredible title win and who knows, this season might see them lift the Champions League. However, for performance levels to have fallen so low is truly shocking, and although they now look safe from the drop, it’s cost them their manager and their status as leading players in their positions.

Shkodran Mustafi


 

 

 

 

Source: Shkodran Mustafi via Facebook.

Shkodran Mustafi was a player many thought to be the answer to Arsenal’s defensive woes, yet it has all gone very wrong at The Emirates for the German international. He was a £35 million World Cup winner that looked to be able to provide the spine required to launch a title bid, but now appears to be one of the players that will cost manager Arsene Wenger his job.

The 24-year-old looked good value for that £35 million not long ago, when his appearances had him unbeaten in 22 games. Since the turn of the year, though, he has been culpable in some Arsenal horror shows, with the nadir being his recent rating of 6.6, as West Brom exposed the Arsenal defence to an aerial bombardment to predictably score and take all three points.

It’s possible he can turn his form around, but it appears as if this expensively assembled squad of players are sleepwalking towards missing out on Champions League qualification and the annual St. Totteringham’s Day celebrations. Mustafi could still be the player many of us thought he would be, but a change of manager or a change of club might be required to prevent the slide into obscurity.

This list will look stupid if Coutinho scores a hat-trick next time out, Leicester win the Champions League and Mustafi turns out to be the next Tony Adams. Predictions are never easy, but it’s clear for all to see that these players are on the wane and need do something over the next few games to address their form and be among the elite once again.

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