The Outcasts of the Top 6

This season, as I’ve said countless times, the top 6 teams in the EPL have looked a league above every other English team. The success of these teams has been a result of a variety of differing factors. For example, Manchester United have built their success on rotating squads and great depth, while Spurs have had a strong first team that seldom sees changes. Liverpool have built their season on high-powered attack, while Chelsea have focused on a neat and organized defense. But there is one thing these clubs have in common: their success has each come at the cost of a couple of high-quality players. We take a look at some of the promising players that just haven’t found a way to crack into their respective lineups regularly.

Chelsea: Kurt Zouma
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“Chelsea 1 Everton 0” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by cfcunofficial Via Flickr

Kurt Zouma was in outstanding form last season for Chelsea, being one of the only players performing well under Mourinho before he was sacked. But then, in November 2015 he sustained an awful long term injury which sidelined him for the rest of the season. He has since returned to fitness, but has not been able to get in a 3-man defense containing the likes of Azpilicueta, Cahill, and Luiz. He might get a game in the FA cup now that the appeal for Terry’s red card has been turned down, but that’s really the only silver lining for Zouma.

Manchester City: Nolito

 

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Image by Alsace (CC BY-SA 3.0), modified by Kafuffle

Nolito played a lot of games for City earlier in the season, keeping the inexperienced Leroy Sané out of the starting XI. Nolito actually exceeded expectations at first, scoring 4 and assisting 2. But ever since Sané has been picked up form, Nolito just can’t get a start. He made his first premier league appearance in a while vs Bournemouth tonight, but with the form Sterling and Sané are in I don’t see Nolito getting in the City starting XI anytime soon.

Spurs: Kevin Wimmer 
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Photo by Steindy (talk) (CC BY-SA 3.0)

To be fair, Kevin Wimmer got quite a few games late last season and earlier this season. He actually looked very good last season while Jan Vertonghen was injured. However, ever since the North London Derby, where he headed in a free-kick into his own net, things have gone downhill for the Austrian. Ever since then, Pochettino has decided to use Dier at Centre-half instead of Wimmer. And as we recently saw, Pochetinno would rather change his whole system than give Wimmer a start, which means Wimmer’s hopes of starting now seem to stand no chance.

Arsenal: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin 
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“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 1” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie MacDonald Via Flickr

It seems at the start of every season, “The Ox” scores a few goals and has a good run of games which makes Arsenal fans go “This year The Ox is gonna score loads of goals, this is his year.”  But by the Christmas Period, it seems no one even remembers his name. This is due to lack of playing time and small injuries here and there. Oxlade-Chamberlin definitely has the quality to be playing week in, week out for a team like Everton or Stoke, but just can’t seem to make it for Arsenal. The return of Danny Welbeck just further hurts his chances of getting back in the Starting XI. He’ll probably get some games against lower teams in the league (like he did against Hull City on Saturday) but I don’t think he will ever break back into the XI and play every week.

Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge

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Daniel Sturridge has been struggling all season long with injuries and poor form. Mané, Coutinho, and Firmino have cemented their roles as the main men in the front 3 of Liverpool. Sturridge had his chance in January to replace Mané who was at AFCON, but played awful. It seems he’s lost so much pace and ability, and is now Liverpool’s 3rd choice striker (behind Firmino and Origi). Having only 2 Premier League goals to his name this season and 4 in the EFL cup tells you how little he is playing. Origi was the preferred replacement when Coutinho got injured, and before that Origi would often come off the bench instead of Sturridge. It definitely seems that his Liverpool career is over, and you might see him at a mid-table side in the summer.

Manchester United: Bastian Schweinsteiger

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“MUFC v CA – Seattle, WA – July 17, 2015” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by MattJanzer

Since Mourinho’s first day in charge, Schweinsteiger has been out of favor. He was forced to train with the reserves and didn’t get his first minutes until December. No one really understands the Schweinsteiger situation, but it seems the United fans still love him. The German has definitely been showing signs of old age the past few seasons, and he may call it quits in the near future. Schweinsteiger has shown promising signs in the few games he has played, but the problem is that he hasn’t had single EPL appearance. The only way Schweinsteiger can get games is in the FA cup. Even if there were a massive injury crisis, I think Mourinho would rather play youth players than Schweinsteiger. He seems to be 5th or 6th choice defensive midfielder, which shows how much of an outcast he really is.


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Author: Kieran

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