Rabu, 30 November 2011

Top Ten: Premier League Reserve Players

10) Grant Holt (Norwich)

He doesn't look remotely like a Premier League footballer so it probably makes perfect sense that Holt is reduced to cameos off the bench that have now reaped four goals - as many as anyone else in the Norwich squad. He's started only one of the Canaries' last nine league games but continues to give hope to every clogger in the lower divisions. Unlike the men listed below, we suspect he's rather happy with his lot.

9) Yossi Benayoun (Arsenal)

Aaron Ramsey is apparently in what Arsene Wenger dramatically calls 'the red zone' and yet his natural replacement Yossi Benayoun remains rooted to the bench. The Israeli midfielder has seemingly moved across London from Chelsea on loan simply to supplement Arsenal's Carling Cup squad, failing to start a single Premier League game. While Ramsey and Mikel Arteta dragged their tired and sorry arses around the Emirates pitch on Saturday tea-time, the presumably fresh Benayoun was reduced to the occasional stretch down the touchline.

8) Wilson Palacios (Stoke)

If you're a mid-table club and you pay £8m for a central midfielder, you would probably be expected to play said £8m midfielder - especially if you're a bit, well, rubbish. Not so if you're Wilson Palacios, who has not started a single Premier League game for the Potters since he joined from Tottenham while the mediocre likes of Rory Delap, Glenn Whelan and even Dean Whitehead are regular starters. Swapping the Spurs bench for the Stoke bench probably won't go down as one of football's better career moves.

7) Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)

The last time Nicolas Anelka started a Premier League game it was September, with the 32-year-old deemed surplus to requirements when competing with the more vibrant Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata. It seems a real shame that a club like Everton are desperate for goals while Anelka is kicking his heels on the Chelsea bench - or not even included in the match-day 18, as was the case for the weekend's clash with Wolves. He says he's staying until the summer, when he will presumably follow the cash to the US, China or the Middle East. The miserable bugger will be missed.

6) Adam Johnson (Manchester City)

The last time Adam Johnson started a Premier League game, he claimed a goal and an assist. The last time he started a Carling Cup game, he claimed a goal and an assist. And yet, Johnson has been nothing more than a substitute since mid-October. Why? "Sometimes he thinks, 'OK, in this game I scored one goal, I did an assist, that is enough'," said Mancini. It's pretty clear that's not an attitude shared by James Milner so Johnson stays on the bench - and off the plane to Polkraine - while the less naturally gifted Milner's career soars.

5) Alex (Chelsea)
When your only two 90-minute run-outs in the Premier League have ended in your club's only two clean sheets of the league season, you might expect to be a first-choice pick. But not when you're Alex and especially not when you come off the bench against Bayer Leverkusen and make a mistake which leads to the German club's winner. But while Alex has made just one mistake, both David Luiz and John Terry have made several - and yet it was that pair who faced Wolves this weekend while Alex did not even make the bench. Come in fella, it seems your time is up.

4) Andy Carroll (Liverpool)

We can all agree that he's not a £35m striker (nor is he a -£15m striker. Sorry Kenny) but he is probably worthy of more than the few minutes of action he's been given in recent games against Man United, Chelsea and Man City, especially when the latter were on the ropes and vulnerable to a knock-out blow from a heavyweight brawler. Clearly Carroll does not fit in with Kenny Dalglish's high-energy tactics against the best sides in the Premier League and will be limited - for now - to bullying the minnows. But when Jordan Henderson is starting more Premier League games than you, you have a right to be worried.

3) Nigel de Jong (Manchester City)

Central to Roberto Mancini's saftey-first plans last season, Nigel de Jong has been shunted out of the City team by the revitalised Gareth Barry (watch him without prior prejudices) this season - presumably because he's more comfortable with their possession-based short passing game. The Dutchman has started just three Premier League games and remained on the bench at Anfield against Liverpool even when Yaya Toure looked frankly knackered. Meanwhile, half of Europe looks on and thinks De Jong would look pretty good in their midfield.

2) Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

Five Premier League goals this season puts him equal to Darren Bent and Gaby Agbonlahor in the scoring charts and yet Defoe has started only five top-flight games out of 12 for Tottenham and he will be back on the bench as soon as Rafael van der Vaart is fit again. Defoe would probably walk into just about any other team in the Premier League - and deliver 15 goals for most - but for Harry Redknapp's Spurs he is just a reserve. And as long as that's the case, it will be Bent and not Defoe on the plane to Polkraine next summer. No wonder there's talk of a January loan move to Everton. Not that Harry would let him go...

1) Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United)

"The way he treats players is unbelievable...Even when not playing or you're injured, he's still speaking with you and encouraging. He makes you feel special and lets you know your place in the team." Those were the words of Dimitar Berbatov earlier this month but we wonder whether he would be quite so effusive after his first European goal in three years was followed by a weekend when he had to watch Federico Macheda come on to miss United's 17th (or whatever) chance of the game against Newcastle while he did not even make the bench. That last season's Premier League top scorer is summarily ignored while United score their standard one goal per game is just plain bizarre.

source: http://www.football365.com/topical-top-10/7338980/Top-Ten

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