After 10 months of grilling and pulsating action, Premier League 2015/16 season has come to an end. Leicester City were crowned the Champions while Tottenham Hotspur took their first step towards being the next force of English Football.
On the other hand, Premier League’s two seasoned campaigners Newcastle United and Aston Villa were relegated while Sunderland survived the drop yet again. Elsewhere Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool endured a less than satisfactory domestic season and will hope for better results next time around.
Like every other Premier League season, we witnessed some new and exciting talent break on the scene while there were few whose performances never made the headlines. In a way, every season there are a number of underachievers who are expected to reach a certain level but they end up faltering somewhere during the season.
On that note, we take a look at Premier League’s Underachieving XI of the season for the recently concluded 2015/16 campaign featuring Manchester United’s skipper Wayne Rooney.
Premier League Underachieving XI of the season
Maarten Stekelenburg (Southampton)
We have gone over the board with Frasor Forster’s performances this season where the English keeper managed to keep 6 clean sheets since returning from injury. Speaking of Forster’s injury it was Stekelenburg who came in and did a fine job as well.
Stekelenburg managed to keep 7 cleans sheets in 17 appearances likes Forster but was never recalled to the starting XI since the more imposing Englishman returned from injury.
Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United)
Newcastle’s Dutch full back was expected to have the best season of his career but he ended up being reckless and over caught at the back throughout this season. When he was on his game, Janmaat looked really good but given the season Newcastle United endured it was never going to be easy for him to maintain his form.
Scott Dann (Crystal Palace)
At one point of the season, Dann was seen as one of the best defenders in Premier League but as Crystal Palace’s season got derailed and we started seeing Dann’s season go down the slop as well.
James Word-Prowse (Southampton)
Many might not agree with this selection after the youngster enjoyed a rather fruitful season with the Saints. However, given the talent and the mean cross he has, I expected him to rank up more than 2 goals and 4 assists he managed this season.
He has successfully take over from Nathaniel Clyne as Southampton’s number one right back and he would love follow it with an International call-up and an even better performance in 2016/17 season.
Patrick Van Aanholt (Sunderland)
This young and energetic full-back will be one of the most sought-after players in next couple of seasons. Sunderland may have been saved by Jermaine Defoe’s goals but Van Aanholt’s performances were another key aspect to Black Cats’ survival as well.
The young defender may not have got the headlines but he will be a key player for Sunderland in coming seasons.
Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)
He may be 33-years old and could very well play in Championship next season after Norwich’s relegation, but Hoolahan had a satisfactory season when it comes to personal level.
The Irishman managed to bag 4 goals and 8 assists this season but never received the support from his teammates which may have kept Norwich in the league for another season.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City)
When Shaqiri scored that wonder goal against Everton and tore apart Manchester City in space of two weeks, I really had high hopes from the Swiss magician. Instead, he could only manage 3 goals and 6 assists to his name as his season was then curtailed with injuries.
Whether he will remain at Stoke City next season or look for an option elsewhere, it was worth seeing him in action in Premier League but like everyone, I was left wanting for more.
Gerard Deulofeu (Everton)
A player of his skills and caliber must start most of the games for whichever team he plays for. Roberto Martinez did not feel that way and he mostly used Deulofeu in a substitute role.
The Spaniard managed 2 goals and 8 assists this season but it was enterprising seeing him in action and I am sure many Everton fans must be wondering why was he not given more playing time at Goodison Park this season.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
When the season began in August last year, I had high hopes from Wayne Rooney. I had even gone on to make a claim that Rooney will be one of top goal scorers for the season. I guess that escalated pretty quickly and what we saw from the England skipper was a season of underachievement and less than impressive performances.
His tally of 7 league goals is the worst in his otherwise goal and trophy laden career at Old Trafford. What we did see from Rooney was a shift to midfield where he may be of more use to both his club and country in coming seasons.
Perhaps the most controversial selection in our Premier League’s Underachieving XI of the season is Chelsea’s star man Willian. Having said that, The Blues failed to match up to Willian’s standards this season and for large part of the 2015/16 campaign, it was Willian trying on his own to make things right.
Given the start he had, we all expected him to end the season with more than 5 goals and 6 assists which he eventually managed. Despite winning club’s Player of the Year, both Chelsea and Willian must be left with a feeling of wanting for more and certainly with a massive dissatisfaction of underachievement.
Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
The fact that Pelle is the third Southampton player on our Premier League’s Underachieving XI of the season goes to show how well Saints have done this season. They are guaranteed to finish in top-6 and will be in Europe next season.
However, had Pelle not gone on a barren run in middle of the season when his team needed him the most, Southampton could have even challenged for a top-4 finish. Pelle ended the season with 10 league goals and will be one of the most most sought-after in this summer’s transfer window. But he could have achieved more only if he had greater consistency to his game.