In the Premier League 2020-21 season, we’ve witnessed some of the top players across teams coming in with high expectations, but having failed to live up to expectations, not in just numbers, that have seen a downward trend, but also in the desire to give it their all on the pitch. Players like Roberto Firmino from Liverpool and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are primary examples of this kind.
In this piece, we’ve identified five such players who were drastically out-of-form and have failed to match up to their lofty standards this season.
ROBERTO FIRMINO (Liverpool)
Just a couple of years back, Roberto Firmino was hailed as a manager’s delight and that every coach would write a blank cheque to Liverpool just to have the Brazilian wearing the number 9 jersey of their club. This season, however, Bobby Firmino has found himself out of favour after Jurgen Klopp persisted with the striker patiently for plenty of games. It was never about the number of goals he was scoring previously but his ability to bring the other two attackers, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the game. There has always been the notion that when Firmino does well, Liverpool does well as he is the focal point of Klopp’s system. Diogo Jota has come in and taken his place and we might just be seeing the last years of Firmino in the red of Liverpool.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
There was no doubt that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the best striker in the Premier League in the previous season. He almost single-handedly won the FA Cup for Arsenal and bought Mikel Arteta some considerable time in the job at the Emirates in 2020. The Gunners were begging for their captain to sign the contract extension and ever since he did that, he has been way off the pace. The desire in his game has suddenly gone away and he doesn’t seem happy at the club anymore. Whether it is because he is always played on the wide left or if he doesn’t like Arteta’s tactics are unclear, but this season, we didn’t see the goal-hungry Aubameyang as we have been used to from the previous ones.
ADAMA TRAORE (Wolverhamption Wanderers)
Whenever any team came up against Wolves, they always wanted to stop Adama Traore and if they managed to keep him quiet, then Wolves would usually struggle. This season we’ve seen a major dip in Traore’s numbers and his impact on games. He has been a shadow of himself and that’s one of the reasons why Wolves have struggled considerably in their campaign.
ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC (Fulham)
Coming into the 2020-21 season, a lot of Fulham’s hopes were pinned on their number 9, Aleksandar Mitrovic. He was one of the top strikers from their previous season in the Championship and already had some valuable experience of playing in the Premier League previously. But given that Fulham has been relegated and only managed to win five games throughout the season tells us that their number 9 failed to deliver for them. Scott Parker in his recent post-match interview mentioned that they have been brilliant from box-to-box which means that they have struggled to score the number of goals they would have wanted and struggled to keep clean sheets.
Arsenal fans were pretty ecstatic about the prospects of having Willian play alongside Aubameyang and Lacazette, especially as he was picked on a free transfer from their rivals Chelsea. Willian had his best-ever season at Chelsea in the previous campaign and came to the Gunners high on confidence. But this season, he has been far from his best and the reasons for that are unclear. Arteta has come under serious pressure regarding the signing of Willian given that the Brazilan is on a high weekly salary at the club.
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