11 Premier League flops of the season


A bizarre season will forever be remembered for Leicester's unlikely title success, but for every Cinderella story there's a tale of woe too.

So we've picked out 11 of them ranging from Chelsea's horror title defence to Louis van Gaal's actual flop on the touchline against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

1. Chelsea

John Terry

Let's get this one out of the way. After winning the title last season, for Chelsea fans this was supposed to be the start of a glorious era under Jose Mourinho. Instead, by Christmas the Special One was gone, the players were being cast as traitors and the club was flirting with relegation. Chelsea improved marginally after Mourinho left but only denying Tottenham from winning the title raised any sort of smile at a club that is also likely to have to get used to life without John Terry.

2. The punter who cashed out on Leicester after one game

Ladbrokes betting shop

If you're going to put a 50p bet on your club to win the title at 5,000-1, why would you cash out after they won the first game 4-2? Why would you cash out a 50p bet at all? Let it ride, man. This story was revealed by Ladbrokes just before Leicester's title triumph was secured and while they have appealed for the fan to make themselves known - amusingly offering them a free bet on next season's title winner - they are yet to appear. For the record they cashed out for 45p, therefore making a loss rather than winning £2,500.

3. Everything Aston Villa

Aston Villa fans

Spare a thought for the person at Aston Villa who was tasked with picking the employee of the month throughout this season. No-one covered themselves in glory as three managers came and went, the board shuffled and then reshuffled and Gabby Agbonlahor stepped down as captain after some ill-advised off-field revelry. About the only person who stayed around was owner Randy Lerner and that's only because he couldn't find anyone to take the club off his hands.

4. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard

No prizes for picking Hazard in this list. It's been well documented how bad the winger's season has been and it will be telling to see whether he sticks around in west London to try to prove a point or skip off to another payday somewhere else. There would be no shortage of suitors - the kid can play - and injury did conspire against him before he belatedly started to show his true colours in the last few weeks.

5. Louis van Gaal's flop

Louis van Gaal dives on the touchline

There has been plenty of debate about whether Louis van Gaal has got the best out of a Manchester United squad that remains a work in progress. We're not interested in that. We're interested in *that* actual flop he performed against Arsenal at Old Trafford in February. The steely-eyed Dutchman comes across as the type of person you really don't want to cross if you can help it. That reputation literally took a tumble when he thought unleashing a kiddie-style tantrum and throwing himself on the ground to prove a point to the fourth official was a good idea. It wasn't. It was, however, a 10/10 flop.

6. John Stones

John Stones listens to Phil Jagielka

The young Evertonian is probably going to be a really, really good player that England's defence will centre around in the future. It just didn't happen this year. When Chelsea were chasing him last summer we heard about Stones' ability as a "ball-playing defender" that might even be better served at Barcelona, where he could express his talents. After handing in a transfer request and seeing Everton rebuff four Chelsea bids - the last reportedly close to £40 million - he promptly jumped out of the way of a shot against his former club Barnsley in his next game and it didn't get a whole lot better for him after that.

7. Manchester City's defence

Manchester City's Martin Demichelis tackles Manchester United's Marcus Rashford

Manchester City's owners have a lot of cash. Just as well because they're going to need a lot more of it to sort out their defence. It was woeful this season. The sight of Martin Demichelis being sent for a hot dog by Marcus Rashford in the Manchester derby will haunt City fans for a while ... well, until he gets sold this summer. The only time City looked anywhere near a defensive unit was when skipper Vincent Kompany was on the park. A calf problem meant he rarely was and unfortunately for City that's a problem money can't solve.

8. Arsenal's protest

Arsenal fans in the stands holding

As far as protests go, Arsenal fans' efforts in their home match against Norwich at the end of the season was just about as tame as you'll ever get. A couple of A4 cards of paper and some half-hearted fist-clenching failed to make any kind of point, except maybe that the fans were pretty equivocal to the prospect of Arsene Wenger staying on to steer them to another top-four finish.

9. Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay

Depay started the season like a house on fire. He ended it like a house that had been on fire for a whole season. The Holland international was a feature part of another programme of summer spending that has failed to deliver the sort of progress to keep the natives inside Old Trafford happy. If it wasn't for the emergence of homegrown talent such as Marcus Rashford, the pressure on the likes of Memphis would be more focused.

10. The January transfer window

Alexandre Pato

The mid-season market is becoming less and less interesting with each year as clubs, probably astutely, look to do the bulk of their business in the summer. The most active clubs are usually those faced with relegation and even then this season Aston Villa didn't even bother. Sunderland did buy well, which probably saved them, while Newcastle didn't do as well and went down. Outside of that it was a whole lot of who cares. Chelsea got Alexandre Pato - that went well - and the most expensive signings were Giannelli Imbula (Stoke, £18.3 million) and Oumar Niasse (Everton, £13.5 million).

11. Gokhan Inler

Gokhan Inler

Leicester's recruiting has deservedly drawn rich praise but their headline-grabbing signing from last summer didn't do much at all. When the Foxes signed Inler from Napoli he was expected to be a key part of their bid to beat the drop. Instead, the Swiss has hardly featured in the matchday squad - let alone on the pitch - as Leicester have gone on the dreamiest of dream runs to the title. Just what Inler has made of watching Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo Kante deny him a look-in is anyone's guess because no-one has seen him to ask.