Ah, the Premier League. The so-called ‘best league in the world’. You’ll find nothing but undisputed legends in England, right?
Sure, there’s usually some real talent on show in the Premier League, but the English top flight has seen more than its fair share of completely disastrous individual showings. You know, the kind that make you question why your 80-year-old nan isn’t on the field instead.
Here are ten of the worst individual showings the Premier League has ever seen.
Where else is there to start?
David Luiz didn’t even start Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, instead coming on as a 25th-minute substitute to replace the injured Pablo Marí. He then sliced a clearance to gift Raheem Sterling the opening goal before senselessly fouling Riyad Mahrez in the penalty area, which earned him a red card in the 49th minute – 24 minutes after he entered the field.
As noted by Opta, Luiz was the first player in five years to commit an error leading to a goal, give away a penalty and get sent off in the same game, and he did it all in 24 minutes.
The last player to do it?
It’s an Arsenal thing.
Carl Jenkinson was in the midst of his first loan spell away from Arsenal when he put on a real disasterclass against Bournemouth in 2015 as his West Ham United side fell to a 4-3 loss.
The right-back was torn apart by the newly-promoted Cherries, misplacing passes and being caught out of position almost all afternoon, before giving away the ball and conceding a hapless penalty to earn himself a red card.
Jon Walters will always be a popular figure at Stoke City, but he tested his fans’ loyalty after falling apart against Chelsea.
Walters fired home a stunning diving header to open the scoring, but unfortunately it was in the wrong net. He managed to send a second header into the back of the other net, but that came after half time and was yet another own goal.
He had the chance to atone for his errors with a late penalty but sent the ball crashing against the crossbar, bringing what was a disastrous afternoon to a close.
It’s usually quite funny to see a rival player endure a nightmarish performance, but Emmanuel Eboué’s horror show against Wigan Athletic in 2008 was just sad to watch.
Already under pressure for some below-par performances, Eboué reached a new low. He was brought on as a substitute, gave away possession about a bazillion times and tackled his own player before being substituted off to a chorus of boos from his own fans.
The Ivorian was visibly distraught and never really recovered, leaving Arsenal for Galatasaray three years later.
Massimo Taibi’s atrocious Manchester United tenure is often summed up by a comical mistake against Southampton, but what is sometimes forgotten is the fact that he pulled out an even-worse performance just one week later against Chelsea.
It took Taibi just 27 seconds to make a mistake and put his team behind, taking out teammate Denis Irwin and giving Gus Poyet the easiest goal for his life. He let in another four goals and never played for United again.
It brought an end to United’s 29-game unbeaten run, and Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to accept that signing Taibi was a mistake.
Can you class an outing which lasted just 38 seconds as one of the worst performances ever?
Yes. Yes you can.
Steven Gerrard was introduced to Liverpool’s meeting with Manchester United in March 2015 at half time, but he lost his head almost immediately. He flew into one hard tackle before stamping on Ander Herrera, which earned him an early bath. 38 seconds.
Getting embarrassed against United is almost like a rite of passage for any Liverpool legend.
Jamie Carragher was a fresh-faced youngster when he faced United in September 1999, and he put in the kind of performance which could have derailed his career.
Deployed as a centre-back, the then-21-year-old fired home two own goals in a 3-2 loss at Anfield – something which your average player would never recover from.
Carragher survived 14 years after that and is deservedly viewed as one of the league’s all-time greats, but it could have been so different.
Brought on for his Tottenham Hotspur debut specifically to counter the threat of Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero in October 2014, it’s safe to say that Federico Fazio did not get the job done.
Agüero bagged two first-half goals, and in an attempt to stop him bagging a third, Fazio dragged him down in the penalty area and was shown a red card. To make matters worse, the City man converted the resulting spot kick and went on to add a fourth.
Agüero could have even had five, but he saw a third penalty saved by Hugo Lloris.
The story of Ali Dia will never not be hilarious.
The Senegalese forward bluffed his way into a Southampton contract after pretending to be the legendary George Weah’s cousin, and with that kind of billing, there was real excitement surround his debut against Leeds United in November 1996.
After he was introduced as a substitute, it quickly became clear that Dia was not a good footballer. He ran around doing very little and looked completely out of his depth before being hauled off towards the end of the game and released just two weeks later.
Shortly after Tiemoué Bakayoko’s Chelsea debut, fans coined a catchy chant about how the Frenchman ‘never gave the ball away’.
Then the Watford game happened.
Bakayoko started the game and did literally everything wrong. Passes were off, he couldn’t tackle to save his life and was running around like a headless chicken.
He picked up two yellow cards and was sent off after just 30 minutes, prompting Chelsea fans to change their chant about him to something along the lines of ‘you’re f*****g s**t’.
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