It has been an incredible Premier League season as we prepare for the final furlong in what will in no doubt be a hair-raising climax. Leicester and Spurs fight for 1st, Man Utd and Man City fight for 4th, Watford and Swansea fight for 15th. Incredible. But I am an Aston Villa fan so this season as been full of abject misery on a personal front. And so it is only right for me to concentrate on the worst that the footballing elite has to offer. These are the worst players in the Premier League this season:
Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan
Brad Guzan started the season off fairly well, producing a man of the match performance in Villa's 1-0 over Bournemouth. Unfortunately this still remains the only game he has played in which Villa have won this season and has been at fault for a bucket full of goals. From his indecisiveness in coming off his line to his inability to hold to the ball when shot at from any distance, Guzan has not performed well behind an already calamitous defence. In fact half-way through the season he was dropped for Mark Bunn, who was previously Norwich's 3rd choice keeper the season before. Bunn actually oversaw two wins and saved a Mahrez penalty during his tenure in net, Guzan was only reinstated after the disaterous performance of Bunn in the 6-0 defeat to Liverpool. He has since continued where he left off, playing terribly.
Honourable mentions: Artur Boruc, mainly for his performance in Bournemouth's 5-1 loss to Spurs, Alex McCarthy, who has made a match-losing mistake in the majority of games he has played and Simone Mignolet who continues to be about as commanding in net as a nervous whippet with boxing gloves on his paws.
Right-back: Russell Martin
The only non-Villa player in the back five features after a season of constant bizarre decisions at the back that have cost his team dearly in their quest to stay in the league. Most notably his performance in the legendary 5-4 loss against Liverpool was heroic in its incompetence. Martin has become some what a hated figure amongst the Canary faithful, but maybe all will be forgiven if Norwich somehow find a way to stay up
Honourable mentions: Branislav Ivanovic, who has forgotten how to run, Alan Hutton for obvious reasons and Seamus Coleman whose career seems to be heading backwards.
Centre Backs: Micah Richards & Joleon Lescott
It is hard to look past the ineptitude of the Villa backline this season, one without fight, drive or a basic understanding of how to tackle, mark or generally play football. The old commentator cliché of 'the stricker wanted it more' has been applied to so many of Villa's conceded goals this season and the lack of communication and organisation at the heart of the defence has been shambolic. Whilst other central defenders Okore and Clark haven't covered themselves in glory, more was expected of these two Premier League stalwarts who have both represented England in their careers. Richards had a point to prove after being pushed to sidelines by Man City, and Lescott was coming back to the team he supported as kid for one final hurrah. Both have been incompetent.
Honourable mentions: Martin Demechelis could go for his performance against Man Utd alone as well as morally questionable betting habits, Phil Jagelika, who is meant to be the one organising an awful Everton back-line this season and any number of Sunderland or Newscastle defenders, there are so many to choose from.
Left-Back: Aly Cissokho
Rounding off the defence we have Aly Cissokho, which is a great achievement for a player who has only been in the team since January. After being recalled from a loan at Porto after first choice left-back Jordan Amavi was ruled out for the season, it was hoped Cissokho would add a bit of nouce and Premier League experience to the Villa back four. Unfortunately he has been inept since his recall, constantly being caught out of position being seemingly unaware of how the offside rule works. His performance in the 4-0 loss against Chelsea was the footballing equivalent of Saw.
Honourable mentions: Kieran Richardson, the player so bad that Aly Cissokho is playing ahead of him and Patrick Van Aarnholt, who is terrible defensively but has made amends by scoring some vital goals.
Central Midfielders: Jordan Veretout & Nemanja Matic
Jordan Veretout has played in every position across Villa's midfield at some point this season and has proven to be ineffectual in all of them. Whilst Westwood and Gueye might not have great ability, they at least have a bit of fight, which is more than can be said for Veretout. What is remarkable is that at the start of the season he turned down a move to Leicester to join Villa. Somebody is sacking their agent at the end of the season...
The other place goes to Nemanja Matic, a player that controlled and stabilised Chelsea's midfield last season and sent them to Premier League glory. This season Chelsea have been anything but stable and the tall Serb has looked like a shadow of his former self. A particular low-point for him was being subbed after coming on as a sub in the 3-1 defeat to Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Honourable mentions: Cesc Fabregas has also been poor alongside Matic in Chelsea's midfield, Chekh Tiote has the look of a man who has checked-out (or should I say Chekh-ed out) and is just awaiting a big money move to China, Victor Wanyama has spent most of the season serving suspensions and Fabian Delph has done nothing except anger the already furious Aston Villa fans.
Wingers: Flourin Thauvin & Eden Hazard
Flourin Thauvin was so unremarkable you have probably completely forgotten about him. Signed for £15 million in the summer he scored 0 goals and made 0 assists in his 15 appearances for the doomed Newcastle United. For those not good at maths that is £1 million per match. This should not have come as any great surprise given that he had been name in Ligue 1's official worst team of the season XI before Newcastle signed him. He was also cocky enough to come to a game dressed in a tuxedo, a manoeuvre that can be pulled if you are classy player, but came across more like a commentary on his own decadence. He was shipped off back to France on loan in January to make way for Andros Townsend.
Eden Hazard however had very different expectations, blowing away defences last season to win the player of the year award and helping Chelsea clinch the title. However this season he has looked slow, lethargic and out of ideas, like a man who would rather be anywhere else. Even after the Guus Hiddink mini-revival he is still nowhere the level we saw last season. He will inevitably move to Juventus and score a winner against Chelsea in a Champions League Quarter-final one day.
Honourable mentions: Pedro, Raheem Sterling and Memphis Depay have all dramatically underperformed given the money spent on them in the summer, whilst Jack Grealish has slowly morphed into a sentient Lad Bible article.
Strikers: Papiss Cisse & Eder
Ah Papiss Cisse, remember that goal? You know, that goal against Chelsea. At the time we all wondered if it was a fluke, and now we know it was.That seems like such a distant memory to the man who thrashed the ball wide from 4 yards out against Norwich in a relegation 6-pointer. The reason why Newcastle will probably go down this season is the lack of goals and Cisse, with only 2 to his name this season, is the main culprit after missing a catalogue of sitters.
Eder on the other hand had quite the opposite problem, I'm not sure he touched the ball in his 15 goal-less outings for Swansea. Eder was the third in the dynasty of awful 7-foot Swansea strikers with braided hair after Batefemi Gomis and Marvin Emnes. But while Gomis has had his moments and Emnes only cost them a can of beans, Eder cost £5 million, making only 4 starts and scoring 0 goals before being loaned out to Lille for the remainder of the season. He was a symbol of the downfall of Garry Monk.
Honourable mentions: Former Swansea striker Wilfried Bony has looked out of place and ineffectual at Man City, as has Christian Beneteke at Liverpool despite a promising start, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Falcao could have made in the team if they had played enough to prove how terrible they are.