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5 one-season wonders in the Premier League and what happened to them eventually

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5 one-season wonders in the Premier League and what happened to them eventually

When we talk about prolific goalscorers in the Premier League, the names of Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba, Alan Shearer and more recently, Mo Salah and Harry Kane come to our mind.

All the aforementioned players have inducted themselves into the history books, be it for the most number of goals scored in a particular season or for their consistency levels in front of goal.

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We have seen over the years that football is a funny old game, not only because it is full of drama, emotions, twists and turns, but the ebbs and tides in the careers of various players; the decline of a generation of stars and the simultaneous rise of a new generation also keeps the fans interested in the beautiful game.

Well, no matter how talented you are, consistency is one of the key traits that separate the best from the rest quite often, not only in the Premier League but anywhere in the world for that matter.

Over the years, we have seen that those who manage to sustain their impressive goalscoring form for a considerable period of time end up carving out a big reputation for themselves in football. 

However, as unforgiving as the beautiful game can sometimes be to the erratic and inconsistent performers, players often tend to fade into obscurity following a promising start to their career and are hardly recognised by the fans years after their retirement.

They do not earn a place amongst the all-time greats in football but it would be fair to say that they hold a special place in our hearts, nonetheless.

Let us take a look at 5 one-season wonders in the Premier League in recent times and what eventually happened to them.

1. Saido Berahino – 14 goals (2014-15)

The West Brom academy graduate burst on to the scene as a talented youngster back in the 2013-14 season, scoring a hat-trick against Newport County, as well as the winner against Man United at Old Trafford.

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However, it was the 2014-15 campaign where he rose to prominence and netted a staggering 20 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions, including 14 in the Premier League.

The former England U-21 star bagged the Players’ Player of the Year award at the end of the 2014-15 season for his stellar run of form but his career has gone totally off track ever since.

Berahino netted 4 goals in 31 appearances for the Baggies in the Premier League in the following season before joining Stoke City in January 2017.

The Burundian international stayed with the Potters even after their relegation from the top-flight but he was never really able to replicate that sort of blistering form.

A poor strike rate of 5 goals in 56 games and various other reasons saw Stoke City terminate Berahino’s contract in 2019.

Now 25, he is without a club, and a career that started with such a lot of promise is on the brink of fading into obscurity, although he still has time on his side to go on and fulfil his promise.

2. Michu – 18 goals (2012-13)

A wonderful 2011-12 season in the La Liga which yielded 15 goals for Rayo Vallecano earned Michu a coveted move to the Premier League with Swansea City back in the summer of 2012.

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The Spaniard was an instant hit at the Wales-based club and got off to an incredible start to his Premier League career, eventually finishing the campaign with 18 goals. Michu’s heroics helped Swansea City to not only win the League Cup but also secure Europa League qualification.

Well, what followed after that is history and the fans wouldn’t like to recall his dramatic fall in English football. Michu earned a call-up to Spain’s national team but his career went into an absolute freefall after that and the playmaking forward was never able to rediscover his mojo.

He scored only twice in the Premier League in the following season and was shipped out on loan to Napoli in the summer of 2014 before eventually being released from the club towards the end of 2015.

Thereafter, Michu had a stint at Spanish lower division club UP Langreo and subsequently moved on to his boyhood club Real Oviedo, of which he is now the technical secretary after hanging up his boots at the age of 31.

3. Asamoah Gyan – 10 goals (2010-11)

Sunderland apparently bagged a massive coup in the summer of 2010 by snapping up one of the stars of Ghana’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, as the Black Cats brought in Asamoah Gyan from French club Rennes.

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And the Ghanaian showed in his debut season in England what an influential presence he can be up front. 

Gyan netted a brace in a 2-0 victory over Stoke City in his first Premier League start and followed it up with an equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Spurs.

The Ghanaian also made a key contribution in Sunderland’s 3-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and finished the season with 11 goals in all competitions.

However, he was on the move once again in the following summer, with an offer from UAE club Al Ain proving too tempting for him to resist.

Gyan went on to establish himself as a prolific goalscorer in the Middle East before having a spell in China with Shanghai SIPG. He returned to European football with Kayserispor in 2017 and currently plies his trade in the Turkish top-flight.

4. Amr Zaki – 10 goals (2008-09)

The towering 6ft 1in Egyptian centre-forward took the Premier League by storm during his loan spell at Wigan Athletic in the 2009-10 season and his short stay in England proved to be a memorable one.

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The bulky striker bulldozed his way to as many as 5 goals in 6 games and earned plenty of plaudits for his stunning volley against Liverpool at Anfield.

However, his indisciplined and unprofessional approach prompted Wigan not to make his loan deal from Zamalek permanent and the Egyptian’s career went into a downward spiral after that.

Zaki returned to the Premier League on loan at Hull City but failed to find the net even once, whilst mediocre spells at Elagizspor, ENPPI, Raja Casablanca, Al-Salmiya and Al-Ahed didn’t enhance his reputation whatsoever.

Faced with the prospect of being without a club upon his release from El Mokawloon, Zaki retired from professional football in 2015.

5. Roque Santa-Cruz -19 goals (2007-08)

The towering 6ft 4in Paraguayan centre-forward became a marquee signing for Blackburn Rovers when he made his move to Ewood Park from Bayern Munich back in the summer of 2007.

Presented with the No.9 shirt, Santa-Cruz scored 19 goals in his debut season in the Premier League and in doing so, helped Blackburn to a 7th-place finish in the league.

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The Paraguayan finished as the fourth top-scorer in the Premier League in the 2007-08 campaign but he caught cold feet after that and never really hit the same heights.

A tally of just 4 goals in the 2008-09 campaign didn’t prevent him from earning a move to Man City, however, he managed to find the net only thrice in 19 appearances for the Citizens in the 2009-10 season.

Santa-Cruz resurrected his career with decent spells in the La Liga with Real Betis and Malaga before returning to South America to join Mexican champions Cruz Azul in 2014.

Now 37, Roque Santa-Cruz is very much at the twilight of his career and a near-forgotten figure in football, plying his trade in the Paraguayan top-flight with Olimpia Asuncion.

Arsenal

3 Winners and 3 Losers from PL gameweek 5 including Tottenham and Arsenal

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3 Winners and 3 Losers from Premier League gameweek 5

Premier League action returned with a bang after the end of the first international break of the season and Round 5 of the 2019-20 campaign produced some mesmerizing football for all sets of fans to savour and admire. 

Man City’s shock 3-2 defeat away at Norwich City was arguably the hottest talking point from this weekend, while a few of the other big-six clubs, including Man United, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea should also be happy with how things panned out for them in Round 5.

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Arsenal blew away a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw against Watford, while top-six hopefuls Everton were beaten 3-1 away at Bournemouth. 

Watford and Wolves once again finished the week as the only two sides in the Premier League who are yet to register a single victory thus far. 

Without further ado, let us take a look at 3 winners and 3 losers from Round 5 of the Premier League:

Winners

1. Liverpool 

Jurgen Klopp’s side stretched their lead over defending champions Man City to five points at the top of the table, as a first-half brace from Sadio Mane followed by a third goal from Mo Salah in the second half guided the Reds to a comfortable 3-1 comeback victory over Newcastle United. 

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Jetro Willems put the Magpies in the driver’s seat early in the game with his pile driver from the edge of the box but heroics from Mane, and Roberto Firminio who came on as a substitute for Divock Origi midway through the first half ensured that Liverpool stretched their winning run in the Premier League to 14 games in a row, becoming only the fourth team to achieve such a feat. 

While it was more of a regulation victory for Liverpool, the fans at Anfield have every reason to hope that Man City’s stumble at Carrow Road proves to be one of the title-defining moments later on in the season.

Nevertheless, for the time being, Liverpool have a lot of breathing space with a five-point lead at the top of the standings.

2. Chelsea

It was a treat to watch how Chelsea’s young guns completely whitewashed an underwhelming Wolves side 2-5 away from home on Saturday, with Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick making him the youngest Blues player to achieve such a feat in the Premier League. 

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Frank Lampard’s side had come under criticism for blowing away a two-goal lead at home against Sheffield United prior to the international break but the Blues absolutely demolished Wolves in ruthless fashion to get back to winning ways and finished the week placed 6th in the standings.

While Abraham stole much of the limelight with his hat-trick, fellow academy graduate Fikayo Tomori also got the crowd off its feet with an absolute stunner from 35 yards out, as did Mason Mount, who bagged his third goal of the league season.

3. Tottenham Hotspur

Having lost 1-0 to Newcastle United and drawn 2-2 away at Arsenal prior to the international break, Spurs came into the game against Crystal Palace with only a solitary victory in their first four games. 

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However, the home fans will be relieved after the Lilywhites produced arguably their best display of the season thus far and cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Roy Hodgson’s side, who dropped down to 12th place in the standings after that defeat. 

An own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, sandwiched by Heung-min Son’s brace and Erik Lamela’s strike made the score 4-0 before the interval and though Spurs moved up to 3rd place in the standings this week, they still have plenty of catch-up to do if they are to get back in the title race. 

Losers

1. Man City

It was always going to be interesting to see how Man City would cope with the opposition in the Premier League following Aymeric Laporte’s injury and the defensive blunders against Norwich City are sure to have Pep Guardiola scratching his head to find a solution for the upcoming fixtures. 

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Some poor marking allowed Kenny McLean to head home the opener for the Canaries early in the first-half before Teemu Pukki took advantage of some ineffective coordination at the back to set up Todd Cantwell for the second. 

Sergio Aguero pulled one back just at the stroke of the interval but a horrible error from Nicolas Otamendi allowed Pukki to make it 3-1 in favour of the hosts. It stayed that way until Rodrigo found a late goal. City struggled to hit great heights against a Norwich side that ran them ragged with their never-say-die mentality on the pitch. 

Undoubtedly, Man City’s defeat comes as the first big twist in the title race and Guardiola will be aware that his team cannot afford such slip-ups if they are to keep themselves within striking distance of Liverpool at the top of the table.

2. Arsenal

Arsenal didn’t have the worst of results in Round 5 but Unai Emery is likely to be disappointed to have come away with just a draw from the trip to Watford, with the Gunners blowing away a two-goal lead in the second half to somehow salvage a point. 

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace in the first half was cancelled out by goals from Tom Cleverly and Roberto Pereyra after the interval, the latter coming from the penalty spot after the Argentine was tripped by David Luiz inside the box.

A victory over Watford would have propelled the Gunners to 3rd place in the standings, ahead of Spurs, who currently hold that position, but some poor defending and lack of resilience at the back cost Arsenal heavily once again.

3. Everton

A victory over Bournemouth would have seen Everton finish the week in the top four but instead, the Toffees currently find themselves outside the top-ten, languishing at 11th place in the standings after suffering a 3-1 defeat to the Cherries away on the south coast.

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Callum Wilson’s opener was cancelled out by Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header just at the stroke of the interval before Ryan Fraser made it 2-1 with a free-kick and Wilson put the game to bed with his second goal midway through the second half. 

The Toffees failed to capitalise on their chances and this defeat definitely comes as a big blow to their hopes of challenging for a top-six place. 

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Leicester City

3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester City ahead of PL gameweek 6

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3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester ahead of PL gameweek 6

Man United triumphed 1-0 over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, as the Red Devils ended the Foxes’ unbeaten run and registered their first victory in the league since the 4-0 hammering of Chelsea on the opening day of the campaign. 

The game, which was regarded as one of the main attractions of Round 5, turned out to be something of an anti-climax in the end, and the overall lack of creativity over the ninety minutes was quite ridiculous considering the quality of players in action. 

There was hardly anything to separate the two teams in what turned out to be a rather dull and boring game of pretty ordinary standards, with Marcus Rashford making all the difference with his goal from the penalty spot early in the first half. 

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Overall, it was a story of how both the teams failed to live up to the hype surrounding the game, with Man United lacking the composure to keep hold of the ball long for long enough to carve out anything meaningful and Leicester just not showing enough creativity to find a way through a stubborn United backline led by Harry Maguire.

Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskajer should be happy with those three valuable points and more importantly, against a side that has been tipped to overtake them in the race for the top-six. Here are 3 talking points from the dull 1-0 encounter:

1. Maguire gets the better of Vardy

This was the first time that Harry Maguire was facing his old club in the Premier League since his move to Man United earlier in the summer and the Englishman was always going to be Solskajer’s best bet in trying to keep an in-form Jamie Vardy at bay. 

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And the towering central defender, who seemed to be fully aware of Vardy’s tricks and strengths in the final third, didn’t allow his former teammate to even get a sniff of the goal on Saturday.

Maguire’s flawless reading of the game and his knowledge of Vardy’s strengths were instrumental in United’s efforts to drag the ultimate opportunist out of the game and though it wasn’t a very creative display from the Red Devils, they certainly deserve plenty of credit for a clean-sheet against one of the most potent attacking units in the division.

2. Soyuncu’s bubble finally bursts 

Caglar Soyuncu, who has taken over the reins from Maguire at the heart of Leicester’s defence, was showered with praises for his performances in the first four league games heading into the international break but the youngster turned into a villain at Old Trafford this weekend.

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Soyuncu’s needless clip on Marcus Rashford’s heels inside the box early in the first half allowed United to open the scoring from the penalty spot and that, ultimately, would go on to be the decisive moment of the game.

Indeed, he has done a fair job at the back but his sudden rush of blood on Saturday, which eventually cost the Foxes the game, would have reminded Rodgers that the Turk is still quite young and relatively inexperienced at the Premier League level. 

3. Scott McTominay the standout performer for Man United

On a day where both the teams lacked creativity and finesse in the middle of the park, Scott McTominay put in arguably his best performance of the season so far and repaid Solskjaer’s faith in his abilities. 

Playing alongside Nemanja Matic as a part of a double pivot in the midfield, the Scottish international completely bossed the midfield with his tireless running up and down the pitch, while his physical presence put off the likes of Hamza Choudhury and Youri Tielemans. 

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McTominay broke down the play really well with his tackles and interceptions, carried the ball forward with intent and was always at the right place and at the right time to safeguard United from Leicester’s forays. 

The 22-year-old won 9 out of 16 duels on the ground, 3 out of 3 duels in the air, completed 2 out of his 2 attempted tackles and chipped in with 2 interceptions and 3 clearances.  

Apart from that, he was instrumental in circulating possession in the midfield and switching the play, with the youngster registering 60 touches on the ball and completing 31 passes (accuracy rate of 79.5), including 6 successful long balls. 

McTominay has shown signs of maturing into a powerful defensive midfielder this term and Man United have every reason to be pleased with his rapid development. 

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Arsenal

3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of PL gameweek 6

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3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of gameweek 6

Arsenal and Watford played out arguably one of the most enthralling encounters in the Premier League so far this season, as the Hornets came back from two goals down to salvage a point at Vicarage Road in their first game following the return of Quique Sanchez Flores as the new manager. 

Arsenal had more of the possession in the first half and went into the interval with a two-goal advantage, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.

Sead Kolasinac set up Aubameyang for the opener with a driving run while Mesut Ozil’s wonderful pick-out paved the way for Ainsley-Maitland Niles to assist the Gabonese for his second.

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However, Watford came out with more determination in the second half and took the game by the scruff of the neck. The Hornets completely dominated the proceedings, had more efforts on target and were by and large the better side by a long margin.

Gerard Deulofeu’s clever interception inside Arsenal’s penalty area allowed Tom Cleverly to pull one back in the 53rd minute before a mistimed challenge from David Luiz on Roberto Pereyra inside the box led to Pereyra’s equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time. 

Watford had plenty of chances to wrap up a famous victory at home over the Gunners but Bernd Leno made some smart interventions to save the blushes for the Gunners, who have only themselves to blame for blowing away a golden chance to finish the week in the top 4.

Here are 3 talking points from Vicarage Road:

1. Playing out from the back

The new ruling in the Premier League, which allows players to be inside the box during goal-kick situations, certainly favours teams opting to play out from the back with short exchanges. And Arsenal, who pride themselves in using such tactics to good effect, were the architects of their own downfall on Sunday. 

Watford were very much alive to the Gunners’ tactics and when they tried to play the ball out from the back with short lateral passes. The Hornets adopted a high pressing style to disrupt their rhythm. 

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In the build-up to Watford’s first goal, Leno passed the ball to Sokratis, who apparently thought that passing it to a crowded Matteo Guendouzi was a good idea.

Deulofeu, who was just waiting for a sniff to win the ball back, put out his leg to intercept the ball inside the box and Cleverly made it 2-1 with a cool finish. 

That, however, wasn’t the only time when Arsenal were sloppy when playing out from the back. Guendouzi was robbed off the ball inside his own penalty area in the first half and had it not been for Leno’s fine reflex save, the Gunners would have got some serious stick from their own fans. 

Quite clearly, Arsenal were too slow while playing out from the back and Emery, who knows a lot about the implementation of such tactics, will be aware of the fact that he needs to put in a lot more work on the training ground to avoid such embarrassment in the future. 

2. Watford’s resurgence under Sanchez Flores

The 2-2 draw was probably a fair reflection of the balance of the game but Quique Sanchez Flores would know that his team was ever so close to registering its first victory of the Premier League this term. 

Having failed to win any of their league games since April last season, the Hornets looked short of confidence under Javi Gracia but the appointment of Sanchez Flores has come as a breath of fresh air amongst the players, who put in a lion-hearted performance and showed the audacity to take the game to Arsenal. 

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The writing seemed to be on the wall for the hosts when they went into the interval with a two-goal deficit but the way they fought back to salvage a draw speaks volumes of their character and resilience, highlighting the change in mentality that the new manager has already brought to his unit. 

Looking at the stats, Watford had as many as 31 attempts over the course of the ninety minutes on Saturday, 10 of which were on target, while Arsenal managed to get only 4 out of their 7 attempts on target.  

Furthermore, the Hornets finished the game with 53% possession, which is largely a result of their unrivalled dominance in the second half, while the work rate of the players and the ability to carve out chances on a regular basis were a few other hallmarks of their performance. 

Despite the impressive 2-2 draw, Watford stayed at the bottom of the Premier League table with just 2 points from their first 5 games but they certainly won’t be there for long if they continue their resurgence under Sanchez Flores.

3. Luiz a liability once again

Arsenal’s persistent woes at the back over the past 12 months have been one of the biggest talking points of Unai Emery’s reign at the Emirates and the club’s hasty decision to bring in an impetuous centre-back like David Luiz in the summer has already shown early signs of backfiring, with the Brazilian veteran conceding yet another penalty on Saturday. 

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Luiz was quite horrible with his decision-making and mentality at the back in the games against Liverpool and Spurs, and his clip on Pereyra just inside the box paved the way for the Hornets to equalise in the second half.

Looking back at how things shaped up over the ninety minutes, the very fact that Watford managed to register 31 attempts is a clear indication of the fact that the Gunners just didn’t do enough at the back to close down the attackers soon enough. 

In fact, they were lucky not to have conceded three or four goals, thanks to some goalkeeping heroics from Leno and some poor finishing from the home side.

If Luiz continues to let the team down on such a regular basis, Emery might have his work cut out in guiding the team to a top-four finish this season. 

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