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6 South American players who failed miserably in the Premier League

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6 South American players who failed miserably in the Premier League

Led by the likes of Brazil and Argentina from the front, South America has always been a vast storehouse of immensely talented footballers, with several of Europe’s elite clubs constantly scouring the talent-blessed continent for budding young talents. 

Well, probably over half of the plethora of all-time greatest footballers to have graced the beautiful game are South American and the rags to riches stories of some of the legends of the game have inspired generations to take up football as a career.

When it comes to the Premier League in the recent era, the fans in England have been blessed to see the likes of Oscar, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero, Gilberto Silva, Fernandinho and Carlos Tevez weave their magic and set the stage on fire with moments of sheer brilliance.

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However, there is a reason why unproven South American strikers arriving on the British shores from the talent-blessed continent are still viewed with suspicion by the English fans.

Historically speaking, the Premier League has not very often proven to be a happy hunting ground for South American stars and many of them have been forced to return to their homeland in a bid to resurrect their career. 

This doesn’t only apply to players coming directly to the Premier League from South American clubs but also to those arriving from other European leagues.

Here are 6 South American recruits since the turn of the century who arrived in England with a lot of reputation but never really hit the ground running:

1. Claudio Pizarro (Chelsea)

A bonafide goalscorer for Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and a three-time league winner in Germany, Claudio Pizarro arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2007 with a massive reputation for scoring goals and Chelsea handed the Peruvian stalwart the No.14 shirt for the 2007-08 season.

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However, the Blues fans would probably not like to recall the following sequence of events because Pizarro’s talents got lost in translation upon his arrival in English football and he simply made a mockery of his vast reputation, scoring only twice in 32 appearances in all competitions. 

Tipped by many to be Chelsea’s answer to Nolberto Solano, a Peruvian midfielder who had graced Newcastle United from the late 90s to the mid-2000s, Pizarro hardly ever lived up to the expectations and quite unsurprisingly, he was deemed surplus to demands at the club just after a season. 

The towering forward returned to the Bundesliga in 2008 and immediately rediscovered his old form, winning the UEFA Champions League with Bayern in 2012-13.

Now 40, Pizarro is still active in the Bundesliga and the upcoming 2019-20 campaign is expected to be his swansong in professional football. 

2. Diego Forlan (Man United)

‘South American players and Man United are not really a match made in heaven’ is a cliche that probably originated from Juan Sebastian Veron’s failures at Old Trafford around the turn of the century and accentuated even a more by Diego Forlan, who arrived in the Premier League from Argentinian club Independiente in January 2002.

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Having scored 41 goals in 90 appearances for Independiente over the course of three seasons, Forlan arrived as a bright young South American talent at Old Trafford and was tipped by many to reach great heights under the tutelage of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. 

The Uruguayan’s start to life in the Premier League was not great though, as he failed to find the net even once in 18 appearances in the latter half of the 2001-02 campaign.

He did, however, tease the fans with glimpses of his brilliance in the 2002-03 season, scoring 9 goals in 45 appearances to help the Red Devils claim the Premier League title. 

The highlight of Forlan’s United career was scoring a brace in a league victory over Liverpool as well as the winner against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

The Uruguayan left United for Villarreal with a lacklustre record of 17 goals in 98 appearances but he took the La Liga by storm with 25 goals in his debut campaign.

Forlan plundered goals for fun at Villarreal and later on at Atletico Madrid, winning the Europa League with the latter and going down as one of the greatest ever Uruguayan footballers of all time for his heroics at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

3. Agustin Delgado (Southampton)

One of the most feared South American strikers of his generation and arguably the finest striking talent to have emerged from Ecuador’s production line, Agustin Delgado enjoyed resounding success with Ecuadorian clubs El Nacional and Barcelona SC, as well as Nexaca in Mexico before earning a move to the Premier League with Southampton in 2001.

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Delgado’s decision to play for Ecuador at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with an existing injury proved to be one of the worst of his career and when he returned to England’s south coast after the tournament, his injury turned out to be a chronic one. 

That coupled with his reluctance to learn English and difficulties in adapting to life on the British shores meant that Delgado was never going to fulfil his promise in the Premier League.

The Ecuadorian scored only twice in 15 appearances over the course of three seasons before heading back to his homeland with Aucas to pick up the pieces of his tottering career.

4. Guido Carrillo (Southampton)

Shifting the focus to some of the more recent transfer blunders, Guido Carrillo was neither a bonafide goalscorer in Europe nor an international player for Argentina at the senior level when he arrived at Southampton for a then club-record fee of £19.2million from Monaco in January 2018.

A tally of 21 goals in 95 outings for Monaco didn’t really make Carrillo a prolific striker but the lofty price tag meant that the fans at St. Mary’s had every reason to expect big things from him.

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Well, the move went down as one of the worst ever January transfers in the Premier League and six months later, those who had viewed Mauricio Pellegrino’s decision to play a gamble on the Argentinian with scepticism, were absolutely right.

It didn’t take long for the Saints to figure out that Carrillo lacked the general nous of a striker to thrive in the Premier League and the Argentinian failed to find the net in 10 appearances in the latter half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Carillo was shipped out on loan to Leganes in the La Liga last summer and Southampton have another white elephant in their ranks to get rid of after the failures of Sofiane Boufal. 

5. Afonso Alves (Middlesbrough)

Talk about Guido Carrilo being one of the worst January transfers in the Premier League, Afonso Alves isn’t far behind in that regard. Signed for a fee of £12.5million by Middlesbrough from Dutch club Heerenveen back in January 2008, Alves arrived at the Riverside Stadium as a full international for Brazil and certainly one of the hottest striking properties in Europe.

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The move looked like a good fit for Boro given that Alves had netted 48 goals in 48 appearances for Heerenveen prior to his arrival on Teesside.

However, a bright start to his Premier League career which included a hat-trick in an 8-1 drubbing of Man City soon degenerated into a series of lacklustre displays, as the Brazilian seemed to have forgotten the art of scoring goals,

Alves found the net on only 10 occasions in 42 Premier League outings and Middlesbrough were relegated just 16 months after signing him. 

6. Nicolas Medina (Sunderland)

The second Argentinian player in this list, Nicolas Medina carved out a massive reputation for himself as one of the burgeoning talents in his homeland at his boyhood club Argentinos Juniors before earning a move to Sunderland in 2001.

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Medina made only a solitary FA Cup appearance for the club and never actually featured in a league game, making him one of the club’s worst-ever transfers.

Medina won the Gold Medal with Argentina at the 2004 Athens Olympics and played for Spanish second-tier clubs Real Murcia and Leganes before returning to his homeland.

Now 37, he is still active in professional football and currently plies his trade with Peruvian club Sport Huancayo.

Arsenal

Arsenal? Manchester United? – Which of the big clubs will achieve a top-4 finish in the PL this season?

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Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Man United- who will miss out on top four?

The 2018/19 Premier League title race went down to the wire, with Manchester City beating Liverpool to the crown by just a point. The team that followed them were Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.

The new season is just two games old and Liverpool and Arsenal are the only teams to have enjoyed a 100% record thus far, after Manchester United dropped points in the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Molineux on Monday.

We saw an entertaining battle between Manchester City and Tottenham end in a 2-2 draw at the Etihad last weekend, with VAR’s intervention denying the champions a late winner. These are early days but the Premier League table is shaping up very well.

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Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have comprised the table’s top six in each of the previous three seasons.

Considering City and Liverpool are set to battle it out again for the Premier League title, which two teams amongst Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United will make it to the top four this time? Let’s have a look.

Chelsea

Just two games into the new season, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is already under pressure to find some tactical answers as he is still seeking his first Premier League victory.

After the opening day mauling at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford, Chelsea’s performances improved in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool and the 1-1 draw with Leicester City at the weekend, although Lampard’s men were lucky to escape with a point.

The Blues’ transfer window embargo meant Lampard couldn’t strengthen his squad in the summer. The 41-year-old had to be content with the squad set up by Maurizio Sarri but without Eden Hazard, who joined Real Madrid.

Hazard contributed directly to half of Chelsea’s league goals last season, and their attack was almost totally reliant on him. The Belgian’s departure has left a huge void and that coupled with the exits of experienced defenders Gary Cahill and David Luiz, Lampard’s Chelsea are set for a long season.

Prediction: There have been more negatives than positives in Chelsea’s first two league games and while Lampard will take time to give his side a fixed style of play, it’s difficult to see the Blues making it to the top four.

Tottenham

Against all odds, Tottenham reached the Champions League final last season only to fail at the final hurdle. A combination of their European exploits and a failure to make new signings saw their Premier League form suffer.

However, Spurs spent heavily this summer, signing players like Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon.

Pochettino’s side have started the new campaign well, taking four points out of a possible six. Despite the departures of Kieran Trippier, Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, Tottenham have been boosted by their new signings and can better last season’s finish.

Prediction: If Pochettino can keep Harry Kane fit throughout the season and get the best out of his new signings, Tottenham can threaten to make it a three-horse title race this time around.

Arsenal

There is a real buzz at Arsenal because of the arrival of new faces at the Emirates and the rollicking start they have made to the new campaign.

Victories over Newcastle and Burnley means that the Gunners have enjoyed a perfect start, although a trip to Liverpool beckons at the weekend. Considering their recent visits to Anfield, it could be all doom and gloom for the North London giants.

Nevertheless, Unai Emery will be happy with the start and would expect things to get better. On loan from Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos made quite an impact on his full debut against Burnley, while the fans also saw glimpses of quality from star man, Nicolas Pepe.

But the Gunners still look defensively shaky and that was visible in the game against Burnley.

David Luiz’s acquisition from Chelsea on the transfer deadline day was a coup but his track-record of clumsy and erratic defending will hardly fill Bernd Leno with confidence.

Then there is the error-prone Shkodran Mustafi, an ageing Sokratis Papastathopoulos and a not-yet-fit Rob Holding in central defence.

Prediction: While Pepe has given a different threat and dynamism to the Arsenal attack, Emery’s defence could again plot his downfall. They’ll miss Aaron Ramsey’s midfield vigour and big-game performances. Frankly, the Gunners won’t make it to the top four this season.

Manchester United

Despite a frustrating transfer window, Manchester United brought three new players in Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. And all three of the new signings have made an impact in the first two weeks of the new season, helping the Red Devils bag four points out of a possible six.

Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Manchester United have only made the Premier League top-four twice. This shows just how far they’ve fallen from grace.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to bring the glory days back at Old Trafford by promoting young players and playing relentless attacking football.

United were defensively shambolic last season and Solskjaer strengthened his backline with the additions of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka. They lacked natural width as well and Solskjaer addressed it by bringing in the explosive Daniel James, who is also direct in his style of play.

The United boss has let go of Romelu Lukaku to Inter but didn’t sign a replacement. This seems like a plan to promote academy starlet Mason Greenwood.

Prediction: Going by the first two games, the Red Devils look more composed and secure at the back. Solskjaer’s army looks weak in the midfield and an injury to either Paul Pogba or any central midfielder could see them sweat.

Genuinely, though, the players seem sharper and fit, attacking with pace and hitting opponents on the counter. Despite some obvious weaknesses, the Red Devils’ immediate objective of steady improvement and a return to the top four seems possible.

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Chelsea

5 Talking points from Premier League gameweek 2 including VAR drama and Norwich masterclass

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Five talking points from Premier League gameweek two

Week two of the new Premier League campaign is now over, with Wolves and Manchester United settling for a 1-1 draw.

A victory for the Red Devils would have seen them become only the third side to record two straight victories this season so far, with Liverpool and Arsenal currently boasting a 100% record after champions Manchester City dropped points at home to Tottenham on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard is yet to win his first game as a Chelsea manager as his side were held to an exciting 1-1 draw by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Here, we take a look at five talking points from the second week of the 2019/20 Premier League season.

1. Norwich 3-1 Newcastle United:  Teemu Pukki grabs the headlines

Teemu Pukki was a revelation in the Championship last season, guiding Norwich City to top-flight promotion. And he has taken the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring four goals in two games thus far.

The Finland international scored a fantastic hat-trick against Newcastle United at the weekend, which also involved a rasping pile-driver from inside the box that Martin Dubravka had no chance to keep out.

The 29-year-old has shown what he is capable of doing and Daniel Farke will expect his marksman to keep delivering the goods consistently.

2. Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham: VAR denies Man City a late winner

The battle between Manchester City and Tottenham produced some late drama once again, courtesy of the VAR.

For the second time in four months, City saw a decisive stoppage-time goal against Tottenham snatched away by VAR, leaving them with a 2-2 draw rather than a 3-2 victory.

VAR disallowed Gabriel Jesus’ goal two minutes into stoppage time after a hand-ball earlier in the move by Aymeric Laporte.

Given the stakes are high in the Premier League, these two dropped points for Pep Guardiola could be pivotal come May.

3. Southampton 1-2 Liverpool: Sadio Mane comes back to haunt the Saints

Liverpool seem to have a new talisman this season in Sadio Mane, who came back to haunt Southampton at the weekend.

After helping the Reds add the European Super Cup to the Champions League, Mane got the ball rolling for Jurgen Klopp’s men with a superb goal in first-half stoppage time before Roberto Firmino scored in the second half to hand the visitors a two-goal cushion.

A comedy of errors from Adrian in goal gifted Danny Ings his first goal of the season, but Liverpool saw the game out to earn two wins from their opening two matches.

4. Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace: John Lundstram helps the Blades to three crucial points

Any team that takes Sheffield United lightly at Bramall Lane would simply be digging its own graveyard.

Chris Wilder’s men have been impressive in the first two games, earning their first victory of the top-flight campaign against a spineless Crystal Palace side via to a second-half strike from John Lundstram. The Blades also gave a glimpse of how difficult they are going to be at home.

5. Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Frank Lampard still waiting for his first win as Chelsea boss

It has been a tough start for Frank Lampard at Chelsea, although the 41-year-old will be encouraged with the displays in the last two games after the 4-0 thrashing against Manchester United.

Chelsea started strongly and were rewarded with an early goal through Mason Mount, however, they couldn’t double their advantage or bury the game in the first half when they had the chances to do so.

That gave Leicester a chance to bounce back in the second half and they did so, equalising through Wilfred Ndidi. The Foxes have only themselves to blame for not taking more than a point out of the Bridge.

Lampard has a lot to improve if his team is to make it to the top-four but for now, he remains without a win.

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Chelsea

3 Chelsea players who would be key under Frank Lampard this season including this 20-year-old rising star

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3 players who would be key for Chelsea under Lampard this season

Former Chelsea favourite Frank Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer, replacing Maurizio Sarri as manager following the Italian’s departure.

Whilst a return to the club where he spent 13 trophy-laden years as a player may represent a ‘dream job’ for the 41-year-old, Chelsea haven’t had the start they were looking for in the new Premier League campaign.

The Blues were hammered 4-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford but they gave a better account of themselves in the Super Cup defeat to Liverpool, only losing the contest on penalties. They were held to a 1-1 draw vs Leicester City this weekend.

These are the early days for Frank Lampard but he has to start getting positive results quickly if he is to stay at the Stamford Bridge throne for a long period of time.

The summer exit of star playmaker Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and the transfer ban meant Christian Pulisic was the only new arrival in Lampard’s squad.

But the 41-year-old manager will no doubt turn to the club’s youth ranks and look to bring through some of Chelsea’s young guns. He’ll have to mix youth with experience if the Blues are to have a successful 2019/20 campaign.

That being said, here are three players who would be key for Chelsea under Lampard this season.

1. Christian Pulisic

As mentioned earlier, Pulisic was the only arrival at Stamford Bridge due to the club’s transfer ban.

The young USA international has already shown glimpses of his talent, turning in a solid performance against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup. His pace, movement and dribbling skills make him such a threat and he is expected to fill the big void left by Eden Hazard.

Pulisic is the real deal and has what it takes to become a regular for Chelsea. Under the guidance of Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, the American can really flourish and become a star at Stamford Bridge.

2. Mason Mount

Mount is a player who is highly rated by Lampard, having been pivotal under the new Chelsea manager at Derby County in the Championship last season. He had a superb season in the Championship, bagging 11 goals and 6 assists in 43 games for the Rams.

The 20-year-old was a menace for the United defenders at Old Trafford and also did well after coming off the bench in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool.

A classy operator of the ball, Mount’s potential is huge and it will be fascinating to see if Lampard can accelerate his development as the expectations increase.

3. Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea have looked sloppy and disorganised at the back so far, conceding 7 goals in three games. Lampard has preferred the partnership of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen due to Antonio Rudiger’s injury.

Rudiger underwent surgery on his knee earlier this year, which ruled him out of the final few games of the 2018/19 season. He was arguably Chelsea’s best defender last season and is expected to be the leader of Lampard’s defence following David Luiz’s departure to Arsenal.

Undoubtedly, the Germany international would play a key role in helping Lampard’s side reach their targets this season.

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