September 13, 2012

Shelved Premier League Xi

If at the start of the season you told me that Flamini would be keeping one of the best keeping midfielders out of the Gunners' first team, I would have told you that you were as talented with your feet as Romario.

But Flamini, like many other young and upcoming players in the Epl, has performed consistently well thus far, keeping out his older, more experienced teammate.

So what other players have been warming the bench rather than running gracefully over the football pitch, contrary to what their hefty wage packets, honours and large transfer fees may otherwise suggest? Here's our take on the best of the unused this season:

Gk - Carlo Cudicini

Carlo, the Italian stallion, used to be one of the Prem's best shot-stoppers. After the coming of a young 'keeper by the name of Petr Cech, the only thing Cudicini now stops is the cold from biting in while warming the bench.

Df - Wayne Bridge

Will he ever get a regular game at Stamford Bridge? One of England's most talented defenders, the sass is most likely 'no' due to the coming of Juliano Belletti.

Df - Linvoy Primus

A mainstay of the Pompey defence last season, but injury coupled with the solid partnership of Campbell and Distin has kept him out thus far.

Df - Robert Huth

Having had surgical operation performed on his ankle this summer, Robert Huth has been gently working his way back up to full fitness. Will he be able to form a solid back pairing with Jonathan Woodgate? Time will tell.

Mf - Andy van der Meyde

His time at Everton has hardly been a success. Failing to turn up for training sessions, rumours of alcoholism and bust-ups with the owner have severely little the Dutchman's chances of playing for Everton this season. Shame for a man who was a first selection for Holland during Euro 2004.

Mf - Jimmy Bullard

Poor old Jimmy Bullard. Likes his fishing, just as well he has a hobby that takes up most of his days, looking as how he hasn't played since dislocating his knee against Newcastle last September. Ouch.

Mf - Gilberto Silva

Amazingly, the Premier League's Most Improved Player 07/08 (Tm) Mathieu Flamini has kept out the Brazilian midfield maestro.

Mf - Michael Ballack

He is injured, but will he be playing usually alongside Lampard when he returns? £135,000 a week for a man who basically just turns up at Stamford Bridge to watch games seems a bit steep to me.

Mf - Maceo Rigters

Performed brilliantly at the U21 European Champions for Holland, ending up in the competition's team of the tournament. Secured a dream move to Blackburn, however has found first team chances little due to the exploits of McCarthy and Santa Cruz.

St - Peter Crouch

We could have put whatever in Liverpool's team on here given Rafa's rotating, but Crouchinho gets the nod due to his perfect attack rate, yet inability to get a regular start. Hopefully some modern perfect performances will help him back into the side.

St - David Nugent

Turning up at a club, missing easy chances, and then having a naked mobile photograph of your, ahem, 'tackle' posted on the Internet is hardly the way to impress your new employers. Don't expect the promising striker to get in ahead of Benjani, Utaka or Kanu.

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