TT’s Top Five: Stars who can’t get a game in the Premier League

Date published: Thursday 27th October 2016 8:24

Out of favour: Fabregas, Berahino, Mkhitaryan

Out of favour: Fabregas, Berahino, Mkhitaryan

The 2016/17 Premier League season is now nine games in, but some players have not had chance to showcase what they can bring for their clubs.

Who has failed to impress? Who could be heading for the exit door come January? TEAMtalk takes a look at five players who might not be happy.

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Picked up an injury playing for Armenia

The attacking midfielder signed from in a £26.3million deal from Borussia Dortmund was a highly-anticipated arrival at Manchester United this summer, but the Armenian international is yet to have been given a fair crack of the whip.

Coming off the back of a sensational season with BVB, Mkhitaryan was expected to set the Premier League alight after amassing 31 combined goals and assists in as many matches during the 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign.

So far however, the 27-year-old appears to be surplus to the requirements of boss Jose Mourinho, and has racked up just 104 Premier League minutes over four appearances.

There is already talk of an exit for Mkhitaryan, who was left out of United’s Europa League win over Fenerbahce and the League Cup tie with Manchester City, prompting Mourinho to answer questions about the future of the former Shakhtar man.

“One thing is fit and not injured, another is match fitness, match intensity and ready to play this game,” Mourinho told BT Sport.

“I play with Lingard and Martial, I have on the bench Rashford and Memphis Depay, I cannot play with everyone at the same time. Micky hasn’t played in a long time, this team is a good team with a good intensity.”

 

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge Liverpool

Another man who has had his future thrust into uncertainty is Daniel Sturridge, who does not seem to fit into Jurgen Klopp’s best Liverpool XI, and has been dividing the opinion of supporters in recent weeks.

Sturridge has failed to score in seven Premier League appearances for the Reds this season, and despite moving from the right wing to a more central role, the goals have not naturally followed.

The former Chelsea man failed to even make it off the bench in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over West Brom, bringing many to the conclusion that his days at Anfield are numbered.

Klopp, speaking last week about Sturridge, insisted that the tough period will be beneficial for the striker.

“I think this is a good moment for Dan. It is not easy for him. Most of his time in his life football has been so easy because he is so skilled,” he said.

“The right moment, easy goal, simple goal. The job to do for him, for all of us, before he ends his career is not to think about when he had a moment like this.”

However, the Birmingham-born forward bagged twice in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Spurs in the EFL Cup, perhaps handing his Reds career a lifeline.

 

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud: Mixed emotions after PSG draw

Despite scoring at least ten goals in each of his last four Premier League seasons, Olivier Giroud is finding minutes hard to come by this term.

The Frenchman has been limited to just 51 minutes of league action so far this season for the Gunners, with his misery compounded by a toe injury suffered late last month.

The former Montpellier man scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, including five in the Champions League, and Arsenal fans will be hoping he can return to form and give Alexis Sanchez competition for the centre-forward role.

However, boss Arsene Wenger certainly sees Giroud as a part of his first-team plans.

“I am an admirer of Giroud because he has gone through some tough times and he bounces back,” he said.

“When his back is to the wall, he has an answer every time. When I go into a big game, you always think: ‘I can rely on him.’ You know that when the competition starts, he will be with you.”

 

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas: Targeted by Italian giants

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas is another man who has failed to rack up 100 Premier League minutes for his club, and appears to be completely out-of-favour under new boss Antonio Conte.

The Spaniard’s last appearance in the league came on September 24 as the Blues suffered a heavy defeat at Arsenal, and talks of an exit for Fabregas continue to grow, with AC Milan the main suitors linked with a bid.

It is quite a fall from grace for the former Arsenal man, who played in 37 league games last season for Chelsea, amassing a combined 12 goals and assists.

Conte stated last month that reputation alone would not be enough to give Fabregas a place in his team.

He said: “I want to win and my choice is done to win. I don’t care what their name is. For me it’s important when I call someone to play and they show me my choice is not wrong.”

 

Saido Berahino

Saido Berahino: Still a Stoke target

Once the hottest property in the Premier League, Saido Berahino has had a forgettable last 12 months as his career at West Brom has stalled.

The Bujumbura-born striker has featured in just four Premier League matches for West Brom this term, even playing under-23 games in order to get his fitness back after accusations of weight problems.

After scoring 20 goals in all competitions for the Baggies, he was linked with a big-money move away from the Hawthorns, and in the summer it appeared Spurs were ready to snatch the 23-year-old.

However, speaking to the Express and Star, Tony Pulis defended his striker.

“People are talking about his weight but every aspect of what we are trying to do now is put Saido on the right track. Whether it takes six weeks or whatever. This is very important for him and important for us.

“He is worth fighting for. We are prepared to lay things down and hopefully clear a path for him where he comes through and at the end plays at the level he did when I was first here.”

Oli Fisher

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