Five underperforming Premier League stars who need to do more
Jesse Lingard is fit and available but don't expect Manchester United fans to rejoice until he turns in his first half-decent display this term.
Lingard has struggled to find any form for the Red Devils and was dropped by Gareth Southgate for his latest England squad in favour of younger options James Maddison and Mason Mount.
The 26-year-old began the campaign as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first choice in the number ten role at Old Trafford but was axed by the Norwegian after United’s 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace on August 24.
The Warrington-born midfielder’s production in the final third has never been elite but to have been responsible for only two assists in the last two-and-a-quarter seasons must point to some underlining issue with his game.
Last month, he was cited as one of five Premier League players who needed to do more and six weeks – and five lacklustre appearances later – that remains the case.
Another midfielder who has not been cutting the mustard in the Premier League this term is Morgan Schneiderlin and some Everton fans have questioned the wisdom of shelling out £20million to bring him in for Manchester United.
The Frenchman lost his way under Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and things haven’t got much better for him under Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva at Goodison Park.
Getting sent off against Crystal Palace in August was not a good start to the campaign for Schneiderlin, who has been given further chances because of injuries to Jean-Phillipe Gbamin and Fabian Delph.
However, he continues to look lost in the middle of the park and offers nothing whatsoever going forward any more – which was actually one of his strong suits when he emerged as a top Premier League player at Southampton.
Another United reject who has had a campaign to forget so far is Ben Foster. The former England goalkeeper was brilliant in his first season back at Vicarage Road as Watford consistently fought in the top half of the table and reached the FA Cup final.
What a difference a year makes. Foster has been a liability for Watford at times and his mistake for the goal from which Dele Alli controversially scored at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium cost his side a much-needed first win of the campaign.
He has made 23 saves in total but it is the 21 goals he has conceded which will worry Watford fans as they wonder how the season pans out for Quique Sanchez Flores’ side.
Goalkeeper isn’t the only issue for the Spanish head coach, though, as Watford’s whole backline has underperformed and none more so than right-back Kiko Femenia.
The 28-year-old is offering very little going forward and his once effervescent displays appear to be far behind him as he now gets caught out of position on a regular basis.
Finally, Newcastle were sure to be flagged up somewhere along the line and special mention goes out to Miguel Almiron, who looked a real find when he burst on to the Premier League scene in the second half of last season.
That was when the Paraguayan was playing for Rafael Benitez, who not only spoke the same language but also knew how to get the best out of him, whereas now he looks like a fish out of water under Steve Bruce.