Top 5 superstars in world football who are underperforming this season

Footballers can be their own worst enemies at times. A player’s weight of expectation will inevitably increase if they consistently deliver high-level performances. However, when a player’s form and performance deteriorates, it undermines their team and worth, especially on the greatest stages.

Individually, a number of players have put forth outstanding performances. On the other hand, some players have failed to find their feet this season and are not putting in the same level of effort as in prior seasons.

Here are some of the season’s underperformers so far in 2021-2022.

●   Harry Kane 

Harry Kane stated that despite leading the Premier League in goals and assists last season with 23 and 14, he believes he can still improve on these figures. However, given his results this year, even half of those would be a significant achievement.

Kane has one goal and one assist so far. This is one of the worst beginnings he’s ever had to a season. Kane’s assist numbers are understandable given that he is still primarily a striker. But for any striker, let alone a prolific one like Kane, scoring just one is a letdown.

Moreover, Kane’s underlying metrics reflect his terrible start to the Premier League season thus far. Shots attempted are at a career-low of 2.45, shots on target are at 1.08, and predicted goals are at 0.27. A striker’s goal-scoring ability will naturally be reduced if they average career lows in all important measures. This is something Kane is currently dealing with.

Kane creates 1.86 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes in terms of playmaking. This is about half of last season’s total and his lowest total ever. His progressive passes have also decreased from 3.65 to 2.25 this season, demonstrating his passive demeanour on the field. 

●   Jadon Sancho 

Jadon Sancho has yet to make an impact at Manchester United, despite all of the hype surrounding his long-awaited arrival.

Sancho was regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young talents after four seasons at Borussia Dortmund when he scored 114 goals in 137 appearances.

Sancho was anticipated to solve Manchester United’s right-wing problem, but he has instead played on both wings and in a variety of formations as he tries to settle into English football.

He has only one league goal in 16 league appearances and has failed to provide a single assist in any competition during the 2021/22 season.

Sancho’s place in the England squad is under threat, with players like Emile Smith Rowe (10 G/A), Bukayo Saka (10 G/A), and Jarrod Bowen (10 G/A) pushing for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s plans. 

●   Ousmane Dembele 

Dortmund kept Barcelona hostage while looking for a replacement for Neymar.

They were compelled to pay over the odds for teenage French winger Dembele, who had shown plenty of potential first with Rennes and then with BVB, despite having recently recouped the world’s largest transfer fee. A €105 million contract was struck, including a bonus pool of up to €40 million.

Dembele’s time at Barcelona, though, has been tarnished by injury issues, which have prevented him from performing at his best. He will leave on a Bosman transfer at the end of the 2021-22 season; therefore, Barca will not recuperate any of their investment.

●   Lionel Messi 

The year 2021 is finished, and Lionel Messi’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain could be going any better.

In five Champions League games, the Argentine has scored five goals, but in 11 games in Ligue 1, he has only one goal. According to the statistics website Understat, the 34-year-old is the most underperforming player in France’s top flight.

Messi has a negative differential of 3.62 anticipated goals despite only scoring once because the number of his projected goals is 4.62.

●   Harry Maguire 

Harry Maguire has had a terrible first half of the season at Manchester United, returning after shining in England’s march to the Euro 2020 final to put in a spate of dismal performances.

Maguire’s form has been patchy this season, with poor and uneven individual performances in Leicester and Liverpool thrashings.

There are already doubts about whether he is the ideal man for the role after being named captain just months after joining the club, with his recent rallying cry about the team’s poor record sounding all too familiar.

Maguire has had a dismal run of form this season and appears to be a very little reflection of his previous self, with United having a better win rate (1.94 points per game) with him than without him (1.85). 

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