Donkeys, Premier

Donkeys: Five Premier League players who ‘had a mare’ in gameweek 3 – The Football Faithful

September 30, 2020

Another weekend of thrilling Premier League action saw the likes of Leicester, Liverpool and Everton maintain their perfect records at the summit, the trio setting the early pace after all recording important victories in the latest round of fixtures.

VAR and the controversial handball laws once again reared their ugly heads in another drama-filled weekend, whilst there was more misery for the likes of Fulham and Sheffield United who remain without a point.

Whilst several of the division’s marquee names enjoyed weekends to remember, there were more than a few stars who certainly endured performances to forget.

Here are five Premier League players who ‘had a mare’ in gameweek 3:

Thiago Silva

Amongst Chelsea’s expensive summer recruitment came the capture of former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva on a free transfer, the signing of the experienced centre-back largely viewed as a coup for Frank Lampard following his side’s defensive struggles.

The Brazil international has been regarded as one of the world’s premier defenders over the past decade and captained PSG to the final of the Champions League last season, his wealth of experience and pedigree a welcome addition to the Blues’ ranks.

Silva made his league debut for Chelsea this weekend and his reputation saw Lampard hand the Brazilian the captaincy against West Brom, though it was an evening to forget as the Blues found themselves three goals down at the interval with their summer signing at fault for the home side’s second.

Thiago Silva’s Premier League debut by numbers:

2 x dribbled past
1 error leading to a goal
0 success tackles made
0/3 duels won

And the three goals conceded. 😬

— Squawka Football (@Squawka)September 26, 2020

Silva’s suspect touch was pounced upon by Callum Robinson who stole possession before racing through to score, doubling the Baggies’ advantage on what was a chastening first half for Lampard’s side.

Chelsea fought back in the second half to dramatically rescue a point at The Hawthorns, but Silva will be hoping to bounce back and quickly from an embarrassing mistake against the newly-promoted side.

Michael Hector

Fulham’s return to the Premier League could hardly have begun worse following a calamitous opening three fixtures for the Cottagers, conceding 10 goals and winning zero points to sit rooted to the foot of the division.

Their one-season spell in the top flight was wrecked by defensive errors two seasons ago and they seem no better equipped to cope with the demands of the Premier League this time around.

In truth, almost any of the club’s defenders could have made this feature following the disappointing defeat to Aston Villa, though Michael Hector is included following a performance that looked some way short of the standard required in the Premier League.

Embed from Getty Images

The centre-back has taken a long and unorthodox route to the top level but looked miles off the pace on this showing, slow and sloppy in possession and his dismal display capped with a substitution before the hour.

Vice-chairman, Tony Khan, came out immediately after the loss and apologised for the performance, before publicly admitting the club are doing all they can to bring in new centre-backs this summer, an indication of the faith held in their current out-of-depth options.

Paul Pogba

Is there a player in the Premier League who divides opinion quite like Paul Pogba?

The France international’s performances have come under fierce scrutiny given his indifferent periods of form since signing for Manchester United four years ago, with the midfielder having begun the new season poorly in an sloppy start to the campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Pogba was largely anonymous during the opening defeat to Crystal Palace before enduring another afternoon to forget at Brighton, failing to create a chance, produce a shot, make a tackle or interception during his time on the pitch, in addition to possessing the lowest pass accuracy of any Manchester United player.

Paul Pogba failed to create a chance, produce a shot, make a tackle or interception during his time on the pitch against Brighton and had the lowest pass accuracy of any Man Utd player (71%).

A day to forget.

— Squawka Football (@Squawka)September 26, 2020

Yes, Pogba is talented.

Yes, he provides moments of magic few other players can, but these moments are all too infrequent for a player who broke the world transfer record when moving to Old Trafford.

For too long people have talked about ‘unlocking Pogba’ to find his best performances, but four years of inconsistency can not be blamed entirely on managers, systems and the club’s current plight.

Bruno Fernandes has proven it is possible to step into a transitional team and make a huge impact, it is time Pogba took his undeniable talent and did the same.

Eric Garcia

Much of the talk surrounding Eric Garcia has centred around Barcelona’s interest in their former academy graduate, though the Spanish side must surely be questioning their pursuit of the young defender based on this weekend’s disasterclass against Leicester.

The Spaniard was part of a Manchester City defence which fell to pieces against the Foxes at the Etihad, conceding three penalties to suffer an embarrassing 5-2 defeat on home soil.

Embed from Getty Images

Garcia valiantly tried to organise a backline in chaos but was arguably at fault for three of the visitor’s goals, struggling to contain the presence of Jamie Vardy and clumsily bundling the forward over for Leicester’s second penalty.

The defender then lost the 33-year-old for his second goal of the game, before naively standing off James Maddison to allow the England international to curl home a superb fourth from distance.

It was poor performance on what could be his last appearance for City, though few will be sad to see him leave on this evidence at the Etihad.

Benjamin Mendy

The second of City’s ravaged backline to make this feature, Benjamin Mendy was targeted for good reason by the Leicester attack and endured a nightmare evening at left-back.

Mendy was sluggish and struggled badly defensively against the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes, their pace a real problem for a player who has failed to convince in English football amid a succession of injuries.

Embed from Getty Images

Poor at the back and even worse when attacking, Mendy’s decision-making was disastrous throughout and his evening was summed up by a stupid and lazy foul on James Maddison to concede a penalty, the midfielder making the most of the contact to earn Leicester’s third spot-kick of the game.

Pep Guardiola’s spending on defenders will exceed £400m with the impending capture of Ruben Dias from Benfica, a staggering total and one that has been largely squandered as City continue to falter at the back.

Read –Star Turns: Six Premier League players who shone bright in gameweek 3

Read –The best Premier League stats of the week: Penalties, Ole time and Vardy’s timelessness