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7 stars who went missing in action in 2018, including Chelsea and Liverpool flops

1) Alvaro Morata

Morata started like a silver dream racer at Stamford Bridge, scoring 10 league goals by Boxing Day 2017 but has since been spinning off the track and unable to get out of the pits. His missed chances against Arsenal were costly in the storming 2-2 draw just after New Year and 12 months on, the latest beneficiaries were Southampton last night.

Even when he got a run-out against Crystal Palace for fifteen minutes, supporters called him out for a dreadful touch and Sky Sports weren’t too impressed either. “‘We watched Alvaro Morata warming up at half-time. I say warming up… it was one of the most disinterested warm-ups I’ve ever seen,’ noted Andy Hinchcliffe.

2) Kevin Wimmer

Stoke’s £18m summer recruit from Tottenham made his debut for the Potters against Manchester United at the Bet365 in September 2017. As Stoke boasted the worst defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues at that stage in the season, it didn’t have the hallmarks of a great deal. After an inauspicious start under Mark Hughes, Paul Lambert put him on a strict training regime and promptly never played him. In a poll taken just before Christmas last year over 70 per cent of Stoke fans wanted the Austrian dropped as the Potters were relegated to the Championship. In the summer, he was moved on loan to Hannover.

3) Fraser Forster

The “Great Wall”, as he was dubbed by the Spanish press after repelling Lionel Messi in 2012, has crumbled faster than box office takings for Matt Damon’s film of the same name. Forster was dropped by then Soton boss Mauricio Pellegrino at the end of December 2017 after a number of mistakes and mutterings from Southampton fans. Despite signing a new five-year contract that summer, Forster has dropped down the pecking order with Alex McCarthy in pole position and the arrival of Angus Gunn. Gunn’s performance at Stamford Bridge last night might have been the final nail.

4) Simon Mignolet

Mignolet was officially demoted by Jurgen Klopp behind the hardly convincing Teutonic claims of Loris Karius in January 2018 with the caveat that the German had to deliver. We all know what happened four months later in the catastrophe of Kiev. Even then, Karius still featured in the build-up games for this season before being put out of his misery with a loan deal to Besiktas. Mignolet’s Liverpool career has continued to stall with the acquisition of Allison with only one appearance against Chelsea in the EFL Cup defeat. The Belgian has been a model professional but will surely reconsider his future as he continues to play the bridesmaid on the bench.

5) Alberto Moreno

The Liverpool left-back has been lapped by the blistering form of Andrew Robertson. An untimely ankle injury in December 2017 against Spartak Moscow opened the door for the Scot who has never looked back. In fact, ever since Robertson mega-pressed Manchester City in the blitzkrieg 4-3 win over the eventual champions in January, the former Sevilla player might as well have taken the year off. He will not have helped his cause by recently suggesting that “I did not like the way he (Jurgen Klopp) has treated me, you can say that”. We can also say, that Moreno was “tired of the cold.” Poor pet.

6) Emerson Palmieri

When Chelsea signed the 24-year-old left-back from Roma in January, the Brazilian said: “English football is something I have been watching since I was 15 years old. It is a really beautiful game over here.” Palmieri has spent the next 12 months continuing to watch English football, and Marcos Alonso in particular, with only seven appearances in total for the Blues.

7) Andy King

Despite having a cult-hero reputation among the King Power faithful, having won League One, Championship, and Premier League titles, the midfielder fell down the pecking order under Claude Puel. When it came to the 25-man squad for the Premier League, Danny Simpson was preferred over the club’s longest-serving player. Even so, King took it with as much class as he could, tweeting to new number 10 James Maddison: “It suits you mate, I hope it brings you as much pride, success and happiness as it did for me.”

His 14-year association with the club could end in January as the 30-year-old has just a year and a half left on his contract.

More Stories Alberto Moreno Alvaro Morata Andy King Emerson Palmieri Fraser Forster Kevin Wimmer simon mignolet