Fraud Watch Power Rankings
Finally, football is back — international matches don’t count 👍🏽 — and with no international breaks scheduled till March 2021, we’re in for a fun couple of months. Unfortunately, the devil that calls itself international football has dealt blows to several teams ahead of this weekend and in turn has affected this list. With Joe Gomez set to miss significant time, he had to be reluctantly taken off the list. Wishing Joe Gomez a speedy recovery so I can continue to scrutinize him.
Also, Dele Alli is out since he no longer plays football, I’m not sure what he does now but I just know it’s not football. But with untriumphant exits comes even more untriumphant entries. New names, new clubs represented and a surprise guest entry for what I really hope is for just this weekend only, who are we keeping our eyes out for this weekend?
15. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal
Last time: Unranked
Ever since Aubameyang ‘signed da ting’, he’s been absolutely shit. I’ve given him the benefit of doubt for some weeks now because he’s Aubameyang, he’s a proven goal scorer but with zero goals scored from open play since that dreadful contract announcement, I can’t be the only one that thinks he must have gotten some advice from Ozil on how to secure your future at Arsenal. They are on similar paths. Ozil is now a full-time influencer and proud member of FT — that’s football twitter, in case you weren’t aware — and Aubameyang is on the same path, he’s already engaged in some not so playful banter with Toni Kroos. So, whilst the goals might be drying up, at least his followers count is rising and he’s getting his cool cash so it’s not all so bad for Black Panther, eh?
14. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
Last time: № 15
Manchester City didn’t win the game against Liverpool for one reason and one reason alone, Raheem Sterling. It’s easy to put that down as just a bad game but these “bad games” are becoming to frequent for someone of Sterling’s caliber. Now that Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are fully fit, Sterling no longer has to shoulder the responsibility of being City’s main man so maybe that’ll help him recover his best form but don’t bank on it.
13. Marcus Rashford MBE, Manchester United
Last time: № 11
Marcus, Marcus, Marcus. Three times. He could have scored three times but he missed the target two times quite shockingly and had a big chance missed in what was just an all round average performance last time out against the Toffees. Rashford has started all seven of Manchester United’s league games this season and he’s scored just two goals whilst having an array of opportunities to score more but his finishing has let him down more often than he’d like. Luckily for him, the alternative in his position is Daniel James, so he can be assured that he’s not dropping to the bench anytime soon. But it’s that security that’s making him comfortable & in turn leading to mid performances. If he doesn’t perform this weekend, I for one would like to see Daniel James given a chance, I mean he did just score a screamer for Wales.
12. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham
Last time: № 12
Every season, there’s a Championship striker that takes over the league and puts everyone on notice. We all thought it would be Mitrovic but no. I was surprised when he let Lookman take that last minute penalty against West Ham but I just know he instantly regretted it. His only goals this season have come against fellow newly promoted side, Leeds United and he hasn’t exactly shown encouraging signs that he wants to score, usually finding himself outside the central areas of the box. Fulham are outside the relegation zone, but just barely and with Fulham set to face Everton next, a team on an apparent downfall, this game might be the perfect game for Mitrovic to get back to scoring ways.
11. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United
Last time: Unranked
Introducing our special guest entree this week, Ole Gunnar. Solskjaer is very well deserving of this place. I don’t know how this man does it but somehow whenever his job is rumored to be on the line, he ALWAYS finds a way to get his team to turn up and play like Manchester United of 2008. Ole’s juju is real, very real and if this pattern continues, he might be Manchester United manger forever and I’m not sure many football fans would mind even some United fans. But with what was a fantastic victory last time out away to Everton, a game against bottom of the table, West Bromwich Albion follows and with Manchester United yet to win a game at home this season, this could be a game where Solskjaer easily gets it all wrong and allows Slaven Bilic’s side pick up their first win of the season. Watch this space.
10. Willian, Arsenal
Last time: № 11
Easily Arsenal’s best player in the defeat to Aston Villa and he was still terrible. I would like a word with Arsenal’s head of recruitment as to why this transfer was sanctioned because if it’s the same Premier League we’re all watching, why would they want to sign Willian? On my life, I can’t understand the thought process behind such. Even though he was a free signing, it still feels as if Arsenal made a loss. He’s yet to score for the Gunners in seven appearances with his five shots taken and since he’s not on free kicks or penalty duties, he may never score.
9. Lucas Moura, Tottenham
Last time: № 9
Tottenham are looking like real title contenders this season and their credibility will be put to the test in their next few games and they’ll need all their attacking riches plus Moura to be on form if their to come out of the run of games relatively unscathed. Tottenham have an abundance of quality attacking players, third only behind Manchester City and Chelsea but yet Mourinho still sees the need to play Lucas Moura. Moura didn’t start the game against West Brom last time out, in fact he even only came on after the 80th minute and he didn’t play at all in the game before that, which is exactly why I can say that he’ll start this weekend against Manchester City, because Mourinho is yet to go three games without starting Moura. There’s no rhyme or reason for why that is — maybe it’s because his name starts with Mou as well, who knows ? — but it is what it is and Mourinho would only have himself to blame when Moura misses a sitter in the 87th minute & City go on to win the game a few minutes later.
8. Kieran Tierney, Arsenal
Last time: № 13
Constantly press Tierney, he fumbles like, literally. Since his arrival in the league, he’s yet a have a game where you can say he pocketed a player. He’s just been average whenever Arsenal are the team constantly on the front foot and absolutely shite whenever Arsenal are under continuous pressure. The game against Villa just amplified his flaws and with a Bielsa’s army of tireless men up next, Arteta might need to devise a special tactic jus to help Tierney because Tierney quite clearly, cannot help himself.
7. Jordan Pickford, Everton
Last time: Unranked
I consider Carlo Ancelotti to be one of the greatest managers this sport has ever seen. Any conversation of greatest of all time that doesn’t include him, just discard it. Success has followed him everywhere he’s been, he’s literally a serial winner. Early on in the season when Everton were flying and there were shouts of a possible title push or at least a top 4 finish, I thought those shouts were a bit premature but I did pen them in for a possible Europa League spot and a deep cup run in both FA & EFL Cups but as long as this six foot nothing lad that calls himself England’s number 1 is also the number 1 for Ancelotti, I’m truly sorry for Everton fans. Pickford is literally the worst keeper in the league and he’s been terrible for a while, only reason people didn’t notice is because Kepa. He’s somehow managed to escape being red carded in his last two league games but should anyone really be surprised because when you really think about it, when was the last time an English regular get a red card in the Premier League?
6. Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal
Last time: № 7
Ever present on fraud watch this season, even when he scored a goal in each of his first three games, Lacazette is in the form of his life and I mean that in the best way possible because we’ve seen him play far worse than he’s currently playing. He’s averaging one big chance missed per game yet he’s still Arsenal’s top scorer in the league. I cannot comprehend why Arteta keeps starting him up front and playing Aubameyang off the left side. At least when strikers don’t score, you’d have some belief that if they’re given a clear shot at goal, they’ll put the ball in the back of the net but that is not the case for Lacazette. When he’s through on goal, people would prefer he passes to ball backwards than take a shot because the probability he’ll miss the shot tends closer to 1. With Leeds United up next, a side notoriously known for allowing their opponents many chances, this is the kind of game where you know Lacazette would have chances but not score simply because he is Lacazette.
5. Anthony Martial, Manchester United
Last time: № 8
Anthony Martial is struggling, seriously struggling. Nothing is going his way at the moment and nobody seems to have an answer to his problems. If we thought he was wasteful for Manchester United, just go back and watch his performances for his country and unless he goes on some crazy run of form between now and March, I’d be shocked if he got called up for the next national squad. He was awful against Everton but ‘Martial FC’ said he had a good game because he was “linking up play.” I mean, that’s the same thing Firmino is slandered for and Firmino has at least scored in the league this season meanwhile Martial doesn’t have a single shot on target yet. Now that Cavani has gotten his first goal for the club, Martial’s position is seriously under threat now and he’ll need a big performance against West Brom to convince anyone that he deserves to keep his place.
4. Joelinton, Newcastle United
Last time: № 5
Joeboy over here has fortunately or unfortunately (depends on how you view it) only gotten 11 minutes of play time in his last two games. Yet, I still can’t shake the feeling that he’s going to get to play the entirety of the game against Chelsea this weekend. And with this Chelsea side looking as strong defensively as they did back in 2005, Joelinton could be in for a long afternoon runabout. At least I can tell you what he won’t do and that is score because that action doesn’t exist to him. I wonder what he does in training…
3. Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal
Last time: № 2
The fact that Arsenal’s entire front three + this guy can be considered a fraud to varying degrees is just proof that something is not going right for them. But you see this guy? Nothing’s gone right for him since the first day he arrived at the club. I’m fully convinced that he wasn’t scouted properly before he was bought because nobody is this bad. Seventy-Two million pounds and yet he doesn’t know how to put in a decent cross. He came out to the press last week that he’s unhappy with his lack of playing time but I seriously wonder if he goes back to watch his performances because even he wouldn’t pick himself if he’s being fair. He came off the bench for Willian again — who was easily Arsenal’s best performer in that embarrassing defeat — and of course did nothing to influence the game. If he was being brought on five minutes to the end of matches, his request for more playing time would be understandable but this Gervinho regen gets at least 30 minutes on the pitch and somehow manages to look like the worst player. Expect another cameo from him this weekend against Leeds and expect more unsuccessful dribbles and corners that don’t go past the first man.
2. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
Last time: №3
If Sterling was the reason Manchester City didn’t win the game against Liverpool, Firmino was the reason Liverpool didn’t win. I was a bit shocked when I saw that Klopp had chosen to start Firmino and Jota alongside Salah and Mane but he’s the manager so there must have been a plan but whatever it was, it clearly didn’t work. Firmino’s touches in the box were sloppy, his passes whenever Liverpool were on the counter were just abysmal. With Salah out for the weekend, Firmino is definitely going to start against Leicester City this weekend so, at least we’ll watch him and laugh at how bad he is.
Update: It’s been reported that Firmino would miss Liverpool’s game this weekend due to Covid-19 — screw you, international football — So whilst he remains number two on the list, he is infact not on fraud watch for this weekend.
1.. Paul Pogba, Manchester United
Last time: № 1
“A breath of fresh air.” That’s what Pogba said about his time away with the national squad. Now I’m not sure what he meant because that could have been interpreted in many ways, I guess only Pogba would really know what he really meant. Anyways, Pogba has had a really torrid season so far. People keep lowering the expectations for him and he still manages to perform below them, With rumors circulating that Manchester United are set to offer him a new contract, I can’t help but think it’s money motivated because Pogba has done nothing on the pitch over the past season and a half to be deserving of a new contract. Whether he’ll sign the contract or not if offered is still unknown but with his constant flirtation with Real Madrid and Juventus to the media, his agent’s constant outbursts, if he signs, then United must have made him the highest paid player in the league. It’s a bit hard to say whether or not he’ll start this weekend but he’ll play for sure. Let’s just hope he actually comes to play football instead of just occupying space.