As far as flops go, they don’t get any better than Dimitar Berbatov. The Manchester United forward had a hat-trick of glaring misses (as usual) in United’s must-win game against Sunderland, the type I think my mum could’ve probably put away with a backheel. Oh, and happy be-earlied Mother’s Day, mum.

However, Berbatov hasn’t been the Premier League’s only flop this season. In fact, there have been enough for me to compile a “Flops of the Season” best XI to rival the PFA’s Team of the Season.

Here are some Premier League players who came with either huge price tags, promise, reputations or egos, and were promptly sent crashing back down to the turf like a sack of potatoes who dared look Roy Keane in the eye:

Arsenal fans would not be happy if Almunia stays as their first choice keeper.

Arsenal fans would not be happy if Almunia stays as their first choice keeper.

Manuel Almunia
Arsene Wenger is a brilliant manager, but he just can’t seem to acquire a half-useful goalkeeper. After a decent 08/09 season, the past season has seen Almunia lose his place on several occassions – to the equally comical Lukasz Fabianski.

Micah Richards
Just why Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him is beyond me. He’s all brawn and no brains, and the worst thing is, it shows. Ryan Giggs, 15 years his senior, created three goals in the Manchester derby while under his watch.
It’s no surprise he’s lost his place to Pablo Zabaleta and made only 18 appearances all season.

Jonny Evans
Touted as the best young centre-back in Britain last season, Evans has had a torrid time this season when playing without Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand. He’s about as slow as a Carlo Ancelotti interview.

Voted twice as Everton's player of the year, Lescott has flattered to deceive with Man City.

Voted twice as Everton's player of the year, Lescott has flattered to deceive with Man City.

Joleon Lescott
You can’t really call Lescott a mercenary for dumping Everton to join Manchester City. Being a merc usually entails performing some professional service for money, and Lescott, the third most expensive defender in the world, has failed to deliver his part of the deal. He’s now a shadow of the Everton Player of the Year of the last two seasons.

Wayne Bridge
It’s never nice to kick a man when he’s down, but when French-underwear-model-gate happened, everybody was saying Fabio Capello wouldn’t have a problem in the England dressing room because Bridge wasn’t good enough for the squad anyway. Mark Hughes is probably the only one who’d disagree, having paid a reported £12mil for him at the beginning of the season.

Robinho's been back to his old tricks since leaving the EPL in shame.

Robinho's been back to his old tricks since leaving the EPL in shame.

The English Premier League’s most expensive footballer, a £32.5mil acquisition on £160,000-a-week wages, was brought on as a second half substitute against Everton in January, only to be taken off after looking like he’d rather be watching a Private Practice marathon. He scurried off to Santos on loan soon after to make sure he doesn’t miss Brazil’s World Cup squad.

Michael Carrick

Last season, I remember a British football writer asking, “Is there a better midfielder in England at the moment?” Hmmm … Let’s see, how about Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Pepe Reina, referee Howard Webb, the Chelsea kit man, the Liverpool tea lady …

Alberto Aquilani
Though local pundit Shebby Singh disagrees with me on this one, I think the Italian playmaker is a special talent. But £20mil  on a barely fit player is money horribly spent.
To get only a handful of good performances in the final weeks of the season when all is already lost, on that kind of money, is a terrible investment. But unlike most other players in this list, Aquilani’s poor season is more a consequence of bad management (take a bow, Rafa Benitez) than personal shortcomings.

Albert Riera
When Riera first arrived, Benitez talked as if he would solve Liverpool’s issues on the left wing once and for all. But in less than two years, Rafa’s had to take a £2mil loss to get rid of him, mid-season. Riera thinks that leaving Liverpool to play regular football in god forsaken Spartak Moscow will get him a place in the Spanish World Cup squad. We’ll see about that.

Johan Elmander
Bolton Wanderer’s record signing (valued at 10 million pounds) has started a mere 15 games this season, scoring THREE goals. Add to that the five goals he scored in 30 games last season, and Bolton would’ve paid over a million pounds per goal. And I don’t know how much colder Sweden is compared to England, but why does he always look so greasy and sweaty?

Fergie: "Why the hell did I sign this guy..."

Fergie: "Why the hell did I sign this guy..."

Dimitar Berbatov
They were calling him “The Magician”, presumably because if you put him in a cheesy suit and cape, he’d pass off as some pathetic children’s birthday performer. But he’s been more like “The Joker”, or maybe just “The Joke”. The only truly amazing trick this magician has up his sleeve is the ability to scoop the ball wide of the goal from five yards out.

Perhaps the more apt nickname would be Count Berba, seeing as how he sucks the life out of every Manchester United attack he participates in. Anyhow, you’d expect more from Ferguson’s most expensive signing ever.

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