At this time of year, our eyes are firmly fixed on the players doing well and grabbing the headlines. But for every player in red hot form there’s one who’s struggling.
So, who is your club’s player with a point to prove?
Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Over the last few seasons, Aubameyang has been the man at Arsenal. In the 2018/19 season he won the Golden Boot with 22 goals and matched that record the following season. Even when the Gunners struggled their skipper remained on song. This season that’s changed. His goal’s have dried up only notching 5 so far this season. He even scored an owl goal to give Burnley a win at the Emirates. He desperately needs to rediscover his form to prove Arsenal made a good call in giving him a new deal.
Aston Villa: Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton left Burnley for Villa to find first-team football and he did. But things haven’t gone according to plan with injury derailing his season early doors. To make matters worse, new signing Martinez has been impressive as Villa continue to fight at the right end of the table. The English keeper desperately needs to prove he can do the same and more otherwise a move might be in order.
Brighton: Ben White
This may seem a touch controversial, but with big clubs constantly circling around the young centre-back he’ll feel like he still has much to prove. Over the course of the second half of the season and beyond, the ex-Leeds man will be looking to show he’s more than just an average Premier League defender and warrants a move to a top six club.
Burnley: Ashley Barnes
So far this season, Barnes has struggled for goals only poaching a pair of goals. Despite this, boss Dyche still seems to trust the 31 year old but that may not last. With young attackers like Max Thompson waiting in the wings, Barnes’ days are numbered unless he can soon prove his worth.
Chelsea: Kai Havertz
Chelsea paid a fee of £62 million – which could rise to £71 million – for highly sought-after German midfielder. Many expected him to hit the ground running in the Premier League but that simply hasn’t been the case. Havertz hasn’t been the exciting attacker who lit up the Bundesliga since moving to London and only has one Premier League goal. With a new manager at the helm, he’ll be hoping for a chance to turn things around and prove that he is worth every penny Chelsea paid for him.
Crystal Palace: Nathaniel Clyne
Whilst at Southampton, Clyne was seen as the most exciting young English right-back. His energetic performances earnt him a move to Liverpool where he continued to impress. But injuries and the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold saw his Liverpool career dry up. He subsequently returned to where his career started – Crystal Palace – and now looks to prove he is still a solid Premier League fullback.
Everton: Jordan Pickford
With the Euros on the horizon, questions are being asked over whether Pickford is the man for the job. For the last few years, Pickford has been the established England number one but the performances of Pope have but his status in doubt. Although much better with the ball at his feet, his shot-stopping still has question marks against it. He’ll need to answer his critics if he’s to remain as Southgate’s number one.
Fulham: Aleksandar Mitrovic
After firing Fulham to the top flight, it was expected that he’d be key to their survival hopes. But with just 2 goals this season he’s been phased out of Scott Parker’s side. In the second half of the season, he’ll desperately want to force his way back into the starting XI and prove he’s a Premier League level striker.
Leeds: Liam Cooper
Leeds United’s defensive frailties have seen many players questioned so far this season as well as the manager. One player some continue to insist is Championship quality is Liam Cooper. The Leeds United skipper will no doubt be determined to prove that isn’t the case and solidify himself as the captain who will stabilise the Whites as a Premier League side in the years to come.
Leicester City: James Maddison
Like many Premier League players, Maddison will want to use the second half of this season to cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s England plans. There’s a whole host of impressive attacking midfielders and wingers for Southgate to choose from and Maddison will want to ensure his place in the Euros squad. More than that, he’ll want to prove he should start.
Liverpool: Roberto Firmino
Firmino will likely always be remembered by Liverpool fans no matter what unfolds for the number 9 in the next few years. The Brazilian played his part in bringing a first Premier League crown and a 6th European Cup in recent years and is a vital part of Liverpool’s famed front three. But over the last season and a half, questions have been asked of the false nine. He’s not scoring or assisting as frequently and even his pressing has been lacking in recent weeks. With Jota’s impressive start to life at Anfield and a growing notion that the Reds will want to shake things up in the summer, his days could well be numbered.
Manchester City: Gabriel Jesus
Injuries have perhaps robbed Jesus of his chance to prove he’s the natural heir to Aguero, but in the next few seasons Jesus will no doubt have to show he can score the amount of goals his Argentinian counterpart has for a decade to keep his place at City. If he can’t, Pep may move to replace him.
Manchester United: Harry Maguire
An £80 million price tag no doubt weighs heavily on a footballer, and this season Maguire has left much to be desired. He’s not looked as sturdy as the centre back United signed from Leicester and some his less high-profile defensive partners have overshadowed him. The Red Devils season has been somewhat carried by their attack, but later in the campaign they may need Maguire to strengthen their defence if they’re going to keep their title challenge alive.
Newcastle: Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey hasn’t quite grabbed the headlines some expected him to in recent years and he feels a long way off Southgate’s England squad. The midfielder has faded into the background this season – as has most of the Magpies squad with Wilson centre stage and very few others hitting the heights – and has only mustered 1 assist in 13 appearances this season and no goals.
Sheffield United: Rhian Brewster
At the start of this season, Brewster left Liverpool on the back of a good pre-season to show he was ready for first team football. It’s safe to say it hasn’t gone to plan at the Blades. He very rarely finds himself in the starting line-up and has yet to score a Premier League goal.
Southampton: Danny Ings
With 7 goals this season, it might not feel like he has much to prove but with issues rising over his future contract and the likes of Spurs sniffing around the ex-Liverpool striker, it feels like he now has to prove his worth and that he can avoid injury. Even this season, the forward has been robbed of consistency by injury. He need to prove for the sake of his future he can continue to score goals and avoid injury. Then he might find himself playing at the Euros.
Tottenham: Gareth Bale
The former Real Madrid star has often said he’s as good as Ronaldo and Messi and some of what he achieved in Spain speaks to that. But since forcing a move back to Spurs he’s failed to catch the eye. Whilst both Messi and Ronaldo score goals for fun, Bale spends a lot of time on the bench and has only scored 1 Premier League goal.
West Brom: Robert Snodgrass
The Scottish winger has had a fairly distinguished if a little muted Premier League career. And as a January signing being brought into a relegation battle he’ll want to show he’s the man the Baggies can rely on to get them out of trouble. He might also want to show West Ham what they’re missing.
West Ham: Jesse Lingard
Another player moved on in January, Lingard also has much to prove having failed to make the grade in the last few seasons at Old Trafford. The midfield managed just one goal involvement last season and that was on the final day. Now, no longer a youngster, more is expected of the Englishman and he’ll be hoping a move to West Ham can rekindle his career.
Wolves: Adama Traore
After impressing last season, Traore elected to stay at Molineux despite interest elsewhere. However, his form has dried up this season. He’s failed to notch a single goal in the league and no longer feels like the beast he once was. Defenders are finding it much easier to get at him and he’s now struggling to find his way into the Wolves starting line-up.