Football is for sure an unpredictable game, and this is what makes it so beautiful. The English Premier League has been accused of being too predictable but there are times it throws up a shocker like with Leicester’s 2015-16 EPL title. Although it is confirmed Liverpool have won the league, premier league special bets are still available here as the battle for relegation and Champions League continues.
Now, every player dreams of listing the premier league trophy, especially when playing for some of the best teams. It goes without saying that some of the greatest players deserve the title. However, legends such as Steven Gerrard, Bobby Moore, Paul Gascoigne, Sir Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker never savoured the feeling.
Instead, some unlikely players have ended up with the winner’s medal on their necks. Some were plain lucky with no talent to talk of or contribution to their teams.
Here’s a recount of some of the most unpredictable players that ever won the premier league.
Costel Pantilimon Manchester City
It’s likely even the ardent Manchester City fans can’t remember Costel Pantilimon, the towering goalkeeper who was at the club during the 2013-14 season. He was a peripheral player with seven appearances in three seasons but was still lucky to win the premier league.
Pantilimon was to later move to Sunderland, Watford and finally Championship side Nottingham Forest where he’s not even the top choice goalkeeper.
Tom Cleverley at Manchester United
Tom Cleverley stayed at Manchester United for seven years, but while Sir Alex Ferguson rated the player highly, he never cemented his position. This would culminate in several loan spells. He won the title with the red devils in 2013, but his poor quality saw him move to Watford.
Christopher Wreh at Arsenal
When Arsene Wenger started boosting his team during the second charge at Arsenal, he had to choose between Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright and Nicolas Anelka. The arrival of Christopher Wreh a Liberian striker was bound to fail, and it did with the title-winning striker eventually sinking to non-League sides such as Buckingham Town and Bishop’s Stortford.
Ritchie De Laet at Leicester
Leicester made it into the football history books with their win in the 2015-16 season. However, while the team worked hard for it, there were some joyriders and Ritchie De Laet who had been at Leicester since 2012 was one. He won the title while on loan at Middlesbrough, and as his poor form continued, he went to Australia and then back to his native Belgium with Royal Antwerp.
Roy Carroll at Manchester United
He may have won the title with Manchester United in the 2002-03 season, but Roy Carrol is best remembered for his fowler against Tottenham. His blunder saw the ball drop across the line but the linesman never saw it.
Alexander Buttner at Manchester United
Manchester United is renowned for some of the greatest football legends. However, some nondescript players have passed through at Old Trafford, and Alexander Buttner fits here.
He struggled to dislodge Patrice Evra at left-back and was lucky to receive a winner’s medal in 2013 due to change in Premier League regulations. He had only made five premier league appearances then and later left for Dynamo Moscow with the arrival of David Moyes.
David May at Manchester United
Another Manchester United player who was lucky to get the winner’s medal was David May during the 1995/1996 and 1996/1997 seasons. The utility defender stayed at Old Trafford for nine seasons but was only able to pick two winner’s medals due to few appearances.
Luke Chadwick at Manchester United
Like many legends at Old Trafford, Luke Chadwick rose from the club’s famous youth ranks, and there was a lot of hope in the midfielder. However, after featuring 15 times during the title-winning 2000-01 season, expectations dropped, and he ended up in the lower leagues.
Ronnie Wallwork at Manchester United
During the 2000-01 title-winning season, Ronnie Wallwork made 12 league appearances to qualify for the winner’s medal. He only enjoyed four starts, and that tells how Alex Ferguson thought of the player’s quality.
Misfortune seems to have followed Wallwork with a ban for life from football and criminal charges leading to a prison sentence.
Richard Wright at Arsenal
During the title-winning 2001-02 season, Richard Wright made 12 appearances and got a winner’s medal. It was his only season at Arsenal and later moved to Manchester City where he stayed for an entire season without playing a game.
Igors Stepanovs at Arsenal
Whatever the motivation behind signing the Latvian International, it turned out to be a disaster. Stepanovs never made a mark, but his six appearances during the title run in 2001-02 made him a premier league winner.
These are just a few of the worst players to have won the EPL. There are other notable names such as Robbie Slater with Blackburn (1994-95), Jeremie Aliadiere with Arsenal (2003-04), Pascal Cygan at Arsenal (2003-04), Alexei Smertin at Chelsea (2004-05), Anders Lindegaard with Manchester United, (2012-13), Darron Gibson at Manchester United (2010-11) and Kieran Richardson at Manchester United (2006-07).