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Saving The Saviour – The Star Men

He is “The Main Man.”

The one that everyone looks to, in times of need. The one everyone trusts to be the difference between winning and losing.

Every top team has (at least) one, every lower level team relies desperately on one to beat the drop.


He is the Neo in the Matrix of the football world. Modern day managers have the unenviable [Morpheus] task of finding/buying/developing “the One.”

The Pros

–  These type of players are often called upon to provide the spark, and they do so with stunning regularity.

–  The team as a unit and brand as a whole improves by the mere presence of such a personality.

–  These players are often in demand, which means that clubs are able to benefit having them in the starting lineup and if need be, sold at heavily inflated prices.

–  Clubs are able to attract better players who would want to play alongside players of their calibre.

The Cons 

  • After a while (maybe a season or three), teams figure out ways to isolate the star man and the game plan, like an old bubblegum losing its flavour.
  • Egos and confidence of other players are adversely affected as they start to feel like cameo role players in a team sport.
  • If the Star Man does not have the temperament, the pressure and need to constantly deliver, it can take its toll both on and one of the field.
  • Constantly being linked with moves to other clubs or being the centre of the transfer gossip can leave the star man unsettled.

A few examples of these type of players in the PL:

Eden Hazard for Chelsea

When on song, simply unstoppable. Player of the Year the season before and one of the most consistent players in the English Premier League, last year saw the Belgian endure a drastic drop in form that coincided with the capitulation of Chelsea as both title and top four contenders. When he regained some of his form in the latter part of the campaign, so did his team.

Wayne Rooney for Manchester United

“Wazza” was at the centre of all things good for united for years, consistently performing well. Then a catastrophic fall from grace almost as fast as his speedy ascendancy to greatness now sees United Fans, the same one’s who sang his name in the glory days, now ask him to hang up his boots. Many are writing him off. Has he still got the drive and determination to turn it all around? Great players always do. The arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba may dampen his spirits even more more. Zlatan for his confidence and goal scoring prowess, Pogba because of his hairstyles and Dab Game.

Mesut Ozil for Arsenal

The guy creates so many chances for team mates, he even assisted in the writing of this article.

He went through a tough period, and, well, Arsenal were a lesser team while he was finding himself. Once he did find himself again, he found others.  [I’m here all week]

Philippe Coutinho for Liverpool

The little magician has party tricks for days, and his imagination and wizardry on the ball have unlocked many a defence and left goalkeepers standing.  Under Klopp he has struggled a bit with injuries at times but when fit and ready, a true footballing genius and a joy to watch.

Under Klopp this season, the pressure is not solely on him to provide chances & score thumping curlers in the 90th minute Steven Gerrard style, players have been contributing across the park, allowing him to play more freely and without pressure.

Riyad Mahrez for Leicester City

Most plaudits look to Jamie Vardy’s goal scoring antics in Leicester City’s title win as the defining factor. Mahrez, adding up up goals and assists, contributed more regularly. His eye for the pass, dribbling skills and superb finishing skills are Claudio Ranieri’s most dangerous asset. He hasn’t yet found full rhythm this season and that has shown in terms of Leicester’s performances and league standing thus far.

Kevin De Bruyne for Manchester City

Of course Aguero is the star but he needs someone to create chances for him and help out when defenders are tripling up on him. Kevin De Bruyne has stepped up even more so under Pep Guardiola and looks set to flourish in coming years. He is experienced despite his young years. Prince Harry’s stunt double will be instrumental in Man City’s push for title glory this season.

Ultimately, For the modern day football fan, their most important contribution to our lives are the amount of Fantasy league points they manage to garner for us, week in week out. That, my friends, is all that matters in the end.

(Of course I’m kidding…but still)

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