For many, the start of a new year is supposed to be a positive turning point in their lives.
Resolutions are made, promises are given and changes are often made for the better. For some, though, a new year can spell a drastic fall in fortunes and this is nowhere more apparent than in football.
At Squawka, we’ve compiled a list of 17 players from Europe’s top five leagues who were gladly enjoying 2018, only for it to slip away and their form fall into oblivion during 2019.
After a stellar World Cup, big things were expected of Jordan Pickford this season and for the most part, he delivered at the start of the season. However, that, late blunder at Anfield in December’s Merseyside derby seems to have destroyed his confidence, and Pickford has leaked 16 goals since the turn of the year.
His shambolic performance against Newcastle recently, in which he let the Magpies faithful get to him with his Sunderland connection, was nothing short of embarrassing and he was lucky to even stay on the pitch at all.
Key stat: Pickford has kept just four clean sheets in 12 games during 2019 so far.
You may think this one is a little harsh, given that Mohamed Salah is still playing to a decent level. Decent, though, is not something we’re used to from the Egyptian King and his form is a far cry from the god-level performances he routinely put in during 2018.
January was relatively kind to Salah, but since February, he has scored just one goal: the third in a 3-0 rout of Bournemouth at Anfield. A succession of big chances missed and a sluggishness in front of goal has ravaged his form recently, although Salah contributed well to Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Burnley on Sunday and may have turned a corner.
Key stat: Salah hasn’t provided a single assist in 2019 and has scored in just three of his 12 games.
His penalty and general link up during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Man Utd aside, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a pretty miserable 2019.
The Gabonese forward has just five goals and one assist in 13 games since ringing in the new year, while only two of those goals have come in the last eight games. Furthermore, Aubameyang has averaged just 38.91 touches per 90 minutes in the Premier League this year, fewer than any Arsenal player, including Bernd Leno.
Key stat: Aubameyang has missed more big chances (8) than any other Premier League player in 2019.
Felipe Anderson was directly involved in 11 West Ham goals before the turn of the year and was quite frankly brilliant during the first half of the season.
However, 2019 has seen that form nosedive. Anderson’s only goal came during the Hammers’ 4-2 FA Cup defeat to AFC Wimbledon, while his only assist was during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in February – arguably his one truly brilliant performance this calendar year.
Key stat: Anderson has been directly involved in just one Premier League goal during 2019.
Ah, Newcastle’s usually oh-so-reliable shot-stopper, Martin Dubravka. Before new year, the Slovakia international kept no fewer than six clean sheets, helping the Magpies stay afloat as his teammates floundered around him.
However, and quite ironically, as Newcastle’s form has picked up and seen them surge to 13th in the Premier League table, Dubravka’s form has plummeted, with his world-class saves now being interspersed with uncharacteristic errors and just three clean sheets.
Key stat: Dubravka has made three errors leading to goals in the Premier League during 2019, more than any other player.
Initially, Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona was seen as a raging success. The Brazilian playmaker bagged 10 goals in 22 games during the second half of last season and even managed another five goals and four assists during the first half of this.
However, 2019 has not been kind to the former Liverpool man, with just three goals and one assist in 17 appearances across all competitions. Rumour has it, the Blaugrana are looking to cash in while they still can.
Key stat: Coutinho has managed just six key passes in La Liga during 2019, with one assist to his name.
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Remember the days when Toni Kroos could boss a midfield with his supreme passing and expert positioning? Well, as Real Madrid have embarrassed themselves in 2019, Kroos’ form has also taken a plunge alongside.
The Germany international has provided just three La Liga assists since the turn of the year, one of which came in Real’s recent 4-1 win over Valladolid, arguably his one brilliant performance this year. His darkest hour came during Los Blancos’ 4-1 home humiliation to Ajax last week, where he completed just 82% of his passes.
Key stat: Kroos is yet to register an assist from open play in La Liga during 2019.
With Real Madrid becoming the laughing stock of European football recently, Sergio has seemed more interested in snapping opponents and picking up petulant bookings than helping his team.
Sure, there has still been the odd goal here and there, but Ramos’ rashness of late has cost his side dearly – no more apparent than how his absence was felt during Real’s 4-1 defeat to Ajax.
Key stat: Ramos has picked up nine cards in just 15 games during 2019 (eight yellows and one red).
Marcelo’s wife has been pretty vocal about Real Madrid’s misuse of her husband recently, while the player himself has looked a shadow of what he once was.
His form in 2019 has seen Marcelo battle it out with Sergio Reguilon for the left-back spot and considering he is supposed to be one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, the Brazilian’s two key passes in La Liga during 2019 is simply terrible.
Key stat: Marcelo hasn’t provided a single La Liga assist in 2019, having notched a combined 16 during his previous two seasons.
Memphis Depay has actually scored in back-to-back games for Lyon, suggesting his form may be back on the rise. Prior to that, though, the Dutchman had been terrible in 2019.
After being directly involved in 17 goals during the first half of the campaign, Depay had provided just one assist during 2019 before his recent back-to-back strikes, prompting Lyon president, Jean-Michel Aulas, to urge him to “talk less and give much more.”
Key stat: Five of Depay’s six Ligue 1 goals this season came during 2018.
Payet was in scintillating form before the turn of the year, with his dazzling performances yielding six goals and six assists.
The mercurial marvel has seemingly left that form behind as he is yet to directly contribute to a goal across all competition in 2019.
Key stat: Payet has failed to provide a single goal or an assist since the start of the year.
Find a goals-per-game or goals-per-minute record that Paco Alcacer didn’t break at the start of the season and you really do deserve a job at Opta.
However, Dortmund’s form has dipped sharply of late and with it, so has the Spaniard’s touch in the box. Alcacer now has just two goals in his last 11 appearances in all competitions, with Dortmund failing to win six of them.
Key stat: Alcacer has just two goals in his last 11 Dortmund appearances, having scored 13 in his previous 16 in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
With 45 goals in 84 Bundesliga appearances for Leipzig, Timo Werner has fast become one of the most sought-after forwards in European football recently.
However, illness has had a clear effect on the Germany international’s form and he is yet to score a single goal during his five Bundesliga appearances in 2019.
Key stat: Werner has failed to score with any of his 12 Bundesliga shots in 2019.
Thorgan Hazard was an absolute machine for Borussia Monchengladbach earlier this season, notching a combined 18 goals and assists before new year.
2019 has been cruel to the Belgian, though, with just two assists and no goals as Gladbach have slipped to fourth in the Bundesliga.
Key stat: Hazard has registered just two assists in the Bundesliga during 2019 and is yet to score.
Is he injured? Is he engineering a move away from Inter? Nobody seems to know what’s going on with Mauro Icardi at the moment.
With just two goals in six appearances in 2019, though, it is abundantly clear that this is a striker well out of form.
Key stat: Icardi scored 13 goals during the first half of the season but has just two so far in 2019.
Marek Hamsik is gone and my word, what an effect it’s had on Napoli’s fortunes. Since the Slovakian shipped himself to China, the Partenopei have won just one of their four Serie A games.
One of the players Carlo Ancelotti would have hoped to fill Hamsik’s void is Dries Mertens, but the Belgian has managed just three assists in 2019, without scoring a single goal.
Key stat: Mertens has been directly involved in three goals during his last 10 Napoli appearances, having notched a combined 17 goals and assists during his first 24.
Given that he was brought in to replace a world-record goalkeeper, the pressure was always going to be on Robin Olsen at Roma.
Initially, a number of clean sheets and smart saves indicated he had adjusted well to life in Serie A, but with a ridiculous 22 goals conceded during nine 2019 appearances, Olsen really has lost the plot, contributing to manager, Eusebio Di Francesco, losing his job.
Key stat: Roma have conceded 36 Serie A goals so far this season, 13 more than any other side in the top six.