Some players enjoyed a fine calendar year in 2013, but others struggled to get through the 12-month period. Here are five Premier League players who are hoping their fortunes change once 2014 arrives.
5. Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
The 21-year-old English international midfielder Jack Wilshere is finally back to being healthy, but he’s had mixed results in 2013 with Arsenal and England. He missed the 2011/12 season with an ankle injury, but the year before he was the PFA Young Player of the Year. Wilshere didn’t score a goal for the Gunners in 20 starts last season and this season he’s been photographed smoking and was suspended a pair of matches for giving Man City fans the finger. Things are a bit better for him with two league goals this season and four in 22 overall games. He’s yet to score for England in 14 contests though.
4. Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United
The Japanese international midfielder signed with Man United during the summer transfer window in 2012 after being a hit in the German Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund. However, the playmaker has struggled at times in England. His best moment under Sir Alex Ferguson was a hat trick in a match against Norwich, but he never became a regular starter under the former boss. Now with David Moyes in charge things may have even become worse. Up until Boxing Day he had started just five league games this campaign. 2014 could be his make or break year. The 24-year-old has made 39 appearances in all competitions with United and has six goals to his name in them.
3. Lewis Holtby – Tottenham
Lewis Holtby was supposedly a player several teams wanted last January, but he decided to sign with Tottenham. The 22-year-old was bought from German side Schalke 04 and he hasn’t made much of an impression as of yet. He was born in Germany and was eligible to represent his place of birth or England at the national level and chose Germany. He’s started just nine Premier League games and hasn’t lived up to his reputation. He’s played three times for Germany and has three goals in 36 total games with Spurs.
2. Joe Hart – Manchester City
There’s no doubt that Joe Hart is still a great keeper, but he had some bad moments in 2013. The 26-year-old is still England’s number one, but he lost his spot for several games at Man City due to poor play and the same thing happened at the national level with England. At City, manager Manuel Pellegrini replaced him for several matches with Costel Pantilimon and England boss Roy Hodgson then dropped him for Fraser Forster. Hart will need to get back to top form for both club and country in 2014, especially with the World Cup coming up.
1. Demba Ba – Chelsea
Striker Demba Ba has found out the hard way that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. He had everything going for him at Newcastle and has now traded it in for a spot on the bench or in the stands with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He had 13 goals in 19 appearances with Newcastle when Rafael Benitez talked him into joining Chelsea. He did well in the FA Cup with four goals in five matches, but had just two in 14 league appearances. He also lost his spot on the Senegal national team in 2013 as well. The 28-year-old, who was actually born in France, has nine goals in 36 games overall at Chelsea.