For no reason, here’s a list of some terrible replacements that aren’t inspired by current events.

Ali Dia for Matt Le Tissier
Southampton v Leeds, November 23, 1996

Oh, the classic. The man, the myth, the legend. Synonym of rank incompetence – the man himself for his (lack of ability) and the gullible and lazy madness of a club that falls for such stupidity. No wonder Graeme Souness is so angry all the time. Also very funny that the man Ali Dia replaced was Southampton’s greatest player turned Covid-denier Matt Le Tissier, who would later describe Dia’s performance as ‘like Bambi on ice’ and ‘hopeless whore’ . Somehow he lasted from the 32nd to the 85th minute before being substituted himself when it was very evident long before Souness and Southampton were ripped off and the recommendation came no George Weah. Souness’ response after Leeds’ 2-0 win was simple: “I don’t have any strikers. Am I enjoying this? Do you like a kick in the bullshit? »

Kepa for Edouard Mendy
Chelsea v Liverpool, February 27, 2022

I mean, there’s a recency bias here, but there’s also a narrative bias and a hilarity bias and a backstory bias and the sheer perfection of it. Even without anything else, making the difficult decision to bring in a keeper specifically for a penalty shootout only for that keeper to watch 11 penalties go past him before hitting his own high kick in North London . the sky is quite difficult to reach. There’s literally no way this substitution could go any worse, even if you don’t sign a keeper who notoriously refused to retire in the same competition three years earlier. Add the icing on the cake of the tournament in question being the Carabao, the biggest soccer tournament in the world, and you not only have a terrible new number one replacement, but one that simply can’t be bettered.

Damien Duff, Frank Lampard and Eidur Gudjohnsen for Joe Cole, Tiago and Geremi
Newcastle versus Chelsea, February 20, 2005

In hindsight, a foreshadowing of the comic and pitiful figure of Jose Mourinho would later, but at the time become quite an alarming mistake on the part of arguably the best manager in the world at the time. It was Mourinho at his worst long before it was all he had left, replying to his Chelsea side – the best in the country at the time – having only one goal behind a Newcastle side who did not. was not. Chelsea would go on to win the Premier League title with just one defeat to their name, but missed out on the chance to add the FA Cup thanks in large part to Mourinho’s tantrum at half-time at St James’ Park. Three half-time substitutions, with no injury imposed, were still an unnecessary risk against a side that would finish the season in 14th place. When Wayne Bridge left the pitch on a stretcher two minutes into the second half, Mourinho’s gamble had dramatically backfired. Chelsea were down to nine when Carlo Cudicini was sent off and by the end of the game Duff and William Gallas were limping down the pitch just to keep Chelsea’s numbers vaguely reasonable. They never found that equalizer.

Steven Gerrard for Adam Lallana
Liverpool-Manchester United, March 22, 2015

Gerrard’s last game against Manchester United for Liverpool was certainly memorable. Brief, but memorable. It lasted 38 seconds in all, long enough for Gerrard to launch Juan Mata through the air before hitting Ander Herrera’s leg and receiving an inevitable red card. A first half spent sitting on the bench watching a listless and lifeless Liverpool limp off the break lucky to be only a goal down had clearly been too much for Gerrard, whose determination to prevail in the game after Brendan Rodgers called him in for the second half to liven things up may have gone a bit too far. That said, it almost worked: Gerrard’s bold, stud-heavy cameo awoke Liverpool from their slumber and the second half was a much more even contest despite Liverpool’s now reduced squads. They still lost 2-1.

Simone Zaza for Giorgio Chiellini
Germany – Italy, July 2, 2016

Before there was Marcus Rashford, before there was Jadon Sancho, before there was Mark Noble, there was Simone Zaza. The Italian came specifically for kicks in the final kicks of the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Germany, gave instructions to his goalkeeper and then, during the shootout, made a jerky run before slapping his penalty over the bar. The sheer arrogance of it all before it all went horribly, horribly wrong sets a standard that future penalty specialist failures simply cannot compete with. Restored his dignity and reputation by leaving Juventus on loan for West Ham, where he went 11 games without scoring.

Lionel Messi for Lisandro Lopez
Hungary v Argentina, August 16, 2005

“It’s embarrassing, they’re not going to call me anymore,” was the dejected and mortified first reaction of an 18-year-old to receiving a red card less than three minutes into his international debut. He may have been right about the embarrassment, but Lionel Messi was wrong about the second bit. He’s been called up 157 more times since, finally ending his wait for international silverware at last year’s Copa America. Practical player by any standard, and his dismissal so soon after replacing Lisandro Lopez was truly a bit mad, with the Barcelona starlet doing little more than ignoring the attentions of Vilmos Vanczak, who was quickly thrown away on the ground.

Alan Smith for Gary Lineker
England v Sweden, 17 June 1992

Before the invention of football, bad substitutions were already taking place. We could go back even further to Bobby Charlton’s withdrawal from the 1970 World Cup quarter-finals, but let’s not go completely crazy. Until the summer of 1992, when MOTD host and Twitter nightmare Gary Lineker was still a footballer. Lineker had already announced his international retirement before Euro 1992, and entered the tournament with 48 goals, needing one more to equal Charlton’s England record and two to win it. England’s first two games ended scoreless, meaning they needed to win the final game against Sweden to reach the last four and prolong Lineker’s career. The notorious goal poacher set up England’s first goal for David Platt but things went sour afterwards. England were still leading at half-time but weren’t playing well and struggled to retain possession. Sweden equalized shortly after halftime and continued to dominate the game. Graham Taylor had to make a change, but knew the one he had to make was high risk and would be very controversial. He made the decision to bring in Alan Smith with the idea of ​​improving England’s ability to keep the ball on the correct side of the pitch. This meant removing Lineker and if a winning goal could not be found, ending his international career. Future Leeds legend Tomas Brolin duly scored the winner for Sweden and, while Taylor’s decision was perfectly justifiable in pure football terms, he was a turnip and that was it.

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