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Football review 2012: The flops of the year

A look back at the year in football

With the year drawing to a close, our series looks back at the highs, lows, absurd and brilliant from the world of football in 2012.

The Independent's football writers have been asked to come up with their moments of the year - and here they look back on those who failed to come up to expectations...


Holland team at Euro 2012, selected by Sam Wallace

I tipped them as potential finalists. They lost all three games. All that attacking talent, I just wish I had known how bad their defence was.


Chief Constable Norman Bettison, selected by Ian Herbert

Chief Constable Norman Bettison's attempts to fend off questions about his role at Hillsborough and hold onto his job. He was fighting against a weight of evidence that he had been aware of attempts to manipulate junior police officers' statements after the tragedy. 


Michael Owen, selected by Martin Hardy

Michael Owen has played five Premier League games in 2012. He used to be the future of English football. Now his career looks resigned to the past. He has not scored a Premier League goal this year. The three goals he has scored came against Aldershot and Leeds at his former club Manchester United. Stoke are sponsored by Bet365. Signing Owen looks like a punt gone wrong.


Fernando Torres, selected by Steve Tongue

Why look further than Fernando Torres? No, the size of the fee was not his fault, but to see him as a serious replacement for Didier Drogba, carrying the Chelsea attack. That is a flop.


Samir Nasri, selected by Jack Pitt-Brooke

There are very many worse players in the Premier League than Samir Nasri but maybe none quite as disappointing. This was Nasri's first full calendar year at Manchester City, following his transfer last summer. Despite winning the Premier League, there was not much to be proud about.

Not that Nasri played badly - he barely mis-controlled the ball or misplaced a pass. But he did so little, hiding in the margins, not showing for the ball, not taking the fight to the opposition, so different from the feisty, competitive David Silva. When Nasri hid behind Edin Dzeko before lazily deflecting Robin van Persie's free-kick past Joe Hart this month, it felt deeply appropriate.



Mark Hughes, selected by Glenn Moore

Successful to varying degrees at Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham - Hughes was expected to turn QPR into a solid mid-table outfit when appointed in January with Rangers 17th. Despite spending heavily in two transfer windows and sending the wage bill into the stratosphere QPR left it to the final day to escape the drop last season and began this with four points from 12 games before he was fired in November. Hughes has talent, but may need to re-think his apparent reliance on Kia Joorabchian in the transfer market.


Football review 2012...

Tweets of the year

Chants of the year

Quotes of the year

Haircuts of the year