5 Premier League debutants who blew us away – but ended up doing nothing

As clubs and fans prepare for the new Premier League season starting this weekend, a host of players will be hoping to make an impact in their debuts.

Whether they are new summer signings, emerging young players or stars at newly promoted teams, there is an opportunity for a new name to steal the spotlight on the opening matchday. A host of players have impressed on their debuts in the past, including Michu and Reece Oxford, only to fail to live up to the hype they created in their maiden appearance.

With that in mind, here are five debutants who blew fans away but ended up doing nothing.

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An unknown after joining Swansea City for £2million in the summer of 2012, Michu burst onto the scene with a brace on the opening day of the season.

He needed just eight minutes to grab his first Premier League goal in a 5-0 mauling of Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, with his second coming the same amount of time after the interval.

Do any others stick out in your mind? Let us know in the comments section.

Unlike some players on this list, Michu did achieve something at first, scoring 18 league goals in his first season with Swansea and winning the League Cup.

Two goals followed in his second campaign, though, before a loan move to Napoli failed to reignite his career and he retired in 2017 aged 31 after two seasons in the Spanish lower leagues.

Reece Oxford

Oxford was just 16 when he put in a man of the match display in a 2-0 West Ham United win away to Arsenal on the opening weekend of the 2015/16 season.

He was calm and assured in the centre of the park as the teenager showed maturity beyond his years. However, he would make just two more league starts that season before embarking on a string of loan moves.

Oxford has been hampered by injuries since, with spells on loan at Reading, Borussia Monchengladbach and Augsburg. He joined Augsburg permanently in 2019 for less than £2million and made 31 appearances for the club last season.

Still aged just 23, there remains time for Oxford to fulfil the potential he showed on his Premier League debut, despite the setbacks he has faced since.

Federico Macheda

17-year-old Federico Macheda produced one of the Premier League's most iconic debuts when he was thrown on by Sir Alex Ferguson in April 2009.

The Italian striker was introduced with Manchester United trailing 2-1 at home to Aston Villa in a crucial contest in the title race. After Cristiano Ronaldo's equaliser, the stage was set for Macheda to bag the winner in stoppage time, bending the ball in after a classy Cruyff turn on the edge of the box.

Macheda would score once more before the end of the season, ending the campaign with two goals and one assist from four appearances as United won the title.

However, he would add just two more league goals before leaving Old Trafford in 2014 following a string of loan spells. After stints in the Championship, Italy and Greece, Macheda joined Turkish side MKE Ankaragucu earlier this summer.

James Vaughan

Still the Premier League's youngest ever goalscorer, James Vaughan was just 16 years, eight months and 27 days old when he scored on his Everton debut against Crystal Palace in April 2005.

Tipped for greatness after needing just 13 minutes to score off the bench in the 4-0 win, Vaughan would go on to score six more times in the league for the Toffees before he was sold to Norwich City in 2011.

He lasted two years at Carrow Road before permanent spells with Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City, Bury, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Bradford City and Tranmere Rovers.

Vaughan retired last summer at the age of 32 after playing for 13 clubs during his 16 year career, which saw him score 119 times in 409 senior appearances.

Mladen Petric

Croatian striker Mladen Petric wasted no time acclimatising to the Premier League after joining Fulham on a free transfer in 2012.

The 31-year-old made his league debut in the Cottagers' 5-0 home win over Norwich on the opening weekend, scoring either side of half-time to leave his mark on the match.

Petric would score three more times before Christmas but failed to find the back of the net in the second half of the season and was released after just one year at Craven Cottage.

After two months without a club he arrived at West Ham for four goalless appearances in four months before ditching London for Panathinaikos in Greece. He retired in 2016 aged 35.


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