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Joao Felix and the worst debuts in Premier League history
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Dan Fitch
Joao Felix had an unfortunate debut for Chelsea
Joao Felix had an unfortunate debut for Chelsea

Joao Felix had a nightmare debut for Chelsea on Thursday night as he was sent off in a 2-1 defeat at local rivals Fulham. 

The Portuguese forward had shown moments of quality on his first appearance for the Blues before lunging into a high tackle on Cottagers full-back Kenny Tete.

Graham Potter's men were level at the time but fell behind 15 minutes after being reduced to 10 men. 

Chelsea will now miss the diminutive playmaker for three matches, having paid a £9.7million loan fee to sign the 23-year old from Atletico Madrid until the end of the season.

Though it was a disastrous start, Joao Felix is far from being the only player to have made a terrible first impression. 

Read on as we look back at the worst Premier League debuts of all time. 

Joe Cole and Laurent Koscielny (August 2010)

Joe Cole was one of two debutants sent off when Liverpool met Arsenal in 2010
Joe Cole was one of two debutants sent off when Liverpool met Arsenal in 2010

Joao Felix was the first player to be sent off on his Premier League debut since Federico Fazio saw red for Tottenham against Manchester City in 2014, but going further back it has been a fairly regular occurrence. 

The desire to impress a new manager, team-mates and fans, has often resulted in footballers losing their heads and doing something rash. 

Perhaps the prime example was Liverpool’s 1-1 home draw with Arsenal in 2010, where two players making their Premier League debuts for new employers were sent off.

Joe Cole had just arrived at Anfield and was dismissed just before half-time, after making a terrible challenge on Laurent Koscielny.

Koscielny was also making his English top-flight debut for Arsenal and not to be outdone, somehow managed to receive two yellow cards within added time and was also sent off. 

Teddy Sheringham (August 1997)

The Premier League fixture schedule threw up a mouth-watering match at Teddy Sheringham’s expense following his 1997 move from Tottenham to Manchester United. 

Signed after Eric Cantona had left Old Trafford, the pressure was already on Sheringham and it only increased when it was announced that he would make his league debut at White Hart Lane. 

Cantona had been United’s penalty taker, so when the Red Devils were awarded a spot-kick in the second-half with the score at 0-0, his replacement stepped up to take it. Amid a chorus of boos, Sheringham hit the post and then skied the rebound over the bar. 

His blushes were spared when United managed to score two late goals to win the game and Sheringham’s time at the club would ultimately prove to be a great success. 

Fernando Torres (February 2011)

Another player who made his Premier League debut against the club that he had just left was Fernando Torres. 

The Spanish striker lined up for his first Chelsea match against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, just days after completing a £50m switch from Anfield. 

While Sheringham’s luck improved after his poor debut, Torres’ first game was a portent for his career in West London. He blazed the ball over the bar after 90 seconds and looked overawed by the occasion, before being substituted after an hour. 

Liverpool would win the match 1-0 and Torres would only score 20 goals in 110 Premier League games for the Blues.

Patrice Evra (January 2006)

Patrice Evra's Manchester United debut did not run smoothly
Patrice Evra's Manchester United debut did not run smoothly

In retrospect, the then Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti should have waited before giving Torres his debut and Alex Ferguson probably may think the same about Patrice Evra. 

The left-back was thrown into a tough away game at local rivals Manchester City within a week of joining Manchester United from Monaco.

Before the 12.45pm kick-off, Evra started throwing up, but decided against informing his new manager that he was ill.

Once the game started, Evra found himself covered in his own blood after a clash with Trevor Sinclair. United were 2-0 down at half-time and Ferguson read the riot act to the team in the dressing room, as Evra’s debut was cut short. 

The French international recalls: "Ferguson was raging. 'And you, Patrice,' he shouted. 'That’s enough for you. You sit down and watch now, because you have to learn about English football.'"

Ali Dia (November 2006)

The most notorious debut in Premier League history was Ali Dia’s first and last game for Southampton. 

A phone call was made to the Southampton manager Graeme Souness, purporting to be from the then AC Milan striker George Weah. Whoever was pretending to be Weah, suggested that the Saints should give an opportunity to his 'cousin'. 

The cousin in this story was Dia, who Souness was told had played for Paris Saint-Germain and had 13 international caps. Given a short contract, Dia made his debut against Leeds, coming on for the injured Matt Le Tissier in the 32nd minute. 

Dia was substituted himself in the 85th minute. Le Tissier summed up the debut: "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice. It was very embarrassing to watch." 

Dia was released, two weeks into his month-long contract.


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