Steven Nzonzi endured one of those afternoons at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Stoke City man started the game with good intentions, but ending up being a liability in the middle of the park.
The Frenchman failed to complete a Premier League fixture for the first this season in north London, with Mark Hughes hauling him off at half-time.
Prior to his replacement, Nzonzi had struggled to contain the attacking threat posed by the Gunners, and Alexis Sanchez in particular.
As a physically imposing presence, the Potters were looking for him to break things up and frustrate the hosts.
He never got close to completing that task, with the Opta statistics below highlighting how badly he struggled.
|Position||Team||Match||Won Tackle||Duel Won||Duel Lost||Interception||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Touches||Mins Played|
|Steven N'Zonzi||MF||Stoke||Arsenal vs Stoke||1||3||3||1||17||16||22||45|
Nzonzi has been quick to talk up his ambition in recent years, with the Daily Telegraph reporting in April 2014 how he had handed in a second transfer request at the Britannia Stadium.
He will, however, have to fare considerably better than he did against Arsenal if he is to draw admiring glances from afar.
It may be that he has to wait for those opportunities, with Hughes having a big selection decision to make ahead of Saturday’s trip to struggling Leicester City.