Friday, August 17, 2012

MY THOUGHTS ON ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP NEW BOYS by Cosmos Chukwuemeka


Welcome back to the 2012/13 English premier league season. It promises to be an exciting, thrilling, entertaining and suspense filled season. 

Bottom line, viewers and fans around the world should expect the good, bad and ugly in the EPL and Manchester City has a big task of defending their title because other top teams are raring to go. 

From city rival, Manchester United to London clubs of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, then on to Liverpool, not forgetting spoilers like Everton, Westbrom and other contenders, Manchester City really have a big job ahead of them.

Another Premier League season is almost upon us and the opening fixtures could bring some idea of whether the signings of the summer will sink or swim.

Therefore we will look at 10 players who will get their first taste of the English top-flight when it kicks off this weekend and examine how they might fare. 

MARKO MARIN - CHELSEA
First signing of the Champions league winners, Marin could prove to be something of a bargain for the European champions after arriving from Werder Bremen in a reported £7m deal. 

 The Germany international's transfer slipped under the radar somewhat as Chelsea completed the high-profile acquisition of Hazard and it remains to be seen where Marin will fit into Di Matteo's plans. 

The 23-year-old was not a prolific goalscorer during his time in the Bundesliga but has a knack for providing assists, and will be hoping for the chance to make an impact in his preferred role on the wing at Stamford Bridge.
SHINJI KAGAWA - MANCHESTER UNITED
Sir Alex Ferguson's latest acquisition, one of just two so far this summer at Manchester United, may be relatively unknown to the average football fan but the Japan international is on the perfect stage to turn himself into one of the season's biggest names. 

An attacking midfielder, who can also play on either wing, Kagawa could provide a new offensive spark to United's midfield if he can successfully bring with him to Old Trafford the speed, passing ability and eye for a goal he demonstrated in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.

Kagawa scored 19 goals in all competitions for last season's German league and cup double-winning side and while his capture may not pack the blockbuster punch of some of the summer's marquee signings, 23-year-old Kagawa is a player that will be watched with interest as the new campaign gets underway. One thing is certain. This guy can score goals.



LUCAS PODOLSKI - MANCHESTER UNITED
Podolski has made a name for himself with the German national team over recent years and is likely to be a figure that commands attention in the Premier League this season. 

The 27-year-old could be utilised by Arsene Wenger as part of a new-look strike force alongside fellow summer signing Olivier Giroud as Van Persie moves to Manchester United . 

Podolski enjoyed an impressive 2010 World Cup but the Polish-born forward enters his debut Premier League campaign on the back of a disappointing Euro 2012 showing, where he was employed on the left as opposed to the central striking position he flourished in at Cologne last season, bagging 14 goals and four assists in 19 appearances in that role. 


JAN VERTOGEHEN - TOTTENHAM
Tottenham's long-term interest in Belgian defender Vertonghen finally came to a head this summer as Spurs managed to lure him away from boyhood club Ajax. 

With veteran stopper Ledley King having called time on his lengthy reign at White Hart Lane and Michael Dawson susceptible to injury, Vertonghen is perfectly poised to step in as the new rock in Spurs' defence and from what has been seen in pre-season, the centre-back could form a solid partnership alongside Younes Kaboul. 

Fresh from captaining Ajax to the Eredivisie title last season, Vertonghen's strong, physical style means he is likely to welcome the new challenge of the Premier League, while the 25-year-old also has an eye for a goal, scoring 10 times in 42 games for the Dutch champions last season. 


EDEN HAZARD - CHELSEA
After arriving at Chelsea in a £32million deal from Lille as one of the most high-profile signings of the summer, big things are expected of the highly-rated Hazard on his debut season in the Premier League. 

A number of clubs had been chasing the Belgian ace and Blues fans will be keen to see what he can do after the European champions finally got their man. 

Skilled as an attacking midfielder and a winger, Hazard developed a reputation as a creative, pacey player with outstanding technical ability during his time in Ligue 1. 

There have been questions have been raised over how he will adjust to the faster, more physical style of English football but the 21-year-old has said he is keen to rise to the challenge by stepping his game up to the next level. 

Should the transition run smoothly the youngster, who tallied 22 goals in 48 appearances for Lille last season, along with 16 assists, could erupt onto the Premier League stage.

MODIBO MAIGA - WESTHAM
Following their promotion back to the Premier League last season, West Ham will be desperate to stay up and will be counting on the firepower of Mali international forward Maiga. 

The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season with Sochaux in 2010-11 and looked set to join Newcastle in January but failed a medical due to a knee complaint, which he disputed. Maiga has since said he wants to make the Magpies regret the decision to pull out of the deal and he will be looking to do just that at Upton Park.


OSCAR - CHELSEEA
Of the several Brazilian youngsters being linked with a switch to the Premier League this summer, Oscar is the first to have actually made the move, having joined Chelsea from Internacional in a £25million deal. 

Chelsea fans were given a taste of what the 20-year-old has to offer during his impressive run to the final of the Olympic football tournament with Brazil, despite the midfielder missing a late header as the Selecao suffered defeat to Mexico in the decider. 

A question mark over the youngster is where he will fit into Roberto Di Matteo's midfield, which is already bursting with options following the arrival of Hazard and Marko Marin. 

While Oscar's preferred position is as an attacking midfielder, it has been suggested he could be used in a more deep-lying role. 


KARIM EL AHMADI & RON VLAAR - ASTON VILLA
Aston Villa have made a double swoop on Eredivisie giants Feyenoord this summer with the acquisition of El Ahmadi and Ron Vlaar and both will be looking to prove themselves in the Premier League. 

The former played a key role for the Rotterdammers last season and will be keen to bring his solid form to the Midlands. A hard-working defensive midfielder, El Ahmadi is strong going forward as well as playing deep. 

The Morocco international, known in Holland for his well-timed tackles and ability to complete incisive passes, could be utilised by Paul Lambert as a figure to pull the strings in midfield.


MICHU - SWANSEA
Swansea lost former loanee Gylfi Sigurdsson to Tottenham this summer but new boss Michael Laudrup will be hoping he has found the Iceland international's ideal replacement in Miguel Perez Cuesta - or Michu - who arrived at the Liberty Stadium for an apparent snip at £2m. 

The Spaniard's former club Rayo Vallecano may have rolled in 15th in the Primera Division last season but the 26-year-old finished the campaign as the league's top-scoring midfielder with 15 goals. 

As well as his knack for finding the back of the net, Michu boasts good aerial ability and set-piece delivery, while his experience in La Liga is likely to serve him well as Laudrup looks to build on the foundations of flowing, attacking football laid by former boss Brendan Rodgers.


SANTI CAZORLA - ARSENAL
While Arsenal could lose captain Robin van Persie this summer, Arsene Wenger has given the Gunners fans something to smile about with the £16.5m capture of highly-rated Spaniard Cazorla from Malaga. Creative talents appear the flavour of the transfer window based on the introduction of Hazard and Kagawa to the Premier League and Cazorla is of a similar vein. 

However, the 27-year-old boasts an edge in that he is a seasoned attacker who has proven his quality in La Liga. 

Wenger will be hoping Cazorla can reignite the creative spark in midfield that was missing at times last season following the departure of Cesc Fabregas, and if the Spaniard clicks with young talents Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as well as fellow new-boys Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, he could be a real danger-man for the Gunners.

These are the new faces of the English Premiership and i hope that they won't fail the fans. So let's braze up for the the season. I can't wait.
 
Written by Cosmos Chukwuemeka with reference from Skysports.







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