Rabu, 1 Ogos 2012

Top Ten: Players We Can't Wait To Watch

Who are the ten BPL players?

10. Papiss Cisse

Cisse became an instant hit in F365 Towers with some superb performances during his first six months in England. The striker's double against Chelsea included what was arguably the goal of the season and with 13 strikes in 14 matches, Cisse has established himself as a firm favourite on Tyneside. 

The challenge now for the Senegalese hitman is to maintain his form in the new campaign and with Newcastle searching for extra competition in attack, he'll need to keep banging in the goals. The Magpies' aim of consolidating their impressive top-six finish depends on the front three of Cisse, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa continuing to flourish and with the added pressure of European football, this year will be a huge test.

9. Fernando Torres
Torres' capture of the golden boot at Euro 2012 rather papers over the evident cracks in the striker's performances since his move to Chelsea in January 2011. He did, after all, only score three goals in Poland and Ukraine - acknowledged in his omission from the team of the tournament - and the 28-year-old's six strikes in 32 Premier League appearances last season provide a truer indication of the challenge he faces in this campaign. 

Following the departure of Didier Drogba, Torres has no excuse not to step up and benefit from the incredible talent brought in to assist him in Chelsea's attack. If he fails to rekindle his sparkle, this will surely be his last year in England.

8. Fabio Borini
Given Liverpool's profligacy in front of goal, the club desperately need a new goalscorer, but whether Borini is the answer is open to debate. The striker has only made 46 first-team appearances in his fledgling career, scoring 16 goals, and expectations should be weighted accordingly. 

However, Borini showed his ruthlessness under Brendan Rodgers at Swansea and the manager will be hoping to eke out a similar contribution at Anfield following the Italy international's £7.8million move. If Borini can convert the chances Liverpool failed to make the most of last year, the Reds could be back among the top four contenders.

7. Tom Cleverley
Bebe has been making all the headlines in Man United's pre-season but, as brilliant as a comeback story would be, it's unlikely that we'll see the striker lighting up Old Trafford when the new campaign kicks off. 

Cleverley, on the other hand, will surely play a part in Sir Alex Ferguson's plans and those who saw the midfielder pulling the strings in United's 3-2 comeback victory over Man City in last summer's Community Shield will be hoping he can kick-start his career after returning to fitness. The 22-year-old is finding his feet again at the Olympics and if he stays injury-free, he can provide a boost to both club and country.

6. Jan Vertonghen
After Spurs shelled out around £10million for Verthonghen, we can expect the former Ajax captain to start at the heart of the club's defence this season, partnered by either Younes Kaboul or the fit-again Michael Dawson. 

The 25-year-old has some rather large boots to fill following Ledley King's retirement, but has shown he's capable of stepping up to the challenge, winning the Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2012 and helping Ajax to back-to-back Eredivisie titles. In particular, we're looking forward to seeing Vertonghen's hammer of a left foot, which will hopefully provide one or two spectacular free-kicks similar to this thriker.

5. Lucas
Lucas' long injury lay-off was a major blow to Liverpool last season, with Jay Spearing a hardworking, but inexperienced deputy. The Brazil international is a thoroughly likeable character and his return as the anchor in the Reds' midfield is a huge boost to the club's Champions League aspirations. 

Lucas' composure in possession and tidy distribution should see him slot seamlessly into Brendan Rodgers' vision for Liverpool and along with Steven Gerrard and potential new signing Joe Allen, the new manager could have the central midfield trio he's looking for.

4. Michu
By all accounts, Swansea have secured the bargain of the summer with a £2million deal for Michu. The midfielder bagged 15 La Liga goals in a struggling Rayo Vallecano side last season and could be a perfect replacement for Gylfi Sigurdsson. 

However, as somewhat of an unknown quantity - Michu only rose to prominence in Spain's top flight last season after spending the early part of his career in the lower tiers - the 26-year-old could easily turn out to be a flop in the Premier League. We would rather like to see him continue his La Liga form and with Michael Laudrup taking charge of the Swans this summer, there is plenty of cause for excitement in south Wales.

3. Olivier Giroud
In stark contrast to the club's hectic business last summer, Arsenal have prepared themselves for Robin van Persie's departure with the early acquisition of two international strikers. While Lukas Podolski is an exciting option for Arsene Wenger, primed for the left forward role in a front three, Giroud is the player we're looking forward to seeing the most. And not just because of his beautiful face. 

With 21 goals in 36 matches last season, the France striker fired Montpellier to the club's maiden Ligue 1 title and he will be charged with replacing the majority of Van Persie's goals for the Gunners should the Dutchman finalise his exit. Giroud has bags of talent, but there is a lot of pressure on him from the start and it will be fascinating to see how he copes.

2. Eden Hazard
As the hottest property in the summer transfer market Hazard will be under pressure to live up to the hype, especially after his public flirting with both Manchester clubs. At £32million, the 21-year-old is the second most expensive player in the Blues' history and the club will be hoping his move works out rather better than the other two transfers in the top three. 

Alex Ferguson has questioned the Belgium international's price tag, but the Man United manager still recognised Hazard's talent and, along with the rest of us, will be intrigued to learn more about the winger this season. What we're really looking forward to seeing is how Hazard, Oscar and the rest of Chelsea's new signings fit into Roberto Di Matteo's plans and if the manager can get the most out of the talent he has available to challenge for the title.

1. Shinji Kagawa
Part of the excitement surrounding Kagawa is where he fits into the Man United system. The attacking midfielder was impressive in the number 10 role in the friendly against Shanghai Shenhua but offers valuable versatility, often playing in a wide position for Borussia Dortmund. 

Kagawa's neat link-up play and ability to take the ball round his opponent should help to reinvigorate a United team that finished agonisingly close to the title last season. The Japan international certainly has the energy required to add creative spark behind Wayne Rooney and will no doubt contribute both goals and assists as the Reds look to wrestle back the Premier League crown.

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