Blog by: Parth
Now that the World Cup qualifiers are out of the way, it’s time to switch our attention to the eagerly awaited EPL matches on the weekend.
Although every EPL gameweek is a reason to rejoice, this weekend is special, as most of the new signings will be making their debuts; some debuting for their new team, others taking to the field for the first time in EPL colours.
So, without wasting more time, here are the 5 most eagerly anticipated EPL debuts.
Jose Mourinho’s decision to send out Romelu Lukaku on loan (again) might have raised concerns among the Chelsea faithful, but the nerves were instantly calmed by the arrival of Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o.
At 32, Eto’o is past his prime, and having spent time at Anzhi after having won everything there is to, motivation could be one of the things that Eto’o lacks. But goals is something that Chelsea fans need not worry about, as Eto’o is the only player to notch double-digit goal figures in all of his last 11 top-flight campaigns.
Having played under Mourinho at Inter and scored 33 goals in 67 appearances, Mourinho will be hoping Eto’o can recapture some of that form at Stamford Bridge. It is imperative for Chelsea to have a stronger presence upfront, for till now they have looked a bit light in the striker department and haven’t made full use of their plethora of playmakers.
Whether Eto’o is a success or failure at Chelsea depends on how much Jose Mourinho can get out of him, and knowing how the Portugese taskmaster operates, don’t be surprised if Eto’o chooses to open his EPL account on his EPL debut.
Rival fans were left dumbstruck when Spurs signed Ajax star Christian Eriksen for a measly £11.5m, mainly because there was a time when Eriksen was the hottest property in Europe and rumoured to carry a price tag of triple that amount. Daniel Levy has done his part by bringing a genuine playmaker into the side, but now it’s Andre Villas-Boas’ turn to ensure that his new signing settle in quickly.
It was quite evident from Spurs’ first three games that they had no-one to provide service to Soldado, and the fact that they haven’t scored a single goal from open play and had to rely on penalties is one that AVB will be looking to rectify.
Together with Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen could be the answer to Spurs’ attacking woes, as the Danish star is comfortable playing in a wider role and through the centre.
With Capoue, Dembele, and Paulinho patrolling the midfield, Spurs have enough brawn in their side. Now they need Eriksen to add the brain to that team.
No team buys a 23-year-0ld defender for £18 million just to keep him on the bench, so expect the former PSG star to line-up alongside vice captain Daniel Agger when the Reds visit Swansea.
A strong aerial presence and a tough-as-nails defender, Sakho’s addition will only improve an already good defense, and with Skrtel as back-up, Brendan Rodgers finally has a good central defensive trio that can survive the hardships of a gruelling EPL campaign.
Sakho also has a personal reason to want to succeed at Anfield and seal a permanent first team place – he is fighting for a World Cup place, and that is surely the biggest motivating factor for a footballer. A clean sheet against Swansea would certainly help him in that regard.
Yes, Fellaini has already played in the EPL, so he doesn’t exactly fit the definition of an EPL debutant. But then moving from Everton to Manchester United is in itself a jump in levels, so in that sense Fellaini is about to kickstart a whole new career.
Whether he will be the answer to Manchester United’s well-documented midfield problems is something only time will tell, but his mere presence could lift a side that has lost many a battles in the middle of the park in the recent past.
There are rumours that Moyes has been holding Kagawa back simply because he doesn’t trust the Kagawa-Cleverley-Carrick trio to not get swamped. With Fellaini adding muscle in the middle, Cleverley’s loss could be Kagawa’s gain and Moyes might be tempted to give the Japanese a run-out without the fear of being overrun in the middle.
If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how opposition teams intend to defend corners against Manchester United. Earlier, they just had to keep Vidic quiet and hope the others didn’t score; now, there’s another giant to deal with in the form of the Belgian.
Who else but the £42 million man? Arguable the biggest name to arrive on the English shores in the recent past, Ozil’s signing represents a change in policy for Arsene Wenger, and Arsenal fans will still be pinching themselves upon seeing Ozil in Arsenal colours. They are only used to seeing big names leave at Emirates, aren’t they?
How Wenger intends to use Ozil will also make for interesting viewing. Will he start behind Giroud with Cazorla and Walcott out wide in a 4-2-3-1, or will he start on the wings in a 4-3-3, with the license to roam? Ozil is well-versed with either role, and it is impossible to predict how Wenger intends to use his star signing.
Regardless, one can confidently say Ozil will be in the thick of things against a Sunderland team that has no wins and only 1 point in three games, and Arsenal fans will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of finally seeing their new man in action.