The Premier League Season has just got off to a blazing start and with the swelling coffers of a lot of the clubs, the gap at the top seems to be slimmer than ever. In this article we look at certain players who have to step up and play pivotal roles for their clubs. Our top 5 to watch out for are as follows:
Tomas Rosicky – Arsenal
For Arsenal to mount a serious title challenge they need all their big guns firing and in Tomas Rosicky they have a potent weapon. A spate of injuries over the last couple of seasons has resulted in him just playing a peripheral role at Arsenal, however the limited time that has been on the pitch he has shown flashes of brilliance that has left the Arsenal fans wanting more. In terms of pure skill, creativity and vision there are a few who can match him on the football field, ask anyone in Germany where Rosicky rose to prominence at Dortmund playing in the hole behind Jan Koller and decimating opponents in a title winning year. The competition for places is high at Arsenal and with the constant threat of injuries hanging on a young squad, Rosicky needs to step up and provide the creative force in the absence of Nasri or Fabregas. This year is pivotal for Arsenal and for Tomas Rosicky.
Michael Carrick – Manchester United
Michael Carrick joined Manchester United amidst big fanfare inheriting the No. 16 jersey of the club legend Roy Keane; those were big shoes to fill and in all fairness Carrick has failed to live up to those expectations. Falling further down in the pecking order, the situation is looking grim for the ex West ham and Tottenham Star. With Paul Scholes in vintage form and Owen Hargreaves returning back to fitness, Carrick’s position in the centre of midfield is under pressure from the likes of Fletcher, Anderson and Co. It is rumoured that even Darren Gibson is expected to play a bigger role than Carrick this year at United. Coming off the back of a poor season, Michael Carrick needs to find his mojo this year and ensure that the kind of form he showed at Tottenham is quickly replicated. Carrick needs United and a poor season this term might just persuade Ferguson to get dip in the transfer market for a replacement.
Joey Barton – Newcastle United
Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore Joey Barton. Behind all the shenanigans, controversies and disciplinary issues, Barton is a real quality player. To be fair, Joey Barton has showed tremendous restraint and determination over the last year to get his career back on track. Newcastle have a tough year ahead of them and in Joey Barton they have a player who could resurrect their stature as a top flight club. Purists argue that Barton can have the similar impact as the club legend Gary Speed did, the jury is out on that one but surely there is no doubting his ability. The time is right for Joey Barton to step up and a couple of years of under-achievement has hardly helped his cause. An inspired year and he could certainly be the answer to England’s prayers in the centre of the Three Lion’s midfield.
Garth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
For a player whose first 24 starts for his club ended in defeats, Bale has been playing like a man possessed. The modest left back at Southampton has turned into a fine left winger under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp and if the last season is anything to go by, Tottenham have a potential mega star in the making. Lucky to get into the side after Assou-Ekotto got sidelined due to injury, Bale has not looked back since. Bale has started the season in the same vein as he ended the last and with upto six teams competing for the continental positions for next year, it is extremely imperative for both him and Tottenham that he maintains this rich vein of form.
Joe Cole – Liverpool
The expectations are high at Anfield amidst turbulent times. Joe Cole’s arrival is being touted as the much needed Spark that is going to reignite their title challenge after the aberration that was last year. Some of his new teammates already consider the signing to be a success partly because it came without a transfer fee and partly due to the fact that it helped Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres from moving wanting a move away. Joe Cole has consistently been touted as probably the most skilled British talent to come out in the last decade or so. Product of the famed West Ham youth academy, Cole has always caught the eye with his remarkable brilliance whenever he has played for club and country. A move to Chelsea might have done him more harm than good as he had always been played out of his preferred position by Mourinho and his subsequent successors. But with Liverpool all that is expected to change, as Roy Hodgson might just give him the position from where he can orchestrate the Liverpool midfield. Coming off an inconsistent season last year and a shambolic World Cup, Joe Cole needs a big season to reignite the pride and passion at Anfield and his international chances.