English Premier League: 6 Players to Watch in the Premiership This Weekend
The Premier League's 2012-13 season is set to start tomorrow, and with the Olympics out the way, the excitement has really started to build.
There have been some exciting new additions to the Premier League roster and some tantalising moves between Premier League clubs during the offseason. Add in the as yet unresolved sagas and it's easy to understand why football fans are more than ready to see their clubs' new additions spring into action for the first time.
With that being said, here is a look at six players who will be looking to make a good first impression when they take to the field this weekend.
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One of the longest running transfer sagas in recent memory finally came to a close when Chelsea sealed the signing of Belgian maestro Eden Hazard for the tidy sum of £32 million.
That's the type of fee that can put pressure on a player. Just ask Fernando Torres and Andriy Shevchenko.
However, Hazard has claimed he feels "Zen" about the whole affair. If that is in fact true, get ready for some impressive performances as Chelsea look to mount a serious Premier League title challenge.
Hazard's first competitive fixture, in last weekend's Community Shield, was a mixed bag. There were moments of skill and awareness that made him look very much worth the price tag but also long phases of inactivity.
Chelsea fans will certainly be hoping for more consistent displays during the coming months.
There is no doubt that Hazard will be a key part of Roberto di Matteo's plans, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in Chelsea's Premier League opener, an away fixture at Wigan Athletic.
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Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa received rave reviews for his performances whilst at Borussia Dortmund, something that has earned him a dream move to Manchester United.
Putting aside his shirt selling capabilities, Kagawa has a lot to offer United. His distribution is first rate, and he is impressive with the ball at his feet. Add in a good turn of speed and it is easy to see why United wanted the man who scored 13 times in 31 Bundesliga appearances last season.
When Kagawa takes to the field on Monday night, he will be coming up against an Everton side that has suffered some important losses since last season.
However, the derby atmosphere is bound to make the match hard-fought and will give United fans a good idea of what Kagawa, signed for a reported £12 million, is capable of.
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Lukas Podolski signed for Arsenal back in April and is now eligible to make his competitive début for the North London club.
Arsenal's highly publicised trophy drought is weighing the club down, and Arsene Wenger will clearly be hoping that the addition of the German international will help end the club's slump.
A versatile attacking player, Podolski is not as prolific as Robin van Persie, but he will also create chances and could form an exciting partnership with Olivier Giroud.
Arsene Wenger usually signs young players who take a while to find their feet. However, at 27 years old, the German is the finished product. Look for him to make an immediate impact.
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Brendan Rodgers first introduced Premier League fans to Gylfi Sigurðsson last season at Swansea.
The 22-year-old midfielder will score goals, create chances and run confidently when on the ball, just as he did at Swansea.
Although under new management, Spurs play attractive passing football that should suit Sigurðsson perfectly.
Tottenham face Newcastle in their opening fixture, a match that is likely to see plenty of chances at both ends. Sigurðsson will certainly be looking to get in on the action early.
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Oscar Dos Santos Emboaba Júnior, Oscar for short, joined Chelsea earlier this summer for a reported £25 million.
The 20-year-old Brazilian is likely to play alongside Juan Mata and Eden Hazard in an attacking line-up that must be making Premier League defenders around the country shudder.
Oscar likes to score goals, but his passing game—if the Olympics are anything to go by—is not to be underestimated. He moves the ball well in midfield and is remarkably selfless when in possession.
Given that Oscar can play on either wing or in the centre, it will be interesting to see where Roberto di Matteo chooses to play his new signing. Chelsea fans will also be hoping he can adapt to the English game quickly and handle the more physical style of play.
Robin Van Persie
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As you may have heard, Manchester United have agreed to sign Robin van Persie for £24 million pounds. The former Arsenal striker is, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, set to make his first appearance for Manchester United against Everton on Monday night.
United's attacking line-up is now the stuff of dreams. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie could be a formidable partnership, and with the likes of Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov and Danny Welbeck also at the club, United are in with a great chance of Premier League glory.
The striker has hardly featured during Arsenal's preseason, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to replicate last season's form for United. The match will also give fans a chance to see how fits in with his new teammates and what role Ferguson intends to give him within the side.
If nothing else, the sight of Robin van Persie wearing a Manchester United shirt will be a great visual to look out for.