English Premier League: 5 Players with a Point to Prove in Week 7

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2012

English Premier League: 5 Players with a Point to Prove in Week 7

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    Some big names aren't performing well in the Premier League.

    Seven weeks into the new season we're still witnessing plenty of players carrying out their duties at pedestrian pace. Most of these individuals are getting punished for such sloppiness.

    This week I've outlined five players who owe their team an excellent display. Each has a point to prove to themselves and the fans of their club.

    Do you agree with who I've chosen? Let me know below or on Twitter.

    All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.

Jack Rodwell, Manchester City

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    Jack Rodwell is likely to feature in Manchester City's next match against Sunderland.

    The Premier League champions entertain Martin O'Neill's Black Cats at the Etihad. Javi Garcia is likely to be out with a thigh injury, meaning Rodwell could once again find himself playing a major part.

    He needs a confident performance. As we saw against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Southampton, Rodwell is struggling to adapt at his new club.

    If he is on the pitch, the young Englishman will be expected to dominate alongside Yaya Toure. Sunderland have posted an average start to the season and will be delighted to get anything from this game.

    Can Rodwell prove he deserves a place in Roberto Mancini's team? Is he good enough to play for the Citizens? We'll find out soon.

Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United

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    Rio Ferdinand is one of the greatest defenders to have graced the Premier League. This season he's barely looked like a professional footballer.

    The veteran had a torrid time against Spurs and Gareth Bale in his last domestic match.

    Ferdinand must learn to adapt his game. This is a player who has always relied on athletic ability over intelligence. He needs to pick better positions on the pitch to ensure he isn't left in the dust of quicker players.

    Manchester United face a difficult trip to Newcastle.

    Sir Alex Ferguson's side were thrashed 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last year. The match falls at a difficult time, following on from the defeat against Spurs and narrow win over Liverpool.

    If Ferdinand continues to play badly and United lose, how strong will the team's title credentials be?

Fabio Borini, Liverpool

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    Fabio Borini has suffered a quiet start to his Liverpool career.

    Brendan Rodgers' signing is yet to score in the Premier League. He's made five appearance so far and posted some disappointing stats.

    The young Italian averages 1.8 shots per match. He has also contributed just 0.4 of a dribble on average. Considering he is dispossessed 2.6 times every 90 minutes, this isn't good enough.

    There's no doubt Borini is working hard at Anfield. His partnership with Luis Suarez is key to Liverpool's season, but it must be given time.

    Borini will fancy his chances against Stoke.

    Although the match is expected to be physical, he is likely to run directly at a tall defence. If he can wriggle his way past the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth, the 21-year-old could nab his first goal in front of the Kop.

Peter Odemwingie, West Bromwich Albion

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    Peter Odemwingie understands he owes the West Brom contingent a performance.

    He was rightfully sent off for kicking out at Fulham's Sascha Riether earlier in the season. The Nigerian striker immediately realised he made a huge error and apologised to the Baggies support (via BBC Sport).

    Although West Brom comfortably lost the match at Craven Cottage, Steve Clarke's side have remained on track in Odemwingie's absence.

    Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku have both performed well this campaign.

    Odemwingie has worked extra hard in training. So much so, West Brom coach Kevin Keen praised the forward in a recent interview (via Goal.com).

    Clarke's side sit in sixth before the next round of games. The Hawthorns is set to welcome QPR in a match that should be competitive.

    Odemwingie is likely to feature in some capacity and must showcase a relentless work rate to his home crowd.

Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal

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    Laurent Koscielny returned from injury with a bang.

    He scored the equalising goal in the 1-1 draw against Manchester City. In the recent match against Chelsea, the usually reliable defender played terribly.

    Not only was the Frenchman at fault for a Chelsea goal, he failed to compose himself the entire game. He made just one tackle and won 50 percent of his aerial battles. Clearances were often rushed and failed to give the team respite.

    Such a performance got Arsenal fans talking.

    Many suggested Per Mertesacker is a better fit for the team right now. Koscielny needs to continue regaining full match fitness and quickly assert himself into Arsene Wenger's plans.

    If Koscielny plays against West Ham, it'll be a real test of his mettle.

    Either Carlton Cole or Andy Carroll will be throwing their weight about at the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers currently sit above Wenger's team, making this an extremely juicy test for Koscielny and the Gunners.