5 Players to Watch in This Weekend's English Premier League Fixtures

Stefan GouyetAnalyst IOctober 17, 2012

5 Players to Watch in This Weekend's English Premier League Fixtures

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    The English Premier League resumes this weekend following the international break. In the past 10 or so days, fans have seen some outstanding World Cup Qualifying matches from around the world, but now we return to the domestic fixtures.

    In the Premier League, there are some great games to watch this weekend. Leaders Chelsea face Tottenham Hotspur in what should be a pulsating tie, while sixth-placed West Bromwich Albion host Manchester City.

    This is a list of five players to watch in the Premier League this weekend.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United vs. Stoke City)

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    In the past three weeks, Wayne Rooney has been absolutely tremendous.

    Against CFR Cluj in the Champions League, the Englishman was put on the wing and assisted twice. When United faced Newcastle United a few days later, Rooney played right behind Van Persie and once again set up two goals.

    And, in England's 5-0 win at home to San Marino, the 26-year-old scored a brace.

    Rooney is in top form and has showed how strong he can be in midfield. 

    Manchester United will be huge favorites to win against Stoke City and you would expect Wayne Rooney to be at his best.

Jose Fonte (West Ham United vs. Southampton)

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    Southampton currently have the worst defense in the English Premier League, conceding 20 goals in just seven matches. They may not be in the relegation zone anymore but will certainly need to improve over the course of the season.

    Jose Fonte has played in every Southampton league match so far this season and has been guilty of poor defending on a few occasions. 

    Against Fulham in the Saints' most recent match, Fonte scored two goals for his club, including a 90th-minute equalizer.

    The Portuguese had a very strong game on both offense and defense and will want to do the same against West Ham United on Saturday.

Adel Taarabt (QPR vs. Everton)

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    In his three Premier League appearances this campaign, Adel Taarabt has already equalled his 2011/2012 goal tally.

    The Moroccan midfielder had a tough first season in the Premier League last year but played well near the end of the campaign. 

    After being out of the starting lineup for much of this season, Taarabt has returned to QPR's midfield with back-to-back goals.

    Mark Hughes' side are bottom of the league but have looked more threatening with Taarabt back in the squad and will be hoping for a good result against Everton.

Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea)

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    Aaron Lennon's inconsistency prevents him from being labelled as one of Europe's top wingers.

    The English player can be superb one game and poor the next. 

    Lennon has been fairly good so far this season but really proved how good he was in Tottenham's game against Aston Villa. The winger was clearly man of the match, with great attacking play and a wonderful goal.

    Aaron Lennon continued his good form in World Cup Qualifying with two assists against San Marino at Wembley.

Olivier Giroud (Norwich City vs. Arsenal)

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    Olivier Giroud is beginning to justify his £12 million transfer fee. The Frenchman moved from Montpellier to Arsenal over the summer but hasn't looked like the striker who scored 21 Ligue 1 goals last season.

    Against West Ham United, Giroud scored his first league goal for his new club and set up Arsenal's late winning goal.

    He then came off the bench in the 86th minute for France against Spain and scored the equalizing goal.

    Arsenal fans will hope that Giroud's reversal in form is permanent.