Premier League: 5 Players with a Point to Prove in Week 9
Premier League fans have a special weekend to enjoy.
Many players have the chance to make a huge impact.
Individuals could start to worry about their futures as we enter the countdown to Christmas.
I've listed five players who have something to prove this week. From flapping goalkeepers to veteran debutants, an array of talent is included.
Let's take a look...
Vito Mannone, Arsenal
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Vito Mannone will retain his place in Arsenal's starting 11 through necessity.
The 24-year-old is quickly learning what it means to be a Premier League goalkeeper.
He's made a number of mistakes since the start of the season. Mannone's failure to deal with Alexander Tettey's effort led to the club's 1-0 downfall at Norwich.
Arsenal's recent inability to score gives Mannone a little breathing space. While his problems have been blatant, the men ahead of him aren't doing their jobs properly, either.
Wenger must support Mannone through a difficult spell. The possibility of dropping the stopper is non-existent.
A little man management is needed instead. The manager has been in full support of his player throughout the season and holds the key to helping him reach peak form.
QPR visit The Emirates looking to cause an upset. Arsenal aren't going to falter once more, are they?
Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
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Javier Hernandez's Champions League performance against Braga was majestic.
He started and sealed Manchester United's 3-2 comeback victory. He also worked extremely hard across his 80-minute appearance.
Little Pea produced three shots on target—more than any other player. His movement took advantage of minimal spaces on a congested pitch.
Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney went about their work in a regimented fashion. As they struggled to break through a disciplined Braga defence, their Mexican counterpart made the most out of scraps.
United travel to Stamford Bridge in a clash between the Premier League's current top two.
If Sir Alex Ferguson's men are to stay above their City rivals, Hernandez's ability to do things differently could be key.
The striker scored a dramatic equaliser in the corresponding fixture last year.
United's leaky defence looks set to struggle in London, indicating Hernandez might need to lace up his shooting (or should that be heading?) boots once more.
Thomas Hitzlsperger, Everton
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Der Hammer could be thrown in at the deep end this weekend.
Steven Pienaar's sending off against QPR means David Moyes has a midfield dilemma on his hands.
Liverpool make the short journey across Stanley Park to face their local rivals. The home team must build upon an excellent start to the season.
A loss to the Reds would see Brendan Rodgers' side close the gap to just three points. Everton need experienced players to take control of a physical midfield battle.
Last season, Jack Rodwell's reckless red card saw the momentum of the fixture change completely.
Hitzlsperger knows hard work will go a long way to extending his stay (via The Daily Mail). A decent debut against Liverpool could thrust him into the limelight.
Moyes has proven short-term deals can have a positive impact on his side. Landon Donovan's stints at Goodison Park helped the Toffees to push up the Premier League table across the last two seasons.
Maybe Hitzlsperger can ensure Everton retain such heights before Christmas.
Jonjo Shelvey, Liverpool
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Jonjo Shelvey is a fearless youngster.
His recent displays underline a player who is quickly gaining confidence at the top level. At times, Shelvey's tenacity and determination has spilled over.
We saw this against Manchester United. The 20-year-old lunged into a tackle with Jonny Evans and received a red card for his efforts.
Will Brendan Rodgers give him a chance in the vital fixture against Liverpool's neighbours? It'll be a close call. Shelvey or Nuri Sahin could join Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen in midfield.
I believe Rodgers should stick with his gutsy midfielder. Sahin is likely to go missing in the centre of the pitch, especially if Marouane Fellaini recovers from injury.
Derbies are a battle of wits as well as footballing ability. Shelvey has both.
Andre Santos, Arsenal
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We started with an Arsenal player. We're going to finish with an Arsenal player.
Andre Santos' Champions League appearance against Schalke was disastrous.
Before the game, he warned his colleagues they were in for a tough time (via The Daily Mail). His concerns were correct.
Unfortunately for Santos, Kieran Gibbs' return from injury can't come soon enough.
The Brazilian's display against Schalke indicated he isn't ready to challenge for a starting place. He failed to complete a dribble across the entire match and lost the ball four times.
Bombing up the wing is all well and good until you lack effectiveness. Santos failed to pose a threat and left huge spaces at the back.
Galatasaray are interested in luring the defender back to Turkey. If he continues to perform like he did in the Champions League, Santos' future might be decided for him.
Who else has a point to prove in Week 9? Let me know in the comments section below or follow me right here:
All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.