EPL Week 2 Picks: Players Who Will Have the Biggest Impact on Key Matchups
With the 2013-14 Premier League season well and truly underway, there will be an array of world-class talent on show up and down the country as teams vie for all three points this weekend.
With the opening weekend of fixtures yielding 25 goals and new players settling in with their teammates as well as adjusting to the pace and culture of England's top flight, each and every week is sure to bring about more excitement, more controversy and some wonderful matches.
And Week 2 of the Premier League will be no different. Some high-profile fixtures are in store for football fans, so we'll take a look at the players that are likely to have the biggest impact on the key matchups.
The Aston Villa striker, who has joined Fulham on a season-long loan after being told by manager Paul Lambert that he is not part of Aston Villa's plans, will be out to prove a point as his new side face Arsenal in the early kickoff on Saturday.
Bent, who scored 21 times in 54 appearances for Villa, will be well-known throughout the Arsenal camp following a two-year spell with their most fierce rivals Tottenham—where he notched 32 goals in 58 appearances for Spurs.
Blessed with a raw eye for goal, Bent has the uncanny ability to score from nothing—something that Fulham boss Martin Jol will hope he can do to take the goalscoring burden off the shoulders of Dimitar Berbatov.
Out of the England fray ahead of a World Cup year, the 29-year-old forward will look to get back to his goalscoring ways in an attempt to impress national coach Roy Hodgson, with the hope of a spot in the England side for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Argentina-born striker made his name whilst playing for Spanish side Espanyol, where he was managed by current Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino.
In the year that Osvaldo spent in Spain, he scored 20 goals in 44 games and finished as one of the league's highest scorers. His impressive campaign earned him a move to Italian giants Roma, where he continued in his fine scoring form—netting 27 times in 55 appearances.
With Pochettino obviously very keen on the Italian, a move was agreed with the 27-year-old for a reported club record fee in the region of £15 million, as the Telegraph reported.
Southampton's opponents Sunderland were downed by Fulham at home after a rather shaky performance, and Osvaldo will look to take advantage of Paolo Di Canio's team's frailties as the two meet on Saturday.
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
Villa's top scorer of last season picked up exactly where he left off as he found the net twice against Arsenal in Villa's opening-day 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor used his electric pace to win two penalties in the match—which effectively downed the Gunners—and as the Birmingham side's chief penalty taker, Benteke stood up and duly netted on both occasions.
Benteke was the Premier League's fourth-highest goalscorer of last term, notching 19 league goals.
Full of confidence and a new contract that sees him reportedly earn double his wages in comparison with his initial contract, as the Daily Mail reported, Benteke is well on his way to surpassing last year's goal tally.
The Belgian forward helped Villa secure a 3-1 victory over Liverpool last term, scoring two fine goals in the process, and will look to achieve a similar feat during this weekend's fixture.
Robin van Persie was the standout player in Manchester United's opening-day victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium as the Dutchman scored two magnificent goals in a 4-1 win.
Van Persie found the net an astonishing 26 times during league games in the 2012-13 campaign.
Up against the likes of John Terry, Cary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, the former Arsenal striker is certain to face a sterner test this weekend when two of the favourites to lift the title go head-to-head.
But with that elusive Premier League title finally under his belt, van Persie's confidence is sure to be sky high as the striker looks to fire Manchester United to another Premier League title.
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