EPL Predictions 2014: Early Season Stars Heading for a Fall

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EPL Predictions 2014: Early Season Stars Heading for a Fall
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Stevan Jovetic was the star of the show on Monday evening as reigning champions Manchester City swept aside Liverpool 3-1 to conclude the second round of the 2014/15 Premier League season.

The 24-year-old, who made just seven starts in all competitions last year due to injuries, has been one of the bright spots in the opening fortnight along with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa for Chelsea and Erik Lamela for Tottenham Hotspur.

But as the season starts to gather pace and the transfer window comes to a close, whose stars are set to fade?

 

Danny Rose

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Just one of four teams to pick up maximum points from their opening two games, Tottenham have certainly started well under new manager Mauricio Pochettino. With five goals scored and none conceded there has been praise for the much-improved Lamela, Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli, both of whom have netted twice, as well as left-back Danny Rose.

The 24-year-old, who signed a new five-year deal with Spurs over the summer, has in fact been one of the club’s most impressive players so far, seemingly spurred on by the addition of Ben Davies from Swansea, as noted by Spurs fan site Spurs In The Blood:

The question for Rose, though, is can he maintain his form? And if he can’t, how long before Davies, bought for around £10 million, replaces him? The coming month will certainly be a challenge for Rose as Spurs face Liverpool and Arsenal as well as make a trip to Sunderland. If he can maintain his early season form he should keep his place, but any dips and Pochettino will surely not hesitate to replace him with summer signing Davies.

 

Aaron Ramsey

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So far, so good for Aaron Ramsey, who has continued where he left off last season with two goals in two matches. The Welshman grabbed the late winner on the opening day against Crystal Palace and was in the right place at the right time again on Saturday to net against Everton.

But every hot streak has to come to an end at some point, and Ramsey’s overall performances so far this season have not been the best, as was highlighted during the game at Goodison Park.

When the goals do eventually dry up, will Ramsey be able to raise his game and contribute to the team in other ways? There is no doubt that he has come on leaps and bounds in the past year and is probably now the first name on the Arsenal team sheet every week. But the big test will be whether Ramsey can maintain his stunning form if the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez find their feet and start to steal some of the limelight.

He still looks set to be a pivotal player for the Gunners again this season, but it would not be a surprise to see his form dip at some point.

 

Lee Cattermole

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The Chronicle’s James Hunter described Lee Cattermole as the "beating heart" of the Sunderland team following their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Saturday. He added: "More than any other, he is the man who provides the glue which holds the side together. ... In my view, Sunderland always look a better team when Cattermole plays."

Cattermole has indeed enjoyed a stellar start to the season, and his display on Sunday earned him a spot in Goal.com's Premier League Team of the Week. But there is always a feeling with Cattermole that trouble might be just around the corner. Hunter notes that the 26-year-old has a "chequered disciplinary history," and few would bet against him soon topping the list of all-time Premier League red cards—he currently sits joint-second with seven, per StatBunker.com.

As impressive as he has looked against West Brom and Manchester United, it would not be a surprise to see Cattermole soon serving another suspension. If that does happen then Liam Bridcutt might get his chance in the midfield, and Cattermole could face a battle to reclaim his place.

 

Philippe Senderos and Ron Vlaar

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After finishing with the fourth-worst goal difference in the Premier League last season, few people would have predicted that Aston Villa would start the 2014/15 campaign with consecutive clean sheets. But with new signing Philippe Senderos and captain Ron Vlaar forming a solid partnership at the back, that is exactly what they have achieved.

Garth Crooks of BBC Sport even included Senderos in his Team of the Week, saying: "Both his league performances this season have been outstanding, while his partnership alongside Ron Vlaar in Villa's goalless draw with Newcastle was once again impressive."

Unfortunately for Villa fans, it appears unlikely that this defensive solidarity will last much longer. Following their home match with Hull this weekend, Villa’s next five Premier League fixtures are against Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Everton.

If they come out of that minefield with five points then Paul Lambert will probably be satisfied, but clean sheets might be at a premium for Senderos and Vlaar.

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