Who to Watch in English Football, v2.0

Last Year Whitsport featured the original Who to Watch in English Football, and it was viewed by nearly 4,000 people. After a diesel month in June, helped by the massive World Cup fever, I hope this year’s Who to Watch… continues to please those who appreciate the beautiful game.

This season I’ll keep the format the same. Here’s who I think will have the biggest impact on their respective Premier League teams this season (positive or negative). We all watched as Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, and Frank Lampard tallied career years. But others did not appear on the Whitsport radar, such as James Milner, Matthew Etherington, and Hugo Rodallega all took home the accolades. Who will it be this year? Here are my thoughts:

Aston Villa: the ultimate tale of “will he? wont he?” James Milner has been coveted by a number of Premier League clubs. If he stays, the club is much stronger as shown by his 7 goals and 12 assists from last year. It will be interesting to see who else emerges under a new manager.

Arsenal: the elusive departure of Cesc Fabregas has been quashed. The Gunners proved to be one of the more dangerous offenses when the Spaniard was in the line-up and hope he can return with an eye on breaking his career high for goals, which he crushed last season.

Birmingham: the Blues’ pesky defense propelled them to the top half of the table last year. Joe Hart won keeper of the year, but returned to City after his loan spell ended. Can Ben Foster stay cool under the pressure and play blunder free footy?

Blackburn Rovers: Although Sam Allardyce’s arrival was likely the main reason for the club’s turnaround, David Dunn was a man on fire in the Riversiders’ midfield before succumbing to injuries. He will look to lead an offense that does not boast a stand-out striker.

Blackpool: after their dramatic promotion playoff victory, they’ll take a team of unknowns against the big boys this year. Midfielder Charlie Adam looks to captain the newly promoted side into battle.

Bolton: despite boasting an established crew of long-time Wanderers, new addition Martin Petrov will be looking to make his mark. The pacey Bulgarian can play all over the midfield and will command more playing time than he did at Eastlands.

Chelsea: while Didier Drogba may have netted more goals than anyone, Frank Lampard continues to be the driving force in the title winning offense. He quickly picked up Ancelotti’s diamond formation and looks to remain just as solid in his 10th season at Chelsea.

Everton: Mikel Arteta will make sure fans remember his potential. His injury plagued 2009 kept him out of the lineup for much of the year, but his return at season’s end reminded us of his importance to the Toffees strike force.

Fulham: Roy Hodgson’s departure may leave the Cottagers with some concerns, but Clint Dempsey will return with the same work ethic that won him admirers during USA’s World Cup run.

Liverpool: with Torres’ injuries, the loss of Benayoun, and the eminent departure of Mascherano, Steven Gerrard will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing calendar year to carry the Reds’ hopes yet again.

Man City: Carlos Tevez may have been the man to spark the Citizen offense last year, but Adam Johnson could really open people’s eyes if given the playing time. His creativity and skill make him a real threat coming down on the wing.

Man United: the main question on people’s minds will be if Wayne Rooney can do it all again this year? After that, it will be up to the youth at United to step-up. New arrival Javier Hernandez, a.k.a. “Chicharito”, could quickly go from super-sub, to starting forward if he keeps his goal pace up.

Newcastle: if any one player is responsible for Toon’s quick return to top flight football, it’s Kevin Nolan. The longtime Bolton star played in 44 games last year, consistently pushing the envelope, and was named Championship Player of the Year.

Stoke City: when you’re leading scorer heads the stat sheet with 5 goals, it’s time to look towards the other side of the ball. Keeper Tomas Sorensen has been one of the most underrated net minders in the league. He’s allowed just 68 goals in 2 seasons, and looks to keep his outings low scoring.

Sunderland: possibly the best signing last year, striker Darren Bent provided some clutch goals including memorable performances against Arsenal, Liverpool, and Bolton. Bent’s comfort in the line-up may mean even more goals this term.

Tottenham: Harry Redkapp returns, after maintaining mostly the same team that earned a CL spot last year. Although Jermain Defoe will look to continue his goal-scoring ways, wild card Gareth Bale finally seems like he’s ready to emerge as the star he’s expected to become.

West Brom: will they be able to stay up this time? Although Bednar and Brunt score most of the goals, Scottish midfielder Graham Dorrans looks to be emerging as the facilitator who can score a few of his own as well.

West Ham: new arrival Frederic Piquionne earned the starting role at Portsmouth last year, and will look to do the same in Avram Grant’s squad again this season. The Hammers will need some goals from him if Calrton Cole leaves, but also because their defense seemed asleep at times last year.

Wigan: Hugo Rodallega provided a few gems during the last campaign. The striker has a knack for scoring key goals in a line-up devoid of stars. The Latics could be fighting for their survival, and will likely call on the Colombian for some more clutch goals.

Wolverhampton: as noticeable by their 20th ranked offense last year, most of Mick McCarthy’s bragging rights lie along the back line. Jody Craddock anchors the defense and provides a few goals from time to time as well.

Well that about does it, please share your thoughts on thuis year’s players to watch… Do you agree with any of these players? Should we be keeping an eye on different guys? You tell us!


3 Responses to Who to Watch in English Football, v2.0

  1. curtinho says:

    Hey thanks for the comment on Kewell Runnings. I like your post, I think you are dead on with the majority of those, I just hope Adam Johnson gets his chance to shine at City and doesn’t vanish under the weight of the new signings.
    I agree with you on Dorrans as well, I reckon he could soon find himself in the upper reaches of the table if he performs this season. Maybe Everton/Villa.
    Very good post.

  2. Pingback: Who to watch in English Football this year | Whit's Sport Weblog

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