The international break is over and league games around the world resume this weekend.
The English Barclays Premier League has lots of Nigerian followers who can’t wait for the games to kick off on Saturday, September 12.
Completesportsnigeria.com’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI takes a look at the five key events to look out for this weekend in the Premier League.
1. Debuts For Summer Deadline-Day Signings
This weekend Barclays Premier League clubs will look to hand debuts to some of their new stars.
From Anthony Marshal (Man United) to Victor Moses (West Ham United), Son (Tottenham Hotspur), to name a few, the EPL clubs are looking forward to the impact their new stars will have on their campaign.
If the new players produce quality performances this weekend, especially those that arrived in the latter part of the transfer window, that will be considered money well spent.
However it will be a tough one week-or few days at least, for players, managers and club owners whose performances are adjudged to be ‘misses’ and not ‘hits’ after this weekend’s matches.
2. All Eye On Dea Gea, Wenger, Louis van Gaal, John Stones
The summer transfer window may have ended but the actions or inaction of few will continue to attract media and fans’ comments.
Arsenal became the only club in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player despite transfer speculation on deadline day insisting that manager Arsene Wenger was offered PSG and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani.
The ‘Wenger Out’ banner could be unfurled this weekend if a revamped Stoke City side, hitherto known for their physical approach to the game, defeat the Gunners on Saturday or even go 1-0 ahead during the game.
The decision of Arsene Wenger not to dip his hands inside Arsenal purse and buy a proven striker has been lambasted even further with the announcement that striker Danny Welbeck has been ruled out for at least until Christmas, though England manager Roy Hodgson believes the former Manchester United forward will be out of action until March 2016.
Manchester United paid an outrageous £36m for 19-year-old striker Anthony Marshal from Monaco.
The add-ons is expected to make the figures rise to as much as £58m.
Marshal is a youngster with promise but the media and fans scrutiny will be intensified if the French international fails to hit the ground running and score bucketful of goals.
Man United manager Louis van Gaal seems to be losing confidence in him.
The former Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Dutch national team coach decided to sell Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) to Bayer Leverkusen and Robin van Persie to Fernabahce. These are decisions that could haunt the Red Devils this season.
Then the way David Dea Gea reacts to his transfer debacle from United to Real Madrid will be another interesting thing to watch out for as league actions resume this weekend.
The Spain international was on duty as the former world Cup winners and current European champions defeated Macedonia 1-0 on Tuesday in an Euro 2016 qualifier.
Madrid claimed the former English champions deliberately thwarted their hopes of getting their man on transfer deadline day.
Will De Gea be reinstated in the team or will Louis van Gaal keep faith with out of sorts Sergio Romero?
Will Chelsea fans boo Everton manager Roberto Martinez, the Everton chairman or summer target John Stones?
The British journalists especially, and United fans all over the world will have their eyes on that one.
3. Referees’ Performance Assessment
The referees in England have come under scathing criticisms for their different interpretation of the rules of the game.
From ‘offside’ goals, to legitimate goals being disallowed, nasty tackles either not punished or just vindictive measures taken against players and managers by the referees, attention will be on the officials as the EPL resumes this weekend.
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has called on the authorities to ensure that another video technology that detects a legitimate goal and when a player is in an offside position is acquired for the Premier League.
This came after Aaron Ramsey’s goal was overruled on Monday August 24 by Andre Marriner against Liverpool.
The red card handed to Chelsea captain John Terry was another talking point in the first four weeks of the season.
4. Clubs’ Injury Woes: Players On International Duties
Clubs fear the international break during the season.
Managers are always worried that their players could return from international commitments carrying various degrees of injuries.
From countries poorly ranked by FIFA, to travelling long miles by the players and poor pitches, there are so many reasons for clubs and their supporters to dislike the many international games played during the season.
But the fear of injuries is clearly the worst nightmare for club managers/ coaches.
So we could see some players who have not had much playing time getting on the pitch this weekend to replace their teammates who were unlucky whilst representing their countries.
5. Players Rotation As European Competitions Beckon
The UEFA Champions League and the Europa League return next week.
Some top European clubs, including those in England could tweak their line-ups as they seek to start their European commitments on bright notes.
At some clubs, the managers have first choice keepers for the league games and others for either the Champions League or the Europa League.
This could be a factor when we see the team sheets this weekend.
The glamour of the Barclays Premier League is well and truly back, well at least until October 8 when the next international break comes around.