With international football put to bed again for another few weeks at least, the Premier League will kick back into action this weekend.
Fans and cameras will be peering in anticipation at fixtures across the country as the stars of transfer deadline day look set to introduce themselves to a new set of supporters in their new surroundings. In the case of the more exotic captures, they may even be making their true presence known to English eyes for the first time.
However, there’s sure to be more to see than debutants and unusual faces this weekend, so here’s a few images to look out for over the next few days of football.
England’s goalscorer, Danny Welbeck, leading the line for Arsenal
Whether he was wanted as a loan signing or not, with Olivier Giroud injured and Yaya Sanogo yet to convince up front, Danny Welbeck looks set to make his Arsenal debut against Manchester City this weekend.
Coming straight off England duty with two goals to his name, the former Manchester United forward is sure to be bursting with confidence, especially following the reception he has received from his fellow international team mates already at the Emirates.
However, Arsene Wenger has never been a man afraid of going his own way, and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if he bucked all assumptions and started instead with Sanogo or even Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican was one of the breakthrough stars of the World Cup this summer yet has been strangely overlooked so far by the Gunners. If Welbeck does start though, expect him to receive plenty of attention from the snappers on the sideline, whatever the result.
Mario Balotelli to take advantage of Daniel Sturridge’s national service
Just as Welbeck take advantage of Daniel Sturridge’s injury to spearhead England against Switzerland at the start of the week, Mario Balotelli could well enjoy a similar opportunity to establish himself for Liverpool this weekend.
The Italian is rarely out of the newspapers, whether it’s in the front pages or on the back, yet over the past few days his face has graced a number of positive stories as the English press once again begin to take his mischievous charms to their hearts. We’ll see how long that love-in lasts, but with stories appearing of “Super Mario” encouraging children to work hard in school, and taking time out to tutor youngsters in Liverpool, there’s a positivity around him at present.
Of course, given how the game likes its narratives, and the changeable nature of the player’s antics, this could all just either lead to a emphatic display against Aston Villa, or one of self-destructive bombast to balance out the recent good vibes.
Whatever happens this weekend, with Balotelli cast in the role of Liverpool’s leading man, at least until Sturridge is back fighting fit, it’s unlikely to be boring. Expect the cameras to be clicking whenever the former Manchester City and Milan man comes into view.
The dawn of the Gaal-acticos era at Old Trafford
With just two points to show after three games of Premier League football, it’s hardly been a blockbuster start for Manchester United’s new boss, Louis van Gaal.
Yet while the Dutchman’s team have lacked impact on the field, off it they seem to have dismantled the handbrake once and for all rather than merely releasing it, spending large on a raft of new, glamorous signings.
Radamel Falcao has arrived to increase the goal threat while Daley Blind has come in the shore up the midfield and back line. Both join Marco Rojo, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Angel di Maria on the list of uncommon faces now to be found at Old Trafford. And with all their various minor injuries and work permit problems now cleared up, United could deploy their full complement of stars against visitors QPR this weekend.
Whether it’s images designed to capture the first glimpses of his new era, shots of their talent in action around the goal mouth, or pictures of a triumphant Harry Redknapp and Joey Barton marching off the pitch with a famous three points in the bag, there’s sure to be a flood of photographs from Old Trafford on Sunday.
Chelsea keeping the intensity high
This weekend, Stamford Bridge will play host to a battle between the top two as league leaders Chelsea take on their unexpected chasers Swansea City.
Having won the manager of the month award for August, Gary Monk may well fancy his chances at engineering an upset, but so far Jose Mourinho’s men have looked ferocious, especially going forward.
Swansea haven’t exactly struggled in that department either, using their wit and guile to put two past United’s uncertain defence, and blast West Brom away 3-0. Their other win came against Burnley, who they beat at home, 1-0. Compare that result to Chelsea’s 3-1 trouncing of the Clarets at Turf Moor, where the Blues appeared to be merely warming up and stretching their legs as they came back from behind against Sean Dyche’s side.
Diego Costa levelled the score after just three minutes in that game, and with Mourinho’s team preparing to face Swansea fresh off the back of their 6-3 smash-hit win away to Everton, they won’t struggle to muster a response if the Swans do soar at the Bridge.
Expect a game of quality beyond its first-glance billing, and some images befitting the early momentum of these two sides.
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