The second half of the season is about to get underway as we welcome the first round of Premier League fixtures in 2014. Some of the following players performed well against their opponents earlier on in the season, some are facing up against old clubs whilst others are returning from injury and hope to have a positive impact on their team. Here are ten players to watch ahead of the New Years’ Day fixtures.
Up against his former club Cardiff City who are not exactly having the best of times given everything that has occurred off the field. Ramsey also scored twice against the side where he cut his teeth earlier on in the season, and he could be the man to provide the goals for Arsenal again.
Parker faces up against one of his former clubs in the form of West Ham United and has come up with a couple of crucial displays during the reign of Rene Muelenstein in the Fulham dugout – even though that is still in the infancy. What will he do against the Hammers?
Rooney missed out in Manchester United’s win over Norwich at the weekend but looks as though he will be fit for Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to Old Trafford in the evening kick off. United are on a good run so can Rooney influence a fifth successive Premier League victory?
He seemed to be exiled under Andre Villas-Boas, but Tim Sherwood has brought him in from the cold and the striker seems to be performing pretty well. Spurs will hope he can keep up that kind of performance at Old Trafford, in order to repeat their great victory against Manchester United that they came up with last season.
With Liverpool now feeling the effects of injuries, the prospect of their skipper returning to the side against Hull City is a welcome one. He is a little ahead of schedule, so it may be a bit of a risk to start him, so expect the coaching staff to keep a close eye on him as they hope that even if he doesn’t play the full 90 minutes, he will be able to have a telling impact and get Liverpool back to winning ways.
Anelka has been in the headlines for a controversial celebration the past few days, which has overshadowed the fact he scored his first two goals for West Bromwich Albion against West Ham at the weekend. Can he use that as a springboard and kick on against Newcastle United?
Another day, another newspaper report linking the Everton left-back with a move away from Goodison Park to be reunited with his former boss David Moyes at Manchester United. However, he will be in the Blues side to face Stoke City as Everton look to carry their good form into the second half of the season and sustain their challenge for Champions League qualification.
Benteke has been short of goals and Villa are in desperate need of a win given their recent run of results. Where better for them to start than against the side that’s at the foot of the Premier League table in the form of Sunderland?
Sagbo gave Liverpool a torrid time at the KC Stadium in early December as Hull City humbled Liverpool. Now with Hull travelling to Anfield, Sagbo will be hoping for a repeat performance in the hope he can help his side to another stunning result against the Reds.
The Manchester City striker is going nowhere in this transfer window according to Manuel Pellegrini. Dzeko scored the winner against Crystal Palace to preserve their 100% home record and keep up City’s pursuit at the top of the table. He may not start, but knowing Dzeko he may be the man to score the decisive goal at the Liberty Stadium.
image: © wonker