As we arrive at the quarter mark for the current Premier League season the standings are starting to take shape, although who would have ever thought we would see Tottenham rock bottom or Hull City in the Champions League places. As such it is another big weekend of fixtures coming up and about time players started to perform. Here we will have a quick look at those who might be expected to up their game.
- Robbie Keane – With Fernando Torres set to miss this weekend top of the table clash against Chelsea a lot will be riding on the former Spurs striker. Having scored in midweek against Atletico Madrid Keane finally looks to be settling down at Anfield and perhaps the game at Stamford Bridge may be the place where the Irish forward can stake a claim to the second strikers position alongside Torres. Keane has yet to score for Liverpool in the Premier League and Chelsea will be a difficult place to break his duck. However Keane has a decent recent record against the Blues, having scored in two of their last five meetings. The 28-year-olds goalscoring odds maybe be worth a look this weekend.
- Joey Barton – With Newcastle short of players jailbird Joey maybe in with a shout of getting his first start against Sunderland since completing his six match suspension. Barton failed to make friends (surprisingly) in last seasons Tyne-Wear derby when he was guilty of a horrific challenge on Dickson Etuhu but managed to escape any punishment. The former Man City midfielder has this week said he would like to become a role model and knows he has done wrong with this Saturday’s match giving him the perfect opportunity to show he has mended his ways.
- Jo – Since arriving for a then club record fee of £18m the Brazilian striker has failed to set Eastlands alight with some of the samba magic we might have been expecting. Having missed a number of games through injury at the start of the season Jo has begun to get a decent run in the City side but despite a goal against Portsmouth more has been expected of the 22-year-old. With the visit of Stoke this weekend Jo might be expected to shine against a mediocre defence and try to step out of the shadow cast by a certain other record breaking Brazilian. However Jo is low on confidence and I don’t expect him to boost Manchester City’s Premier League odds any time soon.
- Tottenham – Having said I would only single out players this whole page could have been filled with under performing Spurs players. Another week, another bout of misery for Tottenham fans as they were first humbled by Stoke before suffering defeat to Udinese. Heurelho Gomes hasn’t been the goalkeeper many were expecting and his display in the Uefa Cup won’t have inspired any confidence. The likes of Johnathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson have hardly held things together at the back to be fair whilst Luka Modric and David Bentley are still finding their feet at White Hart Lane. Finally we come to major problem, the strikers, Darren Bent seems low on confidence whilst Roman Pavlyuchenko is still adjusting to the Premier League. With a shocking record of five Premier league goals scored in nine games it is hard to see how Tottenham are going to turn it around. This Sunday presents a glorious opportunity to boost confidence at the club before the north London derby with Arsenal when they face Bolton at home. The Trotters themselves are struggling for goals and were fairly poor last time out against Blackburn. Juande Ramos must get his tactics right this weekend because Spurs fans patience is wearing thin and they will expect a result on Sunday.