Soccer is far from being a one-man game. However having instrumental players in-form in key games surely increases the chances of winning any match by any team against any opposition. The following is part one of a four-piece feature where I choose one player from each English Premier League team who I believe will be key in his side’s chances achieving their objectives, be it avoiding relegation, reaching the top 4 or winning the title.
During the past year, much has been made of the lack of striking cover Arsenal had for Olivier Giroud. With the emergence of Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell and the £35million acquisition of Alexis Sanchez, Arsene Wenger will surely put all those groans to bed.
Sanchez, who has scored 24 goals in 71 caps for Chile, has arrived from Barcelona with quite an impressive record in the attacking third as he scored 47 and assisted 34 goals in three seasons where he competed against the likes of Lionel Messi, Pedro, David Villa and Neymar for a starting berth.
Arsene Wenger’s back five seem to be getting stronger season after season as Wojciech Szczesny is slowly turning into a top class goalkeeper and Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker’s partnership has forced Thomas Vermaelen to join Barcelona.
Now the onus is on their front players, led by Alexis Sanchez, to bring more glory to the Emirates Stadium. The Tocopilla-born 25-year-old possesses an impressive burst of pace as well as great body strength that allows him to brush challenges ala Sergio Aguero. Much is expected from a player who has cost £60million in transfer money in three years. Will he be the missing piece that finally delivers another Premier League title for Wenger?
In the six Premier League matches that Vlaar missed last season, Aston Villa failed to register a single clean sheet. When he was in the side for the other 32 matches, they managed to keep a clean sheet on nine occasions. Coincidence? Possibly.
Fresh from a tremendous World Cup leading the Dutch defensive line, the Aston Villa skipper will be a huge part of Paul Lambert’s plans for this season. The 29-year-old centre-back has been linked to other clubs but Lambert will be keeping his fingers crossed that the chairman Randy Lerner won’t want to cash in on his captain.
Surely Villa fans all over the world would rather see their trusted-captain lead their defensive line rather than former Fulham and Arsenal misfit Phillippe Senderos!