Opinion: Now Or Never For These EPL Players by @Komptrolla
The EPL season hits our screen in a fortnight, after the customary community shield cup between league champions Chelsea and FA cup winners Arsenal this weekend.
Players have moved, motivations have changed, expectations have skyrocketed and now, there are new points to prove.
For some, it's about taking chances, for some, it's about creating the chances with exceptional training performances while some in this category have to depend on luck - which could come in form of poor form or injury for the first choice players; for some it's about proving points based on movements, for some it's about their price tags, and for the rest, it's not about the money, nor the fame but the good of the game.
I present to you, a team that must deliver now or perish into oblivion like a certain football manager legend, Freddy Adu.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Situation: For the good of the game
The major reason Petr Cech jumps ahead of Sergio Romero and Mignolet on this list is basically because Arsenal fans already labelled him as their prophesied messiah.
On his shoulders rest the title dreams of every social media Arsenal fan, to be fair to him he has nothing to prove in the EPL, he has been there done that, he has won everything, done everything and achieved the legendary status.
But at Arsenal, he must live up to Arsenal's needs, the EPL trophy, his leadership skills must come to play, he must organize the Arsenal defense and make the lads responsible with positional coordination, rival fans will target him and wait on his errors, this is his most important season...
Come On Petr!
Right back: Nathaniel Clyne
It certainly was a dream move for Clyne from St Mary's stadium to Anfield, the England right back excelled last season and did his part in the rise and rise of the Saints as they pushed Liverpool and Spurs all season long.
Already a victim of hype, he has on his shoulders the hopes of England at the right fullback position, he will most likely walk into the first team week in week out at Anfield as long as he stays fit and in form.
The release of Glen Johnson and the immaturity of Flanagan will do him a lot of good, he must live up to his price tag and the weight of expectation especially from the British media
Left back: Luke Shaw
Injury made it rather unfair to label Luke Shaw's first season at Old Trafford as a big money flop, certainly not worth the price tag, whichever way you choose to look at it from, he was rock solid at Southampton, promising with years ahead of him.
But Evra's shoes are not easy to fill, glimpses of brilliance were noticed once a while when he comes in to play but obviously not to his potentials as seen at Southampton, this is the season for Luke Shaw to make it big or nosedive into oblivion.
Daley Blind or Marcos Rojo are experienced players that could fill the left back void at Manchester United, LVG is not a very patient coach, if you have anything to offer, today is too late to prove it, do it now Luke!
Center back: Dejan Lovren
Another Anfield recruit from St Mary's stadium, a pivotal part of the Pochetino reigns at Southampton, everyone expected him to ignite Anfield with commanding performance week in week out, sadly he was the weakest link last season, his penalty miss at Besiktas in the Europa league summed up his bad year, bookmakers lost money on him but he has it all to prove this term, if the Liverpool recruits will have a great year, it must start from Lovren, he has to roll back the years and bring back the performance that earned him plaudits at Southampton, more importantly, the continual existence of Brendan Rodgers at the helm of affairs at Anfield lies in the hands of this Croatian...
Get in Dejan!
Center back: Micah Richards
Micah Richards was the big thing at the city of Manchester stadium many years ago.
He was the first name on the team sheet, as a teenage sensation, his versatility in defense afforded Stuart Pearce the luxury of choice, English media labelled him the Cafu of English football, a name they would later give to Liverpool's Flanagan, injury and poor form soon elevated Dediok Boyata ahead of him and a better forgotten awkward loan spell in the Serie A sanctioned his sale to Villa park.
There's age on his side to prove a point and steal the attention again, in a team that will need more than luck this term, Richards must work 25hours a day if he'll ever wear the three lions shirt on the pitch as a player again hence he would do as a mere fan from the stands if he's got the heart.
Midfielder: Bastian Schweinstegger
Manchester United snapped up the big German in time ahead of their summer tour and gave him a debut in their 1:0 win thanks to Morgan Schneiderlin's header.
However Bastian landed in the physio's room afterwards with an undisclosed injury believed to be knee problems. With the pedigree of Schweini, one can only imagine what fortress he'll offer the United defense.
At 31, he has a point to prove as a leader and midfield anchor in a team that is healing, considering the fact that there are names around him jostling for the same role, the World Cup winner must step up if the Old Trafford faithfuls would have a season to remember.
Midfielder: Jack Wilshere
When Barcelona came to the emirates in 2011, Jack Wilshere was the stand out performer in a midfield that had Xavi and Iniesta, he was the real deal, fast forward few months later, an injury at the annual Emirates cup made sure he was out for 14months, off field issues set in too sometimes but you can't take away his talents, on his days he can wreck havocs, his devastating form towards the end of last season suggests what to hope for if he stays fit and out of trouble too, he may have been given too much to contain by his FA chief who said he is required to be Andreas Iniesta at Arsenal and Andrea Pirlo for the Three Lions, he can, he flourished from a deep lying role at Arsenal way back and his forays upfront these days suggest he can too, but with the expectations gathered by the lofty dreamers of the British media, it's now or never for Wilshere who must fight for his place in the Arsenal squad... Good luck Jackie!
Midfielder: Kevin Mirallas
It is still uncertain whether Mirallas will be at Everton at the end of the transfer season, but wherever he finds himself in September he must prove himself.
He broke into limelight under David Moyes and continued his progress when Roberto Martinez took the reigns, last season is better forgotten for the Belgian, who couldn't nail a starting shirt in a squad he was once the first name on the team sheet.
No doubt Kevin is a fantastic footballer with two good feet, whatever he got wrong that froze him out of the toffees lineup last term must be quickly fixed, if he'll ever make the trip to the next euro championship he must get it right this new season.
Forward: Theo Walcott
Walcott has failed to live up to the expectations of the fans following his inclusion in the 2006 English World Cup squad under Sven Goran Ericsson.
At 26, it's now or never for the winger, having twice lingered on contract extensions at Arsenal, it's time to ask if he's really worth a new deal at the Emirates, some fine finishes have justified his request for upfront role but his poor positioning and inconsistency remain in doubts. Injury at home to Spurs in January 2014 ruled him out for almost a year, that has been the story over the years, the fleet footed forward must justify the rumored new deal and live up to the brilliance that fans of England and Arsenal would relish... Step up Theo!
Forward: Raheem Sterling
£49m British record signing Raheem Sterling has on his shoulders the weight of outrageous expectations, a talented individual no doubt, and certainly the future of English football if properly managed.
If there's any season for him to get things right it has to be now, big money signings are always under the scrutiny of the spotlight and he has inspirations to fork out from Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Mesut Ozil and Rio Ferdinand who have all lived up to their big money moves.
A certain Fernando Torres also comes to mind but Sterling can be hopeful, bookmakers have picked Sterling to fail, the more reason why he must do more than pre-season goals, he definitely will be booed each time the opponent is Liverpool and shouldn't complain considering the ugly drama that enveloped his reluctant sale, the media is unforgiving, fans are impatient and stardom practically unpredictable. Get ready Raheem.
Forward: Andy Carrol
How do we explain the situation of the once heralded Gabriel Batistuta of English football? A menace as a 19year old striker at St James's park one moment, then a big money flop at Anfield the next and then an indifferent hot and cold striker at Westham.
Bulk of the blames lie with the lofty expectations of the British media that is typically fond of hyping average players and make them look like what they're not.
Roy Hodgson has assured Andy Carrol of a call up to the national team if he can break grounds this season, it's highly in the latter's hands now to take the chances when they come, the potentials are there, maybe not worth the £35m price tag that was the only thing spectacular about his transfer to Liverpool, any substandard performance this new season will give a befitting burial to his England hopes and any big move in the EPL.
Article written by @Komptrolla