Football

EPL SPOTLIGHT: Can Welbeck prove LVG wrong?

It's been a long wait, but we're finally going to see all those deadline day signings in English Premier League action following the international break. Will Danny Welbeck be able to deliver against Man City? How will Louis van Gaal cram all those new players into his team? And is Alan Pardew out of time? This week, the EPL Spotlight falls on...

DANNY WELBECK
It's time to kick on. The England international's ​£16 million ($32.8m) departure from Manchester United has been used as a stick to repeatedly beat Louis van Gaal with since the closure of the transfer window.

It has prompted the Dutchman to declare that the United youth product did not deliver enough goals compared to Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

While Welbeck apologists will be quick to point out that young Danny was often handed a wing role instead of a central berth at United, there won't be any more room for excuses now.

With Olivier out injured, Arsene Wenger will almost certainly turn to as his main striker on Saturday against Manchester City at the Emirates. If there's someone who can help a stagnated young player like Welbeck, it's certainly Wenger, who did a similar job with a certain chap named Thierry Henry.

The English media might be prematurely hyping Welbeck up after his two goals against Switzerland, but there's no better time for the 23-year-old to prove van Gaal wrong and show everyone his critics that it wasn't just a flash in the pan.

MANCHESTER CITY
While losing to Stoke in their last outing certainly isn't helpful, the champions don't have much cause to worry just yet.

But another meek defeat at Arsenal could very well change that and turn a slip into a slump.

LOUIS VAN GAAL AND MANCHESTER UNITED
The Manchester United intrigue continues. While a section of Manchester United fans would have been a lot happier if their club had signed a bonafide central defender or defensive midfielder instead of Radamel Falcao, the fact of the matter is that their club has amassed a forward line that will make any rival fan envious. Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria. In one transfer window. Yowsers.

With all of their summer signings now fit and available to play, how will van Gaal set his team out against Queens Park Rangers? Will he stubbornly stick to his 3-5-2 system or will he change things around and adopt a four-man system at the back? Will the versatile Daley Blind slot into defensive midfield or will he be handed a wing-back role? Or is di Maria going to play in the middle instead of on the wing, where he proved so deadly for Argentina against Germany in their World Cup final rematch?

They are an intriguing bunch of questions that the Dutch tactician can't afford to get wrong, especially after fumbling through his first four competitive matches in charge.


RIO FERDINAND
Harry Redknapp's attempt to big up Ferdinand for his return to Manchester United would certainly carry more weight if QPR hadn't been so shambolic in their 0-4 loss to Spurs in their second game.

With Falcao set to be unleashed by van Gaal, the 35-year-old centre-back will have to draw upon some of his best performances at Old Trafford to tame El Tigre.

CHELSEA AND SWANSEA
The Swans are certainly the underdogs at Stamford Bridge, especially with Jose Mourinho's side in rampant form.

That said, no one imagined Garry Monk's side taking a historical three points from Old Trafford, albeit against a Manchester United that was in disarray.

Monk won the EPL Manager of the Month Award with three wins from three league games.

Expect a good match between the league's two remaining sides with perfect records.

ALAN PARDEW
The pressure is mounting at St James' Park. While it could be said that Pardew has done well to hang on to the Magpies job for what seems like a mammoth four years (an eternity in Newcastle manager terms), it's worth noting that the former Southampton boss has not yet reached two years into his ludicrously long eight-year deal signed on Sept 27 in 2012.

While Pardew was justified in loaning out Hatem Ben Arfa for his perceived lack of professionalism, he simply fashioned a rod for his own back by not bringing in a replacement for a clear fan favourite, especially with the club registering a staggering 14 losses out their 22 EPL games this calendar year. 

Without Joe Kinnear to hide behind this time for Newcastle's rather uninspiring transfer activity, Pardew must coax a convincing performance out of his charges against his former club Southampton at St Mary's if he is to have any hope of keeping his job.


FABIO BORINI
With Daniel Sturridge out with a thigh knock, it's now or never for Fabio Borini, who snubbed first-team football at QPR and Sunderland for a place on Liverpool's bench. And that's if 32-year-old Rickie Lambert doesn't get the nod first.

 

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