5 players who will not welcome the international break, featuring Swansea and Stoke stars
With the Premier League season under-way, it’s fair to say that it hasn’t been hard to figure out who has hit the ground running and who is a step off the pace. While both players and teams as a whole have impressed or failed, in the first of two articles, TBR takes a look at the individuals who would prefer to carry on their form in the domestic campaign rather than pursuing international goals at this moment.
The Algerian has made a stunning start to the campaign notching 4 goals in the first 4 games of the season. One man who’s delighted at this early season form is his new boss Claudio Ranieri. The Tinkerman certainly wouldn’t have expected to be undefeated after games against Spurs and an away day at West Ham. However, the confidence gained from blowing away Sunderland in the season opener enabled players such as Mahrez to shine.
His link up with Vardy has been outstanding while his tireless energy and his direct running has caused nightmares. Mahrez has completed 10 of 14 take on’s while also drawing the same number of fouls. His unpredictability on the ball means defenders are clueless to whether he’s going to come inside or take them for pace down the flank. The freedom given to him by Ranieri enables Mahrez to roam meaning he can’t be man marked while also allowing him to scout out a weakness in the opposition’s back line.
With the international break cutting the Premier League action short, Mahrez will need to focus on his return to Leicester. The connections he had with Vardy and new boy Okazaki need to progress to maintain The Foxes attacking threat which is currently keeping them well away from the relegation zone.
Comparisons to the way Michu started his debut season in South Wales wouldn’t be to dissimilar to the way Andre Ayew has lit up the Premier League. With 3 goals and 1 assist to his name already, Ayew is being labelled the signing of the season after arriving from Marsielle for free.
Andre Ayew has put his brother to shame with his form in the Premier League and the creative number 10 seems to be unfazed by anything. Bearing the 10 shirt, the Ghanaian international now has a 14 day break while teammates play in the European Qualifiers.
Maintaining shape and form will be key to Ayew impressing the Swans fans throughout the season. Ayew needs to ensure his partnership with Bafetimbi Gomis remains after there impressive destruction of Manchester United. The Red Devils have been tipped to bid €100m for Ayew by ex Marsielle president Pape Diouf after his stunning performance against them.
After living a life under the wing of Ivorian powerhouse Wilfried Bony, Bafetimbi Gomis has been on the cusp of leaving The Swans a number of times, often for a big pay slip in Asia. However, now he’s the main man he can’t stop hitting the back of the net.
A similar build to Bony while possessing a little extra pace makes him a handful. His bulgy dribbling technique may not be the neatest on the eye but it is effective. The Frenchman, like Ayew, has a two week break in between fixtures in which he needs to keep himself focused.
Now leading The Swans scoring charts, Gomis is playing to maintain his starting berth over new signing Eder who will be eager to make his debut. A slip in form after the break could see Gomis head back to the dark days suffered when Bony was first choice striker. The Black Panther must come back firing after the international break.
Unhappy with just a place in England’s first team squad, youngster Jack Butland is looking to rip Joe Hart of his no. 1 spot. However, the break may have just come to early in the season for Butland to be able to show his worth.
Yet to keep a clean sheet this season, it may surprise a few that Butland makes the list. However, his coming of age this season along with some spectacular saves, most notably the one on one against his friend Nathan Redmond, has caught a few eyes. The following call-up to the England squad has pleased the Stoke faithful but Butland will know that any complacency or poor attitude will allow veteran Shay Given the chance to make his competitive Stoke debut.
With Hart likely to get the first run out in the two international games, Butland will be sat warming the bench instead of in between the sticks. His confidence could be altered on his return from the national squad and with goalkeeping being one of the most psychological positions, the damaging confidence blow could end Butland’s aspirations.
A calmly dispatched penalty against West Ham to seal his hat-trick has put Callum Wilson on the radar of the Premier League’s finest. The 23 year old was criticised by Alan Shearer for lacking the cutting edge of a Premier League striker on the opening day of the season.
Whether Wilson heard this or not, he’s certainly corrected the Geordie, hitting 4 goals in 2 appearances, single-handedly gaining Bounemouth 4 points. He’s vital to the Cherries and the last thing Eddie Howe would’ve wanted was him to have to weeks off.
The hitman needs to play week in week out, whether for his national team or club, he needs to be focused to ensure he scores the goals to either keep Bournemouth in the league or secure himself a move to an established Premier League club, something Charlie Austin failed or chose against doing.
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