Tag Archives: Marko Marin

Premier League 2012/13 Predictions

The wait is finally over as the new Premier League season kicks-off today and here my predictions for the 2012/13 campaign.

Champions?

Manchester City are the favourites for me to win the title again this season. They broke their duck last season and got the monkey of their back. They now know how to cope with certain situations and how to get through games. Roberto Mancini and City both will have learnt a lot from last season. I know they haven’t sign anybody – except for Jack Rodwell – but they already have a very strong squad which is more than capable of winning the league again.

At the same time, I expect the title race to be very close like last season and may again go down to the very last day. Manchester United have got Robin van Persie and they will surely be right up there. They have also go their skipper – Nemanja Vidic coming back from injury, and he would be like a completely new signing for the club.

Top Four?

The two Manchester clubs will occupy the top two places and it will be either Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham for the remaining two places. I will go with Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Blues will be a better team than what they were last season. They have bought some very good young players like Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, that are going to attack a lot. With Didier Drogba moving to China, Fernando Torres will have a big season, as he will have to fill the big shoes of the Ivorian. If Torres could get his old Liverpool form back, which made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, then the Blues could even challenge for the title.

It’s going to be very tight between Arsenal and Tottenham for the final Champions League spot. I fill Arsenal will just sneak into fourth because of the great football they play. They may have lost Van Persie and might also lose Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud they have bought in some quality players. As for Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas is a very talented manager but he needs to get the forward line sorted soon and also find a replacement for Luka Modric.

Bottom Three?

It’s really tough to call who will go down this season. Every year I feel Wigan will be relegated but they somehow stay up. This season again I am going to say Wigan. They have made two good signings in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone, but they could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again. Norwich had a very good season last term under Paul Lambert, but with him moving away to a bigger club they are going struggle along with Reading. I really hope the Royals stay up but they are a very attacking side. That will make them entertaining but also vulnerable.

Surprise Package?

With the expected arrival of Gaston Ramirez, it makes Southampton one of the entertaining teams in the Premier League. They have lots of exciting attacking players throughout the side and I can see them doing what Norwich or Swansea did last season. At the same time, I think Mark Hughes’ QPR side will be the overachievers this season. Hughes kept the R’s up on the final day last season and I am expecting a very good campaign from them this year. They have made some very good signings in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett and Jose Bosingwa. They will be very hard to beat and could even finish in the top half of the table.

Top Scorer?

We will be looking at a lot of the same names again this season. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will form a deadly combo at United, while Luis Suarez – if he can control himself – will benifit a lot in Brendan Rodgers attack-minded Liverpool side and with Arsenal creating lot of chances Lukas Podolski will also be up there. But in the end Sergio Aguero will win the Golden Boot this season. He had a tremendous first season in England and I expect him to get even better this season. If City do go on to defend their Premier League crown, it will be because of his goals.

Player to Watch?

There are so many exciting players to watch in the Premier League this season. As a United fan I love watching Steven Gerrard play because he is a true inspiration to his team-mates and can single handedly win a game for Liverpool and I hope he stays fit for the whole season.

However, I feel Eden Hazard will be my player to watch this season. His transfer saga went on for months and in the end he revealed on Twitter that he had decided to join Chelsea. He is one of the top talents in world football and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the second consecutive time last season. He will have a huge role to play for Chelsea this season and will also have to justify his big transfer fees. If he can star as he did for his previous club then the Blues could be in with a shout for the Premier League title.

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Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Chelsea

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Chelsea’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Roberto Di Matteo.
Captain: John Terry.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge (42,055).
Last season: 6th.
Leading scorer (PL): Frank Lampard (11).
Odds: Title 9-2. Relegation 500-1.

In: Eden Hazard (£32.5m, Lille), Thorgan Hazard (£880k, Lens), Marko Marin (£8.6m, Werder Bremen), Oscar (£22m, Internacional).

Out: Patrick van Aanholt (Loan, Vitesse), Jose Bosingwa (Released), Kevin de Bruyne (Loan, Werder Bremen), Jeffrey Bruma (Loan, Hamburg), Ulises Davila (Loan, Sabadell), Matej Delac (Loan, Guimaraes), Didier Drogba (Free, Shanghai Shenhua), Ben Gordon (Loan, Birmingham), Tamas Kalas (Loan, Vitesse) Salomon Kalou (Free, Lille), Romelu Lukaku (Loan, West Brom).

Kits

Key Man – Fernando Torres
Didier Drogba’s departure has left a huge hole up front for Chelsea to fill. And who better to replace the strong, physical Ivorian than the Euro 2012 Golden Boot Winner? The Spaniard has proved that he is still a top finisher by scoring four goals in Poland/Ukraine last month, but can he continue the same goal-scoring form in the Premier Leagie this season is a big question. Torres’ mercurial feet and top-class finishing will play a massive role in Chelsea’s campaign and will decide whether the Blues are serious title contenders or just top four finishers.

Opening Fixtures
19-Aug – Wigan (A)
22-Aug – Reading (H)
25-Aug – Newcastle (H)
15-Sep – QPR (A)
22-Sep – Stoke (H)
30-Sep – Arsenal (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Hazard, Mata; Torres.

Verdit: Despite winning the FA Cup and the coveted Champions League trophy, the new permanent boss Di Matteo will be expected to hit the ground running in the Premier League from the start. Failure to do so may test Roman Abramovich’s patience yet again. The Blues have boosted the squad by some heavy summer spending and are sure title contenders. I expect them to perform much better than last year but not enough to break the Manchester domination and finish in the top two.

Prediction: 3rd.

Premier League New Signings Best XI

With just over two weeks to go for the new 2012/13 Premier League season to begin, we continue to look forward to it and build up for the new season. Today, we have decided to make a best XI of the new signings done by the Premier League clubs this summer.  

The team is formed by using the 4-2-3-1 formation. It also has a manager (who has been recently appointed) and seven substitutes. Have a look at the them and feel free to comment below.

GK – ROBERT GREEN (WEST HAM TO QPR – FREE)

The experienced England keeper may be still haunted by the goal he conceded against USA in the 2010 World Cup, but he is a safe and reliable man to have inbetween the sticks. Hughes snapped him up for free after his contract with the Hammers came to an end this June.

RB – NATHANIEL CLYNE (CRYSTAL PLACE TO SOUTHAMPTON – £2M)

The young, highly-rated but talented right-back joined the Saints for a compensation fee after his contract with the Eagles expiered in the summer. The 21-year-old, who was once a target of Manchester United, will add a lot pace to Southampton’s defence and will be a constant threat on the right-side.

CB – JAN VERTONGHEN (AJAX TO TOTTENHAM – £11M)

The Belgium international was chased by a hosts of top clubs across Europe, but in the end Tottenham won the race to sign him. With Ledley King having announced his retirement in the past month, Vertonghen will be a perfect addition to the squad and his presence will be felt at the back.

CB – RON VLAAR (FEYENOORD TO ASTON VILLA – £3.5M)

The Dutch international has spent the best part of his eight year career at Feyenoord and the hard tackling defender – who had a decent Euro 2012 campaign compared to his team – will be a great addition to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side – who have been poor at the back in the past couple of seasons.

LB – FABIO (MANCHESTER UNITED TO QPR – LOAN)

The young United left-back has been primed for big things in the future, but his opportunities and Old Trafford have been very limited. The pacey Brazilian, who is good with either foot is expected to be R’s first choice left-back at Loftus Road and will be hoping to impress his employees with a good season under Mark Hughes.

CM – OSCAR (INTERNACIONAL TO CHELSEA – £28M)

The young Brazilian has been one of the top performers for his country at the Olympics this year and his big money move to Chelsea has excited a lot of fans. The playmaker, who has great vision, passing and an eye for spectacular goals, is tipped for big things at Stamford Bridge.

CM -GYLFI SIGURDSSON (HOFFENHEIM TO TOTTENHAM – £8.8M)

The Iceland international had a very successful loan spell with Swansea last term and that attracted a lot of suitors for the 22-year-old midfielder. The former Reading star snubbed offers from Liverpool and Swansea to join Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham and is expected to play a major role at White Hart Lane this season.

LW – LUKAS PODOLSKI (FC KOLN TO ARSENAL – £11.4M)

It’s not often that you see Arsene Wenger buying experienced and proven talents over youngsters, but this signing of the German international, who has more than 100 caps to his name, could be a masterstroke and could well help the Gunners win their first ever major silverware in more than seven years.

CAM – SHINJI KAGAWA (DORMUND TO MANCHESTER UNITED – £13.2M)

Kagawa has seen a steap rise in his career from Japanese League football to Premier League football in the last three years or so. The Japanese international was named the Bundesliga player of the season last term after helping Dortmund do the domestic double and his transfer to United has delighted the United fans. The playmaker is expected to play a key role in helping United regain their Premier League title this season.

RW – EDEN HAZARD (LILLE TO CHELSEA – £32.5M)

The highly-rated playmaker was the most sought-after property in Europe at the start of the summer. Manchester City and Manchester United were both interested in him, but in the end Chelsea landed the Belgium international after winning the Champions League. Roman Abramovich has again splashed a lot of money on a youngster who is expected to become one of the best player in the world.

ST – OLIVIER GIROUD (MONTPELLIER to ARSENAL – £10.5M)

The France international had a great last season as helped Montpellier win their first ever league title in their history. Arsenal ssigned the striker early in the summer beating off competition from several clubs across Europe. With skipper Robin van Persie expected to leave in the near future, Giroud will have a huge role to play this season.

Manager – ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (UNEMPLOYED TO TOTTENHAM)

The Portuguese had a distatourous time at Stamford Bridge which lasted for just over nine months, after he had helped Porto to do the treble in the previous season by winning the League, domestic cup and the Europa League. Villas-Boas was given another chance to prove himself in the Premier League after he was appointed as the new boss at White Hart Lane to succeed Harry Redknapp. The 34-year-old will be hoping make the most of his second chance and help Tottenham secure Champions League football for the next season.

Subs – Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton to West Ham for Free), Steven Whittaker (Rangers to Norwich for Free), James Collins (Aston Villa to West Ham for £2.8m), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen to Chelsea for £8.6m), Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United to QPR for £2.7m), Junior Hoilett (Blackburn to QPR for Free), Fabio Borini (Roma to Liverpool for £11.7m).

Chelsea’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Chelsea ended the last season on a high by winning both the FA Cup and the Champions League but were very poor in the league and finished sixth in the Premier League table.

This summer, the Blues have already strengthen their squad by adding the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin and the highly-rated Eden Hazard to their ranks, but at the same time, they have lost a few first team players in Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa. Roberto Di Matteo – who guided them to FA Cup and Champions League success last season after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in March – was appointed the new permanent manager of the club at the end of last month and he will surely look to bring in some more new names before their Community Shield clash against champions Manchester City on August 12. Here are Chelsea’s potential summer transfer targets..

MAICON – INTER MILAN (DEFENDER)

With Jose Bosingwa having left Chelsea this summer, the Blues need a right-back and Maicon is one of the options. The Inter Milan right-back is not the same player he once was but is surely better than Bosingwa. According to the reports, Chelsea are the favourites ahead of Real Madrid to sign the Brazilian for around £6m. The 30-year-old would be a good addition to the squad but surely won’t be a long term option.

GREGORY VAN DER WIEL – AJAX (DEFENDER)

At the end of last season, it looked like Van der Wiel would be playing for the European Champions next season. However, after a disappointing UEFA EURO 2012 campaign with the Netherlands in Poland/Ukraine and no further talks between the two clubs, his potential move to Stamford Bridge looks uncertain. The Dutch international right-back is already back in training with Ajax and with the Blues trying to sign Maicon, the 24-year-old looks like staying in Amsterdam for atleast another season.

LUKE SHAW – SOUTHAMPTON (DEFENDER)

Papers in UK suggest that the Blues are poised to make £4m offer for the Southampton youth graduate left back. Chelsea have identified Shaw, who turned 17 this month, as a possible backup for Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand. Shaw, who has been described as “technically very gifted” by Sir Trevor Brooking,  has made just one first team appearance and that to as a substitute against Millwall in the FA Cup fourth round replay last season but has been a regular part of the England U-16 and U-17 sides.

MAROUANE FELLAINI – EVERTON (MIDFIELDER)

Fellaini, who signed a new long term deal in November, has stated this past week that he is very happy to stay at Goodison Park but will consider a move this summer if an offer comes from an ambitious club. Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all shown interest in the Belgium international who is rated around £20m by the Merseyside club. With doubts over Lampard’s future at the club, Fellaini would be a very good addition to Chelsea squad and will add the required physical presence in the midfield.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Chelsea are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth in their midfield. Manchester United are also interested in him, but a chance to reunite with his Belgium teammates – De Bruyne, Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might incline him to Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Chelsea were highly interested in the 26-year-old last season and had also made three offers for him but all were rejected. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, papers suggests Roman Abramovich will offer Tottenham £36m for his services but will face some stiff competition from the likes Real Madrid and Manchester United, who are also interested in the Croatian international.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a Chelsea target since the start of last season and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. But the Blues will have to battle with the likes of Manchester United – who have made him their number one target this season – and Tottenham Hotspur – who are managed by the former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas – to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

VICTOR MOSES – WIGAN ATHLETIC (STRIKER)

Having helped Wigan Athletic survive relegation and stay in the Premier League last season, the Nigerian is ready to move to an ambitious club this summer and the Blues are interested in signing him. Reports suggests that Chelsea have made their move and are expected to complete the signing of the 21-year-old by the end of the week for a fee around £10m. The former Crystal Palace winger has proved he is good enough to play in the Premier League, but is he good enough to play for a club like Chelsea? Only time will tell.

HULK – FC PORTO (STRIKER)

Hulk has been a Chelsea transfer target for many years now but no deal has ever been struck between the two clubs. According to the reports, the Blues are close to signing £35m rated striker but they have been close since end of last season. With Tottenham appointing former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager, the Blues will now have to act quicker and sign the Brazil international or face losing him from under their noses to Tottenham.

THEO WALCOTT – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

With Robin van Persie snubbing Arsenal, Chelsea are set to test Arsenal’s ambitions and resolve by making an offer for Theo Walcott. The 23-year-old England international has just one year left on his current deal and has not yet signed a new contract. The former Southampton forward has improved over the past couple of season and is a regular part of the national team setup. Along with Chelsea, Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in him but the Blues remain the favourites.

STEVAN JOVETIC – FIORENTINA (STRIKER)

With Fernando Torres’ form a question mark and Chelsea having no experience options up front, Stevan Jovetic will be a great addition to Roberto Di Matteo’s team. According to reports in ItalyChelsea have had a £20m offer rejected by Fiorentina. However the Blues can get him for around £25m. The 22-year-old Montenegro international will be great asset to the club and will provide more options up front, but the Blues face competition for his signature from Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan.

SOLOMON RONDON – MALAGA (STRIKER)

Rondon is not very known outside Spain, but the Venezuelan striker is very highly-rated and was Malaga’s top goalscorer this season. According to the papers in Spain, Chelsea are interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge as backup for Fernando Torres but will face some tough competition from their London rivals Arsenal, who are reported to be preparing a £10m offer for him.

Analyzing Eden Hazard’s Possible Move To Chelsea

Finally and hopefully the Eden Hazard transfer saga is over as he is set to join ‘Champion’s League Winners’ or ‘European Champions’ Chelsea, after he announced his decision on his twitter page yesterday.

Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich in the finals of the Champions League this month and have qualified for the next season’s Champions League as the holders of the tournament after having finished sixth in the Premier League. There is no official announcement by either Lille or Chelsea about the transfer but its has been hugely speculated for the past two-three days that the clubs had agreed a fee in the region of £33m and the player had made up his mind about signing for the Blues over Manchester City and Manchester United.

Here we analyze Eden Hazard’s move to Chelsea and what does it mean for the club.

Is the transfer a Done Deal?

No. No transfer is a done deal until its confirmed and announced by both the clubs involved. Eden Hazard has just made his choice that he wants to join Chelsea but the club have refused to confirm the transfer in a statement to the Associated Press stating: “As with all transfers when we have something to announce, we will announce in the usual way.”

That means there is still time for other clubs like City and United to come in and hijack the deal. The transfer won’t be a done deal until the two clubs agrees a fee and the player passes a medical. And there have been no official reports from either Lille or Chelsea that things have been agreed.

What the does Eden Hazard signing means for Chelsea?

Eden Hazard is one of the most sought after players in world football and Chelsea beating the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City for his signature means a lot for the club.  When Didier Drogba announced he would be leaving the club in the summer after his contract expired, the Chelsea fans were worried and looked at Juan Mata and Fernando Torres as their primary force of attack. But now with Eden Hazard signing surely the future is bright at Stamford Bridge.

With the arrival of Eden Hazard – who has 20 league goals and 15 assists for Lille this season – Chelsea now boast an incredibly impressive midfield with the likes of Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Ramires already in it. All of them are great passers of the ball and can score some important goals as well. Chelsea looked more a defensive minded team last season especially in the Champions League, but now with the arrivals of Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin and Eden Hazard they certainly have more versatility in the final third.

The midfield of the Stamford Bridge club now is a powerhouse which consist the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Florent Malouda, Oriol Romeu,  Marko Marin, Kevin De Bruyne, Josh McEachran, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. There not many teams in the world who can boast that much of talent and depth in the middle of the field.

Where will Eden Hazard play for Chelsea?

Hazard started the last season on the wings for Lille, but as the season progressed he was moved in the center by coach Rudi Garcia and was given the role of the main playmaker of the team. That drastically increased his performances for the Ligue 1 side and saw him end the season with 20 goals – including a hat-trick in his last game for the club – and 15 assists.

According to the recent reports in the Daily Mail, Hazard said he wanted to play the same role that he played for Lille, the number10 role for his new club, that is the role just behind the striker, the role of main playmaker. He would be playing the exactly same role at Stamford Bridge. The Blues played with a 4-2-3-1 formation under Roberto Di Matteo and if the Italian becomes the next permanent coach of the club then that formation would fit Hazard perfectly, as he would be the main man just behind Fernando Torres.

With his brilliant passing skills and creativity Hazard would perfectly fit in the role which he has asked for and at the same time could help Torres prove his worth to the club. Torres by no means had a bad season as compared to his first six months at the club but now with the arrival of Hazard expect Torres to get some more chances to score some more goals this season. I always said Chelsea needed a playmaker to get the best out of  Torres and now finally they have got Eden Hazard.

At the same time the arrival of the Belgium international will also help to fill the void left by the departing Salomon Kalou. As stated before Hazard started his career on the wings and so when needed Hazard could also play on either wings. His ability to play with either foot, dribbling and pace would cause major trouble to fullbacks.

Why did Hazard choose Chelsea over United or City?

According to the reports in the Daily Mail, Hazard stated he would choose the club that would guarantee him more playing time and would also give him the number10 role. Chelsea were the best option among the three that would satisfy his demands. They desperately needed a playmaker as they can’t depend on Frank Lampard anymore to perform all season as he isnt getting any younger so Hazard was always going to be the main man around whom the team would be build, if he joined the Blues.

United play an orthodox 4-4-2 formation which meant Hazard would have to play on the wings where he would have faced some stiff competition from Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young for a starting place or he would have settle in the center of midfield besides Michael Carrick. Both the roles didn’t guarantee him much playing time as he wanted and neither gave him the number10 role which asked for. At City, Hazard would have faced some tough competition from David Silva and Samir Nasri for the role he wanted and at the same time he won’t have got the same amount of playing time he would get at Chelsea.

Many people would say Chelsea offered him more wages than the other two clubs but I feel there is no harm for the player to go for more money if he has chance to do that. We have seen in the past that money does buy success and Chelsea have proved that on many occasions, so going to Chelsea was not just about the money.

Will Hazard be a hit in the Premier League?

No one can say whether he would be a hit in the Premier League or will turn out to be Chelsea’s next big money signing that flopped. Hazard is a great talent and has the potential to be one of the best players in the Premier League but he needs to work hard. He won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year twice in the row with Lille but that doesn’t mean he would be a hit in the Premier League. He isn’t going to be as dominant at Chelsea as he was with Lille because Premier League is completely a different ball game compared to Ligue 1. The standard of the Premier League game is on a very higher level compared to any other league and we have seen many talented players come to the Premier League and failed. I just hope he lives upto his hype and reaches his potential as well as establishes himself as a Chelsea fan favourite.