International Watch: 6 Premier League Stars To Watch Out For
As a crucial round of international fixtures edges ever closer, Tom Gatehouse looks at 6 Premier League players to watch out for over the international weekend
With the Premier League taking another hiatus, an international round of fixtures is about to kick off, with a host of interesting ties occurring over the weekend.
Many players from all corners of the EPL are involved, with the ‘Big Six’ sending many superstars into the mix. Ranging from impressive looking friendlies, to do-or-die World Cup play-offs; football fans will not be short of entertainment in the Premier League’s absence.
Here are 6 players from the ‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs to keep an eye out for this weekend:
1. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal and Germany
The Gunners’ record signing is in action for Germany on Friday, facing up against Italy in a blockbuster international friendly. A mouth-watering encounter on its own, the Italians hold a phenomenal record over their fellow Europeans, having never lost a tie in 18 years.
Italy have come out on top in every single major international tournament against the Germans, and Joachim Lowe’s side will be fired up to finally rid themselves of such a streak. Ozil will surely be integral to the Germans, who will fancy their chances, what with a glittering squad of attacking invention and defensive experience.
International Friendly: Italy vs. Germany – Friday 15th November, 19:45
2. Frank Lampard, Chelsea and England
Friday will be a special day for ‘Super’ Frank Lampard, as the England veteran will not only lead his country out at Wembley against Chile; but he will also be recognised for reaching his 100th cap in a pre-match ceremony on the pitch. He will be joined by his father, Frank senior, and will surely receive well-earned adulation from the England fans.
“It will be very special obviously,” Lampard said,
“I requested my dad be involved because there is not many international fathers and sons. It’s the sort of thing he’d normally shy away from but with a bit of pressing he’s managed to get out there. I think he will be a proud dad.” [source: Express]
Often criticised for being unable to replicate his incredible club form on the international stage, Lampard has however been a key part of the England setup for many a year, and fully deserves his moment in the spotlight.
International Friendly: England vs. Chile – Friday 15th November, 20:00
3. Luis Nani, Man Utd and Portugal
Although not always the most favoured player at Old Trafford, the twinkled-toed winger goes into an encounter on Friday with the weight of a nation resting on his and his teammates shoulders.
The World Cup play-off tie against Sweden will be an enormous occasion, and the first leg in Lisbon will surely herald a magnificent atmosphere.
By pitching Nani’s former Utd teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Sweden’s golden boy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic together; you can expect fireworks, drama, and nail-biting qualification goodness!
2014 World Cup Qualification Play-off First Leg: Portugal vs. Sweden – Friday 15th November, 19:45
4. Joe Hart, Man City and England
After England boss, Roy Hodgson admitted that the City keeper would not be starting the international friendly against Chile; all eyes will be on Hart as he takes his place on the bench. His reaction will be gauged, and if he does take to the field at some stage during the match, the scrutiny will reach fever pitch.
Hart has come under intense criticism over the last few months, culminating in him losing his place in the Man City starting line-up.
Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny has backed his fellow keeper to come out fighting,
“Forget the last couple of weeks where it has been very difficult for him and he has been dropped. I suppose everybody has got to go through that. Over the last couple of years he was the most consistent and one of the best – it is hard to say the best – goalkeepers in the world and I am sure that he will prove that to people even though he has had some difficult times.” [source: Goal]
International Friendly: England vs. Chile – Friday 15th November, 19:45
5. Gylfi Sigurðsson, Tottenham and Iceland
Heralding from the tiny European island of Iceland, Spurs midfielder Sigurdsson has a fascinating week ahead of him. He and his international teammates take on Croatia over two legs for a place in the 2014 World Cup; something never before achieved by the Icelandic nation.
“It’s the first time we’ve been in the play-offs for the World Cup finals or the European finals, so it’s fantastic for us,” said the Tottenham midfielder.
“With a population of 350,000, to qualify for the World Cup would be unbelievable. We’ve got a young squad so hopefully we can stay calm and do the job.” Sigurdsson was quoted as saying.
Playing alongside the likes of former Chelsea striker, Eider Gudjohnsen, and Cardiff midfielder, Aron Gunnarsson; Sigurdsson will be looking to help provide the biggest landmark in Icelandic footballing history; if they can topple the Croats.
2014 World Cup Qualification Play-off First Leg: Iceland vs. Croatia – Friday 15th November, 19:00
6. Victor Moses, Liverpool and Nigeria
With plenty of trophies under his belt from his exploits with Chelsea, and now a new lease of life under Brendan Rogers at Liverpool; Moses has also been placed on the 5-man shortlist for the African Player of the Year award. Quite a lot to be getting on with; but the winger has the most important yet to come – the second leg of his Nigeria side’s World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia.
Having won the away leg 2-1 in Addis Ababa back in October, the reigning African champions will fancy their chances of making the finals on Saturday. It has been a very good year for the Nigerian national side, and Victor Moses himself; a good performance on the weekend, and they will be able to look forward to a summer of even more excitement.
2014 World Cup Qualification Play-off Second Leg: Nigeria vs. Ethiopia, Saturday 16th November, 16:00 local time
What do you think? What will be the tie of the weekend? Let me know in the comments below!
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