Category Archives: Opinion

10 Players to Watch for in the 2011/2012 Season

As the end is near for the 2010/2011 season we saw many new players emerge and shine for their teams.  Players like: Jack Wilshere, Shinji Kagawa, Mesut Ozil, Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and whoever else I may have missed.  Now I’d like to preview some of the players who I think will shine in the 2011/2012 season.  Click the name of any of the players to see a clip of them.  Feel free to comment on what you thought or if anyone else deserves to be in the list.  I’m sure I can make room somewhere!

10. Alan Dzagoev

Number 10 is CSKA youngster Alan Dzagoev.  In the 2010/2011 season Dzagoev started 19 games and put in 6 goals.  He has also played now for the Russian national team and it won’t be surprising to see him on the radar of some top teams soon enough.  The 20 year old is a very clever player who can make killer passes and has a good eye for the final ball.  He is a lifelong Chelsea supporter and if he were to move abroad that is his destination of choice…unfortunately.  CSKA Moscow sees action in Europe so for teams that will have to face them next year…good luck.

9. Georginio Wijnaldum

Next is the 20 year old Feyenoord winger/mid-fielder Georginio Wijnaldum.  Known to have good pace, good vision, and quite creative Wijnaldum has seemingly carried Fayenoord on his shoulders.  Scoring 14 goals in 34 games including a game in which he scored 4 himself.  Wijnaldum could be getting some calls from some good European teams and I would expect him to maybe make a move to Italy with a Champions League team like Napoli, or a good French Team.

8.  Francis Coquelin

Unless you are an Arsenal fan you probably won’t know the name Francis Coquelin.  Coquelin is an Arsenal player who was loaned out to Lorient in the deal to land Laurent Koscielny.  Coquelin has made 23 appearances and has played in the Center of Midfield, Right Back, and Right Midfield.  He scored 1 goal and made 1 assist and is known more for his defensive abilities.  Coquelin is fast, has a good touch and despite being a little smaller, doesn’t like being pushed around.  Many Arsenal fans are excited to welcome him back and hope he can give Alex Song a little bit of competition

7. Ilkay Gundogan

20 Year Old German/Turk Ilkay Gundogan obviously did something right this year because on May 5th it was announced he would be joining League champions Borussia Dortmund.  With that he has some big shoes to fill left by Turkish Midfielder Nuri Sahin who recently announced he had signed for Real Madrid.  Gundogan didn’t score the most goals this year in the Bundesliga with FC Nuremberg but he did make his presence felt with his well timed runs and slick passing.  He has been dubbed the next Mesut Ozil (even though nobody new who Ozil was until about a year ago).  Manchester United was tracking Gundogan for much of the year but Dortmund beat them to him.  Gundogan could not turn down a chance to play for the Champs as well as play in the Champions League next year.

6. Ryo Miyaichi

Arsenal’s young Japanese starlet Ryo Miyaichi will either spend the next year playing in the Dutch League for Feyenoord 0r at Arsenal if he can get a work permit.  Ryo scored 4 goals and 3 assists and was one of the best players for Feyenoord after making the move from High School football.  If he can get a work permit then he will go right into the first team possibly replacing Andrey Arshavin on the left side of the midfield.  Miyaichi was also clocked with 15 step-overs in 10 seconds.  He has very quick feet, he’s a good passer, and has a rip of a shot.  His speed almost matches Theo Walcott’s and he is great at crossing the ball.

5. Christian Eriksen

Most people now know of the talent of this Danish sensation.  The Ajax attacking midfielder has attracted a lot of attention from top teams but isn’t looking for a move to the Premier League.  For many, the first time seeing his skills was Denmark vs. England when the spotlight was on Jack Wilshere.  Eriksen certainly took it off him with his dazzling display and good footskills.  Eriksen is small but has quick feet and very skilled dribbler.  He is currently at Ajax but may be tempted away by a top Spanish or Italian team.  How Italian teams still get good players is beyond me though…the Italian League is terrible.

4. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Southampton star midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain will probably find a new home within the next year.  Most thought he would be joining Arsenal but that never materialized so we’ll see but odds are he’ll find a top team to play for.  Chamberlain is small, agile, a good passer, a good finisher, fast but is still very young yet and will probably take some getting used to the speed of the Premier league.  Should be a top player in the near future though if he can find the right team.

3. Julian Draxler

Most probably haven’t heard of Draxler, and the only reason I have is because my second favorite team is Borussia Dortmund and he plays for Schalke, their arch rivals.  Draxler grew up a Dortmund fan but somehow ended up on the wrong side unfortunately.  Dortmund can counter that saying they have a young up and coming midfielder named Moritz Leitner.  Draxler though, is an outstanding dribbler and has no fear of shooting or running at people.  Plays as a winger usually, and just turning 17 and already have substitute appearances for Schalke.  You can bet your sweet bippy that Draxler is definitely a top prospect.

2.  Romelu Lukaku

#2 on the list is a widely know Striker known as the “next Drogba” Romelu Lukaku.  He’s quite an animal and is very strong.  The reason he is compared to Drogba is because of his physique being similar to Drogba but he has quite a few skills as well.  He’s a good header, great finisher and great strength to hold off defenders.  He is wanted by basically every team in the world but looks as though Chelsea may be the ones to shell out enough cash to bring him in.  This scares me because Arsenal’s defense already has enough trouble dealing with Drogba so we don’t need another one.

1. Mario Gotze

Finally, we have a man making ALL the headlines (thanks to Shinji Kagawa) Borussia Dortmunds attacking midfielder, Mario Gotze.  Gotze came into the year like Jack Wilshere, trying to establish a spot in the first team.  Shinji Kagawa was starting in the attacking midfield role of Dortmund’s 4-3-3.  Kagawa got hurt in the Asian Cup and was ruled out the rest of the season.  Up to that point Gotze was sharing time at Right Mid with Kuba.   Gotze made the easy transition over to the middle and may not want to give it up next year.  He will probably move back to the right mid spot for Kagawa but his presence will still be felt.  He’s small but quick and has a Fabregas-like pass and vision.  He’s very very smart, and has a good finish as well.  If you haven’t seen him play, it’s jaw dropping to see an 18 year old with that much skill already in his young career.  There are far too many young Germans that they won’t have enough room for all of them in the National Team because they’re all so good!