February begins with another Premier League weekend, and as the race for the title and the battle for survival intensifies, here are five players to keep an eye on:
Manchester United have secured the services of Juan Mata and have Robin van Persie back from injury, and now Rooney is set to return to the starting XI. This is set to make the champions look much stronger than they have done in recent weeks, and judging by Rooney’s performances already this season, he is ready to cause out-of-form Stoke City plenty of problems.
Since Gustavo Poyet took charge at Sunderland, Johnson has almost been like a new signing for the Black Cats, rediscovering the form which made him one of English football’s brightest prospects just a few seasons ago. He scored a fine goal at Newcastle United last season, and he will be even more of a hero if he does so again on Saturday to continue his fine goalscoring form.
It has not been a good week for Everton, but it began well for Naismith as he scored twice in the FA Cup win at Stevenage. Now he must prove he can score consistently against Premier League clubs, as he is likely to be given his chance to impress in the absence of injured quartet Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Kone and Lacina Traore.
What Cardiff City have lacked this season is a bit of pace and trickery in wide areas, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to that by signing Wilfried Zaha on loan. Having spent much of the season out in the cold at Manchester United, this could be the youngster’s chance to prove that he has what it takes to play in the Premier League, albeit for a side that currently lies bottom of the table. Norwich City will be wary of him on Saturday.
Manchester City’s wonderful form in front of goal is showing no signs of coming to an end, so even though Sergio Aguero is out for the game against Chelsea, visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech is likely to have a busy Monday evening. The defence in front of him has improved in recent weeks, but Cech will have to be on song if the Blues are to become the first side to take Premier League points away from the Etihad Stadium this season.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Newcastle v Sunderland