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ELECTION 2022

Football stars to watch

PULSE
By Tony Ngare | Aug 17th 2012 | 3 min read

By Tony Ngare

As the new season opens tomorrow, which are some of the top players to watch out for? I have been staring at my crystal ball and consulting a consortium of premiership diehards. After hours of arguing ourselves hoarse, here is a comprise list of the top ten footballers who The Banter expects to light up the stadiums.

Santi Cazorla
The fact that he is an Arsenal player is not the reason he makes this list, or even comes first on it.
Despite the ongoing Robin van Persie saga, Gunners fans have had plenty to smile about and Cazorla puts the icing on the cake.

For a midfielder in Spain to make 45 Caps is no mean achievement. Just imagine how good Mikel Arteta is yet he has never smelled the national team’s washroom, leave alone the dressing room. This guy is that good.

Robin Van Persie
Thankfully,  the RVP transfer saga is over after he opted to ‘go to hell’ and become a devil. But that is besides the point. The Golden Boot winner with 30 goals last season will surely have another splendid season.

My only two concerns is for how long will they get along with Wayne Rooney at Man United before ego contests take over? Secondly, for how long can he stay injury free? Upto December, March maybe?

Eden Hazard
After Chelsea won the race to sign Belgian star Hazard, fans have been quick to pin their hopes on him for the coming season and justify his Sh 4 billion price tag. His form in pre season was up and down, but he showed good poise, balance and close control.

Clint Dempsey
Just like Arsene Wenger, Martin Jol has a problem of his own at Fulham. Clint Dempsey, arguably USA’s best player, has been dogged by transfer speculation all summer. Transfer sagas usually do not involve average players, so Dempsey deserves the ongoing tug of way between his employer and covetous suitors.

Luis Suarez
Few have forgiven him for denying Ghana an outright goal in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Yet, he could be the unluckiest player in the English Premier League.

Suarez is the man Brendan Rodgers will need to score the largest percentage of goals in a Liverpool shirt, and it’s time Suarez delivered.

Mario Balotelli
Whether he’s scoring, celebrating, receiving a red card or giving out money, Mario Balotelli always turns heads.
After an impressive Euro 2012 campaign for Italy, City fans are desperately hoping he will carry that form forward.

Yaya Toure
He is a frightening footballer. I still can’t believe he was at Arsenal for weeks on end on trial and Wenger let him go. His strength, speed, awareness and technique all come together and form one monstrous frame — a frame almost no one can handle.

Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa is a greedy player who can be infuriating to watch, at times. But he is a swashbuckling playmaker.
He is committed to nailing down his own spot in the French national team.  But he can only do that by showing how at Newcastle United.

Stephane Sessegnon
This guy is too versatile for his own good. He played various positions in midfield for Sunderland, and he just can’t seem to get a run of games in one position.

Could he be in for another season of becoming Mr Dependable for the manager? Only time will tell.

Joey Barton
Just like Mario Balotelli, Joey Barton is a must-see player. He’s not tricky, doesn’t have a good work ethic and is the furthest thing from a role model, but you watch Barton because he will do something stupid.

His sending off in QPR’s final game against City showed how little regard he has for his employers and teammates.
It seems it’s just a matter of time before he catches the headlines again.

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