This blog will attempt to predict who the big stars of the Premier League in 2011 will be. They will range from the blatantly obvious to hopefully a couple of selections that make you think, "what? He can't say that. He's crazy!"
Edin Dzeko - It's probably fair to say that if Man City's Bosnian £27m signing doesn't score a hat-trick in every game this season he will be made a scapegoat for the Eastlands club's "ruining" of the game with their high transfer fees. However, in the case of Dzeko, I don't think we have anything to worry about. An impressive strike rate coupled with strength and aerial ability, he has Football Manager fanatics rubbing their hands in glee. One risk City run is something they are used to with the likes of Balotelli in their ranks - a potential attitude problem. An ignorance of Steve McClaren's outstretched hand on being substituted in a recent Wolfsburg should by no means be a dealbreaker (many England fans would probably react in a similar fashion), but is perhaps something to bear in mind..
Matt Phillips - Blackpool have caught everybody by surprise this season, and this 19 year-old right winger has been a big part of this. A deadline day £350k signing from Wycombe, he has already attracted the attention of a few other Premier League clubs with some eye-catching cameo performances. With Ian Holloway preparing to give him more game time as the season reaches it's business end, expect his value to shoot up by the summer!
Haris Vuckic - The 18 year-old attacking midfielder yesterday signed a new 5 and a half year deal (as seems to be the default contract length at the Toon) with Newcastle. He has only made 2 appearances, both in the Carling Cup, but the Slovenian rising star is already established in the under-21 side at international level. As Newcastle's lack of roubles, and thin squad combine, he will surely soon be letting the rest of the country in on the secret that virtually only the Newcastle coaching staff are in on...
Jack Rodwell - He may already be a regular at Everton, but he is yet to really make his mark, having been shoved all around the Toffees line-up, due to his unfortunate adaptabiity. However, once Moyes finally signs a reliable injury-free striker, and Rodwell can finally settle into his midfield position once and for all, Rodwell will be a cert to make his England debut in 2011.
Marc Albrieghton - Similarly to Rodwell, this young Aston Villa midfielder has been a victim of circumstance. Unfortunately his rise to the Villa first-team has coincided with a lack of experience around him, meaning his has been somewhat of a baptism of fire. At 21, if he stays free of injury, Albreighton will be knocking on the England door before too long, as his performances earlier in the season gave notice of.