With the help of the statistics, Adam Bate looks at three new boys who could prove hugely successful judging by their Premier League debuts.
By Adam Bate - Follow me @GhostGoal
Last Updated: 20/08/12 3:18pm
Fulham supporters were understandably keen to make the loan signing of Pavel Pogrebnyak a permanent deal in the summer after the Russian netted six goals in 12 games for the Cottagers. But Martin Jol had other ideas and Pogrebnyak pitched up at Reading instead. Perhaps the Dutchman had noted that three of those efforts came against a hapless Wolves side - or maybe Jol just had a better Bundesliga forward lined up.
So while Pogrebnyak could delivery only an underwhelming 77 minute performance for the Royals, Mladen Petric was helping inspire Fulham to a 5-0 win at home to Norwich. If the 31-year-old was a little fortunate with both of his goals, the Croatia international's flick round the corner for Alexander Kaciniklic's finish was the confirmation of the man's impressive pedigree.
As that creativity indicated, Petric is more than just a goalscorer and has the ability to drop off to link the play as well as posing a considerable threat with his left foot from deadball situations. He can also score with his head as the Canaries found out on Saturday.
But it's Petric's 51 Bundesliga goals in spells at Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg at a rate of one every 192 minutes that will chiefly interest Fulham. Contrast that with Pogrebnyak's 15 goals in 68 Bundesliga appearances and it would seem Jol has made a wise choice in raiding his former club to boost his forward options at Craven Cottage.
|Mladen Petric - All Clubs||Bundesliga All-Time|
|Minutes per Goal||192.1|
|Chances Created (inc assists)||122|
|Total Passes Made||2399|
This was supposed to be a tough time for Michael Laudrup to take the Swansea job. The thinking was that the Swans had over-achieved under Brendan Rodgers and wouldn't be able to repeat that success this season. Right now, Laudrup could be forgiven for quietly wondering to himself whether the opposite is true and he can build an even better team at the Liberty Stadium.
The exit of Joe Allen to Liverpool for a hefty fee could be followed up by the high-profile sale of Scott Sinclair to Manchester City. But with bargains to be had in Spain, Laudrup will feel he can replace like-for-like at a substantial profit. He certainly seems to have acquired a star in Michu.
The £2million arrival from Rayo Vallecano is a classic example of the financial malaise in Spain at present. Players who are not wanted by Barcelona or Real Madrid are struggling to command their true value in the market with the rest of the Spanish clubs being forced to tighten their budgets. As a result, Laudrup has managed to not only sign Chicho and Jonathan de Guzman but also a 26-year-old who scored 15 La Liga goals from midfield last season.
After netting twice on debut at QPR, the early indications are that Michu will have little trouble adapting to life in the Premier League. Swansea's style appears a good fit and the success of Gylfi Sigurdsson (seven in 18) in 2011-12 suggests Michu will have opportunities in his position. Expect the Spaniard to make light of the transition and get somewhere near his remarkable La Liga tally this season.
|Michu||La Liga - 11/12||La Liga - 11/12||Goals by Midfielders|
|Minutes Played||3284||Raúl García||Osasuna||11|
|Minutes per Goal||218.9||Fábregas||Barcelona||9|
|Chances Created (inc assists)||40|
|Total Passes Made||1109|
"All the chances were created by him, basically," said Arsene Wenger when reflecting on Santi Cazorla's contribution in Arsenal's goalless draw against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. It may have sounded like a lament but it was also a testament to the Spaniard's impressive impact on his debut for the Gunners.
Cazorla created seven chances for his Arsenal team-mates. That's more than any other player managed to do on the opening Premier League weekend. Constantly searching for the ball and looking to turn quickly and run at the opposition defence, the 27-year-old's close control regularly put him in a position to breach the Black Cats' back-line.
Of course, the story of Arsenal's day was that they were unable to take those opportunities with fellow debutant Olivier Giroud particularly guilty of wasting an excellent chance late on. Wenger is keen to add deep-lying playmaker Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid to help provide another source of creativity in the Arsenal team. But Cazorla could be forgiven for thinking his manager has identified the wrong problem to solve.
After all, it is Robin van Persie's exit rather than the departure of Alex Song that appears to be troubling the former Malaga man. "Obviously we would all have preferred it if he had stayed," admitted Cazorla. "It's important to replace players like that because they were so important for the team." He'd certainly have been useful when it comes to finishing off the sort of chances Cazorla can create.
|Santi Cazorla - Prem Lge Opening Day||v Sunderland||Prem Lge 12/13 - Opening Weekend||Chances Created (inc. assists)|
|Goals Scored||0||Taarabt||Queens Park Rangers||5|
|Shots On Target||1||Nasri||Manchester City||5|
|Shots Off Target||2||Park Ji-Sung||Queens Park Rangers||5|
|Total Shots||3||Yaya Touré||Manchester City||4|
|Chances Created (inc assists)||7|
|Total Passes Made||77|
|Crosses & Corners||8|
|Cross & Corner Accuracy||25.0%|