The international break came at an inopportune moment for certain clubs, who were in fantastic form and would have liked to keep that momentum going. But for some Premier League teams and players, the break will be a great way to reorganise and return with a fresh mindset.
Some players have been poor in the opening four games of the season and will need to show a different side of themselves once the Premier League returns this weekend.
Let’s take a look at 5 players who have to step up post the international break:
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool had a shocker in their last game, losing 7-2 to Aston Villa before the international break, as the Reds’ high defensive line was exposed by the quick and opportunistic Villa attackers. Virgil van Dijk, who has astutely marshalled the Liverpool defence over the last few seasons will need to organise the defence better in their first match post the international break. And it will be a tough test for van Dijk and co. as they face the high-flying Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.
Another defender and leader of the defence, Harry Maguire will have to not only rejuvenate the Manchester United backline but also improve his individual performances. The Manchester United captain has had a nightmare start to the Premier League season as he has made several mistakes which have proven to be costly. Maguire needs to finally deliver on the huge price that his club paid for him.
This season could be Benjamin Mendy’s make-or-break season at Manchester City. The French left-back was exposed in the 1-1 draw against Leeds United, while he was also abysmal in City’s loss to Leicester City. Mendy offers a lot going forward but is woefully poor defensively. If Pep Guardiola continues to select him, he will have to start delivering or could be a liability for City.
Another Frenchman who needs to get his club’s supporters on his side is Paul Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder has put in sub-par performances so far, with his passing being less than ordinary, while he has not been able to dictate the tempo of the game or even provide a screen to Manchester United’s fragile defence. Pogba, if selected, has to at least contribute in one aspect of the game, either in attack or defence.
Burnley have had a terrible start to the season, losing all three of their opening games. Sean Dyche’s men who finished 10th last season, are currently 18th on the table. They will need to kickstart their campaign with a win against fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Chris Wood, their first-choice striker, will need to get in amongst the goals as he has scored just once in three games. The New Zealand forward was the club’s top scorer last season with 14 goals, and he will need to start delivering, beginning this weekend.