London – Arsenal fans waited a long time for a big summer signing and when the club smashed its transfer record on Mesut Özil on deadline day the international break meant another delay before they could feast their eyes on him in club colours.
The Germany international, signed from Real Madrid for 42 million pounds, was a huge coup for manager Arsene Wenger and after scoring in a World Cup qualifier in the Faroe Islands in midweek Özil is set for his debut at Sunderland on Saturday.
England’s north east coast is a little more hospitable than windswept Torshavn, but Özil will quickly learn about the physical demands of English football against a Sunderland side desperate to kickstart their season.
Özil is not the only player anxious to make an instant impression for a new club as the domestic season swings back into action after World Cup distractions.
Marouane Fellaini will be eager to pull on a Manchester United shirt for the first time after his 27.5 million pounds deadline day move from Everton.
Like Arsenal, United were quiet in the transfer window but the introduction of Belgian midfielder Fellaini will give David Moyes’ side some added venom as they host newcomers Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, having managed only one win from their opening three Premier League games.
Everton will have Gareth Barry (on loan from Manchester City) in their ranks as they take on Chelsea, although striker Romelu Lukaku will not make his debut because of Premier League rules on loaned players playing against their mother club.
United take on Palace at the start of an important period for manager Moyes as he continues to try and stamp his mark on Old Trafford following Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Victory over Palace will be viewed as essential before United begin their Champions League quest at home to Bayer Leverkusen, then travel to Manchester City for the derby.
Fellaini could fill a variety of roles at United but Moyes, who signed him for Everton, believes he will become a vital cog in the side, whether it be in the position vacated by Paul Scholes or further back in the engine room.
“Marouane is not someone you want to be playing against,” Moyes told Sky Sports this week.
“He has attributes other people don’t have. And with those qualities he has, I am sure he will be a big player for Manchester United.”
With early leaders Liverpool not in action until Monday at Swansea City, Chelsea can go top with victory at Everton who have drawn all three of their matches so far.
Manchester City travel to Stoke City who have started the season well under former City boss Mark Hughes, while Tottenham Hotspur are looking to bounce back from defeat by Arsenal against Norwich City.
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