Reuters, Tuesday, August 7, 2007 4 PM
The English Premier League begins again this weekend and Reuters' Simon Hart makes a list of the players who have the most to prove at the start of the 2007-08 season. Heading the list are Chelsea's
big-name arrivals in 2006, Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack, whose contributions last season paled in comparison with Chelsea stalwarts John Terry, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Didier
Liverpool, perhaps, is the club with the most to prove, and $48 million-man Fernando Torres, much like Shevchenko last season, will be expected to deliver right out of the gate.
While Liverpool has added considerable strength to its lineup, Torres represents the club's new spending power, which brings the added weight of expectation with it. On a smaller scale,
ex-Liverpool man Craig Bellamy will play the Torres role at West Ham, which has also spent considerably in the off-season. He'll be expected to pick up the slack from Carlos Tevez's departure. He
must also prove to the Hammer fans that he aims to stay at Upton Park after spending the last three seasons with three different teams.
Similarly, all eyes at Emirates Stadium will be on
Thierry Henry "replacement" Eduardo da Silva. It may be impossible to fill Henry's boots, but da Silva will have to at least deliver goals -- especially for a team notorious for missing bucket
loads of chances. The man to watch at Newcastle is ex-Man City player Joey Barton, whose "footballing ability is matched, unfortunately, by his capacity to cause trouble." He already has a court
date to answer charges of assault against former teammate Ousmane Dabo; at Newcastle he will be expected to marshal the midfield.
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