Extended leaves of absence, curtailed pre-seasons, sundry knocks and mental exhaustion are just some of the ways in which a World Cup summer can take the edge off a Premier League player’s start to the following campaign.
While their weary teammates fight for breath through the opening skirmishes of 2014/15, the following four players, all of whom skipped the Brazilian bonanza, can be relied upon to shine in the opening weeks.
Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal
Kissing dreams of playing in a World Cup goodbye is written in the small print when you sign your soul away to the Welsh cause and a supercharged Rambo is the Gunners-friendly upshot.
Banging them in at the rate of a goal every other start last season a month’s sofa time should have helped the midfielder overcome any lingering injury problems left over form last term.
Arsene Wenger’s side are 3/10 to down Crystal Palace at the Emirates on August 16.
Nemanja Matic – Chelsea
Despite arriving in January, Matic ended 2013/14 as contender for many Blues fan’s player of the season.
Alongside fellow Serb Branislav Ivanovic he was given the summer off by his nation’s failure to overhaul Croatia or Belgium in qualifying.
The pair are evens to guard the Chelsea net on the way to a shutout success at Burnley in their first assignment of the new campaign.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool
No fewer than nine of Brendan Rodgers’ side were forced to confront their own inadequacies in the unforgiving mirror of World Cup football this summer.
However, his Brazilian creative was spared an ego battering in Brazil and will go into the new campaign knowing his chances of representing the Selecao in the future have been enhanced.
Liverpool are 2/5 to avenge last season’s Anfield defeat at Southampton hands on the season’s opening day.
Samir Nasri – Manchester City
It must have been with a heavy heart that Didier Deschamps blackballed the Citizen, one of the ten most creative players in the Champions League last season in terms of the key passes, from his French squad.
With a fat new contract stuffed down his shorts he’s sure to be one of City’s leading performers at the start of 2013/14.
They are 6/4 to overcome a one-goal handicap to beat Newcastle at St James’ Park for the third year in succession.