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Ozil leads new recruits ready to make their debuts

German playmaker expected to feature for Arsenal against struggling Sunderland; Eriksen, Lamela, Willian and Fellaini could all play

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 September, 2013, 4:06am

Mesut Ozil and Willian could be among the players making their debut appearances when the Premier League resumes today, while Tottenham Hotspur will begin life without Gareth Bale.

With the international break immediately following the close of the transfer window, fans have had to wait almost two weeks for a first glimpse of their clubs' new signings in action.

I would have come here without a fee. That would not be a problem. Of course I am proud of this, but the most important thing is that the manager trusts me

Arsenal's capture of Ozil from Real Madrid in a club-record £42.4 million (HK$520 million) deal stole the deadline-day headlines, and he is expected to make his debut at Sunderland today.

The deal made Ozil the most expensive German footballer of all time, but the 24-year-old has played down the price tag.

"I would have come here without a fee. That would not be a problem," he said this week.

"Of course I am proud of this, but the most important thing is that the manager trusts me. That was crucial for me and that is why I came to Arsenal."

The manager, Arsene Wenger, says there is a "possibility" that Ozil will start at the Stadium of Light, where Arsenal will be looking for a fifth straight win.

Their last league outing saw them prevail 1-0 against north London rivals Tottenham, who host Norwich City today in the first game since Welsh forward Bale completed his move to Madrid for a reported world-record fee of around £86 million.

Spurs offset Bale's departure by spending around £110 million on new players and could hand a debut to Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen against Norwich.

With the Bale saga finally at an end, coach Andre Villas-Boas has urged his players to refocus.

"What we have to do is move on," he said during Thursday's pre-game press conference.

On Eriksen, he added: "I think what happened with Christian is a bit like what happened with Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart when they were at Ajax.

"We expect great things of Christian Eriksen and we want to develop him into becoming that sort of important player for us as well."

Defending champions Manchester United were not nearly as active in the transfer market, but they could hand a debut to £27.5 million new recruit Marouane Fellaini against Crystal Palace today.

United's 1-0 loss to Liverpool left them five points behind their northwest rivals, who top the standings ahead of Monday's visit to manager Brendan Rodgers's former club Swansea City.

With Liverpool not in action over the weekend, second-place Chelsea can claim top spot in the standings if they prevail at Everton today.

Manchester City, who have won two and lost one of their opening three matches, face a reunion with former manager Mark Hughes when they travel to Stoke City.

The 2012 champions continue to have problems at centre-back, with new signing Martin Demichelis ruled out for around six weeks with a knee problem and captain Vincent Kompany sidelined by a groin injury.

Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov says the club's defenders are also adjusting to the new tactics introduced by incoming manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"There is a change in our style, but I think we can do much better than last season," said Kolarov.

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