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Branislav Ivanovic leads cast of five World Cup absentees under threat (1)

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Just 34 days separate last Sunday's momentous World Cup final and the start of the Premier League season on August, but there are a host of top names at leading clubs who need to view that as an opportunity to shine while key men are absent.

Manchester United are a prime example of this stance, with a new manager in Louis van Gaal offering even the most heavily-criticised stars another chance to shine if they show application from the outset in pre-season and produce in early competitive fixtures.

Arsenal and Manchester City stars still have the same boss in charge but should feel the same way, particularly as they have another Wembley showcase in the Community Shield to relish on Sunday August 10th.

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Elsewhere there are surely a few experienced figures looking nervously over their shoulders at Cobham as Chelsea begin their pre-season workout, with Jose Mourinho already shelling out £80m in Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis.

Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have already been shown the exit door and more Chelsea stars must realise the pressure to perform is now huge, fail to do so and first-team opportunities will suddenly become extremely limited.

Liverpool meanwhile are currently in the midst of a massive squad overhaul and defensive linchpins in particular must know without raised standards they could easily be replaced, placing huge importance on how they start the campaign and bid to manage and increased workload including Champions League football.

As all 20 Premier League clubs begin the difficult stars of building towards the new campaign GMS has decided to profile five men under more pressure than most, acutely aware that have a small window of opportunity to make sure World Cup stars can be eased back towards full fitness and not rushed into first-team contention.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Chelsea
Premier League
Arsenal
Football

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