The new Premier League season has had an explosive start and at the heart of it are several stars who hail from Belgium. There has been a relatively strong Belgian contingent in the league for several years, with the likes of Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, Everton's Marouane Fellaini and Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (pictured). The latter enjoyed a terrific season with his club last year, lifiting the league title, whilst the former pair have started this season well, with Fellaini's performance during Everton's opening fixture victory over Manchester United particularly a highlight. However, they are now not the only Belgians who are winning plaudits on the terraces.
The summer transfer window saw three Belgians making big moves to the league, the most notable of those being wonder-kid Eden Hazard. After a big money move to Chelsea, the play-maker has wasted little time making an impact for his new club, bagging a couple of goals to go with some impressive performances, leaving fans already in little doubt that he will be worth his hefty price tag. Romelu Lukaku, another Chelsea, has joined West Brom on loan in order to gain first team experience, whilst starlet Kevin Mirallas joined compatriot Fellaini at Everton. Elsewhere, two Belgians have made the move to White Hart Lane. For one, Mousa Dembele, the journey to Tottenham was fairly short, joining the club from London rivals Fulham, and scoring on his debut in a 1-1 draw with Norwich last weekend. He joined centre back Jan Vertonghen, an early summer signing for new manager Andres Villas Boas.
Not a bad group of players then, considering their national side failed to qualify for Euro 2012. However, with such an abundance of talent playing their football in England alone, the national side has every reason to be optimistic ahead of their World Cup qualification campaign, which starts tonight at the Millennium Stadium, for which all of the above are available for. This is a national side, who with such potential can only improve between now and Brazil in 2014, and should they qualify, could be something of a dark horse.
Their opponents tonight Wales will play their first competitive match since the tragic death of former manager Gary Speed. Chris Coleman has been tasked with revitalizing a side which is still in mourning for their much loved former manager, and has seen his side fail to score in a single game since he took charge. Wales will be missing several key names including captain Craig Bellamy as well as Joe Ledley and Wayne Hennessey, and will hope their home advantage will do something to tip the odds in their favour.
The bookmakers however are making the home side outsiders, with Betfred and Ladbrokes amongst others offering 4/1, whilst the Belgians are backed favourites at 8/11 the best odds from most major bookies. Whatever the outcome of tonight's match, it is clear that the Belgium contingant in England will be leading the way for World Cup Qualification, and any further success that may bring.