Game, Team and Player of Matchday 3

Arsenal continued their great defensive start to the season with yet another clean sheet at Anfield which has left Liverpool in the bottom three along with pointless Southampton and QPR. There are still eight teams without a victory though so none of the teams should be worried at this stage. Somewhat surprisingly Tottenham Hotspur are one of these teams and after two draws in a row is the pressure already building on Andre Villas Boas? Aston Villa picked up their first points with a draw against Newcastle United which will make Paul Lambert feel a lot better and Stoke City picked up their third draw out of three so it is looking like it could be another midtable finish for them already.

But, now onto team of the weekend, Arsenal deserve great credit for the way they conducted themselves at Liverpool and were the better team throughout, creating the better chances and finishing them off superbly, while also being very tight at the back and not allowing their oppositions flair players to have a major impact on the game which has not always been the case in the past. Norwich City picking up a point at White Hart Lane is a fantastic achievement (they did win there last year I know) but they are expected to struggle a lot this year and hadn’t shown enough to suggest that they were going to be as good as last season. But, they battled and probably should have won the game in all honesty so they deserve a lot of praise and if they can perform like this for the rest of the season they will stay up. Newly promoted West Ham are not expected to struggle this year but not many will have expected them to have disposed of a confident Fulham side so easily. Debutant Andy Carroll looked very happy and within a minute he had a positive impact and the team never looked like losing from there. However, my team of the week has to be West Brom, they have started their season fantastically and their performance against an inform Everton was very good. I personally didn’t expect the Baggies to start this well and they know it is only three games in but they already have seven points on the board so this could be an interesting season for them.

There were some standout performers this weekend with Robin Van Persie scoring a hatrick but unfortunately for him, even though he did win the match for Manchester United against Southampton, I am not giving him the player of the weekend simply because of his awful penalty. His movement was great and all three of his goals were different and showed how good of a striker he is (if that was ever in doubt). Another new signing impressed this weekend and that was Steven Fletcher who scored twice for Sunderland against Swansea City and although his first was gifted to him he still had to finish it and that wasn’t easy at all. The price Sunderland paid for him may have been slightly over the top but if he can get them between 15 and 20 goals then it could turn out to be one of the best signings of the season. My player of the weekend goes to Brad Friedel who must have been feeling the pressure after Hugo Lloris was signed on transfer deadline day but the 41 year old produced the goods and kept Tottenham in the game, pulling off save after save including two spectacular ones. He couldn’t do anything about the goal and it would be a real shame if he was dropped after this performance.

Finally, game of the weekend is a difficult one to choose as always because the game at the Liberty Stadium between Swansea and Sunderland had everything, including goals, red cards, mistakes and injuries. Sunderland took the lead twice through two Steven Fletcher goals but were pegged back each time with Wayne Routledge and Michu grabbing the goals for the Swans. Chico was sent off for a ridiculous challenge on Louis Saha and was rightly sent off. It was a fiery game and a draw was probably the right result in the end. Wigan against Stoke may not have been a game that caught many people’s attentions but in my opinion it was really entertaining and had a lot of drama in it, with two converted penalties and a lot of chances for either side with Franco Di Santo and Peter Crouch also scoring to make it 2-2. Plus, the save of the season from Ali Al Habsi made it a very fascinating game to watch. But, the match of the weekend has to go to Southampton and Manchester United because they produced an epic game which could have went either way. The away side pinched in injury time but it could have been very different. Rickie Lambert opened the scoring but when Van Persie scored his first everyone expected it to be a rout and Fergie’s men to walk it but a slip from Patrice Evra allowed Morgan Schneiderlin to get free and put the Saints back in front. But the runners up from last season never lie down and came back to win like they have done on so many occasions over the years.

Who do you think should have got the player, game and team of the weekend?

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Who will Youssouf Mulumbu sign for?

Youssouf Mulumbu has been linked with many clubs this summer and it seems as though his time at West Brom is coming to an end.

Mulumbu has played over 100 games for West Brom

The midfielder has been impressive since joining the Baggies and has helped them cement their place in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons with his battling displays. He is a very combative midfielder that likes to put in a tackle, but he can also play a bit as well, Mulumbu chips in with the odd goal and can make good late runs into the box to support the strikers. The 25 year old has been at West Brom since 2009 and was very influential in getting them promoted back to the Premier League when they finished runners up to Newcastle United. If he does leave this summer he will no doubt be fondly remembered by the fans mostly because of his 100% commitment to the club while on the pitch but also because he scored the winner in a game against Aston Villa, which was their first victory over them since 1985.

Mulumbu has claimed he has spoken to a number of clubs already but who will want him and is he good enough to make it into the starting 11 of one of the top teams? In my opinion, he may be able to do it as he has shown enough progress already in the Premier League and the fact he is only 25, he will get better. The first team I believe he could be good for is Arsenal as they always seem to be missing a strong central midfielder and have never been able to replace Patrick Vieira. They do currently have Alex Song but he is not a proper holding midfielder and likes to get forward a lot, he has been described before as the most attacking holding midfielder in the world. If they can bring in Mulumbu it would allow Song to get forward more and he showed time and time again this season that he can provide killer passes and set up a lot of goals.

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with him but I do not see this as likely as Arsenal because they already have Scott Parker and Luka Modric to play in the centre of their midfield so he would find it tough to become a first team regular. However, Modric is linked with a move away and if he goes they will need to replace him and both Modric and Mulumbu only get about the same number of goals a season so they would not lose anything in that respect.

Finally, Newcastle United could be interested in him as they have already lost one central midfielder this summer in Danny Guthrie and will need a new one. He may not get a first team slot straight away but he will still rack up the appearances as the season goes on. Another reason why I think he could fit in at Newcastle is that he is what they are now looking for in the transfer market. Someone that is quite cheap and if they do well, their price tag will rise and with Mulumbu only being 25 he could be at the club for a few years and then leave for a lot more than they signed him for. There are already a lot of reports saying he is in talks with Newcastle so this one seems the most likely at the minute.