Who will be the top scorer in the Premier League?

Winning the golden boot in the Premier League is always one of the best things a player can do in his career as it usually means his club has had a great season.

There is some uncertainty surrounding the main contenders for the awards so that could massively change how well they do this season.

The favourite without doubt is Manchester United’s main man Robin Van Persie and this is exactly what manager David Moyes sees him as so once again he has to deal with that pressure like he did at Arsenal. He can score all types of goals as he has proved all through his career but he just seems to be getting better and better as he gets older. If he can avoid any serious injuries then he will surely hit at least 20 goals yet again.

Sergio Aguero suffered some injuries last season and this ruined his chances of finishing as top scorer but now he is hoping that he can guide City to the title once again. It will be interesting to see how he plays under Pellegrini, whether it is with a partner like Edin Dzeko or Alvaro Negredo. Aguero is the most reliable goal scorer at the club and he should be first choice all through the season in my eyes.

He may be banned for the first few games of the season and his future may be in doubt but when Luis Suarez gets on the pitch he certainly knows where the back of the net is and he can score some amazing goals in the process. If he joins Arsenal then I can see him getting even more chances to score with the way they play but if he can patch up his differences with Liverpool then he could lead them back into Europe.

Another player with their future in doubt is Wayne Rooney who may be frustrated by being called second fiddle to another striker will be looking to prove the doubters wrong this season. This could be very clever by Moyes because if he stays at Manchester United he will be desperate to outscore Van Persie and prove he is the best striker at the club. However, if Moyes only wants to play one upfront then that means Rooney may have to sit on the bench if he does not get a transfer. If he does get his move to Chelsea I do not think he will be their main striker either and may have to settle for a role behind Lukaku, Torres or Ba.

Finally, Roberto Soldado will be coming into a very creative Tottenham Hotspur team and he will be hoping to replicate his form in Spain and if he does that then it may be difficult to knock him off the top of the scoring charts. He is a good finisher and will add something extra to Spurs this season, the fans and manager Andre Villas Boas will be hoping he settles very quickly and finds the back of the net early on.

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Who will win the Premier League?

The Premier League will be very difficult to predict this season because of all the changes that have taken place over the summer.

Three of the top five have new managers so will that work in their favour or will it take them a while to adjust to their new jobs.
Manchester City under Manuel Pellegrini will be an interesting prospect because he does like his teams to play more attacking football and win every game that they play. This is different to former manager Roberto Mancini who at times was a little negative. The signings the club has made will surely improve the squad and I am excited to see how Stevan Jovetic does because he could easily be the signing of the season.

Jose Mourinho is back at Chelsea and this might just make them become the best team in the country once again. He has a great team to work with and will be hoping that he can replicate his first spell in charge. It will be interesting to see if he still favours the players that were there in his first spell like John Terry who should not be in a title winning first 11 anymore. He has a tough choice in picking his main striker this year because Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are all capable on their day.

Sir Alex Ferguson has left Manchester United in a very strong position so it should not be too hard for David Moyes to at least challenge for the title this season because they still have the same team. The Wayne Rooney saga over the summer will not have helped things and the fact that he has not been able to convince many players to join them will be a little concerning. There will be even more pressure on Robin Van Persie to succeed this season and Moyes has to hope they do not become a one man team.

Arsenal are another club that has struggled in convincing players that they are the team they should be joining but if they can bring in someone like Luis Suarez then they could be right up there come the end of the season. As much as Arsene Wenger thinks top four is good enough I believe this may be his last season in charge if they do not come close to the title again. They have been falling further and further behind their rivals and that is probably why they have tried to spend a lot of money this summer.

Tottenham Hotspur could be seen as outsiders for the title because at times they did play some good stuff last year but unfortunately a lot does rest on whether they can keep hold of Gareth Bale. I do not think they are a one man team but he did win a lot of games for them last year but the signing of Roberto Soldado is a very good one and if he hits the ground running they will have a clinical striker on their hands that will add goals consistently which Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor failed to do last season.

What is going wrong at Newcastle United?

Newcastle United slumped to their fourth straight defeat and look a long way off the team that challenged for a place in the Champions League last season.

So, what has went wrong? For me, personally, after watching them a lot both last season and this year there isn’t much of a difference at all, especially going forward. Last year, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse didn’t click as a pairing and it is only in the spotlight now because the team aren’t picking up the points and anyone who points to this, has obviously not been watching the games from last year closely enough.

What has changed then? Defensively they look awful this year and last year Tim Krul kept a lot of clean sheets and this was a massive part of their success. All it required was one piece of magic from one of their main attacking players, whether that be Ba, Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa or Yohan Cabaye. Last season, if Newcastle kept a clean sheet I was very confident they would nick a goal but this year they can’t keep clean sheets so they need something extra.

Injuries have obviously hampered the team, in particular the two French players, Cabaye and Ben Arfa because without them there is a clear lack of creativity. Just look at the midfield that started against Stoke City, Vurnon Anita, Cheick Tiote, James Perch and Jonas Gutierrez, every one of them gives something to the team, in terms of workrate and commitment but they aren’t going to create many chances for the front two, who can’t seem to link up, so a lot of the long balls which, Mike Williamson loves to play is pointless and is resulting in the opposition getting the ball back and launching an attack.

So, what can manager Alan Pardew really do? He needed to be backed in the summer by Mike Ashley but unfortunately he wasn’t and with the extra games in Europe and the injuries that are adding up, he is fighting a losing battle. He wanted to bring in quite a few players but it just didn’t happen and he actually wanted a goal scoring centre back and one point which turned into nothing and maybe that is part of the reason why the team can’t score from set pieces. Which is another thing that has been awful, both defensively and offensively.

I think the team will sort itself out and anyone that thinks Pardew should be sacked really needs to understand that stability is the way forward. The only worry I can see at the moment is if Newcastle finish midtable, other clubs will be looking to take their better players and with no Europe next season, they will be a lot more likely to leave. He needs to bring in players in January just to convince the rest of the players to stay, but the potential is there and we all seen last season that at times they can be unbeatable and have the players to really hurt the opposition. Finally, I would just like to say fair play to Pardew for not blaming the injury list on the teams form but if he had brought in more players in the summer, where would Newcastle be now?

Game, Team and Player of Matchday 4

Yet another weekend has passed and the league is now starting to take shape with the likely frontrunners being Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City. The bottom of the table is also one many expect it to be come the end of the season with Southampton propping up the table and Reading only just above them. But with Liverpool, Sunderland and Norwich still not tasting victory they are not too far away from the other teams in the league. However, Liverpool showed signs of improvement at the weekend and will not be down there at the end of the season.

Now onto team of the weekend and I would just like to say that the game at Goodison Park between Everton and Newcastle United was definitely a tale of two halves. If Everton had played the way they did in the first half for the full game they would have won the game comfortably, but then again if Newcastle had played the way they did in the second half they could have come away with all three points. But football is a 90 minute game and a team that did perform for most of the 90 was definitely Aston Villa who have been steadily improving under new manager Paul Lambert. They picked up a great point away to Newcastle and followed that up with against previously unbeaten Swansea City. It will be a morale boosting win and exactly what the club needed as a whole because a defeat would have been hard to take especially when they played so well. Along with the good result, Paul Lambert will be pleased that two of his summer signings Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke scored their first goals for the club. But, the clear and deserved winners are Arsenal. The only disappointing thing about their game is that they conceded a goal after a mistake by Wojciech Szczesny. However, their impressive front line made easy work of Southampton and they could have had more than the six they did score. The goals came from Lukas Podolski, Gervinho and Theo Walcott and two own goals. A lot of people wrote off Arsenal and I still don’t think they will challenge for the title but they should have a great chance of finally winning a trophy. A word of warning though to Arsenal fans getting carried away, every season there is a score line like this at the Emirates and the players haven’t been able to maintain this kind of form in the bigger games.

Player of the weekend is a battle between the players that scored twice for their clubs in my opinion and they are Demba Ba, Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov. So, let’s start with the Fulham striker because when he is happy, he plays sensational football and at home in particular he will be a threat to every team. The way he took his first goal was sublime and the way he placed it was so casual that you can just tell that he does that sort of thing every day and doesn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t just his goals that was impressive, it was his movement and he just has a knack of finding space near the opponents goal. His ability has never been in doubt but he showed the Fulham fans that if they play to his strengths he will score and create chances for his teammates. Jermain Defoe is playing in a position that he is slightly unfamiliar and that is as a lone striker. Usually, a lone striker is someone that can hold up play and bring others into play but this is almost the opposite of what Defoe wants to do. As soon as he gets the ball, there is only one thing on his mind and that is to get a strike in on goal. Reading had no answer to his movement and could only watch on as he expertly finished two of his chances in their game. My player of the weekend though is Demba Ba and I know he only played 45 minutes but when a single player can change the fortunes of a team in that short space of time, he deserves a lot of praise. Within a few minutes of coming on he had got Newcastle level and they looked a completely different team and then when it looked like his team were going home with nothing he reacted brilliantly to a superb knockdown from Shola Ameobi and placed a shot underneath Tim Howard.

I think it is pretty obvious which game impressed me the most and got me the most excited but still there were some entertaining games, in particular the Arsenal game and the Tottenham games. Arsenal created chances at will and scored goals for fun and Tottenham followed suit a day later but couldn’t quite get as many goals. Both of the newly promoted teams also scored past them so that may give them confidence for the future, but they should probably put these games behind them and move on. So, my game of the weekend, Everton versus Newcastle, this game had absolutely everything, goals that should have been given and ridiculous refereeing calls, as well as goals and missed chances. The most entertaining few moments of possibly the whole season occurred during this game, Victor Anichebe got a header in on goal which goalkeeper Steve Harper tipped onto the bar with Mike Williamson clearing it, however the ball was over the line, but the referee and his assistants missed it which led to a counter attack for Newcastle which saw Hatem Ben Arfa running with the ball against one defender with Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse breaking either side of him making it a three on one situation. However, they were stopped in their tracks when the referee called the game back for a free kick on Ben Arfa even though he had regained his balance and was looking to beat the defender. Two very bad decisions in the space of about 15 seconds. A draw was probably a fair result even though both will feel they could have grabbed all three points. Plus, Everton had a goal disallowed for offside even though Marouane Fellaini was onside so they may feel slightly more annoyed by the result.

Do you agree with me? Who stood out for your team this week?

Will Clint Dempsey leave Fulham this summer?

The Clint Dempsey transfer saga could run and run for the whole of the summer and come down to the last day.

Dempsey has scored 50 Premier League goals

Fulham will definitely not want to lose one of their main players and it seems like the player is very happy at the club but money talks in football and I am sure he is a very ambitious man and will want to have a better chance of challenging for trophies. Also, he seemed to thrive under the pressure of playing in Europe so he will want to have another go in the Europa League as well seen as though he got so close to winning it a few years ago. Dempsey scored 23 goals in 46 appearances last year and this has made him hot property with a number of clubs keeping tabs on the situation. With 17 goals in the Premier League he has just proved his quality finally as I believe he has been one of the most underrated players in the league for a number of years now. If he was slightly younger then he would go for a much bigger price but he is 29 and can be a star for a while to come.

Liverpool have been the team chasing his signature all summer so far with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming the club have had contact with Fulham over the player and they have been reported several times to be close to signing him. However, not everything you read in the papers is true and they may not have bid for him as they may not want to pay the price Fulham want for him. He is a very good player and can fit into many different systems which is obviously very beneficial to any side and he will provide a goal scoring threat from either one of the front three or even one of the three midfielders.

The American international would be a very good fit in my opinion at Arsenal as they seem to lack a goal scoring midfielder these days and with the expected departure of Robin Van Persie they need to try and replace his goals with someone experienced in the Premier League. For too long Arsene Wenger has tried to bring players through or sign younger players but now they could be dropping out of the top four and something needs to change if they want to keep up with the top teams. If they could get him for £10 million then it would be an absolute steal.

Finally and a little surprisingly Newcastle United are linked with him and as much as this would be a good move for all parties, I just cannot see it happening with Newcastle seemingly focused on other players and them targeting younger players so they have a better resale value in years to come. It is a possibility as he would add a lot of quality to the squad and take a bit of the goal scoring pressure off Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, plus they are playing in Europe this year so he probably would be willing to join. But I really just don’t see it happening at all.

If Andy Carroll leaves Liverpool who would sign him?

Andy Carroll could be on his way out of Anfield this summer if the rumours are to be believed and a lot of clubs may be interested in his services.

Carroll has scored 2 goals in 7 games for England

The Geordie striker hasn’t had a great time at Liverpool, missing chances and performing poorly in general which has made everyone wonder why former manager Kenny Dalglish paid £35 million for him? In his 56 games as a Liverpool player he has only scored 11 goals but should that put teams off trying to buy him or get him in on loan? In my opinion, no because he showed at Euro 2012 he does have a lot of qualities and can be a good player. Maybe he has struggled because of the pressure of the huge price tag, which should never have been paid for him anyway, or it could just simply be, he isn’t the right fit for the club and this does happen quite often. He’s a powerful striker that on his day can cause any defenders in Europe problems and just needs a manager that will give him some confidence. It is not clear whether he will leave but new manager Brendan Rodgers, only likes to play one up front and with Luis Suarez and new signing Fabio Borini most likely ahead of Carroll in the pecking order it could be time for him to move on.

Newcastle United will always be linked with Carroll, probably for the rest of his career because of the affection he has for the club and his previous performances for them, however, I would be shocked to see this happen as when he left there were conflicting stories on why he joined Liverpool. He said he was forced to leave and some people in the Toon camp claimed he was going to put in a transfer request if they didn’t allow him to leave. Obviously things would need to be patched up before a move is even thought about but with Demba Ba’s future still unclear and Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands leaving the club in the summer, he could be the perfect signing.

West Ham United are also linked with the striker and it wouldn’t surprise me if this rumour was true, manager Sam Allardyce likes to play with a big striker that can hold up the ball for his team and Carroll has all these attributes. In my opinion, he is better than Carlton Cole and will get more goals than him if he joined. With rumours of Ricardo Vaz Te being unhappy, they need another striker and a loan option could work out perfectly for both Liverpool and the Hammers. However, his wages could be a deciding factor, I am not sure whether West Ham would be able to afford his wages at present. One thing that does work in their advantage is that Carroll and their captain Kevin Nolan seem to be good friends and this could sway his decision to join the club.

Finally, the next Premier League club linked with him is Fulham and I am a little surprised at this because he doesn’t seem like a Martin Jol type of player but they do seem to be in desperate need of a striker with them losing Bobby Zamora, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Andy Johnson and Orland Sa in the last two transfer windows. With less pressure on his shoulders at Fulham he could be a fantastic signing and fulfil his potential and possibly even guide the club towards a European place.

Who will Junior Hoilett sign for?

Junior Hoilett is looking for a new club this summer after leaving relegated Blackburn Rovers and has plenty of options.

Hoilett scored 14 goals in 92 games for Blackburn Rovers

The wide man enjoyed a very good season last year in a struggling Rovers side and was one of their bright spots in a poor season. In his 34 league games he scored seven goals and got seven assists which is impressive for a lot of wingers, however, it is just not good enough for a team in the Champions League in my opinion. Chelsea would be the most likely as they are heavily linked with Victor Moses and I think Hoilett is slightly better than him. There are rumours that he could still sign a new contract at the Ewood Park club but I don’t think he wants to play in the Championship and he is better than that. He served the club well playing almost 100 games and I’m sure the fans were happy with his commitment and his performances over the last few seasons.

QPR are currently the favourites to sign him and he does seem to be a Mark Hughes type of player and that is someone that likes to play wide but cut in and get shots away. They are in need of wingers too as Shaun Wright-Phillips has struggled and never really made a positive impact since moving to the club and Jamie Mackie who had an ok season in my opinion is just not good enough if QPR want to move forward. I’m sure Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and Djibril Cisse would much prefer to see Hoilett on the ball out wide than their current players as he just has that unpredictability that is needed at times.

Another club that could be interested is Newcastle United as he would fit into the style of football manager Alan Pardew wants them to play. If he did sign then they would have a frightening attacking line up in Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Junior Hoilett on the left. The only problem that this would lead to is their fullbacks wouldn’t get much protection and it would be very harsh just to drop Jonas Gutierrez after everything he has done for the club. I think this could be a good move for both club and player but I don’t see it happening because Hoilett may want too high a wage.

Finally, a little surprisingly to me Everton have been linked with him as just said he will probably want a high wage and Everton don’t usually give out that big a wage. But, if they could convince him to sign then he would certainly create chances for Nikica Jelavic and with the team already having a lot of good passers in their midfield, he would just add something different and if he could get crosses in then it would probably help Tim Cahill rediscover his goal scoring touch.

I think he will sign for QPR as they could be a surprise team this year and challenge for the top half of the table and with a bit of luck maybe a European place through a cup competition. Plus, they have the finances to give him a very good wage.

Who will Steven Naismith sign for?

Steven Naismith has left Rangers on a free transfer and will be looking for a move to the Premier League.

The striker is just one of many players that will leave the club this summer but he could be the one that gets the most offers especially from Premier League clubs. After signing for Rangers in 2007 from Kilmarnock he hasn’t been a prolific scorer but has still won three SPL titles, one Scottish Cup and two League cups while at the club. Last season, he was having his best season but it was unfortunately cut short by injury which ended his season in October, but he still managed to get nine goals last season in just 15 games. It will be interesting to see if he can cope in the Premier League because he has got a lot of admirers, however, his stats don’t really show his talents, in his years at Rangers he only scored 33 goals in 140 games and when you play for a team that has won the league three times in that spell you do expect him to have scored more. Naismith, has also represented his country on 13 occasions and scored two goals against Spain and Lithuania. One thing that will make him a good signing is his versatility, as he has played on the wings a lot for Rangers and could easily play there in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.

Naismith has scored 68 goals in his career

So who would be interested in signing him? Everton are surely interested in him as they don’t have a lot of money and someone with Naismith’s talents on a free transfer will interest manager David Moyes a lot. Everton now have Nikica Jelavic who was scoring goals for fun at the end of last season and obviously him and Naismith have played together before so surely they will have a good understanding straight away and get the best out of each other. They do sometimes lack goals in their side but they do have a lot of good passers in their midfield and a lot of creativity so Naismith could thrive in that side and just add another little bit of quality upfront.

Fulham are another club that I believe should be taking a look at him because they have already lost Pavel Pogrebnyak and Andy Johnson this summer so they do need a replacement and also they didn’t get any money for these two so a cheap replacement may be needed. Also, a few players have been linked away, for example, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele so they are losing a lot of goals and talent and will need to replace them quickly. If Fulham do lose these players then they may be pulled into a relegation scrap with Orlando Sa and Bryan Ruiz in particular being very inconsistent so someone like Naismith could just get them the goals to make sure they are comfortably in midtable at least.

Finally, Newcastle United could be looking at him as he does fit into the way the club play as he can be a winger or a striker and with Demba Ba’s future uncertain at the minute, Mike Ashley may just be hoping that another free transfer can work out as well as the Senegalese striker. I think Newcastle may be looking for someone slightly better but if they can’t get their first choices then he wouldn’t be a bad backup player at least. With Peter Lovenkrands also leaving this summer they do need one more striker in my opinion especially with Leon Best linked with a move away.

Who will Dimitar Berbatov play for next season?

Dimitar Berbatov’s time at Manchester United looks like it is coming to an end this summer with him not featuring as much as he would like in the season just gone.

Berbatov has also scored 48 goals in 77 appearances

But is his time in England coming to an end? He has a really good record in England and has performed quite well for both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. When he signed for Spurs he was well known in Germany after scoring 91 goals in 201 appearances at Bayer Leverkusen and after his first season in England he was one of the most feared strikers in the country. He scored 23 goals in both his seasons at Tottenham and formed a very good partnership with Robbie Keane. He was often criticised by fans because he was seen as lazy and not very interested but his quality was never in doubt and he showed amazing composure at times and deserved his move to a team challenging for the title in my opinion.

At Manchester United, he won two Premier League titles and even finished up as the league’s top scorer in the 2010-11 season after hitting 20 goals in 32 games. Apart from that season though he didn’t quite hit the heights and only got 56 goals in all competitions for the club. However last season it was really surprising that he wasn’t used more as he got 7 goals in 12 Premier League games, when they needed a goal in a game I don’t understand why he wasn’t given more of a chance.

It is more than likely that he will leave England and go back abroad but if he doesn’t, who would have him in the Premier League? The first team that may be interested in his services could be Liverpool as they have struggled to put away their chances these years, and he would surely add more than what Andy Carroll has. A problem could be whether Sir Alex Ferguson will sell a player to Liverpool, he basically refused to sell Gabriel Heinze to them a few years ago. Another problem could be whether the new manager would want him and also how he would get him to play alongside Luis Suarez as they are both quite similar and like to drop deep.

Newcastle United could also be interested in Berbatov and I think he would be interested in joining the Magpies as his idol was Alan Shearer and he used to sleep in a Toon shirt so I’m sure he would like to play for them at some point. They are in Europe and they may have to replace Demba Ba this summer if he leaves as all the rumours are saying. The price tag could put the club off and the fact that he is getting towards the end of his career will put Alan Pardew off. I think it would be a good signing but not likely to happen.

A return to Tottenham could be on the cards as they will be in need of a striker as they may not be able to keep hold of Emmanuel Adebayor. I don’t think his wages would be as high as the Manchester City striker either so he could be a very good option but I’m not sure he would fit into their style of play anymore as they like their main striker to be a bit more of target man.

Berbatov can still do a good job in the Premier League but he will probably go abroad to a team like PSG or even be included in a swap deal for a Borussia Dortmund as Manchester United have been linked with a few of their players like Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski so that could be very good deal for both clubs.

Newcastle United sign Romain Amalfitano

Newcastle United have signed French midfielder Romain Amalfitano as they look to add depth to their squad for next season.

Amalfitano scored six goals for Reims in the league

The club are obviously wanting to get their squad together for next year as they will be competing in Europe and will be hoping to progress quite far in the Europa League while still being competitive in the Premier League. The signing of a midfielder suggests that some players are going to be leaving later in the summer. Danny Guthrie’s contract is up and although I think he should get a new contract, the player himself probably wants to leave to get more first team chances as he is behind Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye in the pecking order. With this news, he will most certainly be going and I’m sure he would have been a very good squad player which another team can take advantage of and he is currently being linked with Sunderland. The signing also adds to the speculation that Dan Gosling could be leaving as he has been continually frustrated that he hasn’t played that often and been restricted to substitute appearances. Since signing in 2010 he has only played 13 league games due to the fact he has had a lot of injuries and has been overlooked by Pardew many times when he has decided to play James Perch in the middle of midfield.

So onto Amalfitano himself, he is yet another player that has signed for the club that nobody knows and will be hoping to emulate the performances of players like Cabaye and Tiote. He is regarded as player with a lot of potential and now that he is 22 he also has enough experience to be able to cope with the move to England. The attacking midfielder will join the club on the 1st July after his contract expires at Reims. He has previously played for Evian and looked as though he was going to make an impact in the French leagues with some impressive early performances. He managed to score three goals 22 appearances.

Looking at his abilities and he is definitely a confident player that can change a game as he has a very good first touch and can see a pass. He also has a good strike on him and likes to try long ranged efforts. But his best attribute is his ability to break into the box at the right time and finish off chances, he is a similar player to Frank Lampard and if he can adapt to the Premier League quickly he could become a vital part of the team and could be crucial in coming off the bench and grabbing an equaliser or a winner.

This season he helped Reims get promoted back to the top French division and he will obviously join Newcastle with a lot of confidence and will be helped by Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba who will all help him settle in. Hopefully this will be a signing to add to squad depth rather than replace one of their starters because their current first 11 have been linked away from the club.