Game, Team and Player of Matchday 5

The top two in the Premier League so far is expected with Chelsea and Manchester United leading the race for the title but directly below them Everton and West Brom are having fantastic starts to the season and not many would have expected them to have been in the Champions League places after five games. At the other end of the table, there are six teams still to register a win and the most worried out of them will surely be QPR and Reading who are currently in the relegation zone. Liverpool are the other team in the relegation zone and all of them will be thankful that Norwich City also haven’t picked up a win yet.

I have already mentioned them but they don’t usually have a great start to the season and that is why it is so remarkable that Everton are third in the table and will surely finish in a European place because they usually leave their unbeaten runs just too late in the season to have an effect on them positions. Yet again, they produced a fantastic display against Swansea City and brushed them aside with ease, all of their attacking players were on form and Kevin Mirallas has fit straight into the David Moyes way of playing football and even added a goal to his good performance. Victor Anichebe has now got two goals in two games and he will have a lot of confidence and maybe they won’t miss Nikica Jelavic as much as they thought they would. Another team that are performing well in areas we don’t normally expect is Arsenal because at the back they have been superb and followed it up with another good performance away to Manchester City. I will still give them a lot of praise even though the goal they conceded was an error because in years gone by they definitely would have lost this game and went home with nothing. They also created chances and if their finishing and final touch was better, in particular Gervinho, they could have got all three points. But, the winner of team of the week has to be Southampton. After finding themselves 1-0 down their fans must have thought that their time in the Premier League was going to be very short indeed but they didn’t get on the players or their managers back and they got to see their side come from behind and beat Aston Villa. Two goals from Rickie Lambert, an own goal from Ciaran Clark and a tidy finish from Nathaniel Clyne gave them exactly what they deserved and that was all three points. If they can replicate this sort of form then they may be able to stay up this year but they will need their fans on their side and the rumours of Nigel Adkins being replaced need to go away or it could cause some uncertainty among the players.

Hugo Rodallega may have came back to haunt his old club Wigan Athletic but it is his strike partner Dimitar Berbatov that is a contender for player of the week in my mind because he has shown that he can perform just as well away from home as he does at Craven Cottage. This is what he often gets criticised for but against Wigan he did everything that was asked of him, he held the ball up well and brought teammates into play. His movement was also very good and the Wigan defence weren’t ever sure on who has supposed to be picking him up, and his cross for the first goal was superb so it was a very good day for the Bulgarian. Marouane Fellaini is another player that is proving he is worth every penny his club paid for him. In yet another outstanding performance he goes about his business so effectively, joining up with the front man and getting beyond him whenever he can. He is a lot better in the advanced role where he is playing now and like Yaya Toure at Manchester City he can make the difference in the final third. Another goal was added to his tally this weekend with a powerful header that left Michel Vorm with no chance. However, the man that is getting player of the week is none other than Southampton’s goal scoring hero Rickie Lambert. There were question marks raised on whether he will be able to score goals at the highest level but against Aston Villa he proved he not only knows where the goals is but can set up chances for his team to score. A lot of people just think that Lambert is a big target man but he is much more than that, he likes to drift out wide and get involved in the play dragging defenders away with him so there is more space for midfielders to run into and I’m sure Gaston Ramirez in particular will make the most of that.

Game of the weekend can be a little difficult because some of the bigger games get a lot more attention and don’t really end up being that exciting. But, in my opinion the Liverpool Manchester United game was decent enough with both teams having chances to win the game towards the end. The home side were probably just the better team and will feel a little annoyed that they didn’t get anything from the game, but maybe they just couldn’t push themselves anymore after playing a lot of the game with only 10 men after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off. There were some good goals in the game with Steven Gerrard reminding us all that he can still be a threat going forward and Rafael scoring a goal that some of the Old Trafford greats would have been proud of. The winner did come from the penalty spot after Glen Johnson clumsily fouled Antonio Valencia which makes you wonder how he is England’s first choice right back but that discussion is for another time. Another game that was really entertaining, but a lot more one sided was West Ham versus Sunderland. Steven Fletcher gave the away side the lead and that is basically all they did and had to withhold heavy pressure for a lot of the game, eventually leading to a late goal from one of their arch nemesis, Kevin Nolan. Nolan must love playing against Sunderland as he always seems to score past them and with him being a former Newcastle United player, it must have been extra sweet for him. Game of the weekend, however goes to the Swansea Everton match as it was a really enjoyable game and was played in a very different way to how I expected it. Everton controlled most of the game and Swansea struggled for large periods but they even create some chances that they should have done better with. Everton are getting better and better while Swansea are beginning to slip could this be the game that sends the clubs in two very different directions?

Was there anyone that impressed you? Who would you give the team, player and game of the weekend award to?

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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 Theo Walcott leave Arsenal this summer?

All of the stories of players leaving Arsenal have been about Robin Van Persie not signing a new contract with only a year to go but Theo Walcott is also in the same position.

Walcott has played 243 games in his career scoring 47 goals

The winger has been forgotten about by a lot of people because of their former captains situation but the club probably don’t want to lose Walcott for free either so could he also be on his way this summer? It could be a possibility and I think Arsene Wenger may have been making plans for this anyway with the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. They may have thought that Van Persie would sign a new contract and then there wouldn’t be much room for the England international with Gervinho another option for the Gunners. But this may have backfired on them massively as now Walcott may think that they are trying to make him sign a new contract because they have failed to convince their main man to sign on so he may feel as though he wasn’t really wanted and isn’t as important to the manager. Last season he was in decent form and it is quite surprising to me that they didn’t give him a new contract earlier with him scoring 11 goals and getting 13 assists in his 46 appearances last year.

He is sometimes hit and miss and his final ball definitely needs improving but I’m sure a lot of clubs would be very happy to have him in their squad. Liverpool have been linked with him the most and with the way they are expected to play under Brendan Rodgers he would fit into their system as he would be very similar to Nathan Dyer at Swansea City. Liverpool are in need of some wingers too with Stewart Downing largely underperforming for long periods last season and Craig Bellamy possibly on his way out of the club so Walcott could be a great purchase.

A little surprisingly Southampton have been linked with him and I actually could see this happening as they gave him his debut and played 23 times for the club at a very young age so maybe he would rejoin them and help them in their battle to avoid relegation. He may want to play in European competitions but maybe he would also enjoy being a big fish in a small pond and therefore somewhere that he knows would be the perfect option for him. If it did happen it would possibly be my favourite transfer of the summer because a few months ago if you said it would happen you would look crazy.

Finally, Chelsea could be interested in him as they seem to want to buy a winger with the constant speculation that they are trying to get Victor Moses. With it being reported that Wigan want between eight and 10 million they may switch their target as I think they will get Walcott for the same price and he has already played for a big club so he knows all about expectations and playing in the big games.

Everyone’s best friend Joey Barton

Joey Barton in the headlines yet again! And guess what he was straight on Twitter to defend himself! He loves using the social media to defend himself, tell us some philosophical quotes and basically have a go at people that do not deserve to be considered celebrities.

Another red card in his troubled career the former prison inmate allegedly head butted an opponent and was sent down the tunnel for an early bath. This after he had opened the scoring in a crucial match for QPR, so the question is- is he worth having in your team?

He does get a rough ride from referees and will be punished a lot more harshly than most players for minor offences for example last season against Wolves for Newcastle he was fouled on numerous occasions and then committed one foul and was booked straight away so he can be considered fortunate.

However let’s look at the other side of his game starting at Molineux where after getting abused by the crowd he showed the crowd what the score was and started laughing at them and then after the game deliberately called Wolves’ club captain the wrong name and said that he was a Sunday League player at best. This is a lack of respect to the fans mostly because he should be able to deal with a bit of banter from the crowd as he always says on Twitter it’s all just a joke and all he wants is a laugh.

The end of his Newcastle career was definitely not a laugh for Mike Ashley and the Newcastle Director’s as the player was forced out the club for letting his thoughts known on the situation at the club and was immediately made available for free transfer. In this situation I don’t think he realised how much damage he could have done to the club, he could have destabilised every member of the team and ruined the football club for years to come. However, Ashley has had the last laugh with Newcastle performing admirably and QPR struggling and battling relegation.

Some things he does in games is ridiculous and he is a very contradictory character as when he picked Gervinho up against Arsenal when he claimed he dived to try and win a penalty and then seconds later Gervinho’s hand brushed Barton’s cheek and he went down like he had just been hit by Mike Tyson in his prime.

Finally, Joey Barton is a very frustrating man claiming he is one of the working class yet when he gets in any argument at all, he brings up how much money he makes and basically is saying that because he is rich he is more powerful than the rest of us. For someone that in my opinion believes he is the people’s champion, he needs to take a long look at himself in the mirror especially now he has become a father.

Time to grow up Joey and stop being a keyboard warrior (one of his regular quotes on Twitter).