Game, Team and Player of the Weekend

The Premier League kicked off this weekend and there is a lot to talk about but as from now after every weekend, I am going to decide on my game, team and player of the weekend. It will be difficult to narrow it down but I will try.

So onto the first thing, team of the weekend. This could go quite a few ways, should I give it to Swansea City under new manager Michael Laudrup, who destroyed QPR away from home 5-0 after being tipped as one of the teams to struggle this year (although it has only been one game and that may still be the case). Maybe, Fulham deserve it as they also won 5-0 against Norwich City, under difficult circumstances with their main man from last season Clint Dempsey not wanting to play. Although impressive, I have decided to go with Everton as they performed wonderfully and beat Manchester United 1-0. Everyone in their team played their part with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin phenomenal at the back, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini causing problems from midfield and up front Nikica Jelavic worked his socks off. They may not have scored as many as the others but they certainly created a lot of chances and even hit the bar a couple of times. Defensively they didn’t put a foot wrong and each one of them, Jagielka, Distin, Baines and Hibbert all get at least nine out of 10 from me. It is a great start to the season for them but they must play like this in every game if they want to finish in the top six.

Player of the weekend is another tough one to choose as all of the teams that were in contention for team of the weekend obviously had stand out players. Michu obviously grabbed the headlines for Swansea and rightfully so, I don’t even think in his or his manager’s dreams his debut would have went that well. He grabbed two goals, one with a little assistance from QPR goalkeeper Robert Green and the other a fantastic finish. Mladen Petric also had a debut to remember by also scoring two goals but one of these took a massive deflection, however he has opened his account for the team so that will give him the confidence to push on and get more. He showed nice touches round the edge of the box and looks like he can create goals for others too. Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle United deserves a mention because he won the game for his team by winning and scoring a penalty, but he offered a lot more than just that with many mazy runs and great skills which forced the Tottenham players to bring him down. Yet another Premier League debutant is also a contender in Eden Hazard who in the first seven minutes of Chelsea’s game with Wigan Athletic showed why most clubs in Europe wanted him. Hopefully, he will show a lot more of that in the future. But, the winner for me has to be Marouane Fellaini who scored the winner for Everton, as I have already mentioned the whole of the backline got 9’s but this guy got a 10 and was fantastic from start to finish. He won everything in the air against both Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic, and was simply unplayable at times and he is definitely looking like he could have his best season yet in an Everton shirt. I prefer him to play in a more attacking role so he can do exactly what he did against Manchester United.

Game of the weekend isn’t quite as tough I don’t think, because 5-0’s are good but I would like a game to be less one sided and as I have said Everton played fantastically but Manchester United definitely weren’t great and couldn’t get out of first gear. So, my game of the weekend is Manchester City versus Southampton. The away side almost came away with a very unlikely win never mind just a point, after going 2-1 up but unfortunately couldn’t hold onto their lead and ended up losing 3-2. Both teams played the game in the right way and kept the ball on the floor and tried to pass through the opposition. When Carlos Tevez was brought down in the box for a penalty, I thought that was it for Southampton but Kelvin Davis managed to save David Siva’s penalty and there was renewed optimism, however, this didn’t last long as Tevez then did put City ahead. Game over? Not quite as sub Rickie Lambert scored with a fantastic finish and all of a sudden the momentum switched, and when fellow sub Steven Davis put them 2-1 up with an equally good finish, there was a feeling of worry growing round the stadium. But, just as he did against QPR on the last day of last season Edin Dzeko managed to get an equaliser, leaving enough time for Samir Nasri to fire home the winner. Good start from both teams but I think Nigel Adkins will be the happier of the two managers.

Which teams, players and games impressed you this weekend? How did your team do, were there any standout players?

Advertisements

Who will be the Premier League’s top scorer?

The Premier League season is nearly upon us and the fight for the title, European places and the relegation battles are always very interesting but what about top goal scorer, will it be a one horsed race or will it go right down to the last game of the season.

Last year’s winner Robin Van Persie is expected to join Manchester United and that will surely only help him to become the winner of the Golden Boot for the second season running. Unlike at Arsenal you know that Alex Ferguson’s team will be right up there come the end of the season and they have the players to create even more chances for the striker and if he can develop a good understanding with Wayne Rooney then it could be his best season yet.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero had a fantastic year last season capping it off with the Premier League title but this year he will want to score even more goals and now he has had a full season in England he will just keep getting better and better so he will definitely be up there come the end of the season. He didn’t have the best of times in the Community Shield but there is no doubt he will come good.

Fernando Torres may have been branded a flop by a lot of people but this could be his season as he is now definitely first choice and won’t have to worry that when he misses a chance he will be replaced in the line up by Didier Drogba. He is the main man and now is the time to prove that he was worth the £50 million price tag. With Spain, he finished top scorer at Euro 2012 so he will obviously be very confident and the way he took his goal against Manchester City in the Community Shield shows that he hasn’t lost his finishing ability.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has scored a lot of goals already in his career and even though he had quite a poor European Championships he will be back to his best in the coming season. He has proved over the years that he can score a wide range of goals from long rangers to scrappy goals in the six yard box and now has a knack of scoring a lot of goals with his head so he is always a massive threat.

Finally, maybe a little bit of an outsider as he may not always be first choice but Carlos Tevez owes the Manchester City fans this year I feel, because of the way he acted for a long period last season. He did come good at the end of the year but it was almost too late, however his performances were obviously good enough and he ended up lifting the title at the end. But, I am sure he doesn’t feel he deserved his medal and will be doing everything he can to make sure he deserves one this year if they win it and what better way to do that than score the most goals in the league.

Who will be relegated from League 1?

League 1 may not have the likes of Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday or Huddersfield Town anymore but there are still some big teams with big budgets in the division and this makes it very hard for the promoted teams and those with lower budgets to have a good season.

But it is definitely one of the relegated teams from the Championship that are the favourites to go down. Portsmouth are in a lot of trouble and are barely still alive as a club never mind one that is in the third tier of English football. Who knows what their starting 11 will be at the start of the season and how many of them have any experience whatsoever. Manager Michael Appleton has the potential to be a good manager and will obviously come out of this with credit but he is fighting a losing battle.

Next are a team that have just been promoted to the league and that is Shrewsbury Town who have had an interesting summer with a few key players departing in particular one of their strikers James Collins who may have scored the goals to keep them up. So they will have to hope that Marvin Morgan, Terry Gornell and Ryan Doble can do the business in League 1. They have possibly their toughest fixture of the season first which is Sheffield United away so at least that will be out of the way early.

Walsall have been in League 1 for a number of years now and seem to be one of the clubs that will always finish towards the bottom half of the table but avoid relegation and it could be the same yet again. Their top two scorers from last years, Jon Macken and Alex Nicholls have left the club and they weren’t exactly prolific themselves so it is easy to see where they need improving and hopefully their 1-0 win over Brentford in the Capital One Cup will give them the confidence to go on and compete for a place higher up in the table.

Yeovil are another club that seemed to be struggling at the moment and may have a long season in front of them especially as they have lost their main man from last year, Andy Williams, who scored 16 goals in 35 league games but decided to join league newcomers Swindon Town. They have brought in James Hayter and Reuben Reid who I think can score goals at this level so if they remain solid at the back it will be another season in League 1 for them.

A surprising team that are tipped for relegation are Carlisle United because at times last year they looked good and were playing some decent stuff under Greg Abbott but they are another team that has lost one of their better players in Francois Zoko. They still look like they have a good enough side though and should be considered an outside tip for promotion through the playoffs because they have Frank Simek, Jon-Paul McGovern, Matty Robson and Lee Miller (if he can stay fit).

Four teams get relegated from League 1 so obviously there are more contenders but I see these with the exception of Carlisle to be the ones that struggle the most and are in a relegation battle come the end of the season.

Player of the day- Fabio Coentrao

The first quarter final saw Portugal beat Czech Republic 1-0 and dominate from start to finish and the result never looked in doubt.

Czech Republic didn’t offer much in the game and never really threatened scoring apart from when their winger Vaclav Pilar raced down the left wing, beating a few players however his cross was awful and this summed up their performance. They were hardworking but not at any point did it look like they actually wanted to win the game. Their best player was Petr Cech and that just tells you everything about their performance, he produced some fantastic saves, particularly one which he tipped over the bar from long range as it was moving in the air. Portugal created numerous chances and also had a goal disallowed when substitute Hugo Almeida headed past Cech but he was rightly judged offside. The Portuguese needed a goal so up stepped their main man in Cristiano Ronaldo who made a good run from the left wing to head home a cross. It was a really good performance from the Real Madrid man and he always looked the most likely to break the deadlock or create something. There isn’t much more to say about this game, Portugal won the game comfortably and it would have been a better game had Russia got through instead.

Man of the match- Fabio Coentrao- For me the left back was the best player on the pitch, even though Ronaldo will get all the headlines, I think Coentrao does a lot of the work down that side of the pitch. When Ronaldo goes inside which he will inevitably do to try and get involved, the Real Madrid left back pushes on and stays out wide to give his team another option. I think he could be the most important player in the Portugal squad because if he wasn’t on the pitch, Ronaldo would be restricted to the wing a lot more. He defended well against Czech Republic and was a threat going forward, there was hardly ever an attack when he wasn’t involved. Plus he kept the dangerous Petr Jiracek quiet for the whole game.

Coentrao played 33 times for Real Madrid last season

Who will be the next Rotherham United manager?

Rotherham United sacked their manager Andy Scott after less than a year in charge and placed Darren Patterson in temporary control.

Rotherham United are currently 10th in League 2

Patterson got off to a great start with a 4-2 victory over Macclesfield Town leaving the club in 10th place, eight points outside of the playoffs and in the process has done himself no harm in getting the job permanently. He has managed before at Oxford United but looking back on his career he seems to want to be an assistant more than the main man at a club but he could be tempted to take the job as Rotherham are very ambitious and want to be playing in a higher division. He currently has a 38.8% win record which isn’t terrible and he could possibly do a good job for the club.

However, there are many other candidates and one they should surely be looking at is Mark Robins, as he is currently available and has worked at the club before and therefore knows a bit about the place. In his first spell in charge he was quite successful and he almost got the club promoted from League 2 even though they started the season with a 17 point deduction. He may be a good choice but some people believe you should never go back to your old club no matter what as it could ruin your reputation there so maybe the board should be looking at a different person to take them forward rather than looking back into the past.

Brian Laws is also in the running for the job and he already has links to Yorkshire with him being the manager of Sheffield Wednesday for three years. This could be a good thing or a bad thing as he will know the area and it won’t take him long to settle in the area and people always perform better when they are settled. However, it could go the other way and because of his time with Wednesday the Millers fans may not take to him very well and if results aren’t going his way they may turn on him very quickly. He has secured promotion twice from this division with Scunthorpe United and this is exactly what the club wants so he has a good chance of getting the job.

If they don’t mind paying compensation for their next manager then maybe they could look at Steve Evans at Crawley Town because he has done very well there and they are currently 5th in the table and are hoping to be at least in the playoff positions come the end of the season. Evans is an ambitious manager and will be hoping for automatic promotion but if he thinks that Rotherham have a better chance of getting promoted it wouldn’t surprise me if he left Crawley. He isn’t the most liked person in football and can annoy people at times.

Rotherham have a lot of potential and have been knocking on the door of promotion for a number of years and eventually they will achieve what they want but they have to give the new manager some time to get his own ideas across to the players and also the opportunity to bring in his own players.