Game, Team and Player of Weekend 2

Chelsea, Swansea and Everton all continued their 100% start to the season, while Arsenal are still struggling to score goals since the departure of Robin Van Persie but on the other hand have looked solid defensively so is this an improvement? Aston Villa and Southampton are the only two teams left without a single point. So who will win my game, player and team of the weekend?

Firstly, onto team of the weekend. Everton are yet again candidates for the best team as they swept away Aston Villa in the first half scoring three goals and looking like they could have went up another few gears if they needed or wanted to. They are having a quick start to the season which is very rare for the team from Merseyside. Next, I think that West Brom deserve a lot of credit this week with them getting a point at White Hart Lane, they got a last minute equaliser through James Morrison but throughout the game they at least deserved a point and dealt with the threats of Tottenham very well and only conceded unfortunately through a deflected Benoit Assou-Ekotto effort. But the winner this week is, Swansea City as they continued their unbelievable start to the season and comfortably beat West Ham 3-0. Yet again, all of their star players performed including Michu, Nathan Dyer and the rejuvenated Wayne Routledge. Is this really the same Routledge we saw struggling for Newcastle United and many other clubs over the years? They are still to concede this season and in all honesty, West Ham didn’t cause them many problems but it is still impressive. Eight scored, none conceded.

Player of the weekend is always difficult to choose because there are always players that played well but don’t exactly standout. For example, Joe Allen, did for once get a lot of plaudits but he will probably play like he did for Liverpool against Manchester City most weeks but won’t get anywhere near enough praise. He controlled the midfield in a game that the home side should have won but for two costly mistakes. The way he keeps the team ticking over is sublime and whenever he has the ball, you know he will not give it away cheaply. Another player that doesn’t get nearly enough praise is Mikel Arteta and he was also brilliant this weekend for pretty much the same reasons, but unfortunately didn’t do quite enough for Arsenal to help them get a win. Similarly, Moussa Dembele put in an amazing performance in a losing effort against Manchester United. I can’t remember the last time a player from an away side controlled the midfield as much as the Fulham man did and if anything it has just alerted even more clubs to his quality and with a few days left of the transfer window, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came in with a bid. My player of the weekend though is, Eden Hazard who has just shown everyone why he was wanted by nearly every club in Europe. His pace over five yards is fantastic and Newcastle United had no answer to him. He seems to have just given everyone a lift at Stamford Bridge and whenever he gets the ball, the crowd know something good is going to happen. The way he keeps the ball is brilliant to watch as he easily goes past players and sees passes that not many others can, in my opinion he was the main difference between the sides on the day. To top it off, he got yet another assist and a goal from the penalty spot.

This weekend most of the games seemed very competitive and could have went either way. Liverpool against Manchester City was definitely one of these as both clubs could have won the game near the death, but it is Liverpool that are the most disappointed with the draw as both the goals they conceded were mistakes and avoidable. Tottenham against West Brom could also be a contender because to me it showed exactly what the Premier League is about. No team ever gives up and West Brom showed that by creating numerous chances towards the end of the game and deserved their draw just purely because of their effort and determination throughout the 90 minutes. But my game of the weekend has to be Manchester United against Fulham. There was everything in this game, goals, mistakes and even goalkeeper David De Gea doing a Cruyff turn inside his own box to beat Fulham striker Mladen Petric. Fulham took the lead through Damien Duff but then the home debut boys took over with Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa scoring before the game seemed over when Rafael added a third. But, Fulham didn’t lie down and led by Dembele they pulled one back through a horrendous error from De Gea and Nemanja Vidic. They just didn’t have enough in the end and if Bryan Ruiz’s header had went anywhere but at the Man United keeper, it may have been a great comeback but it wasn’t to be.

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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 Andrew Johnson play for next season?

Andrew Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be not be a Fulham player next season.

Johnson has scored 147 goals in his career

Fulham rejected a bid for him in January from QPR which suggested that they wanted him to stay or maybe they just felt that QPR would come in with a better offer if they rejected it. He has played over 100 games for Fulham in all competitions in his four seasons at the club but has only scored 27 goals with a lot of them coming in the Europa League against opponents who Fulham should have beaten anyway especially in the earlier rounds of the competition. His 13 league goals have not been enough although he did suffer a serious injury in his second season at the club which may have hampered his progress. The transfer fee they bought him for was rumoured to be over £10 million and he certainly hasn’t lived up to that price tag.

But could he still do a good job in the Premier League for Fulham or should he be looking elsewhere? In my opinion he has to leave as Fulham have started to play a different way under Martin Jol and I can’t see where he would fit in. Also the form of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey has made it difficult for him to force his way into the team when he is fit.

So the next question is whether he is still good enough for the Premier League? This is a little harder to answer because he is getting towards the end of his career and he may not quite have the same attributes as he used to but it does also mean he has a lot more experience. He will have to adapt his game slightly as he does not have the pace he used to have, although he should still have his clever movement and will cause teams problems. At Everton, he wasn’t a consistent goal scorer but I thought that he showed enough quality to be a very good Premier League player. However, yet again the goals weren’t exactly flowing and 17 in two seasons in the league was possibly not good enough for the money they paid.

At Crystal Palace he got 21 league goals for a team that eventually got relegated which shows that he must have been a good player seen as though he almost kept them up on his own. This is why I believe one of the promoted teams should take a chance on him as he can score goals from few chances like at Palace and he might just give one of the teams a little bit more experience. Reading would be a good fit in my opinion and would be a slightly different option to Noel Hunt and Jason Roberts. Although he is quite similar to Adam Le Fondre.

I also think he could do well at Wigan as he would fit into their hardworking ethic and Johnson never stops running and works hard for the full 90 minutes and the one thing that is missing from the Wigan side is a clinical and proven goal scorer. Johnson could just be the man to take them from a battling relegation side to a mid table team.