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Hello and welcome to my first Barclays Premier League column. I will offer reports, views and opinions on all the weekend fixtures across the Premier League.
West Ham 3 Fulham 0
West Ham really impressed me yesterday, and for me, ‘Big Sam’ has signed the signing of the window. To get a player on loan who less than 18 months ago was brought for £35million is terrific business for the Hammers. Carroll had a say in all three of the West Ham goals, causing a nuisance to the Fulham defence. He leapt against all the Fulham team, and they really didn’t know how to handle him or what to do.
Nolan and Matt Taylor scored near enough identical goals, with two great left footed strikes which found the bottom corners, Carroll making space for the runs by knocking balls down to the running Hammers. The West Ham faithful and management team will be disappointed however, as Carroll had to be replaced due to a slight tweak to his hamstring, ruling him out of England’s 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Fulham look as if they will struggle after losing Forwards Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey to Tottenham, as they are the mechanisms of the Fulham side, and Martin Jol will no doubt be frustrated that funds weren’t available to bring in replacements.
Fulham did, however, capture the signing of want away Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov for a reported £4 million, and he will definitely bag a few important goals over the course of the season.
Swansea 2 Sunderland 2
New boy Steven Fletcher put in a fantastic shift for the Black Cats, scoring both goals against Michael Laudrup’s Swansea.
Fletcher, who signed from relegated Wolves signed for Sunderland for an undisclosed fee during the summer transfer window. His first was a terrific finish, a left footed curler, and it set Sunderland up and running in the 40th minute, only for that goal to be cancelled out by Wayne Routledge in the 45th. Fletcher then added to the scoring on 45+6 minutes via a tap in.
I have been really impressed with Swansea, especially their forward Michu, who scored a hattrick in the Swans’ first league game of the 2012/13 season and also headed home in this game to give Swansea a deserved point.
Manager Laudrup seems to have his style bedded in, which has been carried on from Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rogers, and I’m sure they will finish mid table, if not in the top ten, the future looks bright.
Tottenham 1 Norwich 1
Brad Friedel was on top form at White Hart Lane, pulling out numerous stops, saves and blocks to keep Tottenham in the game. Why Hugo Lloris has been brought in I have no idea, Friedel made a real statement today, that whilst he is fit, he is going nowhere. Despite his age, he still has a lot to offer to Spurs.
AVB has brought in two terrific players in Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, and they will no doubt prove pivotal in Tottenham’s success. Dempsey was ineligible to play in the game, but Dembele, who scored after coming on as a substitute looked very promising and good things are on the horizon.
Norwich, who are under a new manager, looked okay, but not near the standard they set themselves last season. Jackson and Robert Snodgrass look very decent, so who knows what will happen, I just feel Chris Hughton needs some more time to get used to the new setup, and of course, a new group of players.
Norwich will count themselves unlucky that they didn’t bag maximum points.
West Brom 2 Everton 0
New boss Steve Clarke’s reign as West Brom coach has got off to a flyer, picking up 7 points from a possible 9. The Baggies looked very impressive, with Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie causing the problems for the Toffee’s defence. Maroune Fellaini gave away too many balls, Jelavic struggled to get into the game, and Tim Howard kept the scoreline at two.
Before the game, Everton had a 100% record in the new season, with wins against Manchester United and Aston Villa. Steven Pienaar looks fresh and sharp, but West Brom were simply too good for Everton.
If West Brom carry on like this they could surprise a lot of people, but there is a long, long way to go yet.
Wigan 2 Stoke 2
A single point now separates the two evenly match sides. Wigan looked strong, with Di Santo and Maloney playing well. Stoke, who recently signed ex Blackpool and Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam for £4 million, came close to scoring after his deflected free kick brought out the save of the match and potentially the save of the season.
Stoke conceded a penalty as early as the 5th minute, and it was tucked away well by Maloney. Wigan then conceded a penalty for handball which Jon Walters converted. Walters will be key this year for Stoke, he is a great, reliable player, and if he gets chances he will grab them with both hands, or should I say feet.
Di Santo then put the Latics back in front. He scored a few vital goals for Wigan towards the latter stages of last season which proved vital to their survival bid, and he will have to produce the same sort of performances if Wigan are to play Premier League football next season.
Peter Crouch came to the rescue for the Potters late on in the 76 minute, with a great customary headed goal.
I’m sure Stoke will be fine this season, their performances will be key at the Britania, if they can get results at home, they will be safe.
Manchester City 3 QPR 1
We all know what happened last season when these two met at the Etihad last season. If you don’t then where have you been? It produced the most memorable football match played, with so much drama it was a fantastic advert for the Premier League.
The Citizens won more comfortable this time around, seeing of a much changed QPR side, who I believe have made 12 or so new signings throughout the summer.
Yaya Toure showed yet again why is one of the best midfielders in the world, Tevez showing his class, and with Maicon, Garcia and co to come, the Champions are going to be challenging to retain the title without a doubt.
I am disappointed with the decision to let Adam Johnson go, as I feel he is a terrific player. He needs games though, and he will get games for Sunderland, like he did against Swansea.
Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2
Now onto Sunday’s games and Arsenal ended their worst start to the Premier League for 50 years against a muddled Liverpool side. Summer signing Podolski got off the mark for the Gunners, and there will be no one more pleased than him to net his first goal!
Oliver Giroud had chances to open his account for the Gunners, too, but he struggled and perhaps tried too hard. Arsenal fans are not expecting him to replace Robin van Persie like for like, though.
Liverpool looked disjointed today, Luis Suarez diving like usual and Gerrard hitting long balls all the time, the Anfield outfit lacked a clinical striker, and I’m sure Brendan Rogers will be disappointed that he couldn’t acquire a forward before the 11pm transfer cut off.
Southampton 2 Manchester United 3
Southampton were extremely unlucky to not get a result and they will be incredibly disappointed with themselves to let a 2-1 lead slip at home.
Puncheon and Lambert tore Manchester United apart during the first half, two textbook headers were converted by the Saints.
Van Persie missed a penalty, and things weren’t looking great for the Red Devils. They kept on going and somehow got a result, a bit of luck went there way, but that’s football.
I’m sure Southampton will regroup after this and come back stronger as a result.
Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1
Paul Lambert hasn’t had the best of starts to his Villa career, has he? But a very good point against Europa league hopefuls Newcastle is a platform to build from.
It will be an incredible achievement for the Toons if they can replicate what happened last season, if they do, hats off to them and Alan Pardew.
Team of the Week
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Amay132
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