Premier League Winners and Losers: Week 3
A look a this weekend’s winners and losers in the Premier League and on deadline day:
Arsenal – Despite overcoming their difficult start to the season against Aston Villa and performing well, with their strikers firing (http://bit.ly/1dhl7G4), Arsenal were again written off this week. With Podolski suffering an injury and with Wenger still quiet in the transfer market, critics were quick to prophesy the Gunners’ doom starting with a losing to big spending rivals Tottenham. Oh how quickly things can change in football; Arsenal beat Tottenham on Sunday and stunned the world, swapping a huge fee for ‘the assist king’ Mesut Ozil and life looks rosy in North London once again.
Cardiff and Everton – A draw was certainly a better result for Cardiff than for Everton, who have made their customary slow start to a season. However, Everton avoid sliding into the loser’s column simply on the back of their brilliant deadline day manoeuvrings, quickly replacing Manchester bound Marouane Fellaini with McCarthy and Barry, and shipping Anichebe off to West Brom to be replaced by the brilliant Lukaku, finishing the day with a competitive squad and a tidy profit. Cardiff meanwhile rolled the dice on Odemwingie, no doubt hoping he will bring his goal scoring ability with him rather than his attitude problems.
Crystal Palace – An excellent 3-1 win over Sunderland has finally seen the club’s fine start to the season rewarded with points. The week has been somewhat marred by a panicked deadline day splurge by Palace with a host of players coming in and many more bids failing. Holloway has now made fifteen additions to his side and his last minute shop around were the actions of a desperate man who is aware that his team simply do not have a squad good enough to stay up.
Liverpool – What a week for Liverpool! The Scouse club really could be back in the big time (http://bit.ly/1agVLrQ) with their dealings in the transfer market, now in possession of a squad with a real chance of upsetting the applecart and challenging the top four places. A win at Anfeild against fierce rivals against Manchester United was made all the sweeter as Liverpool acquired the services of the ‘Eiffel Tower’ Sahko from PSG and London born, Portuguese youngster Tiago Illori on transfer deadline day.
Manchester City – A comprehensive if unspectacular win over Hull ensured Manchester City a return to the winner’s column after last week’s disastrous loss to Cardiff. Negredo scored yet another goal from the bench and will no doubt hope for a starting berth sooner than later. Manchester City did most of their transfer business early on in the summer, yet that didn’t stop them contributing their own little share of nonsense to the madness that is deadline day; signing centre back Demichelis from Athletico Madrid, just a couple of months after he joined the Spanish club on a free.
Newcastle – A tame win over Fulham just about sees Newcastle in the winner’s column although there is still much work ahead if they are to fulfil their undoubted potential as a team. Deadline day was predictable but disappointing for Newcastle as they acquired no new players, as Joe Kinnear has so far fulfilled all expectations as a terrible Director of Football.
Norwich – No last minute deadline day panic for Norwich, who continued to show that the business they had done earlier in the window was shrewd, as new-boy Nathan Redmond scored a cracking goal to give the Canaries a narrow victory against big spenders Southampton.
Stoke – It was a Premier League weekend lacking in goals, so a stereotypical 0-1 victory for Stoke hardly stood out. Potters fans will hope that deadline day signings Marko Arnautovi? and Steven Ireland can redress this lack of goals, or else Stoke will need a lot more narrow wins if they are to survive this season.
Swansea – The Swans have finally put their tough start to this season behind them with a 2-0 victory over the struggling West Brom. Their fullbacks’ willingness to get forward and Michu and Hernandez’s creativity will have been a particular highlight for Swans fans. Laudrup delivered on his promise to sign a new striker, however, in Álvaro Vázquez Swansea have a player who whilst talented has never delivered on his huge potential.
Fulham – It has been a slow start to the season for Fulham and Martin Jol will no doubt have felt that Newcastle were there for the taking on Saturday, but slumped instead slumped to defeat at St James’ Park. However, fans won’t be too disappointed that their club had a quiet deadline day, with the Fulham having already completed their business early in the window.
Hull – It was a week to forget for Hull manager Steve Bruce. He first had to watch his side fail to dispel predictions as they slumped to defeat against Manchester City and then Bruce continued an awful record of missing out on strikers on deadline day, as West Brom pulled the plug on a move for Shane Long.
Manchester United – A little embarrassing for the Champions this week. A loss at Anfield left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Old Trafford faithful not only for the result, but also for the torrid performance, with the team lacking any creativity. Woodward and Moyes did not help themselves with their shambolic behaviour on deadline day. Moves for Ander Herrera and Fábio Coentrão came a cropper and whilst Marouane Fellaini did finally sign for United, he did so for £4million more than the big Belgian was available for earlier in the summer. Fans are demanding that Woodward leave his position at the club; not because he failed to bring more players in, nor because he left the business late, but because he allowed Manchester United’s failed moves become public, embarrassing a proud club.
Southampton – A narrow loss away to Norwich is nothing to be ashamed of for Southampton, with the two teams very evenly matched. Neither is the Saints lack of activity on deadline day any reason for fans to be concerned, with the club having already bought well. However, although not a disastrous week for the Saints, it wasn’t good either and they find themselves firmly in the losers column.
Sunderland – A loss to Crystal Palace was compounded by a very poor performance, leaving the Black Cats in the relegation zone and Di Canio furious. The Italian manager has again gone shopping with deals for compatriots Borini and Dossena. Having been very light at left back, Dossena could be an important acquisition, whilst Borini is full of potential. However, although the pair on paper look like further shrewd signings by Di Canio, they represent yet more additions to a very unsettled squad that desperately needs to gel.
Tottenham – Things didn’t really go as planned for Spurs this week. This was to be the weeks that Levy basked in the glory of his wheeling and dealing, when Tottenham’s new additions would sweep away their North London rivals Arsenal and make everyone forget about a certain Welshman. However, Spurs learnt the hard way that it is not easy to replace a player of Bale’s quality and that even the best of replacements need time to settle and gel with a new squad. Furthermore, for all of their delays, Tottenham couldn’t prevent Bale leaving to Madrid and consequently weren’t able to prevent arsenal from further stealing their thunder with the capture of Ozil.
West Brom – Another week, another loss for West Brom, as they continue their nightmare start to the season. Hawthorns fans will not be happy to see their club rooted to the foot of the table, especially after they performed so well last term. Manager Clarke will hope that his deadline day striking additions Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon bring the goals to change West Brom’s fortunes, not that either of these players has ever been particularly prolific.
West Ham – A loss at home to Stoke and no new striker, not a good week for West Ham. They need to win games against the likes of Stoke if they are to have a good season this year and need better back up for striker Andy Carroll. West Ham have swallowed their pride and resigned Carlton Cole in a short term fix, but the club really will need to go shopping again in January.