This week’s Premier League winners and losers. Week #2

WINNERS

Everton

Despite fan protests in the form of an aeroplane banner asking for the resignation of Bill Kenwright & co prior to the match, Everton sailed to a straight forward and dominating win at Southampton as they ran out 3-0 winners on the South coast. A brace for star forward Romelu Lukaku, deemed unplayable on the day by football pundits and social media users alike, and a smart finish towards the end of the match from Ross Barkley left Southampton without a win from their first two Premier League games this season.

Some Everton fans flew this message prior to kick-off at St Marys
Some Everton fans flew this message prior to kick-off at St Marys

Everton outclassed Southampton for large parts of the game with ruthless counterattacking football especially from the Saints set pieces, the Toffees first goal an example of this, with particularly outstanding performances from Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Chelsea target John Stones and a rejuvenated  Arouna Koné.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez stated after the game that: “As a team we were outstanding in every department. The scoreline was the real truth. We were superior, we defended well, the intensity was incredible. On the counter-attack we looked unplayable at times. Many moments we were superior and that really pleases you.”

Norwich

Despite losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace last week, a match in which Norwich performed well and were largely unlucky due to a poor refereeing decision, Norwich bounced back this weekend with a 3-1 win of their own against already struggling Sunderland.

Russell Martin opened the scoring fortuitously, inadvertently turning the ball home after Costel Pantilimon parried a Robbie Brady shot. Steven Whittaker slammed home a second after a one-two with Wes Hoolahan, who also assisted in the Canaries’ third from Nathan Redmond after the break.

Duncan Watmore’s late consolation goal for Sunderland on his first team debut was the only moment of happiness for the fans up on Wierside who once again left the Stadium of Light on the back of another home defeat.

Norwich City manager Alex Neil stated after the game that: “I thought it was very good, similar to last week in that we dominated the game. We had the cutting edge this time though. The first goal is crucial – we didn’t look back. I have a great group, they work hard and work as a team.”

Stephen Ireland & Stoke City

The ‘comeback of the weekend’ award this week goes to Stoke City who fought back from 2-0 down at White Hart Lane to draw 2-2 with Tottenham. A particular highlight of the teams comeback was a superb performance off the bench by attacking midfielder Stephen Ireland whose introduction sparked the turnaround for the Midlands club.

Although 2-0 down at half time thanks to goals from Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli for the home side, Stoke came out after the break in a determined style and fashion. Marko Arnautovic pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Toby Alderweireld brought down Joselu. Man of the match Diouf then secured a point towards the end when the forward got on to the end of Stephen Ireland’s cross.

Diouf put in a 'man of the match' performance for Stoke at White Hart Lane.
Diouf put in a ‘man of the match’ performance for Stoke at White Hart Lane.

It was deserved point for Mark Hughes’ side who diligently kept at their task in the second half, even though a comeback looked unlikely after their first-half display. Mame Diouf had a particularly good game for the Potters, looking threatening throughout the whole match.

LOSERS

Daryl Jaanmat

A weekend to quickly forgot for Newcastle United’s Dutch right-back who was sent off for two bookable offenses shortly before half time in their game away at Swansea this weekend.

Daryl Jaanmat struggled massively against the pacey left sided winger Jefferson Montero who tore the full back apart throughout the whole first half on their encounter at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Janmaat was sent off shortly before half-time for persistently fouling Jefferson Montero.

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren: “We didn’t learn a lot apart from it is difficult to win with 10 men. A little bit of naivety has cost us, 10 men and your backs are against the wall. We have to dust ourselves down and concentrate on the Manchester United game next week.”

Jose Mourinho

Maybe this weekend’s biggest loser and that was before the match at the Etihad Stadium had even kicked off at 4pm on Sunday against Manchester City.  It only got worse on the pitch too for the Chelsea manager as his side were dismantled by their Premier League rivals, losing 3-0 in an encounter which could have easily seen more goals go in for the home side and Sergio Aguero in particular.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s turbulent week – shaped by the controversy surrounding the demotion of medical staff Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn – ended in misery as he saw his side outclassed by a resurgent City. The media backlash that the Chelsea manager has felt in the days following the sacking of his medical team has put Mourinho under massive added pressure as the City fans were relentless in their attempts to try and wind up the Chelsea boss with ironic cheers when a Chelsea player would go down injured in the match.

On the day, Manchester City outclassed their opponents and limited Chelsea to few chances, not recording their first shot on target until the 70th minute of the match as the Manchester club looked hungry to take back the title the Londoners took from them last season with resounding ease.

Sergio Aguero opens the scoring for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Sergio Aguero opens the scoring for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, speaking to BBC Sport after the game at the Etihad Stadium stateed: “We were the best team by far in the second half. What they did in the first we did in the second. We dominated and when they feel they are in trouble, and they felt, they changed Aguero and Sterling. They try to recover control of the game exactly when they scored the second goal. Their goalkeeper was good and we couldn’t score. They were only coming up with long balls. Not one single problem in the second half; they had lots.”

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Ranking the Premier League summer transfers that are already completed #1

We look at and rank some of the summer transfers already completed in the Premier League. From Liverpool to Swansea, can these signings make a name for themselves at their new clubs this season?

Roberto Firmino – Liverpool

Starting his career with Figueirense in 2009, Firmino spent four-and-a-half seasons at Hoffenheim, helping them to promotion to the Bundesliga in the process. His 16 goals in 33 games for the 2013–14 Bundesliga season earned him the award for the league’s ‘Breakthrough player of the season’. The Brazillian attacking midfielder signed for Liverpool back in July for a sum of around £29 million.

Roberto Firmino has stated upon his arrival in the Premier League that “of course, everything will once again be new to me at the start. I’m going to have to get used to a new style of play but I’ll also get the opportunity to improve my game even further. Of course, I want to be a regular starter at Liverpool and be successful with my new team.”

Firmino Liverpool

Although a huge sum of money was needed to acquire the services of Roberto Firmino for Liverpool, I believe that he has the skill and technical capability to thrive in front of the Kop at Anfield. A midfield three of Firmino, Lallana and Coutinho sat behind Daniel Sturrdige could prove to be a winning formula for the Merseyside club next season in their quest for a top four finish.

B+

 

Cedric Soares – Southampton

Cedric Soares, known simply as Cedric, is a Portuguese right back whom became Southampton’s second signing of the summer when he joined on a four-year deal in June. The 23 year old has a growing reputation due to his strong performances at former club Sporting Lisbon and his representation of Portugal at every level from Under-16 upwards, gaining 72 youth caps in total. Cedric further has 4 caps for senior Portuguese national side.  Cedric is known for his attacking instincts and ability and desire to bomb forward from full-back. These are attributes which should suit him well at Southampton, who utilised the attacking combinations of full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand to great effect last season.

In an interview with Southampton’s official website, Cedric stated that “everyone knows that the Premier League is a very, very good league – maybe the best one in the world – so for me it’s a pleasure to be here, but even more of a pleasure to be in Southampton. Southampton is a big, big club in England and is very respected. It’s a club with a lot of history and, for me, it’s very important to play for a big club. I think this is a very good move.”

Southampton’s move for Cedric Soares was key for the club to fill the vacant position left behind by Nathaniel Clyne who has since moved to Premier League rivals Liverpool. With a rumoured transfer fee of only £5 million involved, Southampton have got a great deal here. The pacey right back will be a consistent player for Southampton next year as the club look to further improve in the future.

B+

 

Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham

Tottenham signed Toby Alderweireld for an undisclosed fee from Atletico Madrid on a five-year contract earlier this month. Alderweireld, who was on loan at Southampton last season from the La Liga side, is a solid signing for the North London club. The 26-year-old Belgium defender made 26 Premier League appearances last season. The defender has spoken about his move to Spurs stating that he was “looking forward to this but also looking back at a great Southampton season. Great club and fans,” he said. Alderweireld added he was “very proud” to be a Tottenham player and hoped “to have a wonderful time with this team”.

It is still been rumoured however that the Saints may take legal action against the transfer as the club believed they had an option to buy the centre-back for £6.8m unless Atletico paid £1.5m to buy back that clause but are understood to have not proceeded with this option. The centre back has 47 caps for Belgium and joins international team-mates Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen at White Hart Lane. “It’s a big club and it’s always been a dream to play at a club like Spurs,” he told Tottenham’s website further adding “now that dream is coming true so I’m very happy, very proud and I will give my best.”

Alderweireld started his career at Ajax and won three Dutch Eredivisie titles in nine seasons at the club. He moved to Atletico Madrid in September 2013 and, in his only season at the club before moving to Southampton, helped them to the Spanish league title and final of the Champions League, which they lost to rivals Real Madrid.

This signing is shrewd business for Tottenham who have substantially improved their back line with the acquisition of Toby Alderweireld. The transfer is said to be worth around £8 million which could prove to be a steal for the North London club.

A-

 

Dimitri Payet – West Ham United

What a signing this could prove to be for West Ham! A team that is use to mid table obscurity within recent seasons, this transfer signals a real intent at the London club to make strides forward and to possibly challenge for a top eight finish next season.

West Ham United completed the signing of the Marseille forward Dimitri Payet for a fee believed to be £10.7m in late June. The east London club announced that Payet, 28, have signed a five-year deal with a further one-year option and becomes a major addition to the playing squad under their new manager, Slaven Bilic.

“West Ham really showed me that they wanted me to come, both the joint-chairmen [David Gold and David Sullivan] and the manager,” Payet told the club’s website. “That’s very important for me. I was also keen to sign up to a clear project. West Ham’s is very interesting and matches perfectly with my ambitions. “I’m an attacking footballer and that they’re counting on me to help achieve that gives me a sense of responsibility. It’s true that it’s taken a little while but that’s normal negotiations are like that. But now that it’s done, I’m very happy.”

Payet WHU

The versatile Payet topped the Ligue 1 assist charts last season with 16 in 36 appearances, as well as scoring seven goals for a Marseille side who came fourth in Ligue 1 last season. He can play in a number of attacking positions, adding depth and variation to a frontline. Payet, who spent two seasons at Marseille after playing for Nantes, Saint-Étienne and Lille, also has 15 caps for France.

This is a fantastic singing for the Hammers who are developing an exciting forward line which further includes Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sahko. Although a large transfer fee for a mid-table team, Payet will be a success at West Ham and in the Premier League in general.

A

 

Yohann Cabaye – Crystal Palace

Today, Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Yohan Cabaye from French champions Paris St-Germain for a club-record transfer fee of £10m. Palace have announced that the 29-year-old midfielder has joined on a three-year deal, with the fee possibly rising to around £13m with add-ons. Cabaye joined PSG from Newcastle for £19m in January 2014 but started just 13 matches as Laurent Blanc’s side won a domestic treble last season. Further, Palace manager Alan Pardew signed Cabaye from Lille in 2011 during his time as Newcastle boss, with the France international going on to score 18 goals in 93 appearances for the Magpies.

Cabaye said he was focused on his “new life” and believed that Palace could “compete to get into the top eight”. He said: “I also know the gaffer and have worked with him before and I’m confident with him. I want to do my best for him because he’s made a big effort to get me to come here, as well as the chairman.”

Signing Cabaye is a huge coup for Crystal Palace, a club who until 12 months ago had never survived relegation from the Premier League. Cabaye comes in and adds true quality and an eye for goal to the midfield of a team which played superbly under Pardew in the second half of last season.

Just like Payet at West Ham United, Yohann Cabaye represents a huge outlay for Crystal Palace but brings a sense of intrigue and class to their central midfield position. The signing of the French international could propel Palace further up the league table and could see them achieve a top ten finish in the 2015/2016 season under Alan Pardew.

A

 

Joselu – Stoke City

Stoke City confirmed that they had signed Hannover 96 striker Joselu for a fee of €8 million (£5.7m) in late June.  The striker became the club’s second acquisition of the summer, after goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard, with the club announcing that they have paid £5.7 million for the forward. Joselu – full name Jose Luis Sanmartin Mato – is a 6ft 3in striker, a good finisher whom possesses the pace to stretch defences. For Hannover last season, the 25-year-old Joselu won 188 aerial duels, more than any player in the Premier League managed.

The 25-year-old, who joined Real Madrid as a teenager before leaving for the Bundesliga, becomes the third Spaniard at the Britannia Stadium alongside Bojan Krkic and Marc Muniesa. Joselu scored eight goals in 30 Bundesliga appearances last season, whilst also providing four assists, and it has been reported that the deal could cost over £7 million in total, when both wages and transfer fee are factored in.

Prior to his stint at Bundesliga side Hannover, Joselu played for Real Madrid Castilla (B team) for two full seasons, pairing up with Alvaro Morata – now of Juventus – in the forward positions. He scored 40 goals in 72 games between 2010 and 2012 for Castilla and managed to score in both first team matches he played a part in.

This transfer further emphasises Stoke City and Mark Hughes move to a more possession and skill based style of play as opposed to a previous style which was based on physicality and long balls under Tony Pulis. However Joselu’s height, at 6ft 3, gives Hughes many options in how to play the forward next season at the Britannia Stadium.

B

 

Andre Ayew – Swansea City

In what could be the transfer coup of the summer so far, Ghana forward André Ayew has joined Swansea on a four-year deal, subject to international clearance on a free transfer. The 25-year-old midfielder was out of contract at Marseille and will now join the Premier League club who have been looking to strengthen their forward options since Wilfried Bony was sold to Manchester City in January.

Ayew, who was on target against the United States and Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has won more than 60 caps for Ghana, playing in four African Cup of Nations and two World Cups, and had scored 52 goals in 181 games for Marseille since making his debut in 2007 for the Ligue 1 side.

On Sky Sports News, Andre Ayew said “I looked left and right and I thought Swansea was the best choice for me to grow as player, not only football-wise but I heard about the squad, how the players live together and the team spirit. So I thought it was great to come to Swansea because I know how positive it is here. I’m going to do everything to be ready to adapt but I’m lucky because I’ve played against a lot of English players in the Champions League. I’ll have a pre-season to get ready before the season starts, so I’ll have time to adapt.”

Swansea City Unveil New Signing Andre Ayew

With an impressive record of scoring from midfielder, Andre Ayew looks like he will fit in well at the Liberty Stadium alongside other midfielders such as Jonjo Shelvey, who just signed a new four year deal, and Gylfi Sigurðsson. To further get a player of his stature on a free transfer, Swansea have taken another great step in the right direction.

A –

Transfers you should expect to see completed by the end of next week.

Yevhen Konoplyanka to Sevilla

The Ukrainian winger is now widely reported to be set to sign for La Liga club, Sevilla in the coming days. The forward, whose contract has now expired at Dnipro, is set to reject offers and interest from various Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham and Stoke.

Idrissa Gueye to Aston Villa

Although having a £9 million transfer offer accepted by Lille and the player flying over to Birmingham to complete a transfer to the Premier League side both Southampton and Marseille have made counter offers for Aston Villa target Idrissa Gueye. The Lille midfielder was poised to join Villa after Lille accepted a £9million offer but Saints and Marseille are understood to have made an eleventh hour bid of £10m for the Ligue 1 star.

Gueye

Asmir Begovic to Chelsea

It’s common knowledge by now that Premier League winners Chelsea are interested in Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic to play as back up to number one keeper Thibaut Courtois after losing Petr Cech earlier this week. However it’s been reported that Stoke chiefs have told Chelsea they want one of their fringe players on loan – on top of the Blues’ improved £8million offer for Asmir Begovic. Jose Mourinho wants the Bosnian keeper as back up to Thibaut Courtois to cover Petr Cech’s departure to Arsenal and Begovic wants to move to Stamford Bridge. But Stoke want winger Victor Moses, 24, forward Patrick Bamford, 21, or 19-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan as part of a deal.

Manuel Lanzini to West Ham

According to varying reports West Ham have made a move for exciting Argentine playmaker Manuel Lanzini. The 22-year-old currently plays as a forward in the United Arab Emirates for club Al Jazira. The Hammers are seeking a loan deal for next season with an option to buy him if he impresses at Upton Park.

Lanzini

Dennis Praet to Aston Villa/Southampton

Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Dennis Praet, the highly rated Belgium international who is also attracting interest from Premier League rivals Southampton and Everton. Praet is set to leave Anderlecht this summer for a fee in the region of £10m and Aston Villa have made an inquiry about the possibility of making an offer for the young attacking midfielder.

Seamus Coleman to Manchester United

Manchester United will use Jonny Evans as bait in a bid to lure Everton star Seamus Coleman to Old Trafford according to various media outlets. The Toffees insist Coleman is not for sale and that United are wasting their time making a bid for the Republic of Ireland international however Manchester United bosses remain hopeful that the club can in fact land right-back Coleman and are set to tempt the Toffees with a cash offer plus Evans in a bid to secure a deal.Seamus_Coleman

Etienne Capoue and Benjamin Stambouli to Watford

It is widely been reported that Watford have now agreed fees with Tottenham to sign their French midfielders Etienne Capoue and Benjamin Stambouli. Capoue, 26, is understood to be close to agreeing to personal terms whilst negotiations are still also ongoing with Stambouli, although an agreement with the 24-year-old is still some way from being reached. Both midfielders have had limited opportunities at Spurs and a move to the Hornets could give them more playing time at the Premier League stage.

Other likely transfers to be completed in the next week include:

Fabian Delph to Manchester City

Aleksandar Mitrović to Tottenham

Lukas Podolski to Galatasaray

Antonio Rudiger to Wolfsburg

Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United

Adam Matthews to Sunderland

Can Arsenal be title contenders next season?

Three key signings that Arsene Wenger has to make this summer.

Ever since the unforgettable season of the ‘Invincibles’ in the Premier League campaign of 2003-2004 Arsenal have somewhat struggled to regain the golden years of football the North London club once had. An eight year barren run in the form of trophies was only halted last season with an extra-time win over Hull in the FA Cup final and since then Arsenal have improved but have not fully challenged for the title this time around once again. This season there have been many positives however and key players that have stood up to the plate for the London based team. Alexis Sanchez has particularly impressed since joining from Barcelona, netting 24 goals in 49 games, Olivier Giroud has had his best season for Arsenal arguably scoring 18 in 33 appearances and other players such as Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck in particular have played consistently well for Arsenal especially in the second half of the season. This coupled with the experience of players such as Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky with the bright future and youth of the club performing well in the form of Hector Bellerin, whom has been outstanding this year for his young age, among other youngsters make for good reading for Arsenal fans everywhere.

Arsenal need a strong, ball playing central defensive midfielder who can shield the back four but who can also fit in with the teams passing set up and tactics. Certainly Francis Coquelin has been a solid player for Wenger this season when asked to play in this role; however he lacks the passing ability to back up his powerful presence in the heart of midfield. It can be said that the club have never been able to replace that man Patrick Vieira since his departure in 2005 as newer signings such as Alex Song failed to shine as brightly. There is one player currently in the Barclays Premier League whom could be the signing that Arsenal fans desire, Morgan Schneiderlin. The Southampton midfielder has long been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium after enjoying another successful campaign at the South coast club despite been ruled out for the rest of the season from the 25th April. Although linked with rival club Tottenham, Arsenal is likely to be Schneiderlins preferred destination as the midfielder has stated a desire to play in the Champions League consistently, something Arsenal can offer. It is expected that in order to sign the French international Wenger will have to part with around £25 million as stated by various sources, http://goo.gl/xPiKdo.

Schneiderlin could make the move to Arsenal in the summer.
Schneiderlin could make the move to Arsenal in the summer.

Wenger needs to address the problem he has in net at the London club. Wojciech Szczesny has struggled massively this year as his replacement, David Ospina, has put in a better level of performance with the Polish stopper been linked to a summer move to Southampton. Reports suggest that Chelsea back up goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has made 332 appearances for the Blues in his career, could make the move across the capital for a fee expected to be around £10 million. Manchester United and PSG are both also interested in the Czech international. Asmir Begovic could further be a transfer target for the North London club.

Could Petr Cech be making the move across London?
Could Petr Cech be making the move across London?

Despite Olivier Giroud having a good goal scoring campaign for the Gunners and Alexis Sanchez chipping in a healthy supply of goals during the course of the season, some would argue that the club still need a prolific talisman to compete with the likes of the Manchester clubs and rivals Chelsea. Arsenal have long been linked with a move for Karim Benzema however the French international seems settled at Real Madrid so Wenger may instead turn towards a transfer for Napoli star Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine international has been in fine form this season for the Italian club scoring an impressive 23 goals in 49 appearances however the money needed to complete a transfer here could prove to be a stumbling block for Arsene Wenger and the North London club. Another possible target could be Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon but he too would fetch a reasonable sum of money.

Gonzalo Higuain has hit form this season at Napoli.
Gonzalo Higuain has hit form this season at Napoli.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger will make youthful signings as usual during the summer window too with The Metro already reporting that Arsenal have signed French 16-year-old Yassin Fortune from French side RC Lens for around the £3 million mark, http://goo.gl/B9kZPT. The talented young midfielder had attracted interest from other major European clubs including Manchester United, as he is considered to be a star for the future.