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Matchday 4: Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool held, Arsenal rampant and Spurs Slick

John Terry causing a stirThe brief interlude of an international break disrupted the fluidity of Chelsea’s attack on Saturday as QPR secured just their second point of the season in a 0-0 draw. Julio Cesar had a baptism of fire with his first Premier League appearance against a Chelsea side that have started the season in free scoring mode.
 The match’s build-up was dominated by the race row between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and as expected, neither shook hands before the game. It was a feisty game with plenty of robust challenges and a couple of penalty shouts, but overall QPR deserved their hard fought point. You would expect them to slowly grow more prominent as the season wares on, with Esteban Granero and Julio Cesar, two potentially important players, getting to grips with the Premier League.
Chelsea have often struggled at Loftus Road, winning just two of 18 top flight games there. The race row, which emerged last season at QPR, promises to make encounters lively for some time yet. The result means that Chelsea sit just one point clear, with ten points, at the top of the table and QPR are nestled in the third relegation spot on two points.
Liverpool actually scoringLuis Suarez managed to rescue Liverpool’s second point of the season in a 1-1 draw with a stubborn Sunderland. Steven Fletcher scored his third goal in two games for Sunderland in the 29th minute when he converted a cross straight down the middle of the goal. Glen Johnson powered forward time and time again, causing a lot of problems for Sunderland all afternoon, but it was a Raheem Sterling Cross to Luis Suarez at 71 minutes which drew Liverpool level. Brendan Rodgers said afterwards:

  “The performance was outstanding, both our creativity and our movement, and there was a really good tempo and rhythm to our game. (bbc.co.uk)

The fact of the matter is that Liverpool need to be more ruthless in front of goal. They had 20 shots in the entire game and only nine were on target. Sunderland had just six shots and four on target, yet they scored the same amount of goals as Liverpool in the game.

Despite Sunderland’s excellent defensive displays and attacking threat, they have accrued only three points in four games. With Martin O’Neal at the helm though, the Black Cats should finish in a respectable position this season.

 
Owen for Stoke
In the day’s other draw, Manchester City battled 1-1 with Tony Pulis’ Stoke side, who are undergoing a slight transformation. With Steven N’Zonzi, Michael Kightly and Charlie Adam all starting as Michael Owen was on the bench, Stoke have more variety to their play now, meaning they are far more dangerous. City gave debuts to Scott Sinclair, Maicon and Javi Garcia with the latter scoring the equaliser, but they were out of sorts in the absence of Sergio Aguero. David Silva, who has just signed a new five year deal, though suffering a dip in form, was needed for more creative spark. Peter Crouch scored a controversial goal as he fumbled his way through the City defence, seemed to control the ball with his arm a few times, before slotting home.

City are now on eight points and have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season. Stoke are now on a ten game streak of failing to win a Premier League game. They’ll have a tough trip against Chelsea next to avoid that increasing to eleven.

Gibbs and GervinhoLevel on points with City are Arsenal, who thumped a floundering Saints side 6-1. Two own goals, both from Kieran Gibbs crosses, A Lukas Podolski free kick, two strikes from Gervinho and a late strike from Theo Walcott leaves Southampton without a single point in their first four games.

Saints though, have scored in every game and it was down to a Wojciech Szczesny spill that let Danny Fox slam a consolation home. Talk of Arsenal as title contenders will either die down or boil over after their next two games; Manchester City and Chelsea away. Southampton have scored against teams who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Premier League last season which should be an ounce of encouragement for the coming games.

 
Alexander Buttner's debut

Manchester United dispelled any hint that they would struggle without Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie when they trounced a woeful Wigan side 4-0. Alexander Buttner produced a dominating debut as he scored from a marauding run into the box and set up Hernandez for United’s second goal. The imperious Paul Scholes scored on his 700th appearance for United and Sir Alex Ferguson won on his 500th home league game in charge of United.

Wigan were dreadful at Old Trafford and have lost all seven league matches at United, conceding 24 goals, since promoted in 2006. The Latics back four continuously struggled to cope with Nani’s trickery, Welbeck’s runs, Scholes’ passing and Buttner’s weaving runs. If they don’t address their defensive problems soon, this may be their season to go down.

Results

Norwich 0 0 West Ham
Arsenal 6 1 Southampton
Aston Villa 2 0 Swansea
Fulham 3 0 West Brom
Man U 4 0 Wigan
QPR 0 0 Chelsea
Stoke 1 1 Man City
Sunderland 1 1 Liverpool
Reading 1 3 Tottenham
Everton – Newcastle (Kick-off Monday evening)
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Matchday 3- Gunners Finally Firing, Stuttering Spurs and van the Man in Manchester.

Moussa Dembele photo shootJim White of Sky Sports News may have presented the transfer deadline day signings, right up to its 11 O’clock deadline, in a rather flustered and stuttering fashion, but the signings themselves proved to be far from hesitant in proving themselves. Andy Carroll completely transformed West Ham attacking wise, until his untimely injury, and Moussa Dembele came off the bench to put Tottenham in front against Norwich.
Lukas Podolski scores for ArsenalWhile Arsenal’s two new signings in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla impressed by setting each other up for a goal each, to beat Liverpool 2 nil, it was the forgotten man at the Emirates, a tall, gangly, powerful midfielder in Abou Diaby who earned himself the man of the match award. Diaby’s quick feet, surging runs forward and simple (yet effective) passing proved far too much for the aging Steven Gerrard, Premier League new boy Nuri Sahin and Brendan Rodgers favourite Joe Allen in Liverpool’s midfield three. Comparisons between Diaby and a young Patrick Vieira, or Man City’s Yaya Toure, may have more credence later in the season.
Arsenal are now the only team in the league yet to concede a goal thanks to the 2-2 draw between Sunderland and Swansea, the Premier League’s other two sides who had yet to concede before the match. Michael Laudrup’s side continued to play their football in style, but found it tough to break down a sturdy Sunderland defence. Wayne Routledge continued his scintillating form and Chico Flores, signed from Genoa, had a tough afternoon when he was sent off in the second half for a face high (yes, face high) challenge on Louis Saha. Sunderland’s new £14 million striker Steven Fletcher soon began to repay his hefty price tag with two clinically finished first half goals.
Morgan Schneiderlin
Van Persie repaid a chunk of his own price tag when he scored a hatrick against, yet again, a spirited Southampton side. The score finished 3-2 and the Saints were unlucky to not get anything out of the game, but as soon as the Dutchman failed an attempted a chip on his penalty to put United ahead, he responded with two largely fortuitous goals.  Rickie Lambert started the scroring, before van Persie responded five minutes later, and Morgan Schneiderlin who headed in after Patrice Evra had slipped over in the box.
Andy Carroll, a player who is often seen slipping up, certainly didn’t on his debut for West Ham as he was instrumental in the Hammers 3 nil win over a Fulham side whose confidence is slowly deflating. Carroll’s link-up play with Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te gave West Ham a completely different dimension to their attack, which should see them survive the drop this season. That is assuming though he can stay fit as he hobbled off the pitch in the second half with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers for England.
Carroll’s old club Newcastle struggled against a more organised Aston Villa as they finished 1-1 at St James’ Park. Ciaran Clark headed Villa in front in the first half and Hatem Ben Arfa scored a simply stunning goal that would put him in contention for goal of the season. He received the ball on the far left of the box, rolled the ball forward to the right to make space for himself to fire a rocket of a shot straight at the top corner.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Results
Southampton 2 3 Manchester United
Newcastle 1 1 Aston Villa
Liverpool 0 2 Arsenal
Manchester City 3 1 QPR
West Brom 2 Everton 0
Tottenham 1 1 Norwich
Swansea 2 Sunderland
Wigan 2 2 Stoke City
West Ham 3 Fulham 0

Matchday 2- Highflying Swans, Manchester Throne Under Threat and Chelsea Dominant

Image of Torres and Hazard for ChelseaThe second weekend of the Premier League was more or less a follow up to last weekend in that Arsenal failed to score, Swansea continued their free-scoring form, Aston Villa are in serious trouble, the two Manchester clubs are leaking goals and Chelsea are the undisputed in form team.
However, Liverpool showed some of the old fighting spirit with Brendan Rodgers trademark swagger, Fulham couldn’t follow up their Norwich demolition with a win at Old Trafford and despite valiant efforts at the Etihad last week Southampton struggled against a resurgent Wigan.
Michael Laudrup’s Midas touch at the Liberty Stadium took new heights as Swansea showed impressive passing, assured possession and patience to win 3 nil. They even got recognition from Cesc Fabregas via Twitter, “I love the way Swansea plays … Respect.”, as they carved open a woeful West Ham time and time again. Michu showed that his performance last weekend wasn’t a one off, but it’ll be when Swansea starts conceding goals that we will see what this team is really made of.
Everton celebrating
David Moyes has for once got his team off and running straight away as Everton followed their win against Manchester United with a 3-1 win away to Aston Villa. Villa Park hasn’t seen a win in over nine months and Paul Lambert as done little so far to change the Birmingham club’s fortunes. He said after the game, “I will take the blame. We were disappointing.You cannot at any level give somebody a couple of goals’ start.” He was referring to Steven Pienaar’s fantastic curling strike from outside the box, after a superb lay off from Steven Naismith, to put Everton in front inside three minutes. Fellaini (31) and Jelavic (44) made sure that at half time Aston Villa were well and truly buried. Villa responded with a long range strike from El Ahmadi but that was after Ciaran Clarke was sent off early in the second period. Moyes summed up the performance after the game, “At times it was as good as I’ve seen us play.”
Another team that has hit the ground running is Chelsea, who followed up their 4-2 win against Reading with a 2 nil win against Newcastle. The Toon rarely threatened and they would have conceded more if it wasn’t for Coloccini and Taylor in the backline for Newcastle. Again, Chelsea have shown that the Torres/Hazard partnership is seamless, when the Belgian thumped in a penalty won by the Spaniard, and they combined on the edge of the box before halftime to produce a stunning goal. Hazard did a backheel pass for Torres to curl a first touch shot straight to the top corner. Alan Pardew was very praising of his opponents and said of Hazard, “He travels with the ball and bides time, he has that kind of nonchalance about him that marks him out as a great player.”
Olivier Giroud exasperated On Sunday, Arsenal yet again couldn’t find a way through a sturdy defence and finished with another goalless draw. Though Stoke rarely threatened, due to Arsenal’s own resolute backline, the Gunner’s found it tough to create clear cut chances. Cazorla again was the most productive player on the field and Giroud, who started up front, made some ingenious lay-offs to likes of Diaby, Gervinho and Podolski who struggled to get a shot on target. The game’s best chance came late on when Arsenal were on the counter. Giroud picked up the ball from the half way line and darted forward. Aaron Ramsey, who replaced Cazorla, much to the ire of Arsenal fans, made a run through the middle which Giroud spotted but, hilariously, chose to shoot from nearly 50 yards out. Sorenson panicked and back pedalled only to see the shot just fizz past the crossbar by a whisker.
Anfield saw a lot more drama when Liverpool finished with a 2-2 draw against Manchester City. Martin Skrtel turned from Kop hero to Kop clown when in the 80th minute he gifted Tevez with a carless back pass, after the defender opened the scoring with a bullet header in the 34thminute. Yaya Toure brought things level at the 63rd minute but Luis Suarez scored a wonderful free kick in the 66th. Raheem Sterling started for Liverpool on the left wing and immensely impressed. The 17 year old seems to have gone a long way from pre season where the video (above) shows Brendan Rodgers dressing him down. Roberto Mancini was flapping his arms around in anger every five minutes and has made no secret of his frustration at the lack any summer signings.
Results
Swansea 3 0 West Ham
Aston Villa 1 3 Everton
Manchester United 3 2 Fulham
Norwich 1 1 QPR
Southampton 0 2 Wigan
Tottenham 1 1 West Brom
Chelsea 2 0 Newcastle
Stoke 0 0 Arsenal
Liverpool 2 2 Manchester City

Matchday 1: Thrills, Spills, Skills- the Premier League Announced its Return in Fine Style

Mladen Petric celebrating for FulhamFrom Fulham and Swansea’s 5 nil thumping’s of Norwich and QPR respectively, to Marouane Fellaini’s bullet header last night for Everton, to give Manchester United problems from the get-go, the Premier League returned in fine style.
Saturday afternoon saw Arsenal host Sunderland as they started life without Robin van Persie with a drab goalless draw. Of the three debutants for the Gunners, Santi Cazorla impressed the most with his vision and willingness to press forward whilst peppering Simon Mignolet with vicious shots. Lukas Podolski offered little in the game, despite valiant efforts, before he was replaced just past the hour mark by Olivier Giroud, who spurned the best chance of the game. The two strikers will have time to settle and adapt though.
Meanwhile, South East of the Emirates Stadium, Fulham were proving their worth in the absence of their star man at Craven Cottage. Clint Dempsey had made it clear that he would not play for Fulham again and Martin Jol’s squad responded emphatically. New striker Mladen Petric, from Jol’s former side Hamburger SV, scored two and set up another for fellow debutant Alex Kacaniklic whilst a Steve Sidwell penalty and Damien Duff shot compounded a dismal display from Norwich- we wait to see if the Canaries are diagnosed with second-season syndrome. By the final whistle the Fulham fans were screaming ‘Who needs Dempsey!?’ in defiant elation.
Dempsey’s potential suitors Liverpool could have done with the American’s talents on Saturday though, as they were completely outplayed by an invigorated West Bromwich Albion 3 nil. Zoltan Gera’s stunning volley, Peter Odemwingie’s penalty and Romelu Lukaku’s late strike, gave Brendan Rodgers a dose of reality as his team’s weaknesses were brutally exposed at the Hawthorns. £15 million man Joe Allen looked out of sorts at times while fellow midfielder for West Brom, Claudio Yacob, a free signing, achieved a 96% pass completion rate- but Liverpool fans should be used to expensive flops by now.
Michu celebrating for SwanseaPerhaps Rodgers should have taken note of his Swansea successor Michael Laudrup’s shrewd transfer policy. He bought Gylfi Sigurdsson’s replacement in Michu for £2 million, brought Villarreal midfielder Jonathon de Guzman on loan and Arsenal’s Kyle Bartley for £1 million. For a team who lost their manager and one of their best players from the last campaign, they started the new season emphatically under Laudrup. Michu scored twice, Nathan Dyer scored twice and an unsettled Scott Sinclair finished with a fifth.
Sunday picked up where Saturday left off, first at The DW Stadium where in less than six minutes, Champions League winners Chelsea found themselves 2 nil up against a shell shocked Wigan. Eden Hazard was the architect for both goals and vastly improved his performance in six minutes of League football, from his 90 last week in the Community Shield. Wigan collected themselves however and made a better showing in the second half, ultimately to no avail.
Rickie Lambert celebrating at the Etihad

In perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend, Manchester City stumbled to a 3-2 win against plucky Southampton at the Etihad. The Saints talisman Rickie Lambert started on the bench but came on after an hour to transform them into a genuine threat for the champions. Within four minutes he brought the score to 1-1, after a first half strike from Carlos Tevez. Saints manager Nigel Adkins second substitute, Steven Davis, scored almost straight away with an almost identical strike to Lambert’s. Panic had wavered across the Etihad. But City showed why they were champions when Samir Nasri pounced on a poor clearance to grab the three points.

The other half of Manchester had to wait until Monday night to see the Red Devils kick-start their 2012/13 campaign at Goodison Park. Fans had to wait even longer to see their latest signing Robin van Persie make his debut as Sir Alex Ferguson opted to partner Wayne Rooney with Danny Welbeck. Shinji Kagawa impressed but couldn’t prevent another Belgian international from winning the game. Fellaini, who had a busy game, secured three points after an hour when he smashed a header past David de Gea. Robin van Persie had just 29 minutes to make an impact when he replaced Welbeck. Boos rang through the entire stadium from all sections of the crowd, even the away support, every time the Dutchman touched the ball. Ferguson put the defeat down to the fact that van Persie wasn’t supplied enough to make an impression. The former Arsenal hero’s sunken expression throughout the game suggested he didn’t know how to play without Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Alex Song supporting him.
Robin van Persie for United
Results


Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
Fulham 5-0 Norwich
QPR 0-5 Swansea
Reading 1-1 Stoke City
West Brom 3-0 Liverpool
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham
Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton
Everton 1-0 Manchester United

Is It Me Or Are Spain’s Big Two Lauded Too Much?

Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid

Ronaldo for Madrid

Following FIFA’s announcement of their team of the year, a sense of unjust and scepticism soon set in. The team sheet is as follows;

Casillas

Ramos—Vidic—-Pique—-Alves

Iniesta—-Xabi Alonso—-Xavi—Messi

Ronaldo—-Rooney

Four Real Madrid players, five Barcelona players and two Manchester United players comprise this unimaginative list of footballers who have ruled 2011. Don’t get me wrong, these players have all contributed to the year in fine style with their sublime goals, incisive passing and will to win. That is not the issue. The issue is the heavy one sided nature of the selection. Three different clubs make up the entire XI, only two different leagues are represented with the split being nine from La Liga and only two for the Premier League. This seems very unfair for other players who have had an excellent year for their clubs, who have not been selected.

From a British perspective, journalists love to wax lyrical about Barcelona and Real Madrid. Sky Sports show La Liga games with Barca and Madrid too regularly, accompanied by programmes dedicated to analysing and discussing the Spanish League. Even airing ‘The Cesc Fabregas Show’ revolving around the ex-Arsenal midfielder and his progress with the Catalans, guarantee no Arsenal fan will be interested in that and given the long saga over whether he would leave or not boring the public to death, neither will many neutrals. ITV are the worst culprits for me when it comes to lauding these two teams. Their commentary on, arguably Arsenal’s finest game of 2011, their first leg 2-1 win against Barcelona in the Champions league, was bordering sickening every time they talked about the Spanish side. Jim Beglin and David Pleat unnecessarily glorified every single pass, shot, tackle, save and run Barca made, whilst Arsenal’s efforts to try and win the game were described as being futile. Commentators are meant to be impartial to who they are watching but surely their allegiances would be with the English team, in a European tie if any?

FIFA’s selections reflect this over exuberance.

To me the choices should highlight to the world a selection of players who have consistently performed at a high level for their club and country, stayed out of controversy in the press and have exuded an all round professional attitude to the game, whilst heavily contributing to their sides success.

The selections of Messi and Ronaldo are a no brainer in that respect. They are both on another planet in terms of football ability. I more have an issue with who was not picked.

As a replacement for Rooney I would have chosen Robin van Persie. Arsenal had a year to forget but van Persie has had a sensational year, just one goal shy of taking Alan Shearer’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year (35) in the premier league. This is something which is worthy of recognition. Rooney’s achievements in 2011 compared to van Persie’s are far inferior.

The Bundesliga saw the emergence of Borrusia Dortmund’s creative midfielder Mario Goetze, who at just 19 years old has made himself the first name on the team sheet for the German club. I would omit Xabi Alonso from FIFA’s XI and put Goetze in his place. Similarly to Jack Wilshere, before the 2010/11 season, Goetze had made just 5 appearances for his club but then went on to be an ever-present in his side. His age makes his exploits even more remarkable to, being named FIFA’s Golden Boy of 2011, ahead of Wilshere, Eden Hazard and Christian Eriksen and winning the Bundesliga.

Sticking with the Germans, I believe Philipp Lahm deserves a place in the full back position instead of Dani Alves. Captain of German giants Bayern Munich, the 5ft 7 left back has been irreplaceable in not only the Bavarians first XI but for his country as well. His consistency, professionalism, decisive tackling and surging runs make him Bayern’s ideal choice as captain. He would be ahead of Dani Alves purely because of Alves’ tendency to go to ground on soft challenges and subsequently nurse a fake injury. This is something FIFA will surely want to stamp out of the game.

Eden Hazard for Lille

Eden Hazard for Lille

Other players worthy of note are Mario Gomez’s scintillating form for Bayern, Neymar’s goal haul for Santos and his Goal of the Year effort alone, Eden Hazard’s participation in Lille’s title winning side of 2010/11 and his current form of nine goals and six assists this season show he is continuing to grow and Edinson Cavani’s superb form for Napoli continues from 33 goals last season to 14 so far this season.

There is an argument to suggest that the selection does not mean anything and that it’s another pointless accolade for players. I would not disagree with that argument. The selection represents FIFA’s way of thinking in that they promote and award those who have already been awarded heavily. Other players around the world, who have done just as much, if not more, deserve the credit that their performances have merited.

The Manchester Derby Preview 23/10/2011

Crowd at Old Trafford with Man City and Man United fans

Passionate fans

Encounters between these two sides in recent seasons have on the whole not disappointed in terms of world class football and quality goals. City’s last win against their rivals, in all competitions, came in last season’s FA cup semi final where Yaya Toure’s second half strike was enough to settle the tie. Despite just the one goal, the game was played at a fast and exhilarating pace.

The community shield on the 7th August was their first meeting this season. The red devils won 3-2 but the contest was hotly contested by City, who were 2-0 up at half time. Nani was able to create a winner in the 93rd minute, after a defensive mix up from Kompany.

Wayne Rooney’s fantastic Bicycle kick was the deciding goal in another even encounter in the two side’s last league meeting. In fact, City fans have to look back as far as February 2008 for their team’s last league win in the derby. So why might their meeting tomorrow be one to watch?

So far this season, both halves of Manchester have lit up the premier league with their lightening quick football and goals. Great individual performances have been aplenty for both sides with Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Nani, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for united and Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero have all sparkled for City.

Rooney's overhead kick against City

Rooney’s wonder goal

A glance at the table, and you will see that City lead with 22 points, with United trailing by just two points. A win for United will not only put them top, it would also bring City closer to the other teams close behind.A win for City would put them five points ahead and would give them great momentum to increase that lead.

How they might line up:

Manchester United- They will most likely play Nani and Young on the wings, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are sure to take the CB roles. If Sir Alex Ferguson opts to use Park Ji Sung, as he often does in the big games, then Rooney will most likely be up front with Park supporting. If Park does not play, Hernandez could be used up front with Rooney dropping just behind.

Manchester City- Mancini has a plethora of multi-million pound attacking talent at his disposal. Balotelli, Silva and Aguero are the ones he will most likely line up front leaving a disgruntled Edin Dzeko and frustrated Samir Nasri on the bench. Gareth Barry is sure to hold the midfield and Yaya Toure is most likely to be in front of him. Mancini though must be careful as Adam Johnson, Pablo Zabaleta and James Milner have all impressed when used, so they will want to start to.

Is Mikel Arteta the Right Signing for Arsenal?

Mikel Arteta celebrating a goal for Everton

Arteta celebrating for Everton

A question that has been lingering over Everton FC, and the premier league, for several years now has been why Mikel Arteta has not been prised away from Goodison Park sooner than August 31st2011? He made the move to Everton in January 2005 from Real Sociedad initially on loan. That season Everton were pushing for a UEFA Champion’s League place which they achieved thanks to the help from Arteta. He then signed a five year contract for a paltry £2 million after his loan finished in June 2005.

Season after season from then on, Arteta cemented himself among the Premier League greats. He received numerous Player of the Year awards, North West Player of the Year, Midfielder of the Year and even Sports Personality of the Year via the Liverpool Echo.

His career stats for the Merseyside club read well to, in 208 appearances in all competitions for them he scored 33 times and made 41 goals.

So why hasn’t he been snapped up by a title contending team before?

One of Arteta’s strengths is his loyalty to the club. Every performance he has on the pitch oozes with passion, determination, leadership and vigour. Everton FC under David Moyes are known for their strength and direct style of play, thanks to Arteta’s vision and passing abilities, so it would seem he doesn’t need to move anywhere else as he’s idolised by their fans, will always be first on the team sheet and feels valued by the club.

What more does a professional footballer want?

For most players it’s money. But in Arteta’s case his move to Arsenal was resoundingly not about money. He reportedly took almost a 30% pay cut to join the Gunners. His move was about his own ambitions to become a champion’s league player, be part of a title contending (only just) team and put his name firmly in the Premier League history books.

This signing represents a moral victory for football. All too often we see greedy players and their greedy agents negotiate contracts with obscene wages. This victory is made all the sweeter by the fact that he has gone to Arsenal. Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy’s move to Manchester City materialised because of the riches that awaited them.

Arteta smiling

Cheeky grin

Had they truly wanted to become better footballers, be in with a shot of gaining trophy glory and becoming world superstars, they would have stayed at a club like Arsenal with rock solid foundations, financially as well as behind the scenes and with Arsene Wenger who is renowned for improving players.

At least the gunners have gotten rid of the negativity in the dressing room and replaced it with a player as humble and loyal as Mikel Arteta.

On the pitch, it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard can create as many chances as his countryman Fabregas did. Arteta though can be viewed by the fans as a watered down version of Fabregas in relation to his ability to pass, read the game and make pinpoint crosses to forwards, Arteta though adds a cool head, proven leadership and experience which is exactly what the Arsenal team need. Oh and we can assume he won’t get homesick and pine for a move back to Spain to.

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