EPL Review 8/27-9/2

int_130902_ESPN_FC_Arsenal_big_buyThe Dojo Premier League review comes a day late this week to cover the ending of the transfer window. Major headlines emerged with league changing consequences as a flurry of last minute transfers shifted power in the Premiership.

Fixture Review:

The league week was contained to just Saturday and Sunday this week, the former holding the less exciting but important nonetheless fixtures.

Manchester City rebounded after their disappointing loss to Cardiff, with a 2-0 win at home. Summer signing Alvaro Negredo found the net for his second goal in as many games. Yaya Toure put Hull City away with his second free kick goal in the 90th minute. While their defence looked better, the Sky Blues are certainly missing their skipper Vincent Kompany. Stoke City continued their fine start with another win over West Ham United. Three points on the road is no easy task, especially at the intimidating ground of Upton Park. Stoke face Man City and Arsenal in their next two games.Everton’s goal scoring problems continued with a 0-0 draw at Cardiff. Roberto Martinez is still waiting to record his first win as manager. These early points Cardiff are taking from Europe quality teams early in the season will help them late in the season. As Everton’s goal drought begins, Newcastle’s ended with a brilliant strike from Ben Arfa. The simple 1-0 scoring line did not give justice to the stat line as Newcastle hammered Fulham. However, the single goal proved enough. Crystal Palace beat Sunderland 3-1 at home. When Sunderland Captain John O’Shea was sent off for taking down Puncheon in the box, Gayle put away the game winning goal. Palace face Man Utd next game at Old Trafford. Norwich City earned their first win of the season beating Southampton at home. The deciding strike came midway through the second half with a driven ball from Nathan Redmond. Redmond’s performance was enough to land him on the Premier League’s team of the week.

Sunday’s matches held more interesting fixtures. Manchester United played Liverpool on the road while Tottenham and Arsenal clashed in the first North London Derby. Liverpool and Tottenham were playing to remain at a perfect 3-0-0 start. First, West Brom hosted Swansea. Both sides had a disappointing opening record, however Swansea had the tougher fixtures. Swansea handled West Brom with a controlling 2-0 win. Laudrup’s side had previously faced Tottenham and Manchester United and have Liverpool and Valencia to look forward to after the break. The first Derby of the day was Liverpool vs Manchester United. Brendan Rodgers beat Manchester United for his first time in his tenure at Anfield. Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring with a tidy flick in the third minute. The game was filled with the emotion one could come to expect from this derby. Robin Van Persie and Steven Gerrard had words more than once but Gerrard’s soccer is what ultimately did the talking. The early goal was enough to keep Liverpool on top for another week. The final match of the week was the North London Derby fought between Arsenal and Tottenham. Arsenal was the home side for the first leg of the year. Much more than three points were on the line this match. Record summer signings for the Spurs prompted many pundits to predict this to be the year that Tottenham finally overtake Arsenal in the table. Conversely, at the start of the game, Arsenal had still yet to spend any money in the transfer window. Arsenal had managed to grab former midfielder Flamini on a free transfer. Flamini played a pivotal role in the second half. The game was seemingly make or break for Arsene Wenger. Olivier Giroud continued his scoring streak with a crafty finish midway through the first half. However, this game was won in the midfield. As Jack Wilshere stepped off just before halftime, Flamini entered the game. Ramsey and Flamini’s box to box play disrupted play in the middle of the field. The Gunners held on for an important moral victory at 1-0.

Goals of the Week:

1. Real Sociedad vs Lyon

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2. Newcastle vs Fulham

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3. Celtic vs Shaktar Karagandy

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4. Valencia vs Barcelona

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5. Barcelona vs Valencia (First Neymar and Messi link up. Complete hat trick)

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Transfer Market Closing Day:

While Real Madrid were busy debuting their all-time record transfer Gareth Bale, Arsenal moved quickly to be the talk of Europe. Earlier in transfer market a series of seemingly unrelated moves ended dramatically today. Gervinho headed to Roma from Arsenal. The arrival of a striker/winger alleviated the need for Roma’s Lamela. Lamela headed to Tottenham Hotspur for 30 million pounds presumably to fill the shoes of Gareth Bale. Gareth Bale left Tottenham to head to Real Madrid, becoming the most expensive transfer in history at 85 million pounds. To finance this deal, Real Madrid sold arguably their second best player Mesut Ozil to Arsenal for 42.5 million pounds. There was wide outrage at Real Madrid President Perez, so much so that they chanted “Ozil no se vende” at Gareth Bale’s unveiling. Ozil will be replaced by Isco in the middle of the park where the youngster has been Ancelotti’s first choice. Arsenal also reinforced at goalkeeper by acquiring Emiliano Viviano from Palermo on loan with an option to buy. However, Arsenal failed to reinforce at cb and striker, the club’s most pressing needs. Manchester United failed to seal the deal with Atletico Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera after a long, drawn out negotiation process. They finally ended Marouane Fellaini’s buyout clause to purchase him from Everton. Manchester United also failed to bring Fellaini’s teammate Baines with him. Everton received Lukaku on loan from Chelsea. With Everton’s scoring problems, Lukaku could potentially become their first choice striker.

Daniel Dicce is going to name his first born Mesut, regardless of gender. @DanielDicce

 

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