Tag Archives: Mikel Arteta

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 16

Rooney-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting sixteen gameweek in the Premier League. Manchester United are the only side to provide three players, while there is one each from Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Norwich City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic.

David De Gea (Manchester United)

The Spaniard has had his share of critics during his time in England, but on Sunday during the Manchester derby he showed everyone he has matured into a goalkeeper capable of handling the big occasion. With Anders Lindegaard’s wife going into labour, United had no choice but to play the former Atletico Madrid man and he didn’t let anyone down. He put in a commanding display and was prepared to step off his line to embrace the physical challenge of contesting the high balls.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Back at his former club West Ham, the right-back made a blistering start to the game with an outstanding strike into the top corner from 25 yards out. He did not celebrate his goal but was the visitors most threatening player and was a constant problem to the home defence at Upton Park, while keeping Matt Jarvis quiet for much of the game.

Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)

Ferdinand’s derby day may have taken a turn for the worse as he celebrated Robin van Persie’s late winner, but the experienced centre-half put in another steady shift for the Red Devils. During the periods when United’s midfied controlled the game, the veteran could concentrate on seeing off Sergio Aguero and did so effectively. He was established and reliable at the back, and also made an important block in the second half.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

The Cameroon international has doubled his career goals tally in the space of just four games, with the Norwich defender in the form of his life. He had found the back of the net just three times in over 150 appearances prior to 24th November, and there weeks on and he now has six goals to his name. The latest of those arrived on Saturday when he towered over Ben Davies to head home his side second of the game and held the line well as the Canaries won a seven goal thriller in South Wales.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgium international has been very impressive for Spurs this season as a left-back and on Sunday against Everton he was his side’s best player. He may have been without his partner on the left-flank – Gareth Bale but he contributed a lot to the game. He was a key reason for Spurs’ much improve performance in the second half and in one dominating spell he fired three shots at goal in 20 minutes.

Damien Duff (Fulham)

Facing former employers tends to bring the best out of certain individuals and Duff looked like a man on a mission during Fulham’s clash against Newcastle on Monday, and was also instrumental in helping the Cottages to a 2-1 win. The Irishman used his skill and experience to torment Davide Santon & Fabricio Coloccinni and also had a hand in both Fulham’s goal, laying on the first for Steve Sidwell and crossing for Hugo Rodallega to nod home the winner.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Mikel Arteta will go down on the score sheet as the hero in Arsenal’s win over West Brom on Saturday because of his two goals (both from the spot), but the real star of the match for the Gunners was Jack Wilshere. The Englishman’s influence on the match was there for everyone to see with his passing, vision, defending and all-round determination to win the game for the Londoners.

James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic)

Wigan made it sure that Queens Park Rangers’ miserable start to the season continued on Saturday, with the London outfit still waiting for their first win 16 games into the season. Harry Redknapp took his side to the DW Stadium in search of a win, but a deadly double from McCarthy meant that he had to settle for just a point.  McCarthy was a real driving force in midfield and showed his true class with his two goals.

Fernando Torres (Chelsea)

On Saturday, the Spanish striker was finally looking like he was enjoying himself on the football field and goals obviously helped to lift the mood of the misfiring forward as he helped himself to two during Chelsea win at Sunderland. His movement caused the Black Cats defence problems all afternoon and manager Rafael Benitez will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his number nine.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Rooney enjoyed one his best days on Sunday, with his efforts pivotal to Manchester United’s 3-2 derby success at arch-rivals City. His first-half double, which came against the run of play, saw him move into 150 Premier League goals – youngest ever to do so. He found the right positions and also became the highest ever goalscorer in the Manchester derbies as a result.

Michu (Swansea City)

He may well have been on the losing side to an in-form Norwich, but the classy Spaniard was brilliant, again, in getting a second successive brace. He wasn’t at his best in the first half but orchestrated the Swansea comeback in the second period and took both his goals clinically. He double strike on Saturday, took him to the top of the goalscoring charts in the league.

TOTW GW 16

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The Best Arsenal And Tottenham Combined XI

Ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering North-London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium, we here at IntoTheTopCorner have decided to make the best combined XI using both the team’s players.

In goal, Spurs’ second choice keeper Hugo Lloris takes the place in between the sticks ahead of Brad Friedel, Wojciech Szczesny and Vito Mannone. The defence is formed of Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, along with Gunners central defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen, and Jan Vertonghen at left back – where he has played admirably in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

The midfield is dominated by Arsenal with Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in the middle with task of driving forward and putting in some killer passes. Finally, the forward line is a brilliant combination of pace, width and finishing. Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale would stretch the play and trouble the full-backs with their speed, while Jermain Defoe – who gets the nod ahead of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Emmanuel Adebayor – will lead the line.

Manchester United v Arsenal Preview

Manchester United’s blockbuster summer signing Robin van Persie takes centre stage on Saturday as the former Arsenal skipper comes up against his old employers for the first time in an United shirt.

The Dutch international, who scored 132 times during his seven years with the Gunners before departing in a £24million deal this summer, has already made an impact at Old Trafford. Van Persie already has seven goals to his name from just seven Premier League starts to show why Sir Alex Ferguson was so happy to land his signature despite competition from Manchester City and Juventus. The striker’s priceless ability to win games on his own will be sorely missed by the fans who once idolised him, and even though Arsene Wenger has called for respect from the travelling fans, the hostility is likely to come out from the away section.

Arsenal also need to banish the memories of last season’s Premier League visit to Old Trafford in August, when they suffered an 8-2 humiliation in what ranks as one of Wenger’s darkest days in his otherwise successful career.

The London club are six points behind United and while it will be to immature to write them off their title ambitions in November, a nine-point gap would be a significant deficit to bridge. On the other hand, victory for Ferguson’s men would take them at the top of the table for the first time this season as Chelsea are not in action until later in day when they travel to Swansea.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United

The Red Devils have no fresh injury issues following their two dramatic matches against Chelsea over the past week. Defender Chris Smalling continues to make good progress in training, but the game at Old Trafford will come too soon. Fellow centre-back Phil Jones (knee) is also not ready, while Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Shinji Kagawa (both knee) remain sidelined. Sir Alex Ferguson made a host of changes for the Capital One Cup clash and will bring back his big players for the big Premier League encounter.

Arsenal

The Gunners will go back to a more recognized team after changing their entire starting XI for the surprising Capitol One Cup success at Reading. Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are in contention, but Theo Walcott may be back on the bench after playing whole 120 minutes at the Madjeski. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip) faces a fitness test, but winger Gervinho (ankle) will be out for around three weeks, while defender Kieran Gibbs (thigh), first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) all continue their rehab.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 193
Manchester United Wins – 84
Draw – 42
Arsenal Wins – 67

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

22-Jan-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
28-Aug-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
01-May-11 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United
12-Mar-11 – FA Cup – Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
13-Apr-10 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

FORM GUIDE

Manchester United – LWWWW
United come into this match on the back of a very important win at Stamford Bridge in the league and are currently just one point behind leaders Chelsea in second place.

31-Oct-12 – Captial One Cup – Chelsea 5-4 Manchester United
28-Oct-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 3-2 Braga
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – Newcastle United 0-3 Manchester United

Arsenal – WWLLW
The Gunners lie in sixth place in the Premier League, six points behind their opponents having won four, drawn three and lost two of their nine games.

30-Oct-12 – Capital One Cup – Reading 5-7 Arsenal
27-Oct-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
24-Oct-12 – Champions League – Arsenal 0-2 Schalke 04
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Norwich City 1-0 Arsenal
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – West Ham United 1-3 Arsenal

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
All eyes will be on the former Arsenal man on Saturday. The 29-year-old has added an extra dimension to United’s attack this season, and is the club’s top goal scorer with nine goals in all competitions. The Netherlands international will be keen to show his former club what they lost. However, he will show some respect to the club he represented for seven years but most Arsenal fans won’t feel the same.

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The 23-year-old has been in headlines this week, for reasons on and off the pitch. Contract talks are stalling because the England international isn’t happy with his lack of playing time, but after scoring a hat-trick against Reading in midweek he is making it very hard for Arsene Wenger to leave him out. Walcott on song is a great attacking player and added to the likes Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere, they could easily stun the Red Devils.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra (C); Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley; Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young; Robin van Persie.

De Gea is most likely to take back his place in between the sticks from Anders Lindegaard after the Danish international let in five goals against Chelsea in the mid-week. Ferdinand and Evans will return to central defence after the youngsters – Scott Wootton and Michael Keane – failed to stand up to the challenge at Stamford Bridge. Alexander Buttner, who was substituted at half time, will also make way for Evra. Carrick and Cleverley are expected to return in the midfield along with Valencia and Young on the wings. Rooney and Van Persie were rested for midweek clash and the star strike duo will take field against an under-performing Arsenal defence.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Vito Mannone; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen (C), Andre Santos; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta; Theo Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski; Olivier Giroud.

First choice keeper Wojciech Szcesny is close to recovery but the Pole is not fit to make a start against the Red Devils, leaving Mannone as the only option for Wenger. Kieran Gibbs is also out with injury, giving Brazilian full-back Andre Santos more first team action this season. After his hat-trick in the mid-week against Reading, Theo Walcott may get the nod on the right wing in place of Aaron Ramsey, while both Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are expected to be back on the bench after their impressive performances in the Capital One Cup. Giroud did score against Reading but his league record has been very poor but Wenger will most likely rely on the Frenchman yet again.

OPTA FACTS

  • 1 – Wayne Rooney scored his first Premier League goal, his first in the Premier League for Manchester United and his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal.
  • 1 – Only one of Arsenal’s 14 league goals this season have come before the half-hour mark.
  • 5 – Manchester United have scored and conceded at least two goals in the same Premier League game five times this season.
  • 7 – Manchester United have won seven and lost none of their last eight against Arsenal at Old Trafford in all competitions.
  • 9 – Manchester United have won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Gunners in all competitions.
  • 10 – Arsenal have scored just 10 goals in 20 Premier League visits to Old Trafford, with last season (8-2 defeat) being the only time they have netted two in one game.
  • 21 – Robin van Persie has hit the woodwork 21 times since August 2009, nine more times than any other Premier League player in the same period.

REFEREE

Name – Mike Dean
Based – Wirral
Age – 44
Games – 6
Yellow Cards – 15
Red Cards – 0

MATCH ODDS

Manchester United 8/11, Draw 13/5, Arsenal 4/1

PREDICTION

It’s been an incredibly entertaining goal-filled week in which both sides conceded five goals in the Capital One Cup. This fixture last season delivered an equally ridiculous scoreline when Manchester United ran out 8-2 winners. Arsenal’s failure to score in league games this season and having to see Robin van Persie play against them will surely make matters worse for the North London side. The game is expected to be another entertaining one for the neutrals, but Sir Alex’s side should have too much for the Gunners in this one.

Predicted Score: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Arsenal

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Arsenal’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Arsene Wenger.
Captain: Thomas Vermaelen/
Stadium: Emirates Stadium (60,361).
Last season: 3rd.
Leading scorer (PL): Robin van Persie (30).
Odds: Title 6-1. Relegation 500-1.

In: Santi Cazorla (£16.7m, Malaga), Oliver Giroud (£10.5m, Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (£11.4m, Koln).

Out: Benik Afobe (Loan, Bolton), Manuel Almunia (Free, Watford), Pedro Botelho (Free, Atletico-PR), George Brislen-Hall (Released), James Campbell (Released), Joel Campbell (Loan, Betis), Denilson (Loan, Sao Paulo), Gavin Hoyte (Free, Dag & Red), Sean McDermott (Released), Jeffrey Monakana (Released), Rhys Murphy (Free, SC Telstar), Carlos Vela (£3.3m, Real Sociedad).

Kits

Key Man – Santi Cazorla
With Jack Wilshere out till mid-October and Robin van Persie’s future at the club uncertain, the latest addition to the squad from Malaga will be the key man for the Gunners this season. The versatile midfielder, who can play anywhere behind the striker, will be primary playmaker for the upcoming season and will try and create or score as many goals as possible.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – Sunderland (H)
25-Aug – Stoke (A)
01-Sep – Liverpool (A)
15-Sep – Southampton (H)
22-Sep – Man City (A)
29-Sep – Chelsea (H).

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud/RVP.

Verdit: The RVP situation could be unsettling for the club and a Wilshere return is still unlikely in the foreseeable future. However Wenger has added three major signings to his squad that could make the Gunners serious title contenders. I don’t see them to be serious title challengers come May, but a sure top for finish.

Prediction: 4th.

Top 10 Potential Loan Deals This Season

With less than four weeks to go for the new season to kick-off, we continue to look forward and build-up for the new 2012/13 Premier League season. Today, we look at the top ten potential loan deals this season.

With the big clubs in the Premier League having a lot of talented players, some players will surely go out on loan to get some regular football under their belts. Here are the ten of those players who may spend the next season away on loan..

10. AARON RAMSEY – ARSENAL

In the absence of Jack Wilshere, Ramsey was set to play an important role in the first-team for the Gunners last season, but the Wales skipper was very inconsistent and his form detoriated towards the end of the season while Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky produced some top performances. Despite wishing to stay at the Emirates and fighting for a place in the starting XI, Fulham’s reported loan interested in him could turn into a temporary move.

9. KEVIN DE BRUYNE – CHELSEA

Chelsea signed the 21-year-old Belgiun international from Genk in January this year as a player for the future, before immediately loaning him back to the Belgian side. He is very eager to prove himself at Stamford Bridge but his role this season maybe restricted to appearances from the bench. A loan move away to Champions League side would be a good deal for both club and the player.

8. DANNY ROSE – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

The 22-year-old announced himself to the Premier League by scoring a cracking volley in the memorable 2-1 win over Arsenal at White Hart Lane in April 2010. But due to the consistent performances of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, his appearances at Spurs has been restricted to just 13. The England U-21 international needs more games under his belt and a loan move to either QPR or West Brom looks highly possible, as both of them have vacant left-back spots.

7. FEDERICO MACHEDA – MANCHESTER UNITED

Kiko Macheda announced himself to the world by scoring the dramatic late winner against Aston Villa at Old Trafford which eventually won Manchester United the Premier League title in 2009. The 20-year-old has been in-and-out of United’s first-team ever since and is currently the 5th best striker at the club. The Italian has all the potential in him to succeed at the top level and a loan move to a Premier League side or back to Italy will help him a lot in his career.

6. JOSH McEACHRAN – CHELSEA

Chelsea’s teen midfielder is primed for big things in the future but in the present he needs to gain some first-team football. It looks highly impossible that the 19-year-old will get that experience and regular football at Stamford Bridge this season, with the number of midfielders Chelsea have right now. A loan move to a Premier League side who are willing to give him as much playing time as possible and help him develop is the best possible option and Wigan (as a part of the Victor Moses deal) looks like best possible destination.

5. ROMELU LUKAKU – CHELSEA

Despite scoring many goals for the Chelsea reserves last season, Lukaku was rarely used in the first team. This could be the season where the Belgium international could finally get his chance to prove himself. He could be used as a cover for Fernando Torres, but if the UK papers are to be believed, the Blues are trying to sign a more experience striker. Fulham and many other clubs have expressed their desire to take the former Anderlecht striker on a season long loan and this could be the best choice for the player.

4. JOHN GUIDETTI – MANCHESTER CITY

Manchester City’s young striker was one of the star performers in the Dutch league last season scoring 20 goals in 23 league games for Feyenoord. The 20-year-old would like develop himself more by getting some invaluable first-team experience before fighting for a starting place at the Etihad Stadium. Serie A side Lazio are interested in signing him on a season long loan, while Turkish giants Galatasaray want him on permanent basis.

3. EMMANUEL FRIMPONG – ARSENAL

Frimpong made an immediate impact in his five games on loan at Wolves last season before he tore his cruciate ligament and was injured for the rest of the season. The Ghanaian is expected to be back at the end of August and a loan spell to one of the newly promoted sides could good for the club and as well as the player – who is otherwise busy tweeting.

2. ADAM JOHNSON – MANCHESTER CITY

The 25-year-old struggled for games at the Etihad Stadium last season and also failed to make England’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad. A loan move to a Premier League side and some regular first-team football will help get his career back on track. Sunderland and Everton are both rumoured to be interested in the former Middlesbrough winger’s services, but his high wages at City could prove to be a stumbling block.

1. YOSSI BENAYOUN – CHELSEA

Benayoun’s career at Stamford Bridge has been hampered because of injuries and the change of managers. The former Liverpool midfielder went on loan to Arsenal last season and played a vital part in helping Arsenal finish third in the Premier League. At 32-year-old, the Israeli midfielder isn’t good enough to be regular for the European champions and a move away from Stamford Bridge looks to be the best possible option for him to get some regurlar first-team action.

Top 25 Premier League Signings Of The Season

As we draw near the end of a thrilling season in the Premier League, almost everything is still up for grabs – relegation, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the title itself.

While we wait for those matters to be decided, let’s debate who the best signings of the season have been. Here are Into The Top Corner looks at the top 25 signings of this season. Tell us whether you agree or not in the comments section.

25. Steve Morrison – Millwall to Norwich for £2.5m

Canaries signed him in pre-season after the striker wanted to leave Millwall for a Premier League side. He has been influential for Norwich this season scoring goal at regular intervals with his last of the 8 league goals coming in the late win over West Brom in January.

24. Peter Crouch – Tottenham to Stoke for £10m

Joined Stoke on deadline day and has been Stoke’s top goal scorer with ten league goals from 30 appearances, including the stunning volley against Manchester City in 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.

23. Samir Nasri – Arsenal to Manchester City for £24.2m

Started off his City career on a high, assisting four goals in his first two matches but as the season progressed his form dipped and he was dropped to the bench. But he has been in good form off late since his winner against Chelsea in the 2-1 win at the Etihad.

22. David De Gea – Atletico Madrid to Manchester United for £17.6m

After a lot of scouting he was brought in to succeed Edwin van der Sar, but the young Spaniard took some time to settle and during that time he struggled a lot. But the last minute fingertips save from a Juan Mata freekick at Stamford Bridge was probably the turning in his career at Old Trafford. Since then his stock has risen and he has been one of United’s key performers in the 2nd half of the season.

21. James McLean – Derry City to Sunderland for £350k

The young winger has been one of Sunderland’s signings of the season. Since the arrival of Martin O’Neill, the Irishman’s performance has improved a lot and could well be in Irish squad for the Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

20. Brad Friedel – Aston Villa to Tottenham Hotspur for Free

The veteran and the highly experienced keeper has been very reliable and solid between the sticks for Spurs this season erasing memories of the error-prone Heurelho Gomes. The former Liverpool man didn’t cost a penny for the London club.

19. Sebastian Larsson – Birmingham City to Sunderland for Free

The Swede was impressive towards the end of last season for the Blues and he has continued that form in this season for the Black Cats. Was inconsistent at the start of the season but since Martin O’Neill taking charge at the Stadium of Light, he has been very effective.

18. Ashley Young – Aston Villa to Manchester United for £15.8m

Has had an inconsistent season mostly affected by injuries but whenever he has played he has given his all. The winger has scored 5 goals this season all worth a watch and Ferguson will feel the Englishman as a player who can offer United a lot more.

17. Pavel Pogrebnyak – Stuttgart to Fulham on Loan

The Russian international who is on loan from Stuttgart has been a hit for the Cottagers since his move in January. Former Spartak Moscow and Zenit striker has scored 6 goals in 8 appearances this season and the London club would be hoping to seal a deal for him which would see him stay permanently.

16. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Southampton to Arsenal for £12m

The youngster has immense potential in him and has already shown what he can do in his rare appearances for the Arsenal first team. Became the youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League and was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of Year Award.

15. Jose Enrique – Newcastle United to Liverpool for £7m

Has been inconsistent Liverpool’s most consistent performer this season. The Spaniard joined at the start of the season and has given a solid performance in his each and every match. Is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League and for just £7m, not bad at all.

14. Yakubu – Everton to Blackburn Rovers for £1.5m

The Nigerian has been Blackburn’s player of the season and top goal-scorer of the season with 16 league goals which included the famous brace against Manchester United at Old Trafford. If it wasn’t for his goals, Blackburn would have been relegated by Christmas.

13. Gylfi Sigurdsson – TSG Hoffenhiem to Swansea City on Loan

He has been Swansea’s star since arriving in January with some excellent displays. Has notched up seven goals and three assist this season and the Swans would surely be looking to secure him on the permanent basis.

12. Yohan Cabaye – Lille to Newcastle United for £4.4m

The talented French midfielder has been Newcastle’s main man in the midfield and has made a huge impact since joining the Magpies in the summer. The France international has scored four goals and assisted nine in his 32 league appearances.

11. Phil Jones – Blackburn Rovers to Manchester United for £17m

The youngster has shown his immense potential and maturity since his move to Old Trafford. Add to that he has also shown his versatility by playing in various positions and has performed well in each of those positions.

10. Emmanuel Adebayor – Manchester City for Tottenham Hotspur on Loan

Adebayor may only be on loan but he is arguably the reason why the North London is challenging for a Champions League spot this season. The Togo international has 16 goals and 11 assists to his name this season.

9. Nikica Jelavic – Rangers to Everton for £5.5m

Has to be one of the best signings ever made by David Moyes during his 10 years at the club. His hard work ethic has endeared him to the Goodison Park faithful his record of ten goals in eleven starts – including the 2 in the 4-4 draw at Old Trafford – isn’t bad at all.

8. Paul Scholes – Out of Retirement to Manchester United

Not exactly a transfer but since his return United have looked a completely different side. The 37-year-old’s experience in the center of the midfield has been very important to United’s success and challenge for the Premier League title post January.

7. Michael Vorm – FC Utrecht to Swansea City for £1.5m

The Dutch keeper has been one of the reasons for Swansea’s defensive record this season and their brilliant display in their debut Premier League season. If his form continues, he well may travel with the Dutch squad to Poland and Ukraine.

6. Mikel Arteta – Everton to Arsenal for £10.5m

Arteta has been one of those panic buys made by Arsene Wenger which has been successful. The stylish midfielder was brought to replace Fabregas and he got better and better as the season progressed and his winner against Manchester City will be long remembered by all Arsenal fans.

5. Juan Mata – Valencia to Chelsea for £24m

Quality crafty Spaniard has to be Chelsea player of the year this season. He has been in dangerous form whole season scoring 12 goals and setting up 22 goals for the Blues in all competitions. Possibly the one and only bright spot of otherwise up and down Blues Premier League season.

4. Scott Parker – West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur for £5.5m

Parker’s career has been on the rise since the start of last season and it gets better and better. The guts and guile of the England international has given Harry Redknapp’s stylish and attacking minded team some steel in the midfield. At £5.5m his signing represents incredible value.

3. Papiss Cisse – Freiburg to Newcastle United for £10m

The Senegalese international striker has been in red hot form since his January move to the Sports Direct Arena. He has scored a record breaking 13 goals in just 12 games, including two stunners against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He is probably one of the reasons why Newcastle United are fighting for a Champions League place.

2. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid to Manchester City for £39.6m

Although City spent a huge amount of money to get the Argentine to Manchester, he has still delivered on that fee and more. Diego Maradona’s son-in-law has scored an impressive amount of 22 league goals this season and also has nine assists to his name.

1. Demba Ba – West Ham United to Newcastle United for Free

The signing of the season!! Ba gave the Magpies the perfect start to season and is probably the reason for Newcastle’s brilliant performance this season. The Senegalese international has 16 goals to his name and best part is that he didn’t anything and that’s why he is our signing of the season.

7 Things We Learned From The Two Games Yesterday

City’s title hopes evaporates as they lose to Arsenal and United go 8 points clear at the top with a win over QPR. Arsenal take a step towards finishing third in the league, while Balotelli’s City career looks to be as good as finished. Here are the 7 things we learned from the two games in the Premier League on Sunday.

1. If That Was Done By A Foreign Player He Would Have Been Booked

If that dive was done by Sergio Busquets or Luis Suarez or Mario Balotelli then they would have surely been booked. Though as awful as Ashley Young’s dive was, it obviously bamboozled Lee Mason enough to give an immediate penalty and also show a straight red card for QPR skipper Shaun Derry. There is a school of thought in England that diving is a “foreign” thing, a disease in the beautiful game brought to the Premier League by the expensive imports. England players seem to be learning well these days.

2. Michael Carrick & Paul Scholes – The Most Inform Midfield Partnership in Premier League

Is there any other center midfielder partnership better and currently inform in the Premier League other than Michael and Paul Scholes? Perhaps not. The duo completely dominated the game from the first minute to end against QPR. The two were the catalysts for the three points United gained. Yeah QPR are a struggling side and United are at the top of the table but they both have performed superbly for more than a couple of months now. Carrick and Scholes out-passed and out-though their opponents to launch a succession of attacks at Paddy Kenny’s goal. Anderson and Tom Cleverly or even Paul Pogba may be the future of Manchester United’s midfield, but Scholes and Carrick are surely the present and one of the main reason of their success this season.

3. Two Must-Win Games For QPR Up Next

Following the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, Mark Hughes and QPR know they have a massive week ahead of them with two must-win games coming up. QPR face the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City in their last four matches of the season & points look extremely difficult to come by against these sides. So their next two games – Swansea @ home and West Brom @ Away – are the two most important games of their whole season. Two wins would take them to 34 points, not a guarantee of safety, but will take them a step closer to it. If they fail to do so, then they are surely heading back to nPower Championship after just one season in the Premier League.

4. Silva Was Missed, But Losing Yaya Toure Was A Huge Blow

The visitors undoubtedly missed the creativity of David Silva with the Spaniard absent with a knee injury. Yet, on the afternoon, the sight of Yaya Toure hobbling off after jarring a leg following a challenge from Alex Song was the key. The midfielder is influential at both ends in the City team, a huge presence in defence and surging forward in attack, and it was no surprise when Pizarro was slow to close down Mikel Arteta as the Spaniard scored the winner. Toure might not have been so easily bypassed.

5. Balotelli’s City Career Looks To Be Over

With the Italian picking up his 3rd red card of the season, he is expected to miss the next three games and his ban may even be extended to five matches if he is found guilty for the studs-up challenge on Alex Song in first half. If that happens then, he would surely miss the rest of the season which also includes the huge Manchester derby at the Etihad. In the post-match interviews Mancini said he was completely disappointed with Balotelli’s lack of discipline and would probably look to sell him in the summer. Completely agree with Mancini over here. Balotelli is a hugely talented player but he is a total disgrace to the club and is wasting his talent doing the wrong things. City must sell him in the summer but the question remains will there be any takes for a player like him.

6. Arsenal Sense Third Place Is There For The Taking

This was a hugely significant victory for Arsenal in their pursuit of third place and Champions League football. Tottenham Hotspur had actually edged back ahead of them in the table some 24 hours earlier, and Chelsea and Newcastle United were breathing down their necks. So to emerge victorious from what appeared their most demanding fixture of the run-in – Chelsea are still to visit – felt psychologically significant. They were the hungrier and, ultimately, more impressive side against City. They can approach their remaining fixtures with relish.

7. Its United’s Title & City Are Finished

With just six games to play in the season, Manchester United lead Manchester City by eight points. The title race is mathematically on but virtually its all over and Mancini also knows it. If City do win the title, it will have meant an epic collapse from Manchester United, one that will feel inconsequential in comparison. More than likely United will clinch the title at City’s ground three weeks from now. Called as the title decider for the most of the season, the Manchester derby on the 30th April will instead serve as a coronation for England’s champions. It will be a cruel twist for City, but they would have only themselves to blame for a run of five points from their last five games.