Tag Archives: Paul Lambert

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 4

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting third weekend in the Premier League. Aston Villa, Arsenal and Tottenham have provided two players each, while there is one each from Stoke, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Fulham.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American completely justified Paul Lambert’s decision to select him ahead of the experienced Shay Given with some stunning saves. The saves from Nathan Dyer and Ashley Williams were the key moments in the match and the difference between the two sides.

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)

The 23-year-old was a perfect example of Lambert’s policy of playing youngsters who are eager to establish themselves in the top flight. He scored an absolute belter as his first Premier League goal and also played his part in Villa’s first clean sheet of the season to mark a performance to remember.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

It was not at all an easy task of keeping Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko at bay for the whole match, but the Stoke skipper did it. His goal-line clearance denied the reigning Premier League of all three points. A battling performance by the former Manchester United player and a future England regular.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The former Ajax skipper has settled nicely with life in Tottenham’s defence and had little trouble dealing with Reading’s Pavel Pogrebnyak. The Belgium international was equal to the Russian’s goal threat and snuffed out the Royals’ main attacking option. He will only be disappointed of not keeping a clean-sheet.

Alexander Buttner (Manchester United)

Put in a Man-of-the-Match performance on his debut. He was a big threat going forward but never ignored his defensive duties. He assisted Chicharito’s goal with a shot across goal and then went past three defenders to open his own account with a shot from a very acute angle. His display surely must have given Patrice Evra some nightmares.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

What a signing this man has been for the Gunners. Completely bossed the midfield and his incisive passing effortlessly tore the Saints apart on Saturday. The Spainish international is becoming a regular in the Premier League Team of the Week along with Jan Vertonghen and has created a total of 18 chances this season – the most by any place.

Javi Garcia (Manchester City)

Excellent debut by the former Benfica star at the Britannia Stadium. The defensive midfielder is not known for his scoring but he did pop up with a headed equaliser and also came close to scoring a second but was only denied by a very good Asmir Begovic save.

Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

The German international opened his goal scoring account for his new club – Arsenal against Liverpool at Anfield before the international break and continue his goal scoring form with a cracking free-kick against Southampton to double the Gunners’ lead in the first half.

Demba Ba (Newcastle United)

The Senegal striker started from the bench but he made the difference when he came on at half time for the second half. He scored within minutes of his arrival and then did the same again in the last minute to secure the share of points against Everton at Goodison Park.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

In his home debut for Fulham, he put in a classy performance to help Fulham beat West Brom at Craven Cottage. He opened the scoring with a curling effort and then sent his former Manchester United team-mate Ben Foster the wrong way from the penalty spot. Looking like a very good signing for the Cottagers.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

A sterling performance by the in-form Englishman, who again proved his finishing abilities. He led the line superbly and grabbed a deserved brace to see-off Reading and earn Spurs their first win of the new season. His first goal was a neat first-time finish, while his second one was with a superb run and finish.

Advertisements

Premier League 2012/13 Predictions

The wait is finally over as the new Premier League season kicks-off today and here my predictions for the 2012/13 campaign.

Champions?

Manchester City are the favourites for me to win the title again this season. They broke their duck last season and got the monkey of their back. They now know how to cope with certain situations and how to get through games. Roberto Mancini and City both will have learnt a lot from last season. I know they haven’t sign anybody – except for Jack Rodwell – but they already have a very strong squad which is more than capable of winning the league again.

At the same time, I expect the title race to be very close like last season and may again go down to the very last day. Manchester United have got Robin van Persie and they will surely be right up there. They have also go their skipper – Nemanja Vidic coming back from injury, and he would be like a completely new signing for the club.

Top Four?

The two Manchester clubs will occupy the top two places and it will be either Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham for the remaining two places. I will go with Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Blues will be a better team than what they were last season. They have bought some very good young players like Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, that are going to attack a lot. With Didier Drogba moving to China, Fernando Torres will have a big season, as he will have to fill the big shoes of the Ivorian. If Torres could get his old Liverpool form back, which made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, then the Blues could even challenge for the title.

It’s going to be very tight between Arsenal and Tottenham for the final Champions League spot. I fill Arsenal will just sneak into fourth because of the great football they play. They may have lost Van Persie and might also lose Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud they have bought in some quality players. As for Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas is a very talented manager but he needs to get the forward line sorted soon and also find a replacement for Luka Modric.

Bottom Three?

It’s really tough to call who will go down this season. Every year I feel Wigan will be relegated but they somehow stay up. This season again I am going to say Wigan. They have made two good signings in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone, but they could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again. Norwich had a very good season last term under Paul Lambert, but with him moving away to a bigger club they are going struggle along with Reading. I really hope the Royals stay up but they are a very attacking side. That will make them entertaining but also vulnerable.

Surprise Package?

With the expected arrival of Gaston Ramirez, it makes Southampton one of the entertaining teams in the Premier League. They have lots of exciting attacking players throughout the side and I can see them doing what Norwich or Swansea did last season. At the same time, I think Mark Hughes’ QPR side will be the overachievers this season. Hughes kept the R’s up on the final day last season and I am expecting a very good campaign from them this year. They have made some very good signings in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett and Jose Bosingwa. They will be very hard to beat and could even finish in the top half of the table.

Top Scorer?

We will be looking at a lot of the same names again this season. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will form a deadly combo at United, while Luis Suarez – if he can control himself – will benifit a lot in Brendan Rodgers attack-minded Liverpool side and with Arsenal creating lot of chances Lukas Podolski will also be up there. But in the end Sergio Aguero will win the Golden Boot this season. He had a tremendous first season in England and I expect him to get even better this season. If City do go on to defend their Premier League crown, it will be because of his goals.

Player to Watch?

There are so many exciting players to watch in the Premier League this season. As a United fan I love watching Steven Gerrard play because he is a true inspiration to his team-mates and can single handedly win a game for Liverpool and I hope he stays fit for the whole season.

However, I feel Eden Hazard will be my player to watch this season. His transfer saga went on for months and in the end he revealed on Twitter that he had decided to join Chelsea. He is one of the top talents in world football and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the second consecutive time last season. He will have a huge role to play for Chelsea this season and will also have to justify his big transfer fees. If he can star as he did for his previous club then the Blues could be in with a shout for the Premier League title.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Norwich City

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

Manager: Chris Hughton.
Captain: Grant Holt.
Stadium: Carrow Road (27,033).
Last season: 12th.
Leading scorer (PL): Grant Holt (15).
Odds: Title 2500-1. Relegation 6-4.

In: Jacob Butterfield (Free, Barnsley), Javier Garrido (Loan, Lazio), Robert Snodgrass (£2.8m, Leeds), Michael Turner (£1.6m, Sunderland), Steven Whittaker (Free, Rangers).

Out: Daniel Ayala (Loan, Nottingham), Michael Ball (Released), Richard Brindley (Released), Andrew Crofts (Undisc., Brighton), Josh Dawkin (Free, Braintee), Adam Durry (Free, Leeds), Zak Whitbread (Released), Aaron Wilbraham (Free, Crystal Palace).

Kits

Key Man – Grant Holt
The news that Norwich’s star striker had signed a new deal and had decided to stay was like music to the fans’ ears. Holt, a true leader in every sense, tormeted most of the teams defence last season by scoring 15 goals. If the Canaries are to survive in the top flight and avoid the second-season syndrome, then they will need him to be on song again.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – Fulham (A)
25-Aug – QPR (H)
01-Sep – Tottenham (A)
15-Sep – West Ham (H)
22-Sep – Newcastle (A)
29-Sep – Liverpool (H)

Probable Formation (4-5-1): Ruddy; Martin, Turner, L Bennett, Tierney; Pilkington, Howson, Surman, Johnson, Snodgrass; Holt.

Verdict: Following Paul Lambert’s departure, former Birmingham boss Chris Hughton has been appointed in safeguarding the Cannaries’ future in the top flight. It was bad enough when Lambert left in the summer but the situation looked like it could get worse after key man Grant Holt handed in a transfer request. But a change of heart from the striker saw him sign a new three-year-deal that will be a massive boost for the Norfolk club, who are hoping to avoid the second-season syndrome. Chris Hughton is no doubt a good coach and he did a good job at Newcastle but this is a tough test for him. I don’t think Norwich will do better than last season and for me they are one of those teams battling to survive. At the end of the season, they might just go down fighting.

Prediction: 18th.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Aston Villa

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

Manager: Paul Lambert.
Captain: Stiliyan Petrov
Stadium: Villa Park (43,786).
Last season: 16th.
Leading scorer (PL): Darren Bent (9).
Odds: Title 1000-1. Relegation 5-1.

In: Karim El Ahmadi (£2.6m, Feyenoord), Brett Holman (Free, AZ Alkmaar), Matthew Lowton (£3.3m, Sheff Utd), Ron Vlaar (£3.3m, Feyenoord).

Out: James Collins (£2.8m, West Ham), Carlos Cuellar (Free, Sunderland), Emile Heskey (Released), Andy Marshall (Released).

Kits

Key Man – Darren Bent
The England international was injured for the majority of second half of the season and yet he ended as the club’s top goalscorer with nine goals. Now with him being fully fit and ready, he will be Villa’s key man for the season and will be looking to score the goals Villa dearly missed last time round.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – West Ham (A)
25-Aug – Everton (H)
01-Sep – Newcastle (A)
15-Sep – Swansea (H)
22-Sep – Southampton (A)
30-Sep – West Brom (H)

Probable Formation (4-1-2-1-2): Given; Lowton, Vlaar, Dunne, Warnock; Bannan; N’Zogbia, El Ahmadi; Ireland; Agbonlahor, Bent.

Verdit: The capture of Paul Lambert was a real coup for Randy Lerner and his presence alone will be good for a few extra wins than last season. But the team has not made the necessary additions to the squad to make a drastic improvement. I can’t see a top 10 finish for the Lions but surely safe in the mid-table.

Prediction: 12th.

Premier League New Signings Best XI

With just over two weeks to go for the new 2012/13 Premier League season to begin, we continue to look forward to it and build up for the new season. Today, we have decided to make a best XI of the new signings done by the Premier League clubs this summer.  

The team is formed by using the 4-2-3-1 formation. It also has a manager (who has been recently appointed) and seven substitutes. Have a look at the them and feel free to comment below.

GK – ROBERT GREEN (WEST HAM TO QPR – FREE)

The experienced England keeper may be still haunted by the goal he conceded against USA in the 2010 World Cup, but he is a safe and reliable man to have inbetween the sticks. Hughes snapped him up for free after his contract with the Hammers came to an end this June.

RB – NATHANIEL CLYNE (CRYSTAL PLACE TO SOUTHAMPTON – £2M)

The young, highly-rated but talented right-back joined the Saints for a compensation fee after his contract with the Eagles expiered in the summer. The 21-year-old, who was once a target of Manchester United, will add a lot pace to Southampton’s defence and will be a constant threat on the right-side.

CB – JAN VERTONGHEN (AJAX TO TOTTENHAM – £11M)

The Belgium international was chased by a hosts of top clubs across Europe, but in the end Tottenham won the race to sign him. With Ledley King having announced his retirement in the past month, Vertonghen will be a perfect addition to the squad and his presence will be felt at the back.

CB – RON VLAAR (FEYENOORD TO ASTON VILLA – £3.5M)

The Dutch international has spent the best part of his eight year career at Feyenoord and the hard tackling defender – who had a decent Euro 2012 campaign compared to his team – will be a great addition to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side – who have been poor at the back in the past couple of seasons.

LB – FABIO (MANCHESTER UNITED TO QPR – LOAN)

The young United left-back has been primed for big things in the future, but his opportunities and Old Trafford have been very limited. The pacey Brazilian, who is good with either foot is expected to be R’s first choice left-back at Loftus Road and will be hoping to impress his employees with a good season under Mark Hughes.

CM – OSCAR (INTERNACIONAL TO CHELSEA – £28M)

The young Brazilian has been one of the top performers for his country at the Olympics this year and his big money move to Chelsea has excited a lot of fans. The playmaker, who has great vision, passing and an eye for spectacular goals, is tipped for big things at Stamford Bridge.

CM -GYLFI SIGURDSSON (HOFFENHEIM TO TOTTENHAM – £8.8M)

The Iceland international had a very successful loan spell with Swansea last term and that attracted a lot of suitors for the 22-year-old midfielder. The former Reading star snubbed offers from Liverpool and Swansea to join Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham and is expected to play a major role at White Hart Lane this season.

LW – LUKAS PODOLSKI (FC KOLN TO ARSENAL – £11.4M)

It’s not often that you see Arsene Wenger buying experienced and proven talents over youngsters, but this signing of the German international, who has more than 100 caps to his name, could be a masterstroke and could well help the Gunners win their first ever major silverware in more than seven years.

CAM – SHINJI KAGAWA (DORMUND TO MANCHESTER UNITED – £13.2M)

Kagawa has seen a steap rise in his career from Japanese League football to Premier League football in the last three years or so. The Japanese international was named the Bundesliga player of the season last term after helping Dortmund do the domestic double and his transfer to United has delighted the United fans. The playmaker is expected to play a key role in helping United regain their Premier League title this season.

RW – EDEN HAZARD (LILLE TO CHELSEA – £32.5M)

The highly-rated playmaker was the most sought-after property in Europe at the start of the summer. Manchester City and Manchester United were both interested in him, but in the end Chelsea landed the Belgium international after winning the Champions League. Roman Abramovich has again splashed a lot of money on a youngster who is expected to become one of the best player in the world.

ST – OLIVIER GIROUD (MONTPELLIER to ARSENAL – £10.5M)

The France international had a great last season as helped Montpellier win their first ever league title in their history. Arsenal ssigned the striker early in the summer beating off competition from several clubs across Europe. With skipper Robin van Persie expected to leave in the near future, Giroud will have a huge role to play this season.

Manager – ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (UNEMPLOYED TO TOTTENHAM)

The Portuguese had a distatourous time at Stamford Bridge which lasted for just over nine months, after he had helped Porto to do the treble in the previous season by winning the League, domestic cup and the Europa League. Villas-Boas was given another chance to prove himself in the Premier League after he was appointed as the new boss at White Hart Lane to succeed Harry Redknapp. The 34-year-old will be hoping make the most of his second chance and help Tottenham secure Champions League football for the next season.

Subs – Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton to West Ham for Free), Steven Whittaker (Rangers to Norwich for Free), James Collins (Aston Villa to West Ham for £2.8m), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen to Chelsea for £8.6m), Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United to QPR for £2.7m), Junior Hoilett (Blackburn to QPR for Free), Fabio Borini (Roma to Liverpool for £11.7m).

Aston Villa Unveil New Home And Away Kits

Aston Villa have proudly unveiled their new home and away kits for the upcoming new Premier League season which kicks off on the 18th of August. The new kits are manufactured by Italian sportswear company Macron.

The home shirt remains faithful to the classic claret and blue tradition, while the away shirt presents a vibrant lime colour with navy blue details, giving it a playful yet stylish design to symbolise a bright new era under the management of Paul Lambert.  The kits, featuring a classic Italian style using the latest design technology, contain a number of innovative details. These include a new embossed lion motif within the fabric to the rear and an embroidered club logo on the back of the neck.

The home strip, which was forged drawing inspiration from the 1980-81 championship-winning design, is made by integrating different fabrics, each with specific technical and high-performance characteristics. This allows the shirt to breathe while also providing superior resistance and maintaining comfort and elasticity.

The main fabric has been constructed with a great attention to comfort, performance and effervescence, in order to guarantee maximum comfort and best performance. The neck is a real novelty. It’s a modern polo made with rib fabric and constructed with a double collar for maximum comfort. Inside the neck the size tag is personalized with a yellow lion figure on a sky background.

The vivacious away shirt, meanwhile, features a round neck design made with a knitwear profile and in navy blue colour. The upper flank inserts are in mesh, tone on tone fibres, with the lower insert in navy blue. Inside of the neck there is the printed lion in claret that personalises the size tag.

Macron have always strived to guarantee the highest quality and technical features in their products, with great attention to style trends and details. The important fact is the same attention is applied to the fabrics and make-up of the jersey worn by the players as that purchased by the fans at authorised outlets. Paul Faulkner, Villa’s chief executive, said:

“It feels very much like the beginning of a new era for Villa as we approach the 2012-13 campaign. We have a young, hungry and ambitious manager in Paul Lambert and fantastic new kits, designed by Macron. I know that Villa fans are particularly excited as we embark upon this vibrant new journey.”

Gianluca Pavanello, Macron chief executive, said:

“We know the huge passion of the Villa fans and the great importance to them of the club heritage. That is why we drew inspiration from the 1980-81 kit design when coming up with the home strip for 2012-13. This highly-valued and reinterpreted design comes together with all the features and benefits allowed by the technicalities of modern fabrics and design. We are sure that the shirts will be a celebration not only of the past but especially of the present and the future of this outstanding and unique team.”

Here are some more pictures of the new home and away kits and new Villa signing Brett Holman..

Top 8 Candidates For The Anfield Job

Kenny Dalglish was sacked from his job as the Liverpool manager yesterday after the Reds were able to win just the Carling Cup in a poor campaign which saw them finish 8th in the Premier League and also the big name signing failing.

Here, we takes a look at the managers who could succeed Kenny and finally get Liverpool firing again.

Roberto Martinez – 4/7

He has led Wigan to two successive survivals in the Premier League. Last summer, he rejected the advances of Aston Villa and proved his loyalties to the Latics but this time if Liverpool do come calling it would be very hard to reject. His team (Wigan and Swansea) loves to play the free flowing passing football which would surely attract the fans and the owners at Anfield and add to that he is just in his late thirties.

Andre Villas-Boas – 5/1

The young Portuguese manager was a failure at Chelsea and also failed to win over the dressing room during his time at Stamford Bridge. But one poor spell doesn’t make him a bad manager overnight. The former assistant under Jose Mourinho was superb at Porto and guided the Portuguese side to the treble in his first season at the club. The 34-year-old would be eager to prove his abilities in the Premier League and there could be no better job than this to do it. He also fits the owner’s needs of a younger manager.

Brendan Rogers – 8/1

His team plays some attractive football which havent been seen at Anfield for a long time now. Rogers has done very well and has been praised for guiding Swansea to finish 11th in the Premier League in their debut season after winning promotion via the playoffs. He is a young manager and the sexy type of football his team plays may tempt the owners to appoint him but he is inexperience.

Frank Rijkaard – 10/1

He turned around an under-performing Barcelona team, winning the La Liga in both 2005 and 2006 to lay the foundations for the dominant team later developed by Pep Guardiola. He has drifted away from the limelight since joining Galatasaray and then Saudi Arabia national team, with whom he failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. His experience of turning around the fortunes of a club like Barcelona may be a good reason for the owners.

Rafa Benitez – 12/1

He has been out of job since his short spell at Inter Milan in 2010/11. He has been often linked with all the jobs that come up in the Premier League and was once reported to be closer to move to become Chelsea’s next manager. The Spaniard has led the Reds to a Champions League and a FA Cup title during his time at Anfield and the Liverpool supporters would be happy to get him back as their boss.

Jurgen Klopp – 12/1

He has been a revelation at Dortmund. Without spending much money his youthful squad won their first Bundesliga title since 2002 in 2011 and this year the same side did the league and cup double by winning Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal. Under his management Dortmund have developed young stars like Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa and Moritz Leitner to name a few and his ability to promote youth and make them stars would surely attract the owners.

Paul Lambert – 15/1

Like Rogers, Lambert has also won praise this season for guiding a newly promoted side – Norwich in this case – to finish in the mid table in their first season after promotion. But some special credits to Lambert because he has taken the Canaries from League 1 to Premier League in just three years. He moved to a bigger club when he joined Norwich from Colchester showing off his ambition and that could also lead him to the Anfield job

Louis van Gaal – 18/1

The Dutch tactician has been linked with a move to Anfield since leaving Bayern Munich last summer and has an exception record of winning trophies and delivering success at the club level. He has guided Ajax to Champions League glory and has won the league with the likes of Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich. He is the most experienced of all the linked manager and his track record will surely impress the owners.