April 21, 2012 by joshilan14
This weeks’ Premiership Weekly discusses the latest Premiership action from the 14th April to the 20th April. This week’s edition includes a Premiership roundup, an upturn in form at Wigan, Reading’s promotion to the Premiership, PFA and Premiership “20 Seasons” award nomination and the right-backs aiming to go to Euro 2012 as part of the England squad.
Saturday’s early kick-off saw Norwich City get comprehensively beaten 6-1 at home to Manchester City, with Carlos Tevez grabbing a hat-trick and his fellow Argentinean strike partner Sergio Aguero also grabbed a double. Goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nathan Dyer and a Scott Dann own-goal saw Swansea City get past the 40-point barrier with a 3-0 victory at home to Blackburn Rovers. A stunner from Graham Dorrans saw West Bromwich Albion overcome the challenge of QPR, while Sunderland and Wolves played out a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.
Like their previous result against QPR, Manchester United’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa was overshadowed by yet another Ashley Young dive, which resulted in the Red Devils getting an early penalty: The winger is now showing why he should represent Britain in the Olympics, but not in his ‘chosen sport.’ Wayne Rooney got a double, with Danny Welbeck and Nani getting the other goals.
I don’t know what came as more of a surprise in Monday night’s encounter between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic: This is whether unfashionable Wigan managed to beat a shell-shocked Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates or whether Franco Di Santo got the opener for the Latics. This moved Wigan five points above the relegation zone, and results of late suggest they will not be back there.
Many are suggesting that if Wigan had played like this all season, they would be European contenders. This maybe a little far-fetched, but their form of late has been nothing short of spectacular. Like many, I had predicted Wigan to go down as I felt that their squad was inferior to the teams surrounding them and they lacked an out-and-out goal scorer. Since the beginning of March though, Roberto Martinez’ side have played eight games and have won four, drawn two and lost two. What makes this even more impressive is that these fixtures came against tough opposition, with the side grinding out victories against Liverpool, Stoke, Manchester United and Arsenal. Roberto Martinez said “Wigan need the same intensity to achieve their aim of survival,” and judging by his sides recent run, that aim should be achieved.
Reading back in the top flight
After four seasons away, Reading are back in the top flight after securing promotion on Tuesday night against Nottingham Forest. Their previous spell in the Premiership saw them become well-liked by neutrals due to their style of play and their overachievement on a small budget. This time around, they are likely to have wealthy Russian businessman Anton Zingarevich on board, but their well-respected chairman John Madejski said that “the club will not spend silly money.” Credit has to go to manager Brian McDermott, who rejected the chance to become Wolves manager to lead the Royals to the Premiership. The players also deserve a lot of credit, especially veteran striker Jason Roberts, whose arrival at the club saw a major upturn in form. They have structure in place, both on-and-off-the-pitch to make a real impact in the top tier, with the club aiming for a place in Europe next season.
PFA Awards nominees a joke
If proof was ever needed of a big-club bias, this is as good as it gets. The nominees include three Manchester City players in Joe Hart, Sergio Aguero and David Silva, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s Scott Parker. Out of those players nominated; only Silva, Van Persie and Parker are worthy of their nominations, with the other three all having great seasons but there are more worthy candidates. How Newcastle fail to have a representative on the list is shocking, with stalwarts Demba Ba, Fabricio Coloccini and Yohan Cabaye all failing to get a mention. What about Fulham’s goal scoring midfielder Clint Dempsey, Blackburn poacher Yakubu or the underrated Norwich captain Grant Holt? Even some players from the bigger clubs were neglected, with Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and Chelsea winger Juan Mata surely worthy of a mention. The awards this year focus on the players who have done well, but not on the ones who have proved to be key to their side this season.
Premiership “20 Seasons” Awards
The nominations were also announced for the Premiership “20 seasons” award, which looks back at the outstanding match, goal, celebration and save in the Premiership’s 20 year history. The award for best match saw many great encounters nominated, but my favourite was Newcastle United’s stunning comeback from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 against Arsenal: The game had everything, from stunning goals to red cards to refereeing mistakes. My choice for the best goal was Thierry Henry’s stunning turn and volley against Manchester United in the 2000-2001 season, but goals by Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Eric Cantona deserve a mention. The award for best celebration has to go to Jimmy Bullard, after his imitation of Phil Brown’s half-time team-talk on the pitch in a previous encounter against Manchester City. My choice for best save was Bolton’s Jussi Jaaskelainen’ tremendous double save against Manchester United.
England squad for Euro 2012: Centre Backs
The two places available in the England squad for right-back seem to be between three players. Manchester City’s Micah Richards is in the form of his life and should go as England’s first choice in this position due to his strong performances at the back and his strength going forward. Kyle Walker has had a great breakthrough season at Tottenham Hotspur and his man-of-the-match performance in the Three Lions victory over Sweden would have only improved his chances. The final player in the race is Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, whose season has been ravaged by injury, but his performances of late give him a chance of going to Euro 2012.
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