Premier League Footballer of the Week, Gameweek 6

  • Emphatic Wins in their Infancy

While two massively different matches played out to identical score-lines on Saturday, the meaningful implications associated with those 1-0 wins by Manchester City and West Ham United may go somewhere over the rainbow in defining the seasons of the victors.

While Roberto Mancini got his formation and personnel spot on in what ended up being a fantastically entertaining chess match between two of English football’s biggest spenders, it was a moment of inscrutable profit that led to the difference maker. Equal parts luck and precision led to Carlos Tevez finding the break through in the 59th minute when his determined run from the halfway line set up the winner which oddly enough found an avenue between the legs of Ashley Cole and then a loving smooch off the post.

Largely a match where defenses dominated the proceedings, somehow, again, it was Tevez for City who proved the catalyst. Although the team Carlo Ancelotti fielded in Chelsea’s midweek Carling Cup loss to Newcastle was entirely different to the XI who took the field at Eastlands, the Champions have now lost two in a row after their boisterous start.

West Ham United won a football match played on a pitch of grass in the League for the first time this season when Frederic Piquionne found the net with a hard fought and well won header. Saturday’s West Ham wasn’t the team of the first five weeks of the Premier League. They played with more purpose in the derby with Spurs, defended well and showed ambition. West Ham are taking baby steps in the League which resemble something along the lines of L-L-L-L-D-W. It was the win on Saturday that pulled them out of 20th by only a point, while baby steps sooner or later turn into strides.

This allegory concludes with Manchester City fans humming “Hey, Chelsea, City we got your number time to worry” to the tune of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Got Your Money (having taken 9 points from the last 3 matches) while the Irons, in pursuit of stabilization, breathe a heavy hearted sigh of relief at the site of their first 3 points. Two clubs at different horizons win by the slimmest of margins while those 1-0’s could prove most emphatic in the infancy of their respective seasons.

Plucky Draws, Impressive West Brom and Equally Unimpressive Manuel Almunia

The two big North West clubs failed to produce inspired football in drawing to inferior opponents. Credit to Bolton and Sunderland for playing organized and determined football while talismanic figures such as Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres continue to search for their best form. Neither looked 100% fit while many hope Roy Hodgson’s tactics somehow ‘click’ with time. Manchester United’s failings shouldn’t cause too much concern, yet it was Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, two of United’s early season best, who failed to make an impact on the match.

It’s been said time and time again that Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia isn’t quite good enough to play for Arsenal if they have ambitions of silverware. I’ve always agreed with this sentiment. Almunia was largely responsible for West Brom’s second and third when his shoot stopping abilities and positional awareness failed him, again. Gonzalo Jara scored when Almunia let his low, hard shot from the right edge of the penalty area skip over his hands. For West Brom’s third, Almunia left the goal mouth wide open for Jerome Thomas when he mistakenly ran out for a ball Chris Brunt was well onto. Questions have to soon be asked of Almunia or Arsenal will surely suffer the error of his ways until he’s dropped.

Honorable Mentions

Dedryck Boyata, Manchester City – As a colleague and I discussed the potential set up, match ups and difference makers on Friday in anticipation of Saturday’s clash, the one re-occuring theme in our pre game analysis was Chelsea’s Ashley Cole and just how dangerous the Champions could be attacking down the left. At some point in the discussion, one of us ended up spot on as Chelsea overwhelmingly favored the left side as their avenue towards goal in the first half. Enter Boyata at right back for Manchester City.

As Roberto Mancini struggled with a selection headache as injuries plagued the squad, it was the young Belgian defender who got the nod at right back. Tough would be his duties on the day as Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda continually picked at Boyata yet he stood firm. As an even-keeled matched played out like a heavyweight fight, City’s defense held strong and for long stretches were barely tested by Chelsea’s once poignant but now somehow stuttering attack. Credit to the young Boyata for a mature defensive performance against some of the league’s best attackers.

Victor Obinna, West Ham – Obinna’s strike partner Frederic Piquionne scored the winner yet Obinna also impressed leading the line for West Ham during their first win of the season. The on loan from Inter Milan winger scored his first goal for West Ham during their mid week Carling Cup victory away to Sunderland and was key for West Ham on Saturday as the Hammers dominated early spells of the match. Obinna held the ball well and was a true attacking threat when West Ham were in possession. He’s a strong, powerful striker with International experience in the form of the Nigerian national team. If he fits in well at Upton Park, West Ham have an option to buy him from Inter at the end of the season and would do well to keep him if they can avoid any additional major drops in form.

David Silva, Manchester City – Silva was effective for City in a right-ish, roaming attacking role. As Carlos Tevez did what he does best, Silva contributed to City’s forwards movements with his accurate passing and runs off the ball. In review of Tevez’s winner, which was a brilliant bit of skill, it was also Silva who matched pace with the Argentine. As Silva filled the space to Tevez’s left to pull John Terry with him, Tevez was able to take Ashley Cole 1 on 1 and finish. The move was largely successful due to Tevez and his determination, yet Silva did his part in keeping Terry busy. Silva’s ‘activity’ was enough to trouble Chelsea as City went onto to the 1-0 win. His slow settling into English football comes as a welcome relief to City fans as they pursue a top 4 finish.

Premier League Footballer of the Week

Emirates Stadium, Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion , Premier League 25/09/2010  Jerome Thomas of WBA in action with Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Jerome Thomas, West Bromwich Albion – Thomas produced a man of the match performance for the Baggies who were involved in the shock result of the weekend. Few predicted a win for West Brom at the Emirates while even fewer predicted they’d score three goals against the Gunners. Thomas started on the left side of midfield, assisted on one and scored another with some impressive attacking movements. On more than one occasion, Thomas blew past Bacary Sagna, a decent enough right back, and was at the right place at the right time to finish a move he was heavily involved in setting up. The lead commentator of the match was correct in his assessment after Thomas (formerly of Arsenal) scored stating, “Jerome Thomas bites the hand that used to feed him“.

21 thoughts on “Premier League Footballer of the Week, Gameweek 6”

  1. Yes, well done Boyata – the same Boyata who recklessly hauled Drogba down twice around the penalty area in the first half and should have been penalised with a penalty, a free kick and at least one yellow card.

    1. Maybe if Didier had spent more time trying to score instead of flailing around like a 3 yr old who didn’t get his way, the game might have gone Chelsea’s way.

      1. Oh come on, Earl Reed, Drogba didn’t fall after Boyata yanked him round the neck, and he fell from the shoulder charge legitimately. Another foul outside the box from a slide tackle looked legitimate to me, and other than that, I can’t think of another time he hit the turf.

        Oh wait, my apologies. I just realized your comment just arrived in a time warp from 2007. Carry on!

          1. Are you kidding me, Earl Reed? Did you not read the comments from the previous Gaffer post about how City beat Chelsea? I’m certainly not complaining about any penalties. We lost by a goal because we didn’t make the most of our opportunities.

            This criticism that each of us is giving is that a player who committed two uncalled fouls perhaps shouldn’t have been considered player of the week. Further, I don’t think he did anything particularly spectacular other than playing well in City’s shape. De Jong deserves most of the credit for the defensive performance, if anything. Not even the author of this piece could come up with a single play that Boyata made; he only had a “mature” game against the reigning champions.

            Read carefully, please.

        1. Robert…this 2nd reply is meant to be for your latest.

          OK, I’ll concede you this: the author of this article surely gave this award because of his allegiance to Manchester United, and thus anyone who disrespects a team like Chelsea the way Boyata did will earn his favor. I’m sure if Silva would have punched Petr Cech in the face he would have earned Footballer Of The Millennium. The ONLY reason Boyata would be lauded is because his outing came filling in a crucial match, where expectations of him were not particularly high.

          That being said, if he started for Blackpool against Blackburn and had the same type of match, you would have needed SONAR for it to register.

          1. Hah, you’re right about Silva, although he might have had to jump to get up to Cech’s helmet head. Honestly, the laudatory remarks of Boyata are the only criticism I have. If he hadn’t committed the shoulder charge and the neck grab, I wouldn’t have noticed him either, and would only have questioned his nomination for a relatively quiet game.

      1. I don’t discount that Boyata was manhandling Drogba. My response was based on the fact that this team manhandled their first 4 opponents, and was finally held down, and now it’s all about how the ref screwed them over. Why not concede that Manchester City played a solid game and get over it? I guess all that silverware isn’t enough.

        1. Look, I think all Chelsea fans would agree with me when I say City deserved to beat us, with the way we played. But does Boyata deserve an honorable mention on this list? He certainly wouldn’t if his *several* questionable challenges (a couple surely worth a booking) had been seen by Andre Marriner.

    2. Boyata deserved to go off for his foul off the ball when he raised his hand to Drogba’s neck. Rules of the Game say that a raised hand is an immediate red card, but nothing happened because Marriner bottled another call. Boyata’s defense show was good, for a 19 year old, but he has a long way to go to be a quality Premier League defender. With any other ref the score would have been 2-1 Chelsea and City down to 10 in the first half.

      1. The incident happened away from the ball/action, so unless the referee has access to video technology, he’s probably not going to be able to catch it. If the assistant referee misses it too, then you can’t blame Marriner.

        The Gaffer

  2. I was actually impressed by the shoulder charge – mainly because most players, especially 19 year olds, are too scared to make a mistake and thus don’t play physical football. Boyata wasn’t intimidated by Drogba and took a calculated risk to play shoulder to shoulder with Drogba. Young players can run all day, but it’s impressive when they know when to use their body to help the squad.

    And really… Drogba is seen as one of the strongest, although quickest to go down, players in the Prem. Boyata is quite a beast teenager. Good leadership around him with fellow-countryman Kompany and idol Vieira, perhaps he can take over for Kolo in a couple years?

  3. Boyata is only 19 years old, making only his 2nd start for City in a game against the English Champions who have been scoring freely for fun. In this game the 19 year old did magic that I don’t even think David Blane could keep up with he took 2 of the worlds best players and made them disappear, Drogba renowned for his power and strength, Maluoda the on form man both gone in a the blink of an eye.
    The young kid showed them no respect what so ever was not phased at all by them or the occasion, the kid was outstanding. If you think for someone so young that he wasn’t impressive you need to stop being such sore losers!!

  4. Even though I hate to nominate another WBA player after they did us on the weekend, I would nominate Peter Odemwingie. I thought he was more of a threat to Arsenal the whole game long than Thomas. Every time he got the ball Koscielny and Squillaci were at 6’s and 7’s in the back. He made space, great runs, good passes. He would have been my choice for Footballer of the Week before Thomas.

    Also, honourable mention for me to Yaya Toure, who was a midfield monster for City and proved way too much for Ramires to handle.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *