Monday, January 24, 2022

Premiership week two: Who’s HOT and who’s NOT

Andy Greeves in Editorial, English Premier League 26 Aug 2008


Hot Team
Newly promoted Stoke City taught Aston Villa and maybe the rest of the Premiership that they should not be underestimated this season – especially at the Britannia Stadium.

Buoyed on by an energetic Potteries crowd, Stoke played with confidence and ability, albeit against a Villa side distinctly under par.

Mamady Sidibe’s strike secured a 3-2 victory that sees the club currently above the likes of Tottenham and Portsmouth in the league table.

Fellow new boys Hull City continued their impressive start to the campaign, with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn, while Fulham inflicted the biggest upset of the weekend, with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

Not Hot Team
It’s grim up north…. North London that is.

Tottenham produced their second toothless performance in as many weeks on Saturday, being beaten 2-1 by Sunderland at White Hart Lane. With Dimitar Berbatov excluded from the squad for not being ‘in the right frame of mind’ to play according to Juande Ramos, Spurs lacked any sort of attacking threat.

This is a massive week for the club and failure to bring in at least one new front man before the transfer window closes on September 1st, could be catastrophic.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger conceded his side underperformed in their 1-0 defeat to Fulham. The Gunners managed just one shot on target all night and what’s more the marking for Brede Hangeland’s goal was non-existent.

Hot Keeper
With first choice Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones injured in his warm-up ahead of the clash with Liverpool, boss Gareth Southgate must have feared the worse.

But 23-year-old stand-in keeper Ross Turnbull more than proved his worth, as Boro came close to snatching a shock victory at Anfield. Mido had given Boro a 1-0 lead on 69 minutes and Turnbull made a number of fine saves to maintain that lead. His confidence grew throughout the day the highlight of his performance was an excellent reflex save to deny Steven Gerrard scoring from a thunderous free-kick.

Late goals gave Liverpool a barely deserved 2-1 win, but Turnbull’s showing will have be one of the many positives Boro can take from the game despite defeat.

Not Hot Keeper
Brad Friedel looked far from his secure self in Villa’s 3-2 defeat at Stoke.
As well as conceding three goals, the American was involved in a number of embarrassing defensive mix-ups. A communication breakdown between him and defender Martin Laursen presented Stoke’s Ricardo Fuller with an open goal at one stage in the match.

Hopefully for Villa, it was just a blip in the form of a usually excellent keeper.

Hot Defender
Anthony Gardner looked out of his depth as a defender in the Premiership for Tottenham Hotspur, but a change of club appears to have done him good.

He’s been instrumental in Hull’s excellent start to the season and was man-of-the-match in their excellent draw at Blackburn on Saturday. As well as marshalling his defence superbly, Gardner also kept Blackburn’s Roque Santa Cruz quiet all afternoon.

Not Hot Defender
Ledley King’s ability to produce excellent performances in the few games he played for Spurs last season were admirable, considering the player’s on-going knee problems.

King wasn’t able to continue such heroics on his return to Tottenham’s first team on Saturday, looking out of sorts and lacking match sharpness.

To be a real force in the Premiership this season, Spurs need a fit and on-form Ledley King. The fear for Juande Ramos is that this may never be a reality.

Hot Midfielder
So rarely in world football do we see a player deserving of the tag ‘total midfielder’. But in Deco, Chelsea and the Premier League may just have found one.

His passing, shooting, running and technical ability was again demonstrated on Sunday, as the Blues beat Wigan 1-0. Had it not been for the Portuguese star, this result could have been so different.
Deco’s magnificent 25-yard free kick must surely be a contender for goal of the month. Its long significance could be even greater.

Not Hot Midfielder
Few can argue that, on their day, Arsenal play the most attractive football in the Premiership. However, out of the top four, it’s also hard to contest that the Gunners have the least amount of strength in depth. Case in point, their 1-0 defeat to Fulham on Saturday.

Reserve midfielder Denilson proved why he is exactly that, offering little in terms of movement or creativity. Having had a number of seasons to develop, its clear that Brazilian may be a little out of his depth at the Emirates.

Hot Striker
Ricardo Fuller scored one of the best goals of the weekend in Stoke’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa.
The forward collected a ball from Liam Lawrence with his back to goal, flicked it over his shoulder running past Luke Young and Martin Laursen in the process before rifling home.
Magic stuff.

Not Hot Striker
Dimitar Berbatov gets the accolade for a second week running for not even being mentally fit for selection for Spurs game with Sunderland.His desire for a move to Manchester United is obvious and no doubt, the Bulgarian will get the move he wants.But surely there must better ways of getting what you want, than by effectively going on strike for the weekend.


Andy Greeves



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Van Basten
Van Basten
13 years ago

Hull and Stoke have surprised most people so far. Still too early in the season to make make any predictions, but out of all teams I think Sunderland have looked sharp and should also improve with new signings coming in this week.

13 years ago

chelsea now no any other club again chelsea is going 4 all the trophies this season thank u

echezona pascal
13 years ago

This season in the premiership would be exciting only if referees should get rid of their biased attitude in the games.Especially games involving United.Last season,a ref ignored a handball by Rio Ferdinand THEN he awarded A penalty against Wigan just to make sure that Chelsea didnt get it.
I have seen better displays by lower teams but their efforts are always undermined by biased officiating.For example,if a ref allows 10 offside goals,is it not 10-0 against the other team? English league is the best but referees are making it the worst

13 years ago

Chelsea lol Russian money

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