The weekend where Andy Carroll started a game
Andy Carroll started his first Premier League for some time in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off and within 50 seconds the Geordie had helped on a long ball to Ricardo Vaz Te, who then lofted it over to Kevin Nolan to finish brilliantly. This set the pattern of play for the rest of the game, with Fulham unable to handle Carroll until his hamstring injury mid way through the second half. The game was secure by this juncture and after struggling in their opening two games, West Ham now look like an efficient unit who will always unsettle opposition defences. Don’t be surprised if Nolan and Carroll comfortably outscore Liverpool’s front line this season. You can back Carroll at 66/1 to finish top scorer this season.
Arsenal kept a third clean sheet in their 2-0 win over Arsenal, and in truth Liverpool never looked like opening the Steve Bould designed back line up. Santi Cazorla left Arsene Wenger purring after the match and few would have predicted the Spaniard adapting to the Premier League quiet so soon. But the man-of-the-match award has to go to rangy midfielder, Abou Diaby. After two wretched years blighted by injury the Frenchman was a revelation against Liverpool; passing, surging forward or being the physical presence that Arsenal have been crying out for and didn’t put a foot wrong. With Wilshire still to return Arsenal’s choices in central midfield look the best in the league. The Gunners are 4/6 with Paddy Power for a top four finish.
Ben Arfa magic rescues Newcastle
Hatem Ben Arfa has started this season where he left off last year, adding a stunning solo goal with his weaker right foot to golazo’s in 2010 and 2011. Aston Villa must have breathed a sigh of relief when the enigmatic winger cut onto his right foot, but after unleashing an unstoppable drive past the impressive Brad Guzan, Premier League defenders won’t know which way to show the Newcastle man. Ben Arfa didn’t even beat John Hietinga when scoring his first ever Newcastle goal; he simply ran outside of him before thumping a left footed strike across the Dutchman and Tim Howard in goal. Last year saw two sensational goals; both mazy dribbles from inside his own half before scoring against Blackburn and Bolton. Newcastle fans will be glad he saved his latest strike for after the transfer window.
There have been some serious defensive errors this season already but Swansea’s Chico is an early contender for ludicrous tackle of the season after almost taking Louis Saha’s head off. The Spaniard was shown a straight red after his karate attempt and the former Genoa man is quickly picking up a reputation after some industrial challenges in his first three games in English football. The Swans will struggle with his absence and Neil Taylor for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. We’d back them to get a Top 10 finish though, at 9/4 with Ladbrokes.
Read our review of last weekends Premier League action: The weekend where Chelsea became title contenders