So the Barclays Premier League is back after a boisterous international break. Match Day eight kicked off with an enthralling London derby between Spurs and Chelsea and the rest of the weekend was jam packed with entertainment. But who were the top five stand out players after match day eight?
5) Jonny Evans – To some Evans is the worst player to have ever worn a United shirt. To others he is developing at a rate of knots. This week he really showed his talent. If one likened him to a veteran defender after match day eight, it’d be Lucio. He attacked just like the Brazilian but at the same time he didn’t put a foot wrong. Since the start of the season, Evans has grown massively. This run of games has given him the consistently that he has needed for years now. Although he still has critics, he will prove them wrong if he continues playing like that. He can only build on these performances and his goal before the international break showed this.
5) Olivier Giroud – Although he isn’t the complete player and he may go missing from time to time, Giroud had a fantastic game against West Ham. Giroud scored his first goal in the Premier League and setup Theo Walcott’s goal. He had his best game in an Arsenal shirt and was the focal point in every Gunner’s attack. But the big question is will he continue his form after the international break?
4) Shane Long – Brilliant burst of pace down the right hand side and crossed for Morrison’s goal. Long worked so hard for West Brom all game. He made some fantastic runs and brought his teammates into the game. Along with Morrison and new boy Yacob, they gave WBA an inclusive win over bottom of the table QPR.
3) Arouna Kone – Started the play for his goal against Everton as he headed home at an acute angle. He setup Franco Di Santo’s bullet of a goal after beating Heitinga in a footrace. Wigan’s number two was playing like a number 10, dropping deep and starting the attacks. Kone looks to be a gem of a signing for Roberto Martinez and only strengthens his managerial qualities.
5) Brad Friedel
Tottenham’s veteran ‘keeper made some outstanding saves in their victory over Manchester United. The American has been outstanding between the sticks as he looks to keep out French number one, Hugo Lloris. Although Friedel conceded two goals against a gallant United, some of his saves kept them at bay. Without Friedel, Spurs would have gone on to lose that game. He worked wonders as United attacked, wave after wave.
4) Mohamed Diame
One of the buys of the season. Diame was Wigan’s most influential player last season and this season he has become West Ham’s. His solid frame makes it difficult for players to break the defence as he adds a screen to the back four. His form this season has been impeccable as West Ham fight to have a good season, now that they’re back where they belong.
3) Nikica Jelavic
Arsenal have been playing the best football this season. They look to be back to their old ways of the invincible era. Not only are they back to their slick style of play but they are beginning to defend like Sol Campbell and Lauren are back in the team.
Gervinho has played a role in Arsenal’s good form too. Wenger’s utilised him on the flanks and through the middle. Some of the Ivorian’s finishes have been world class. However one still gets the sense that he himself isn’t the finished article. One can almost guarantee that many Gooners will tell you that he’s the next Didier Drogba. But Drogba didn’t miss as many chances as Gervinho.
The Ivorian isn’t a natural striker, I know. But when Wenger plays him in front of number nines such as Giroud, you get the sense that he wants him to be. Wenger likes a versatile player but I’m afraid Gervinho isn’t in that category. Gervinho is a wide forward. Not like Ashley Young or but like Luis Suarez. Wenger needs to stop playing him down the middle.
Robert Mancini took the Manchester City job after Mark Hughes failed to win any silverware. Since the Italian took the job, City have won an FA Cup, a Community Shield and the Premier League. Three trophies in two years sounds good but is it good enough to be unsackable?
Alex Ferguson didn't win a trophy at United until 1990 but since has become the greatest manager ever. He was on the verge of being sacked during the 80s but the board stuck with the Scot for the better. Somehow I don't feel that the Manchester City board have the same perseverance. If Mancini fails to win the Premier League or Champions League this season, his job may be at risk.
Question marks surrounded Mancini's future after he only won the FA Cup in 2011. If it wasn't for last season's final minute success, Mancini definitely would have lost his job. This immediate success which the City board want will be more difficult to achieve now than when Sir Alex took the United job in 1986. With all that money ploughed into the City team, Mancini needs more success to prove that he can be more than noisy neighbours.