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Friday, September 30, 2011

Premier League Match Preview: Manchester United vs. Norwich City


After an exhilarating midweek 3-3 draw against FC Basel in the Champions League, Manchester United prepare to put behind their defensive woes to face Premier League new boys Norwich City on Saturday at Old Trafford. The Canaries might not be one of the most daunting opposition as such, but the midweek game taught just that the Red Devils better not take their opponents lightly.

Norwich City have been on the rise for the past two seasons since Paul Lambert took over, and have achieved promotion twice to make a huge leap from League One to the Premier League. They are also currently riding high on confidence, having beaten the likes of Bolton & Sunderland in their last couple of games.

As for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson was unhappy with the kind of defending that took place against Basel. From being 2-0 up at half time, the home side were 3-2 down until Ashley Young saved the blushes with an injury-time strike. It is very unlikely that the manager will change the entire lineup, however he will demand no complacency from his players against Norwich City.

Coming to our possible lineup for tomorrow, David De Gea has played two consecutive games now, at Stoke last Sunday & then against Basel on Tuesday. So it will be ideal if Sir Alex decides to give the young Spaniard some rest & hand Anders Lindegaard his first ever Premier League start. Both of those results were exhausting draws, and De Gea no doubt needs bit of a break to recover & be fresh for the Liverpool game after a fortnight's break.

Good news is that our first choice strike duo Rooney & Chicharito are fit to face Norwich City, and so is defender Jonny Evans. Skipper Nemanja Vidic, Smalling & Cleverley will be back for the Liverpool game as well, so that provides some relief as far as injuries are concerned.

The Red Devils will probably miss Rio Ferdinand's presence in central defence (given he's played two games on the trot & is embroiled in a court case at the time of writing). So Jonny Evans will take his place, alongside young Phil Jones. Evra will retain his place on the left, which means either of Fabio or Valencia plays right back.

Midfield shouldn't be much altered from what we saw in the game against Stoke City, and the central midfield pairing of Anderson & Fletcher would do just fine. Young & Nani (who didn't play on Tuesday) will be the automatic choice for the flanks.

As reported earlier today, both Wayne Rooney & Javier Hernandez are back from injuries & should probably start. Daniel Welbeck played the whole 90 minutes on Tuesday, so he will probably be used from the bench as an impact substitute. Berbatov, who was a late substitute against Basel, might have a distant chance of getting a start in case Ferguson has any doubts as such over Chicharito's fitness.

Manchester United Possible XI: Lindegaard; Evra, Evans, Jones, Fabio; Young, Anderson, Fletcher, Nani; Rooney, Hernandez

Scoreline Prediction: Manchester United 3 Norwich City 0


You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County app is now available for your Nokia phone. Click here to download it for free from the Nokia Store.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

EPL Weekly Round-Up: Red Devils Held, Title Rivals Grab Victories and Demba Ba Scores Three for Newcastle!

Manchester United's five-match winning streak in the Premier League this season finally came to a halt as they were held 1-1 at Stoke City. The Potters put on an impressive display at the Britannia Stadium & dominated the game often for large periods. Luis Nani put the visitors ahead in the 27th minute when he finished a beautiful move showing his exquisite dribbling skills. However, the hosts struck back strongly in the second half & equalised when new signing Peter Crouch headed in his first Stoke goal from a well-taken corner by Etherington. David De Gea was particularly impressive in goal, pulling off a string of close range saves to deny the home side any sort of advantage. The result might be a tad disappointing for the high-flying Red Devils, but as they say - "You can't win them all." Stoke City totally deserved atleast a point from this game, and they seemingly got their due. This result means Manchester United are still on top of the points table, with 16 points from 6 games so far.

How The Rivals Fared

Manchester City kept the pressure on league leaders & city rivals Manchester United with a laboured 2-0 win over Everton at the Etihad Stadium. Mario Balotelli & James Milner both came off the bench in the second half to score the only goals of the fixture. The Citizens are currently level with Manchester United, behind just on goal difference.

Fernando Torres was sent off for a straight red card even as Chelsea prevailed 4-1 over Swansea City at Stamford Bridge. Torres broke the deadlock in the 28th minute & Ramires doubled their lead in the 35th minute but the former was sent off just 3 minutes later, leaving the hosts with 10 men on the field. Ramires again scored in the 2nd half & Drogba also came off the bench to score, while Williams pulled back a consolation goal in between for the Welsh club.

Liverpool fought off a stern challenge from Wolverhampton Wanderers to march on to a 2-1 victory at Anfield. Roger Johnson's own goal & Luiz Suarez were enough to keep Wolves at bay despite Steven Fletcher's strike early after the break. The victory kept the Merseyside Reds in the hunt for a top four finish this season in the Premier League.

Robin van Persie was on target as Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers comfortably 3-0 at home. The Dutch forward, now captain of the Gunners, struck just after the interval & then in the 70th minute, while Alex Song also put his name on the scoresheet just two minutes away from stoppage time. This was the Gunners' second consecutive win after the League Cup victory over Shrewsbury on Tuesday.

Tottenham Hotspur recovered from their midweek League Cup defeat to Stoke City with a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic away from home. Rafael Van der Vaart put Spurs ahead as early as the 2nd minute & Welsh winger Gareth Bale scored twenty minutes later to make the scoreline 2-0 at half time. Diame netted for the hosts just 3 minutes into the 2nd half but it was not enough to prevent the Latics from their third loss in 6 league games.

Newcastle United maintained their unbeaten start this season with a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at St. James Park. Demba Ba, who signed on a free from West Ham this summer, stole the limelight as he opened his account for the Magpies with a brilliant hat-trick. Junior Hoilett tried to get Rovers back into the game with a beautiful strike before half time but Newcastle & Demba Ba were simply too good for them.

The Weekly Verdict:

Team of the Week: Newcastle United

Player of the Week: Demba Ba

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County app is now avialable for your Nokia phone. Check out the Nokia Store to download it for free!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Manchester United

The Britannia Stadium might have been one of the rarest places where Manchester United managed to grab an away league win last season, but the challenge doesn't get any easier this season. Stoke City are not exactly what you call pushovers in the Premier League, as Chelsea & Liverpool might testify from what they have experienced earlier this season. Physical as much as their style of football is, the Potters are indeed a formidable side to play against in front of their home crowd.

Having qualified for the Europa League by virtue of being FA Cup finalists last season, Stoke City have reasonably strengthened this summer, with quality additions in the form of Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios & Jonathan Woodgate from Spurs and Matthew Upson from West Ham. Most of the players have hit the ground running, which is evident from their league position i.e. 5th with 8 points from 5 games. Though they lost their last Premier League match 4-0 at Sunderland, they bounced back to beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in the League Cup during midweek. Stoke City tend to raise the level of their game when they face big name opponents, and manager Tony Pulis will hope that his side do just that when the Red Devils come visiting on Saturday.

Coming back to Manchester United, the Red Devils will continue to miss their skipper Nemanja Vidic, Rafael Da Silva & Tom Cleverley to injuries. However, strikers Danny Welbeck & Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez are back & have resumed training from midweek.

David De Gea will be back in goal, replacing third choice keeper Ben Amos, who played in the 3-0 win over Leeds United on Tuesday. The back four would include the experienced Evra & Ferdinand, with Evans & Jones possibly filling up the rest two slots since Smalling is doubtful to start. In case Sir Alex Ferguson decides to go with Jones to partner Ferdinand at centre back, Fabio might be in with a chance to start as right back.

Guessing United's midfield doesn't seem like rocket science, as Anderson & Fletcher would take up central midfield duties. Michael Carrick, who played against Leeds United as CB, will probably make the bench. They will be flanked by the dynamic wingers Ashley Young & Luis Nani, with Antonio Valencia also vying for a place in the starting lineup. As for who will partner in-form striker Wayne Rooney upfront, that is a selection headache for Ferguson. Chicharito, who scored both goals in the same fixture last season, is fit but Ferguson will prefer not to rush him back into the starting lineup. The Mexican therefore might have to be content with a place on the bench, letting the gaffer choose from Welbeck, Berbatov & Michael Owen. Both Berbatov & Owen played the whole 90 minutes on Tuesday, which may tilt the scales in favour of young Danny Welbeck, who's rapidly blossomed this season alongside Rooney.

The probable Manchester United lineup looks like this -

Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young; Rooney, Welbeck.

Scoreline Prediction: Stoke City 1 Manchester United 3

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County app is now available for your Nokia phone! Check out the Nokia Store to download it for free.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Carling Cup Preview: Leeds United vs Manchester United and Chelsea Match Review


Dumped out of the competition last season at the hands of West Ham by losing 4-0 at Upton Park, Manchester United prepare to regain the Carling Cup as they start their campaign on Tuesday at Elland Road, the home of fierce rivals Leeds United. Leeds might be currently lying a division below in the Championship, but Sir Alex Ferguson will know very well that Leeds are capable of raising their game when they play the Red Devils in front of their crowd.

Traditionally, Ferguson has utilised the tournament to give the youth & fringe players a chance to challenge for the first team spots, and this time should be no different. There are quite some players in the team who haven't been utilised till now, and it would be ideal for the manager to provide them with game time.

As Sir Alex told the press after last week's midweek Champions League draw at Benfica, Anders Lindegaard will don the keeper's gloves on account of his sparkling displays. Given the lack of quality defenders in the lineup due to injuries to Vidic, Ferdinand & Rafael, the back four will bear a similar look apart from the position of left-back, where Fabio Da Silva might start to give Patrice Evra some much needed rest. Michael Carrick, who didn't play in the game versus Chelsea, will probably start in the centre of the park. He will be possibly complemented by out-of-favour midfielder Darron Gibson, who hasn't played a single game for the first team this season. However, Gibson faces stiff competition in the form of highly-rated youth player Paul Pogba, who has been tipped to play by the gaffer himself -

"He's got a slight injury, it's not too bad, though. So he wasn't available for Sunday but he should be able to play on Tuesday and I intend to play him against Leeds United."


Will Pogba Start?
On the flanks, it is safe to say that Luis Antonio Valencia will start on the right while either of Ji-Sung Park or Ryan Giggs will play on the left. Given the nature of the fixture, Ferguson might go with Giggs as he provides the required calm & composure to a young United side, apart from invaluable experience.

Coming to the striking department, this is where Ferguson has a selection headache. Experience in the form of Dimitar Berbatov & Michael Owen, or the vivacity of youth in the form of Macheda & Diouf? The manager surely has some questions on his mind, but it will be sensible to rely on experience & hand rather rare starts to Berbatov & Owen. According to me, Manchester United's starting lineup tonight will look somewhat like this -


Scoreline Prediction: Leeds United 1 Manchester United 3


And now for some after-thoughts on the Chelsea game by our guest author Hanzla, which are as under:

Celebration to Match!
WOW! Almost two days after a scintillating 90 mins at Old Trafford, and I am yet to catch my breath. Arguably, it was the biggest game of the season so far for both of the sides involved but in Manchester United‘s case, it couldn’t have come at a much better time. Chelsea on the other hand had enjoyed a very decent start to the season themselves as well. However, not many could have expected how things would pan out at the Theatre of Dreams.

United started as favourites largely due to the start they‘ve had. It was even stevens in the opening exchanges. It was great to see Fletcher back in the heart of the midfield doing what he does best i.e. breaking up the play by putting the hard yards in. The first goal was a major error at the back for Chelsea. Smalling left unmarked with the goal at his mercy, - he just couldn’t afford to miss. Was it offside? Yes, it was marginally. But remember Drogba scored an offside goal at the opposite end, and that goal potentially decided the title? Judging that in real time was next to impossible. I really feel for the linesman because most of us would have got it wrong. And for those who could have called it right, it would have been a fluke - nothing more.

Chelsea were impressive throughout the game. Credit to them for taking the game to United but once again they were very poor in front of the goal. Fernando Torres should have buried his initial chance and Ramires, who was there to put it away in the back of the net, put it instead into De Gea’s gloves. United upped the ante after that and what a breathtaking goal it was by Nani. Almost ripped out the net! Believe me - you could’ve had 3 keepers guarding that net & none of them would have got a hand to stop that! It was that special. Chelsea’s centre backs were slow to close him down but none of them could have imagined being punished like the way they were. It was indeed, a very special strike. Rooney was on hand to score the 3rd one in a rather fortunate manner. The ball fell kindly to him after an attempted JT clearance bounced off Nani & fell in his way. Special mention for the part Phil Jones played in the goal. It was his ‘never give up’ attitude that created the opening.

United took their foot of the paddle in the second half and they were made to pay very early in the second period. Lovely disguised through ball by Anelka (I still don’t know what he was doing on the bench) which was exquisite. Torres made a very fine run behind Jones & compounded it with a cool and cheeky finish. Alarm bells started ringing for United. Chelsea dominated & had they put those chances away, we could have had a very different result on our hands.

The game will probably be remembered not for the enthralling football on display, but for its bloopers. There was Rooney’s bizarre JT-like penalty miss since he lost his footing. But the headlines will be dominated by Torres. No words really to describe his miss. He promised to do wonders for Chelsea, and I think he fulfilled it. How did he miss? It seems unbelievable! Berbatov wasn’t far behind. A very tame effort when it was easier to score than miss.

Miss of the Decade?
This certainly was United‘s worst performance of the season so far. Still, they were good enough to get the result. Quite incredible, isn’t it? I hope it’s an eye opener for them and the mistakes will be rectified. Most notably, the game should be put to bed as quickly as possible - something traditionally United are very good at. As for Chelsea, AVB will take lots of positives out of the game. Especially the way Chelsea played in the second half. Torres looked agile and hungry. He had a decent game minus the miss when he scuffed his effort wide.

Overall, a great game of football. A complete roller-coaster ride for every one who watched on from their TV sets. United got the three points and that’s the thing that will matter the most come May. This game may not have an enormous effect on the title race but it is definitely a boost for United, having already defeated Arsenal and Chelsea this early in the season.


You can follow Hanzla on Twitter @Busby_Babez.

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County mobile app is now available for your Nokia phone! Click here to download it for free from the Ovi Store.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rival Rendezvous: Chelsea Preview With A True Blue



It's the weekend & Manchester United play title rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday! So there can be no better time than now to be back with another edition of our blog feature - 'Rival Rendezvous', in which we talk to rival fans ahead of crunch games. In conversation with Traffordshire County today is ardent Chelsea fan Abhishek Easwaran, who incidentally studies in the same college as I do, and is the author of the excellent blog "Abhi's Random Talks". So we had a candid chat with him, in which he expresses his straightforward & rather blunt pre-match thoughts on Super Sunday -

1. What are your thoughts on the game this Super Sunday?

Abhishek :
Over hyped. Both sets of fans have their share of glory hunters who hype this. Only the true fans know that this game means nothing at the end of the day. 

2. What do you think of the signings Chelsea has made this summer?

A :
Decent. All I'm left wondering is how are we going to fall inside the FFP rule. 

3. Chelsea have a new manager this season in Andre Villas-Boas. Do the fans have faith in his abilities looking at his past achievements?

A :
I have faith in any manager at Chelsea. Right from Ranieri, I've been an ardent supporter of every manager we've had. AVB is a little different from the rest, he's ex Chelsea and knows in and out about this club. Plus from what I've seen in these few games, his half time team talks remind me of Mourinho's time. Best part about AVB? He never speaks ill of other teams and players. 

Absolute faith in the Gaffer
4. Chelsea sometimes bear the look of an ageing squad which is in need of a massive overhaul. Do you agree with this view?

A :
No. We have a replacement for JT in the name of Branislav Ivanovic. We have Josh McEachran who's sure to replace Lampard and Drogba's replacements are Lukaku and Torres. Other ageing players? Ashley Cole? We have Bertrand and Van Anholt waiting in line. Essien has a good few years left in him and we have Mikel and Meireles to fill in his void too. Overall, the squad doesn't look old to me at all! 

5. Onto the game, Torres isn't scoring (though he assisted both goals vs Leverkusen) while Drogba is out with injury. Does that very much undermine Chelsea's chances of winning the game at Old Trafford?

A :
Its all upto one man if you ask me. Lampard. He's the essence Chelsea have had in the midfield all these years. If he steps up, I see no reason why we cannot beat United tomorrow. Drogba's absence will be felt as he's a great striker and is brilliant at defending set pieces for Chelsea. His physicality will be missed.

Can he still inspire them to victory at OT?
6. What should be Chelsea's strategy to overcome the high-flying Red Devils? Who do you think will the key players for the Blues?

A :
Mata, Sturridge and Lampard

7. Do you have high hopes for the likes of Sturridge, Lukaku, Mata, McEachran & similarly the players coming through the academy ranks?

A :
Sturridge has proven his worth already. Everything's being said about Lukaku, lets see how he turns out. Mata and Josh have been fantastic when given chances. Josh needs to be more strong physically to compete at the PL level. He's just 18 and will only get stronger as time proceeds.

High Hopes
8. Which has been your favourite Manchester United vs Chelsea encounter till date?

A :
Too many to select one. 

9. Finally, your scoreline predictions for the match.

A :
1-1.

I thank Abhishek for talking to Traffordshire County. You can follow him on Twitter @abhi_chelsea.

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County mobile app is now available for your Nokia phone! Click here to download it for free from the Ovi Store.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Champions League Preview: Benfica vs Manchester United and Bolton Match Review



Manchester United renew their quest for the Champions League honours after their Wembley hiding in May as they travel to Benfica for their first group stage outing this season. With both Manchester United & talismanic playmaker Wayne Rooney in devastating form, Benfica face a big challenge to stop the defending English champions.

On the absentees front, Manchester United will be missing central defender & captain Nemanja Vidic and enterprising youngsters Danny Welbeck & Tom Cleverley through injury. First choice centre-back Rio Ferdinand has also not travelled to Portugal with the squad, keeping in mind the important league home game against Chelsea on Sunday. This means two of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones & Chris Smalling are in line to start in the CB roles. Patrice Evra suffered a knock late in the Bolton game, so Fabio Da Silva might start on the left if the Frenchman is not fit to play.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson indicated that the senior players might get an outing, which means Giggs, Park & Fletcher are in for a start. This also seems to be the perfect opportunity to give Berbatov & Michael Owen sufficient playing time. Both of them being top class strikers, it will be an ideal chance for the gaffer to keep them happy alongwith rotating the squad. The game might also feature the return of Luis Antonio Valencia, who hasn't played in the first team since suffering an injury in the summer during the Copa America.

As for the goalkeeper's position, it will again be a good move to hand Anders Lindegaard his first Champions League start. First choice GK David De Gea has played in every game this season & deserves some much-needed rest. Apart from that, Lindegaard might as well be rewarded for an excellent pre-season, though belatedly.

Manchester United Squad v Benfica: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Fabio Da Silva, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Oliveira Anderson, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Luis Nani, Ji-Sung Park, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney.


Predicted MUFC XI: Lindegaard, Smalling, Jones, Evans, Fabio; Valencia, Fletcher, Giggs, Park; Berbatov, Owen.

Scoreline Prediction: Benfica 0 Manchester United 2

And no, that's not all Folks! Our guest author Hanzla, has written a slightly belated Bolton match review, which you might read as well –

How Things Unfolded At The Reebok


Watching Manchester United play the way they are doing right now is a treat, even to those who never miss out an opportunity to spank the Red Devils. Before I get onto the game, a slight recap of the all important build up. If the performance against Arsenal wound me up then watching England move the ball at snail‘s pace was a thorn in my side.

United put up a strong side minus Chris Smalling, who of course was rested bearing in mind the tight schedule that lies ahead. If the win against Arsenal was the preface, then there was no better way the first chapter of the book could have unfolded as it did at the Reebok.

Right from the start, United were pressing very high allowing very little time on the ball for Bolton players. Attacking wise, it was no different. Special mention for Ando, who I thought is finally repaying the faith SAF showed in him. Kevin Davies‘s baseball-like sliding tackle was pathetic to say the least, but what more could you expect. Some things or some people are not bound to change. Cleverley survived a breakage, but he will be out for a month. Just when he was hitting top gear and he has been sensational thus far, you have none other than Davies spoiling the party. Hopefully he will come out of it stronger, both physically as well as psychologically.

The pace SAF has injected into the side by signing Young and Phil Jones is already paying rich dividends. United are looking more energetic and also moving the ball at a frantic pace. As for the first goal - a typical Chicharito goal. His initial movement left Gary Cahill for dead. Chicharito made two runs, one each for the defender and the ball. Something not common nowadays. Superb movement and good finish as well. Jones also had a monumental effect on the game. Though he was out of position playing as a full back, going forward he was good as anybody. Rooney - well he is not looking back since the speculated fallout he had with the club. It seems as if the reports inspired him as it only needs a tiny spark to reignite the fuel inside him. He is in the form of his life and if he stays injury free, he could have a 40 goals-season this year.

Nani’s wing-play was good but in the second half he was more interested in scoring himself rather than setting people up. In a way, it doesn't look bad at all. You want your midfield to contribute and get on the score sheet as well which is not possible if they are only looking for killer passes.

Defensively, United were pretty sound. De Gea once again showed his shot stopping heroics, parrying couple of efforts which must now silence all his critics, if there are any of them left. The kid is yet to mature and we all should buy him some time to settle in but these football experts just aren't made of the same earth.

Overall, a clinical performance which sent a loud message to every team out there - especially to our noisy neighbours. SAF has freshened things up at the club, something that he should have done after that horrific night in Rome. I must admit the way United are playing this term, they awaken reminiscence of the Ronaldo-Tevez era. The exuberance that was missing from the past two seasons as United were rightly graded as repellent. If United could continue the rampage, then the future certainly looks very resplendent.

You can follow Hanzla on Twitter @Busby_Babez.

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

The Traffordshire County mobile app is now available for your Nokia phone! Click here to download it for free from the Ovi Store.

That's all Folks!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

EPL Weekly Round-Up: Hat-Tricks In Manchester, Londoners Win As Liverpool Stumble



Manchester United displayed their clinical selves as they hammered Bolton Wanderers 5-0 at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday. Wayne Rooney scored his second hat-trick of the season while his partner-in-crime Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored the other two in what was his first league start of the season. However, there was bad news as midfielder Tom Cleverley had to come off in the 8th minute, limping from a knee injury suffered coz of an unnecessary tackle from Bolton skipper (and useless twat) Kevin Davies. This victory puts the Red Devils on top of the table, with maximum points from 4 games & 18 goals scored.

How The Rivals Fared


Manchester City continued their electrifying start in the Premier League as they beat Wigan Athletic 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of a hat-trick from £38 million summer signing Sergio Aguero. Wantaway striker Carlos Tevez, who started the game in place of the in-form Edin Dzeko, missed a first-half penalty after David Silva had been brought down in the box. The Citizens are currently second in the league table, behind their city rivals on goal difference.


Chelsea remained unbeaten as they overcame Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. Blues skipper John Terry opened the scoring in the first half & young Daniel Sturridge doubled the lead early in the second half. Ji-Dong Won grabbed a consolation goal in stoppage time but it was not enough to drive away the darkness looming over Steve Bruce's reign at the Stadium of Light.


Liverpool suffered a 1-0 loss at Stoke City after they failed to convert a host of chances. Jonathan Walters went down inside the box under Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher's challenge in the 20th minute, to which Mark Clattenburg directed to the penalty spot. Walters made no mistake to send Pepe Reina the other way & scored the lone goal of the match.


Arsenal resumed life after a chastening 8-2 defeat away to Manchester United with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over new boys Swansea City. Andrei Arshavin struck from a tight angle after a defensive lapse from the Welsh club to help the Gunners register their first win of the season. Fans should be happy that deadline day signings Arteta & Mertesacker impressed on debut in what appeared to be a new-look Arsenal team.


Former Arsenal forward Emmanuel Adebayor got onto the scoresheet on his Spurs debut, as did Jermaine Defoe as Tottenham Hotspur won their first game of the season 2-0 away at Wolves.

The current top four standings are as under:

Man United - 12 points

Man City - 12 points

Chelsea - 10 points

Stoke City - 8 points

The Weekly Verdict:

Team of the Week - Manchester United

Player of the Week - Wayne Rooney

The Traffordshire County mobile app is now available for your Nokia phone! Click here to download it for free from the Ovi Store.

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

That's all Folks!