Molinaro on BPL: 20 teams, 20 thoughts

November 13, 2012, 6:48 PM

What’s going on in the Premiership? Here’s 20 thoughts on the league’s 20 teams.

Arsenal

The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal have been scouting four players in England’s lower leagues, including Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who Sportsnet.ca profiled.

Aston Villa

Despite letting a two-goal lead over Manchester United slip away from them, there were a few positives for Villa in their 3-2 home loss on Saturday. First and foremost among them was the play of Austrian Andres Weimann, who feels Villa’s strong outing can serve as an inspiration for the club.

Chelsea

I’ve long felt Daniel Sturridge was talented enough to be a regular starter for Chelsea, instead of wasting away on the Blues’ bench. And he seems to agree, telling The Independent he has a point to prove this season.

Everton

Leighton Baines is one of the best left backs in the league, so it means something when he told The Daily Post North Wales that Everton teammate Leon Osman is completely worthy of his recent England call-up.

Fulham

I think most people would agree that Alexander Kacaniklic has flourished this season at Fulham, and the Swedish winger made the right move when he bolted Liverpool, where he came up through the youth ranks, for the Cottagers. Kacaniklic told The Independent that he hasn’t regretted the decision in the least.

Liverpool

In a recent edition of my Monday morning Premiership weekend review blog, I mentioned that more and more Liverpool is becoming Luis Suarez’s team and his influence is much greater than Steven Gerrard. Veteran defender Jamie Carragher told the Liverpool Echo: “I’ve said for 12 months now that he’s the best player in the Premier League.”

Manchester City

Even though he didn’t dress for Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Tottenham on the weekend and he hasn’t scored for the Blues in the league, Mario Balotelli maintains he’s not going anywhere. His agent told The Independent that the striker has no plans to return to Italy.

Manchester United

Javier Hernandez came to the rescue of Manchester United on the weekend, bagging a brace off the bench to lead the Red Devils to a come-from-behind 3-2 win away to Aston Villa. The Mirror has this comparison between Hernandez and former super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Newcastle United

The Magpies looked pretty poor in their 1-0 loss to visitors West Ham on Sunday. What was the problem? Goalkeeper Tim Krul suggested to The Shields Gazzette that the club’s midweek Europa League contest in Belgium against Brugge set up Newcastle to fail on the weekend.

Norwich City

It was a rough start to the season for the Canaries, who didn’t earn their first win until their eighth match of the campaign. Since then, Norwich has gone unbeaten in four and climbed out of the relegation zone. It took some time to adjust, but Goalkeeper John Ruddy believes Norwich City have become a better team under manager Chris Hughton.

Queens Park Rangers

Chairman Tony Fernandes has stressed he has complete faith in Mark Hughes, but the Welsh manager admits that he could be fired unless winless QPR collects three points at home against next-to-bottom Southampton on Saturday.

Reading

Reading is one of only two teams still searing for their first win of the season. There is hope, though, according to Sean Morrison who told The Reading Post a first win is just around the corner.

Southampton

SI.com looks at the “managerial sack race” and suggests Southampton’s Nigel Adkins could be the first coach to be fired this season.

Stoke City

I’ve been pretty critical of the Potters’ lack of invention and goals (they’ve only scored nine times) but I’ve overlooked how strong they’ve been on the defensive end. With only 10 goals against, Stoke assistant boss Dave Kemp tells This is Staffordshire that the club’s defensive prowess give them time to rectify their scoring problems. Time will tell on that one.

Sunderland

Good news for the Black Cats, as captain Lee Cattermole appears ready to travel for Saturday’s game away to Fulham.

Swansea City

Nathan Dyer was one of the best players in the league during the first few weeks of the season, scoring a brace in Swansea’s opening day 5-0 win over QPR. He cooled down after that and eventually lost his place in the starting lineup, but he’s looked impressive in his recent stints off the bench, including scoring the tying goal for the Swans this past weekend’s against Southampton. Welsh newspaper The Western Mail reports Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is considering recalling Dyer into the starting 11.

Tottenham Hotspur

The Telegraph has a quick item on the war of words between Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas and France manager Didier Deschamps over French goalkeeper’s Hugo Lloris’ limited playing time. Personally, I think Brad Friedel has been solid for Spurs and kept them in games, and is deserving to start ahead of the high-priced Lloris.

West Bromwich Albion

A lot of people are taking a jaundiced view of Wes Brom’s fifth-place position in the current standings, the general feeling that the Baggies will eventually tumble down the standings. But manager Steve Clarke has built a well-organized and balanced side, and the addition of Romelu Lukaku on a season-long loan from Chelsea has proven a wise move As for the Baggies’ “eventual” downfall, Clarke isn’t having any of it, telling the BBC that his team’s amazing start to the season is now fluke.

West Ham United

Take this with a grain of salt, but The Daily Mail reports that the Hammers are interested in signing Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman used to play under Sam Allardcye at Bolton, and with Ricardo Vaz Te still out injured he could help the Hammers stay in the fight for a Europa League spot.

Wigan Athletic

Drop this in the “What on Earth are you talking about” file – Chairman Dave Whelan believes Wigan is capable of finishing in the top half of the Premiership this season. The Latics are a useful side and they should avoid relegation yet again. But top 10? That’s crazy talk!

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