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10th Aug 2015

JOE’s Premier League Winners and Losers…

Nooruddean Choudry



Perhaps the most unlikely winners of the opening weekend were barn-rockers Kasabian. The Leicester four-piece proved the surprising inspiration behind the Foxes’ march (can one game be classed as a march?) to the summit of the embryonic league table.

New manager Claudio Ranieri explained that the local band featured prominently in his team talk, as he ordered his players to echo the sentiments of the hit song ‘Fire’ and perform like ‘warriors’. It certainly did the trick as they scored three goals within the first 25 minutes.

The 63-year-old , who we didn’t really have down as part of Kasabian’s key demographic, went on to describe them as a ‘fantastic rock band”. Eez-eh, Claudio!

Matteo Darmian

Manchester United have welcomed their fair share of high-profile additions this summer. The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay have certainly hogged the headlines as far as the new signings are concerned.

Less heralded was the purchase of Matteo Darmian, the club’s unassuming new right-back. The former Torino man quietly slipped into the club amid the brouhaha of more celebrated recruits. But on Saturday, he was the star performer with an accomplished display of full-backery – claiming the fans’ man of the match award.

After a season of Antonio Valencia playing out of position on the right side of the defence, Darmian may have simply dazzled with his competency, but nevertheless it was a calm, assured and accomplished display by a defender who can actually defend.

Reece Oxford

What were you doing when you were 16 years old? If you were anything like us, you were a stuttering wreck reeking of Lynx Africa, desperately trying to impress the girl you fancied on the 135 bus. We suspect you weren’t bossing the midfield against Arsenal.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic surprised many with the inclusion of the GCSE-aged Reece Oxford on Sunday. Surely it was too early to throw the exciting youngster in against the North London giants? It was a recipe for disaster – much like wearing Lynx Africa to impress Michelle.

Except it wasn’t. Oxford was in commanding form against the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. Incidentally, you can get your teenage prodigy name by combining the university you went to with your favourite rom-com actress. I’m Sandra Salford!



What a difference a difference a game makes. Prior to kick-off, optimism was sky-high with the Arsenal faithful, united in love of Arsene Wenger and hopes for a genuine title challenge. Fast forward 90 minutes and there was widespread anger and doubt about where the club are heading.

Cut through the knee-jerkery and what you have is an excellent collection of players that sometimes struggle when key men are either absent or don’t perform…as is the case with most sides. The answer is either to add more star names – Karim Benzema would be a start – or develop a fortitude to grind out results when form is lacking.

Far too much will be read into one performance but the same issues remain. Arsenal need to either add a world-class forward to their ranks or show as much anger and passion as their disappointed supporters.


What does poor Willian have to do to get noticed at Chelsea? The inspiration behind hundreds of not-very-orginial ‘Willian, It Was Really Nothing’ puns may have contributed to a deflected own goal against Swansea on Saturday, but he’s still not his own man as far as ESPN are concerned.

The sports broadcasters tried their best to make the Brazilian feel special on Sunday by taking to their official Twitter account to wish him a happy birthday. Sadly the accompanying image wasn’t very flattering – mainly because it wasn’t actually Willian, but rather his teammate Loic Remy.

Added to the fact that the Blues could manage a draw at home to the Swans, it was a case of heaven knows he’s miserable now. What? That joke isn’t funny anymore? Well stop me if you think that…sorry.

David de Gea

Poor little rich David de Gea. It’s not quite gone to plan for the Spanish keeper this summer. He had hoped to be a Real Madrid player by now. Everything seemed to be set for a move to the Santiago Bernabeu as Iker Casillas finally vacated the number one spot for the far younger model.

But as of yet, there’s nothing doing. For a quite a while the most obvious solution was for De Gea and Sergio Ramos to swap clubs and end up at their preferred destinations. But now Real Madrid have confirmed that Ramos is going nowhere, poor David is left in a strange kind of limbo.

Another Sergio, the 28-year-old Argentine Romero, started between the posts for Manchester United versus Spurs, and did quite well. If Real don’t pay up, Dave may have to get used to twiddling his talented thumbs on the bench.

Simon Hooper

Referees may have a thankless task and serve as easy targets for disgruntled football fans, but in the case of Simon Hooper, the Wiltshire man didn’t help himself with a decision so lacking in common sense that it demanded a barrage of justified outrage.

Norwich City were trailing Crystal Palace 2-1 at home when Cameron Jerome produced a moment of breathtaking acrobatics to hook an unlikely equaliser into the net. It was a remarkable finish and Carrow Road went wild with unbridled joy.

That is until Mr Hooper adjudged the finish to be dangerous. Apparently Joel Ward’s stooping head was at threat, and it was all Jerome’s fault for scoring a goal in the general vicinity of someone’s brain. A joyless and wrong decision by the debuting ref.