5 Things We Learned from the EPL Weekend
There's no shortage of talking points from the weekend's English Premier League action.
Although Saturday and Sunday showed us plenty of what we expected, with Chelsea brushing aside another team, Santi Cazorla shining, and Suarez diving, we also saw some trends broken, with Brad Friedel not playing, red hot Everton held to a draw, and Olivier Giroud scoring.
Without further ado, here are five things we learned from the Premier League weekend.
Aleksandar Kolarov Is a World-Class Free Kick Taker
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When you think of football's best free kick takers, the names Cristiano Ronaldo, Wesley Sneijder and Steven Gerrard usually come to mind.
But with three goals scored directly off free kicks so far in 2012-13, Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov shouldn't be forgotten. Netting his third of the campaign on Saturday in City's 3-0 win over Sunderland, Kolarov is clearly a free kick specialist and has proved himself as one of the best in the world when it comes to curling the ball over the wall from close range.
With all of Manchester City's attacking talent, could Kolarov be their unlikely designated free kick taker?
Santi Cazorla Is the Signing of the Season
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Signed from debt-stricken Malaga during the summer for that pesky "undisclosed fee" (believed to be in the region of 16.5 million pounds), Santi Cazorla has taken the Premier League by storm in his first few months with Arsenal.
Cazorla's brilliant long-range goal against West Ham on Saturday capped off yet another Man of the Match performance, where he was once again the driving force of every Arsenal attack, with mazy dribbles and pinpoint passes.
While some would say the expensive Eden Hazard and others might mention the already-proven Robin Van Persie, most people would agree that Cazorla is the best signing of the 2012-13 season for any Premier League club. The Spaniard can be to Arsenal what David Silva and Juan Mata are to Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively.
Luis Suarez Needs to Stop Diving
Luis Suarez added another gem to his collection of pricelessly horrible dives on Sunday with his flop against Stoke City.
While some people might find it entertaining, others like myself are growing tired of Suarez's screaming, whining, rolling and falling week in and week out. The Uruguayan has already been called out by Stoke manager Tony Pulis, as well as Stoke player Michael Kightly, but will that be enough to get Suarez to scrap his ridiculous antics?
Turning into a modern day "boy who cried wolf," it seems that even if Suarez is legitimately fouled in the box, the refs won't call the penalty due to his reputation. The point is, Suarez needs to stop diving.
Newcastle Aren't What They Were Last Season
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Newcastle United have started the season quietly—not horribly, but a step down from the way they started the 2011-12 season.
Now, that's not to say Newcastle won't be a force to be reckoned with this season—I definitely see them finishing in the top half of the table again. That said, it would be a huge achievement if the Magpies finished in the Top Six like they did in 2011-12, and realistically I can't see them challenging like a Top Four spot as they did for the most part of last season.
The talent is there, and the form has been fine, but Newcastle just seem to be lacking that surprise factor that made them so dangerous last season.
Their 3-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday highlighted that—keep in mind that that fixture was a 3-0 win for Newcastle last time around.
Newcastle have a very interesting season ahead of them, one that'll be tough to predict.
Tottenham Hotspurs' Credentials Will Be Determined Against Chelsea
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With eight games played, Spurs are still a team that most people are undecided on.
After starting the season in rocky form, Spurs have now found a purple patch with their 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday competing four wins in a row. So are Andre Villas-Boas' side legitimate title contenders?
A Spurs fan will tell you that their 3-2 win at Old Trafford on Sept. 29 means Tottenham is the real deal, but a pessimist (or Arsenal supporter) will tell you that Tottenham's loss to Newcastle, as well as their dropping points to West Brom and Norwich, show the team's fragility.
So what better way to test a team's title credentials than to see them play against the league's team to beat? The picture will look a lot clearer for Spurs after their match against Chelsea in two weeks' time.