English Premier League Review: Week 4

September 17, 2012

Features, Soccer

The English Premier League returns this week after a gap in play only three weeks into the new season for the international break. I, like many football fans, absolutely hate the international break and maybe for selfish reasons, but in truth, it does allow for the top footballers to take part in as many possible EPL matches, which is a nice thing for the league.

Here are your top five stories coming out of the international break and after our first round of matches to start our fourth week of Premier League matches.

 1. Marouane Fellaini transfer rumors.

Here at The Farm Club, we don’t like to speculate too much on transfer rumors. As any one that has ever come in contact with English, or really, European sports media would know, they’re really the most unreliable set of sports newspapers and blogs around. Any player at any time can be the focus of a transfer rumor or large story, seemingly with no real basis upon which this opinion could stand.

Fellaini’s rumor started at the beginning of the international break as a Dutch newspaper broke wind of his supposed feelings that he had to move to bigger and better things away from Everton, just one year after signing a five-year extension with the Liverpool-based club. Manager David Moyes intends to have a face-to-face meeting with Fellaini about the rumors even after Fellaini has taken the move to the social networking sites in order to squash the rumors.

If Fellaini is to move, he’s been linked with pretty much every large club in Europe as his size and ability is truly an asset. The top fits could be Manchester United, Real Madrid or Chelsea, for starters.

 2. QPR could be in some real trouble.

Queens Park Rangers’ present situation within the relegation zone is just one of those unfortunate things that shouldn’t be the story too much longer. They were ambushed by a surprisingly good Swansea club, destroying their goal difference so far in the season. They’ve played much better since and have noticeably improved every match. But, that improvement may be stalled.

With their dull draw on Saturday with Chelsea in town, the non-handshake between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry was the only newsworthy thing to come out of Loftus Road that afternoon. Ashley Cole, a defender of John Terry in court about the racial abuse incident last year, also did not receive a handshake from the younger Ferdinand.

The trouble for the club, however, stems from the injury of first-team choice Andrew Johnson who recently signed for the club coming from Fulham. Johnson, a veteran and surely an important part of QPR’s hopeful climb from their nearly fatal finish last season at 16th in the English Premier League, was one of many signings by the squad in the effort to compete in the league. Thus far, they are win-less in the young season. Johnson looks to be lost for most likely the whole season with an ACL tear. American football fans unfortunately should know all about this type of injury and the time it takes to come back from it.

Lesser injuries to both Fabio and the aforementioned Anton Ferdinand in the draw on Saturday also leave the squad thin in the defensive ranks as well for the next couple weeks.

Jamie Mackie is a solid player. Hopefully he can perform adequately in a more substantial role.

Hopefully QPR can find refuge in Scottish midfielder Jamie Mackie as he seems as Johnson’s likely replacement going forward. The team travels to play a very tough Tottenham club this Saturday, still searching for their first win in the League thus far. I don’t expect even a point from that match. But what do I know, sometimes funky things happen.

 3. Southampton is not good.

This might not be “news,” as we all knew that Southampton could very well be one of the clubs facing a quick exit from English top flight, but with the surprisingly success from promoted clubs last year, we had hoped a little more from the Saints this season.

In truth, they’ve faced a very tough schedule thus far, as they’ve fallen to both the Manchesters and Arsenal. Arsenal, their latest loss, was to the tune of 6-1, assuring them the basement position on the new table this week, with a 0-0-4 record and -9 goal differential through 4 matches.

 4. Aston Villa is looking much better.

I try to not take a lot from one match, especially one at home like a place with such history as Villa Park, but the Lions with new manager Paul Lambert might have finally found their groove. Before the break, they drew in a hard-fought match against Sunderland and seemed to have been nearing the end of their dark tunnel. The club who has for much of the past been quite successful had to fight to fend off relegation last year. With that, Paul Lambert was brought in this season to bring some of the magic from Norwich City back to Villa Park.

On Saturday, Aston Villa was able to not just beat their opponents, the oft-spoken about Swansea City, but play them just as they had wished to. Villa capitalized off quick opportunities and put 16 shots (8 on goal) up against the Swans, playing what some have called a “perfect game.” I’m sure within the Villa support in Birmingham, Lambert is the happiest with the win as he finally got his first win with the club in the books.

Bright spots for Villa so far this season include Ciaran Clark, who is continuing his emergence as a great young defender, Matthew Lowton, Karim El Ahmadi (naturally) and Stephen Ireland has shown up as a possible force in midfield attack. Possible. Also on Saturday we got our first look at £7.5m transfer Christian Benteke in the final twenty minutes of the match. He looked spectacular in his brief time and scored the goal that assured Villa victory. He is definitely a player to watch out for and Villa fans will be happy to have contributing to their cause.

Take a quick look at what he has to offer in this video: 

5. Manchester United and Liverpool has some issues with each other.

It’s no question that the two red-colored clubs have had a rivalry cooking up for quite some time. But it seems that some things really should be untouchable when it comes to a sports rivalry. For some fans of the two clubs though, this issue of morality and judgment is clouded…to put it lightly.

Both clubs have had disasters in which many of their supporters or footballers had died (ie. Hillsborough disaster in 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans died and 766 were injured and the 1958 Munich air disaster where 20 of the 44 people on board the Manchester United team plane died including players, coaches and journalists). One would think these horrible accidents would have been off-limits for the supporters of either club to chant about or seem to poke fun at, but minorities of the two clubs’ extensive fan base don’t apparently think so.

David Gill, Man U chief executive and Ian Ayre, Liverpool managing director, are set to meet before the match between the two rivals at Anfield in order to come together on a consensus to approach the problem and ensure support for the grieving as an independent report about the Hillsborough disaster has recently come to light blaming inadequate policing as the sole issue, absolving the crowds of fans from any blame in the accident.

Hopefully the match goes without incident on Sunday, outside of maybe some more handshake controversy. I wonder when the next handshake story will take the news by the balls.

Until next week, enjoy some football when you can.

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About Mike Gazdik

Born in Detroit, raised in Warren, MI and now located in Grand Rapids, Mike has lived in Michigan his whole life: totaling 22 years. He currently is Vice-President of The Farm Club, a blog that is growing daily with new writers and readers. He enjoys offering research driven articles on many different subjects, but mostly American football. The goal of The Farm Club is to give aspiring college writers the ability to write on what topics really get them ticking, while sharing their insight and feelings with a large reader base. If you think you'd like to contribute to The Farm Club, contact the blog on Twitter, Facebook or through email. Information is listed on the blog's webpage.

View all posts by Mike Gazdik


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