English Premier League Review: Week 5

September 24, 2012

Features, Soccer

Last week I talked about how Aston Villa looked to be working themselves back into the swing of things and Southampton looked absolutely horrid thus far in the campaign. Well, their match on Saturday surely made me look like the ass and I’ll admit it. While Aston Villa was the away squad, I didn’t think they’d walk away from the Saints with anything less that a draw. Instead, they got dismantled on every front and found themselves behind 4-1 at full-time.

For without further adieu, here are the top stories in the Premier League this week and hopefully I can be right about something.

1. The Liverpool vs. Manchester United match was not without controversy:

Last week we knew that this rivalry game would be something to watch and not just for what was hopefully to be a hard-fought game between two sides with outstanding talent. The fans were all riled up and minorities of the respective fan bases had created nice little jingles undoubtedly about tragedies that both clubs had endured. The perfect mixing pot for the drama we all enjoy too much.

It started as nicely as could be with Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez completing a whole handshake without incident. However, it couldn’t be so easy. Brendan Rodgers came out after the match and blamed referee Mark Halsey for the loss, as did Stephen Gerrard. Jonjo Shelvey was sent off in a controversial tackle call and chose to voice his opinion to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on the way out. Robin van Persie clinched the victory with a penalty. And, finally, Liverpool lost Martin Kelly, Fabio Borini and Daniel Agger in the clash. Kelly has been ruled out the rest of the season as he found his place in the starting eleven this year as the ripe age of 22.

The tackle in question.

Liverpool finds themselves in the relegation zone at the present time and while no one surely thinks that will become their fate, the first 5 games has them winless and with a golf difference of -6.

2. Stoke manager Tony Pulis is pissed:

Pulis pointed out two attempts at diving from Stoke’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea FC on Saturday. Michael Oliver, the referee of the match gave Oscar, one perpetrator of the diving incidents at Stamford Bridge, a yellow card after his attempt. Branislav Ivanovic, the other, did not receive a yellow for his supposed attempt, but it did not fool Oliver either.

Oscar seems to go down without any push forward, doesn’t he?

Pulis will continue to point out the diving and calls upon all other managers to assist in ridding the English Premier League of the practice. Pulis was quoted as saying, “This is England. We’re playing in England, we’re not playing in Europe. And we can’t watch people just fall over and not talk about it. That’s the disappointing thing. We should highlight it and keep highlighting it and keep highlighting it.”

I completely agree with Pulis in this regard and hope that other managers come out and make it known that they will not stomach the attempts to con the referee as well. Talk to any one who has watched European or World Cup football and they will tell you the same thing about how much they dislike the diving.

3. West Ham United steal a point in injury time:

Sunderland looked onto their way to an away win at Upton Park, which would be their first win of the early EPL season, but Hammers captain Kevin Nolan got the equalizer almost 4 minutes into injury time, which became his third goal of the year.

Much of the match was controlled by West Ham, as chance after chance was seemingly squandered, especially after winger Matt Jarvis came on in the 57th minute to replace Taylor and provided a very obvious spark in the attack from then on.

If you really want to know about this match, I think one stat can simplify exactly how Big Sam and the rest of the onlookers must have felt as nothing seemed to fall their way: 24 to 5. That’s the amount of shots that the East Londoners had compared to Sunderland. Another stat: 61 to 39. The difference in possession also was quite staggering.

4. Manchester City is stuck at seventh:

It’s not that City hasn’t been good this year. It’s just that they have struggled to put the ball in the net with the same kind of urgency as last year. They’re averaging 2 goals a game, but have drawn with a basement Liverpool squad as well as Stoke City. They haven’t even lost a match and we’re coming into the 6th week and people, of course, are sweating a bit as Chelsea is almost perfect thus far in the campaign.

Can’t we all just get along?

Also, it seems your manager is having issues once again with your most talented striker. Who would’ve thought it could happen once again? Mancini “may have pushed” Balotelli after the draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

I wouldn’t worry City fans as it’s only goal difference keeping you from 5th, which sounds a bit nicer. See what I did there? How about you’re only 4 points from the top of the table?

5. Everton is third, beats Swansea City at home:

Liberty Stadium has been a real tough place to play since the Swans were promoted to top flight. For whatever reason, Swansea has been rock solid at home in Wales, where they have played good football and only lost twice since Everton’s last visit which ended in a similar fashion.

Everton was able to seriously dominate every facet of their match at Liberty as the Swans fell to ten men early in the second half, while already down two. Manager David Moyes was quoted afterwards as proposing that his side could have had seven or eight goals in the rout and I don’t think any spectator of the match had a different thought.

Everton has been able to seemingly cure themselves of their offensive woes, which has proved dividends for a team that historically has been extremely solid defensively and struggled offensively; some which have blamed on Moyes’ trademark 4-5-1 formation. Whatever the differences that have played out, whether it’s the improved and consistent play of Marouane Fellaini or the decision to play him as pretty much a second forward, or both, the Toffees find themselves in a wonderful position so far in the Premier League.

On the other side, Swansea City, a team that scored 8 goals in their first two matches and blanked QPR and West Ham, respectively, have gone 0-1-2 in their last three matches and haven’t scored in their last two.

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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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