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English Premier League Review: Week 6

October 1, 2012

Features, Soccer

Bobby Zamora is the man who has scored every QPR goal so far this year. All THREE of them.

Another week of English Premier League football has gone by and yet we are graced with another clash tonight (afternoon in the States) when West Ham United visit the struggling Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. I’ll break down how I feel about this upcoming match and my selection of the biggest stories in this week’s English Premier League Review.

1. QPR vs. West Ham United:

QPR has not won a match yet this year and sit alone at the bottom of the table thus far with 2 points in 5 games. They will be going into this match with some of their top talents out once again in Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore, Fabio and Jose Bosingwa.

These injuries have left QPR’s back four looking pretty bleak to say the least, which doesn’t bode well for a squad whose offense that has only seen 3 goals so far, all from striker Bobby Zamora.

Before this season, I had high hopes for QPR as I thought that their squad would be much improved over last year’s club that barely escaped relegation. While I’m starting to sweat on that prediction, the season is still young. If QPR is able to pull out a win against the newly promoted West Ham, it would pull them out of the basement and tied with the likes of giants Liverpool in points. Who really thought that was a statement they could make at the beginning of the season?

The visiting Hammers club has yet to score a goal away from Upton Park this season, but what club could really give this squad its best opportunity? While Andy Carroll isn’t due back in the starting lineup, look for Carlton Cole to fill his role once again. While Cole is not as dominant as Carroll, the game to him is incredibly similar as what it would be to Carroll if he were in and that could bode well for them when Carroll comes back as they really fortify their approach.

Overall, the Hammers still haven’t been tested by a noticeably stronger side yet this season. Today’s match at QPR will be no different. QPR, however, denied Chelsea a goal a few weeks ago in the same kind of circumstance. This game could end in 0-0, but with QPR’s injury issues, look for West Ham to get one and take the three points from the home squad.

I cannot promise a truly inspiring match on ESPN 3 today, but, it could be a defining early one for fans of either club.

2. Liverpool’s officiating issues and truth about refs:

Brendon Rodgers has made it known this year that he believes key decisions from the refs have spelled doom for his side in some of its matches thus far. He even called up the boss man, Mike Riley, to speak his mind on the issue earlier this week.

Right in timing, the Daily Mail has released a story quoting an ex-EPL referee, Graham Poll, who really just reiterated the “boy crying wolf” story we all remember from our childhood.

Poll spoke most about a non-call on Leon Barnett after he sent Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez to the ground in what seemed to be an obvious foul. The entirety of his comments reported are:

“It was one of the easiest decisions of the season and yet Jones, a competent referee, waved appeals away.

“The fact that it was Suarez again can only leave the impression that it is his reputation as a player who goes down too easily that is affecting referees’ decision making.

“What is clear is that Liverpool’s opponents are pressurising referees by their strong reactions whenever Suarez goes down. This time, the Norwich players immediately indicated that there was no foul and appeared to claim that the Uruguayan had dived.

“It’s not surprising this situation has occurred. Suarez has been cautioned three times for simulation, twice last season and once this, making him the most cautioned player for that offence. Last season, Sir Alex Ferguson accused him of diving ‘all over the place’.

“Referees hate being duped and would rather miss a ‘soft’ penalty than give one when a player has dived.

“I always tried to clear my mind of any previous incidents but, when refereeing a player such as Cristiano Ronaldo in his early days at Manchester United, I would be more likely to wave aside appeals from him than I would if Roy Keane went to ground.

“It is human nature and Rodgers needs to accept that it will take more than a plea from him to change Suarez’s reputation.

“Referees need to see a change in attitude and approach before they give anything other than the most obvious penalties for fouls on him.”

In honesty, while it may not be right for referees to think about the reputation of the player when attempting to make calls in the quick-paced sport, Poll’s words are right on target. Think of it what you will, but it is an issue that will not change as long as humans are officiating sports.

Below you can watch a highlight of issues that have given Suarez this kind of reputation around the league. Admittedly, it is extremely biased, and maybe I shouldn’t be adding it here. But hey, the video editor breaks down every incident he added in the video’s description and it’s something to take a look at:

3. Norwich City still struggling to find a win:

Caption contest open now…

While Norwich isn’t the only club to not win a match yet, they find themselves early on in the relegation zone with the other two win-less clubs, QPR and Reading.

This comes as a surprise to many as Norwich was the talk of the league in their promoted season last year as then-Manager Paul Lambert had the Canaries playing some very impressive and electric football.

Last year’s demons that stopped Norwich from proceeding any further in the league seem to be prominent again this year under Chris Hughton as the defense has struggled to stop the opposition through the first six weeks, allowing 13 goals, including 5 to a struggling Liverpool, who were able to capture their first win just this Saturday against the side.

Their next two matches also make it tough to see the club coming away with a win, as they go away to Chelsea and play Arsenal at home. Realistically, I wouldn’t put it past Norwich to be win-less until their 9th match this season, which is at Villa Park. But that’s only a chance and an away match at that. The next time the Canaries have a match at Carrow that promises competitiveness could be Stoke City, more than one month from now, on November 3rd.

Fans of those bright yellow and green kits are surely sweating now, as the young season hasn’t shown any bright spots yet for the club.

4. Everton dominates Southampton for clinching of second place on the table:

Nikica Jelavic scores two for the Toffees. Also: Pienaar shaves his hair off.

OK, so I’ve spoken about Everton pretty much every week in my review, and while it’s no secret I am a fan of the club, any one doing a review of the EPL would speak about them as well. The start is somewhat historic for the Toffees.

Evertonians haven’t had a nice start to a season in a great while. The last I can really put in that category would have to be 2006-07. They’ve always been the club to make a mid-late season rise, but with an off season which was highlighted by no key losses by the always cash-strapped club (outside of young Jack Rodwell, but he wasn’t slated to get a lot of meaningful minutes), the Toffees have found the form early.

The addition of Kevin Mirallas from the Greek league has brought a new emphasis to their attack and goal scoring. A part of the game that has been a problem for the club for seemingly forever, is coming easy now. Think of it this way: Louis Saha was the first-choice striker last year at this time for the club. This is a huge improvement.

In the end: while Everton fans must stay calm about the start, this season definitely looks promising. The next few matches will be some of the most important of the season. Three of the four are away, and while the competition isn’t the strongest (Wigan, QPR, Fulham), they play Liverpool at home, who they haven’t beat since the match at Goodison two years ago. Everton has struggled against competition they should beat historically, for whatever reason.

Just for trivia: in 2010-11 when they beat Liverpool 2-0 at home, the goal scorers were Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill.

Want to talk about anything else going on in the Premier League? Bring it up in the comments section.

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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. www.thefarmclub.net 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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