Grab a coffee, sit back, and relax as Gotsoccer gives you a round-up of this week’s news in the EPL, as well as previews of a few of this weekend’s games.
JT jumps ship rather than face walking the plank
Almost a year to the day when two EPL players began a playground argument that quickly escalated into events that led to John Terry being stripped of the England Captaincy, and an England Manager resigning in protest, John Terry this week—with perfect timing—did the same, retiring from international soccer.
The Chelsea Defender said that the FA had made his position “untenable” by investigating claims that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand last October when he had already been acquitted by magistrates in July.
However, his accusations seemed a tad strange as the FA made it clear they would investigate the matter immediately after the court case. Perhaps he was left in the dark about the FA investigation? Not likely, what seems more probable is that his team and he preempted a guilty verdict—The FA does has a conviction rate of roughly 99.5% after all.
And so it was no surprise when John Terry was found guilty of using racist language on Thursday. But what was surprising was the punishment given, a four game ban and a £220,000 fine, whereas Liverpool’s Luis Suárez was hit with an eight game ban and a £40,000 fine for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. To understand the decision, we must wait for its written reasons, which ran to 113 pages in the Suárez case.
Stoke Boss want three-game ban diving ban
Stoke manager Tony Pulis wants the FA to ban players who dive for three matches.
The Potters manager was unhappy with Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s theatrics last weekend, telling journalists on Thursday, “The FA should pull people up for diving and give them a three-game ban straight away.”
“Ivanovic would be looking at three games, Chelsea wouldn’t be too happy with him and I don’t think he would be diving around any more.”
Pulis, whose team has come under criticism in the past for their rough play, currently has defender Andy Wilkinson serving a three-match suspension for a violent conduct, added: “They are really quick to pull people up on incidents that they think are bookable or sending-off incidents.
“We just don’t think it’s right and we encourage the players to be as honest as they can.”
So good honest violence is ok, but please no cheating. I wonder what punishment Pulis suggests for players that deliberately handball and score?
Liverpool may start diving
Meanwhile further North Liverpool manager Brenden Rogers has warned his players may start diving.
The Liverpool manager feels his side has been denied “the rub of the green” from referees this season, believing striker Luis Suárez has been refused legitimate penalties in the past two Premier League games, against Sunderland and Manchester United.
“It would be a shame if players who respect the rules and managers who are asking players to stay on their feet and not dive are not getting the decisions because of it. I think it is important that referees understand that. It has been a criticism of the last few years of players going down too easy. It is not something we want to encourage but if you’re not going to get decisions because of it players may do that.” Said Rogers.
Whatever happened to that young boy that cried wolf again?
Dad’s bet on son pays off
Ten years ago Mick Tunnicliffe walked into a bookies and put a £100 down on his son one day playing for Manchester United‘s first team.
And last Wednesday night his faith paid off, when Ryan Tunnicliffe stepped into the Theater of Dreams as a 77th-minute substitute for United in a 2-1 win over Newcastle.
Bookies William Hill will now have to pay out £10,000, having given Mike odds of 100/1. But there could be better days yet to come for Ryan and his dad, as Mike also placed a £100 bet on his son one day representing England’s senior team—with odds of 350/1.
The 19-year old has already represented England at the under-16s and under-17s. William Hill’s Graham Sharpe said on Wednesday: “We will obviously be paying close attention to the progress of Ryan’s career in the future.”
Meanwhile, Manchester’s other club upset one gambler after they cost him a chance of winning a dream jackpot. The unfortunate punter was on course to win a 15 game accumulator—having predicted 14/15 games correctly—on a £12 bet. However, Manchester City lost at home to Aston Villa 2-4 costing the upset gambler a £152,627 prize.
Guess that’s why United’s stadium is called the theater of Dreams and City’s stadium is…the Etihad.
EPL Match Previews
There are in all ten EPL games this week, with eight on Saturday, one on Sunday, and one on Monday. Below Gotsoccer looks at a few of the more interesting fixtures this weekend.
Arsenal vs Chelsea (7:45am EST)
Match day 6 kicks off with a big one this weekend. Both teams played well in the cup during the week, each putting six past their opponents, and have started the season well.
Arsenal talked up their EPL title credentials last weekend with a good point away to champions Manchester City, and they could have left with all three if not for poor finishing. Chelsea, meanwhile, had to grind out a late win against Stoke.
Arsenal should win this one, as they are playing well, scoring goals, and their new signings appear to have settled in.
Chelsea is a team in transition, and is now playing trying to play Arsenal-esque soccer. They are playing well, and their signings have settled too. However, despite having an array of attacking options, Blues Striker Torres appears isolated upfront on his own. And without Didier Drogba, who scored 13 goals in 14 games against the Gooners, I think Chelsea may struggle to get a goal against an improved Arsenal back-line.
Fulham Vs Manchester City (10:00am EST)
City has not won any of their last four games, and Manager Mancini won’t have been too happy with his side’s capitulation to Aston Villa in the cup during the week.
Fulham has won their last two EPL games, and is a difficult side to beat on their home patch. New signings Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega already look like they are striking up a good partnership.
City desperately needs a win to get their campaign up and running again, but the Champions may have one eye on next week’s important Champions league game with Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspurs (10:00am EST)
Tottenham Hotspurs is playing well, winning their last two games, and with United suffering another injury to their back-line last weekend—Nemanja Vidic joining Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the doctor’s table—it may seem like now is as good time as any for Spurs to visit Old Trafford.
However, Spurs has not won at Old Trafford since 1989, and with the expected return of United Talisman Wanye Rooney this weekend, I can’t see them ending the streak tomorrow. So I will go for another comfortable United home Win.