FREE KICK - Befitting a club that plays in London, Queens Park Rangers went on a shopping spree in some of soccer's most expensive neighborhoods. Goalkeeper Julio Ceser was imported from Inter Milan, Fabio and Park Si - Jung were bought from Manchester United, while Jose Bosingwa was a credit card purchase from Chelsea. Despite these high priced ticket items QPR, which avoided relegation by just a single point last season, find themselves winless through the first six games of the 2012 - '13 campaign. I'm reminded of that old saying, "A goal without a plan is nothing but a wish." Let's kick start this thing.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION vs. QUEENS PARK RANGERS - They may not win but QPR does produce roller coaster excitement in their matches. WBA opened the scoring in the 5th courtesy of James Morrison's noggin. A few minutes later QPR's defense had more holes than a golf course in allowing Zoltan Gera to double WBA's pleasure. Adel Taarabt's piledriver from just inside the box pulled one back for the visitors, but the home side made it 3-1 through Youssuf Mulumbu in the 85th. You would think that QPR would warm up the bus at that point however Esteban Granero had other ideas scoring QPR's 2nd in the 90th. Deep in stoppage time Bosingwa found himself with more space than an Iowa farmer at harvest time. Five yards from goal with nary a defender in sight, he somehow skied his effort over the crossbar. QPR is singing the popular blues song; if it wasn't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. WBA - 3 QPR - 2.
MANCHESTER CITY vs. SUNDERLAND - During the week City boss Roberto Mancini criticized last season's champions for lacking a killer instinct. It's a topic that I also touched upon in last week's blog. Message received. On this day Man City displayed the finishing touch of a carpenter as they hammered Sunderland into an early submission. Aleksandar Kolarov, he of the hardest kick in the premiership, powered a free kick past a helpless Simon Mignolet in the fifth minute. Sergio Aguero and James Milner piled on in the opening minutes of the second to provide the final margin of victory. Of course this being Man City, even a 3--0 thrashing came with drama; volatile striker Mario Balotelli was hotter than July when he was removed from the game in the 56th minute. Stay tuned. Manchester City - 3 Sunderland - nil.
CHELSEA vs. NORWICH CITY - One month plus into the 2012 season, and even Stevie Wonder can see that Chelsea is the class of the league. With veteran Frank Lampard back from injury the blues field England's most talented and deepest midfield. I've hardly been a Roman Abramovich fan but his purchase of Oscar at a bargain price would make any housewife green with envy. Fernando Torres took to the air to head home Chelsea's first goal, with Lampard soon to follow. In the second half Juan Mata and Oscar combined to slice the Norwich D to shreds. Norwich City was outmanned, outclassed and outgunned. Chelsea - 3 Norwich City - 1.
NEWCASTLE UNITED vs. MANCHESTER UNITED - The capacity crowd at St James Park were stoked from jump street, however Newcastle's starting eleven were caught napping. Man U had corner kicks in the 8th and 15th minutes and each resulted in a goal. Johny Evans nodded home Robin Van Persie's CK, while pinpoint service from a Wayne Rooney CK found Patrice Evra's forehead. Howard Webb produced so much yellow he nearly turned into a coward. Four players from each side had the amber card waved in their face, but thankfully no player would see red. Newcastle's best chance came early in the 2nd half when their scoring firm of Cisse and Ba were stoned by goalkeeper David De Gea and his friends; the crossbar and post. Replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball crossed the line. Man U - 3 Newcastle - 0.
LIVERPOOL vs. STOKE - 90 minutes of scoreless action but plenty of entertainment provided by Luis Suarez and Robert Huth. The Liverpool striker and Stoke central defender traded jabs, hooks and uppercuts the entire game with only Huth facing yellow. Suarez didn't do his rep any favors by falling to the turf midway through the second half. It was the biggest flop since Christina Aguilera's latest album. Liverpool - 0 Stoke - 0.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs. ASTON VILLA - Headline news in the pre - game as American Brad Freidel had his streak of 310 consecutive starts come to a halt at the expense of French import Hugo Lloris. It took 67 minutes before Spurs finally unlocked the AV defense. Birthday boy Jermain Defoe's shot would deflect home off Steve Caulker's shin. The Usain Bolt of the premiership, Aaron Lennon went with a low, slider to the outside corner in producing Tottenham's second strike. This was a match in which Spurs was the stream, and Aston Villa was the salmon. Tottenham - 2 Aston Vila - nil.
WEST HAM UNITED vs. ARSENAL - Arsene Wenger's gunners have all the ingredients for a championship recipe however they seem to get little respect from the British scribes. Their offseason investments in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla were in the black from jump street while the same could not be said for Olivier Giroud. My favorite sparring partner finally tallied his first premiership goal to neutralize Mohamed Diame's superlative strike but truth be told it was Podolski who did the heavy lifting. Theo Walcott gave Arsenal the lead and then Cazorla went lead - foot to put the contest to bed. The Spaniard went with the high and tight fastball that WH netminder Jussi Jaaskelainan could only look at in admiration. I saw it as a called strike. Arsenal continues to impress while West Ham is in serious need of some offensive punch. Arsenal - 3 West Ham - 1.
WIGAN vs. EVERTON - The most exciting game of the weekend with an ebb and flow usually found in a ping-pong match. Wigan would take 1-0 and 2-1 advantages but on each occasion David Moyes' team would answer the bell. The final equalizer came from a deserved PK in the 87th. No team has more value despite less resources than Everton. Wigan - 2 Everton - 2.
SOUTHAMPTON vs. FULHAM - The hosts got on the good foot in the 4th minute when Fulham goalie Mark Schwarzer morphed into Mister Softee. He allowed Jose Fonte's long - range effort to slip through his fingers for a quick 1-0 Southampton lead. The game slowed to a crawl until the final 21 minutes when three goals were scored. Fonte scored the game's first goal and was Johnny-on-the-spot for the game's final game with a powerful header from doorstep. Southampton - 2 Fulham - 2.
SWANSEA CITY vs. READING - Reading entered and exited this contest winless despite taking a 2-nil lead at the intermission. Swansea scored twice within a seven minute period to rescue the single point. Reading - 2 Swansea - 2.