Soccer

EPL Preview: QPR's Joey Barton Ready to Haunt His Old Club Newcastle

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20:  Roy Hodgson the West Brom manager reacts to events on the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on August 20, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Xavier GonzalezContributor ISeptember 10, 2011

Norwich vs. West Brom

Roy Hodgson's West Brom will visit Norwich hoping to get their first win of the season. Despite playing well in their first three matches, the side suffered defeats in each one.

Norwich are only slightly better off. Norwich began their Premier League campaign with two draws, but they were extremely unlucky to not get any points against Chelsea a fortnight ago.

It has been just over three years since the teams met each other, and West Brom ran out 2-1 winners on that day. More than the win, Hodgson will be very keen to maintain a clean sheet, which is something his side do not do often.

Norwich manager Paul Lambert's major headache has to be John Ruddy, who is suspended following the straight red card he received against Chelsea. More troubles in the defensive area of the pitch come in the form of Daniel Ayala, who is unavailable for selection due to injury.

Hodgson will be very much hoping that both Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long are fit for the match.

Fulham vs. Blackburn

After performing exceptionally well in the initial stages of the campaign when the qualification rounds for the Europa League were on, Fulham are starting to display signs of inconsistency. They lost their third straight encounter against Newcastle last weekend, and things certainly do not look bright for the Londoners right now.

However, they can take heart from the fact that they will face a Blackburn side that are in fact much worse than them on current form and luck. Steve Kean's job looks under threat even without 10 games being completed.

Blackburn have lost three matches on the bounce, although they were desperately unlucky not to win in the last match against Everton. Despite getting two penalties, they managed to miss both and lost in the end.

The upcoming fixtures are also not kind to them, with Kean's men set to face the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City. Away to Fulham is certainly not an easy one, as Fulham usually compensate their poor away form by excelling at home.

It will undoubtedly be a very tough game for Blackburn, who could hand debuts to new signings Scott Dann and Yakubu.

QPR vs. Newcastle

For all their troubles at the start of the new season due to the lack of new signings, QPR are one of the teams who have strengthened a lot. Neil Warnock has been extremely prudent with his purchases, with the undoubted picks being Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips. They both are expected to start for QPR in a match that is going to be extremely important.

The 4-0 defeat QPR suffered in their last home match at Loftus Road against Bolton will certainly be fresh in the minds of those concerned with the squad. A similar defeat has to be avoided at all costs, but there is every chance it may occur again.

The form of Newcastle is one of the main reasons for it happening. Despite selling a number of high-profile players, Newcastle have done well so far.

However, will the sale of Joey Barton be one too many for Alan Pardew to handle? Only the Monday night match will provide the answer to the question.

The two clubs were in the Championship when they met previously, and Newcastle ran out 2-1 winners that time around. The likes of Danny Guthrie and Shola Ameobi could return for Newcastle, while Anton Ferdinand, Luke Young and Armand Traoré could make their debuts for QPR alongside Barton.

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