Luis Suarez did nothing wrong (this time)
It's not often we get to write that. Certain pundits (particularly one S. Collymore, Esq) got most aerated when Luis Suarez won a penalty for Liverpool against Aston Villa yesterday, accusing the Uruguayan of diving. But there's a big difference between simulating a foul, and choosing not to jump over the goalkeeper who has rashly dived at your feet and failed to take the ball. No player with two brain cells to rub together would go out of his way to avoid contact when a keeper presents it so invitingly - Suarez got it absolutely right.
Manchester City will take some stopping - but they won't win the quadruple
City brought up 100 goals for the season on Saturday, but even more impressive is their run of 15 wins and two draws in their last 17 games. Not only are Manuel Pellegrini's men scoring goals by the bucketful, they have cut out most of the defensive mistakes that blighted their early season. Most, but not all. Martin Demichelis put in a calamitously error-strewn performance, almost single-handedly gifting Cardiff two goals while a bemused Joleon Lescott watched on from the bench. More of the same against Barcelona will result in a cricket score.
Adam Johnson is not England's saviour
There's no doubt Johnson is in fine form for Sunderland, scoring their equaliser against Southampton. But the fact that, after three good games, he is being talked about as a serious option for the World Cup shows just how well-endowed England are with streaky, inconsistent, frustrating wingers. No Theo Walcott? How about Johnson? Or Andros Townsend? Or Aaron Lennon? Or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Or Raheem Sterling? Or Matt Jarvis? Or Wilfried Zaha? Roy Hodgson is genuinely spoilt for choice. Especially when Jermaine Pennant returns to form.
Tony Pulis is an excellent football manager
It's easy to mock Pulis, with his cap, his tracksuit and his borderline unwatchable brand of clog-and-rush. But it's equally straightforward to overlook his ability to extract results from limited squads. If the Premier League season had started when he was appointed, Palace would be ninth. Under him, they have taken 16 points from 11 games - their first 11 yielded just four. Hardly surprising that the visiting Stoke fans at Selhurst Park yesterday hold him in such high esteem.
Cardiff need players. Now
Instant results are proving rather more elusive for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose Cardiff side sit bottom of the table. While Malky Mackay's sacking was farcical in many ways, Vincent Tan's assertion that Mackay spent poorly last summer rings sadly true. Gary Medel looks nothing like an £11.5m player, but at least he gets a game unlike £8m Andreas Cornelius. Solskjaer has been promised funds and he desperately needs to use them before the month is out.
Manchester United need players. Now
Okay, we get it. Sir Alex Ferguson mastered the ability to squeeze brilliance out of the mediocre, and his profile also allowed United to work well in the transfer market. He is not there any more and, as a result, David Moyes (or, if he is sacked, his replacement) must be allowed to spend tens of millions of pounds on the highest quality available this January. They may even have to pay over the odds, given the nature of the modern market. No holds barred, they need players in every position bar goalkeeper.
Say what you like about 'Manu', but he is one hell of a target man. Managers are there to manage, and if he blows hot and cold then that needs to be controlled accordingly. A happy Adebayor is an excellent Adebayor, and all it seems to take is an arm around the shoulder and the manager's full confidence. Bear in mind that his slumps in form have come around times where all has not been well for him - most of us would crumble after a near-death experience while seeing friends gunned down, and the tragic passing of his brother could have been treated with greater compassion. Some people react differently to tragedy, but most suffer. Can we really blame him for treating football like a job?
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