Premier League: 10 talking points from this weekend’s action

Martin O’Neill is still reminiscent of Old Big ‘Ead

When he spoke about Steven Fletcher lacking match fitness and I asked him what the problem was, he clipped me round the ear and said: “He missed all pre-season. Do your homework, Joe!” Brian Clough did the same once, shortly after leaving Derby. The difference? Cloughie hit harder. Joe Lovejoy

Steven Gerrard may have reached the end of an era

This may be heresy but is Steven Gerrard really a Brendan Rodgers type player? The pair have been at pains to praise each other publicly, yet Gerrard’s long passes and runs at opponents have traditionally proved his key strengths. England’s captain remains a lovely footballer – even if he tried too hard against Arsenal – but is he sufficiently disciplined for Rodgers’ highly regulated short-passing, hard-pressing possession game? Time will tell. Louise Taylor

Sergio Agüero’s return looks as if it will be sweetly timed

Manchester City are yet to find top gear, yet are unbeaten with seven from nine points after beating QPR 3-1. When the international break finishes Sergio Agüero could be back from injury for the disparate challenges of Stoke City away and then Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, as City start their Champions League challenge. With Carlos Tevez already firing, his compatriot’s return may be sweetly timed. Jamie Jackson

Arsène Wenger has a star in Abou Diaby

Abou Diaby, injured for so long that Arsène Wenger could have been forgiven for forgetting he was part of his squad, showed at Anfield that six years after arriving at Arsenal from Auxerre he can still be a dominating presence in midfield. The Frenchman towered over those around him and put in a towering display, his strength, energy and composure key to the London club’s 2-0 victory against Liverpool. Diaby has now started all three of Arsenal’s matches this season. Keep him fit and Wenger has one heck of a player to call upon. Sachin Nakrani

Harry Redknapp may be needed back at Tottenham

Early days for Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham, and an early daze too. There was a strange lethargy to Tottenham on Saturday, along with a confusion that was best evidenced by the sight of Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon frequently dithering on the ball before turning backwards, contrary to their natural boldness. Much more of this and some people will start recommending that Spurs hire a motivational speaker, such as Harry Redknapp. Paul Doyle

Dan Ashworth is the real hero of The Hawthorns

West Bromwich Albion lost Roy Hodgson last season but it would be a far bigger blow if Dan Ashworth was lured to the FA this week. Ashworth has been the brains behind Albion’s superb recruitment record in recent years. For a couple of examples look no further than Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob, the holding midfielders who were superb against Everton on Saturday and cost £175,000 between them. Stuart James

Michael Owen returning to Liverpool is not as crazy as it sounds

Outsiders may find it puzzling but Liverpool supporters never really took to Michael Owen, not after his blistering display in the 2001 FA Cup Final, or after he topped 30 goals in the proceeding campaign, one that saw the team finish 2nd in the Premier League. His decision to joinManchester United in 2009 saw the Kop turn fully on their former striker and it became unthinkable then that he could ever return to the club. But with Liverpool desperately short of strikers and Owen a free agent, talk of a reunion has gathered pace. Stranger things have happened, especially after Brendan Rodgers refused to rule out a move for the 32-year-old. Sachin Nakrani

East London estate agents should beware

Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan have been reunited. It is doubtless good news for West Ham but perhaps not so for landlords in east London. The pair lived together at Newcastle and by all accounts had a rather hedonistic time together. Drinking benders and other unsavoury behaviour aside, there was also the small matter of a burnt-out car in Nolan’s driveway. “We all know his capabilities,” admitted Nolan after their victory over Fulham. James Riach

Manchester United still have goalkeeping issues

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that he had dropped David de Gea because he held him responsible for Fulham’s second goal at Old Trafford the previous weekend. Yet Anders Lindegaard’s performance at Southampton was not flawless, inviting pressure with his poor kicking. De Gea has brilliant reflexes and distribution; Lindegaard has age, size and, more than anything, penalty-box presence. If United could combine the two, they would have a wonderful goalkeeper. Daniel Taylor

Brad Guzan could replace Shay Given as Aston Villa’s No1

Brad Guzan was preferred to Shay Given in goal for Aston Villa for their trip to Newcastle. Much as the Villa manager, Paul Lambert, extolled Given afterwards as “world-class,” the display put on by his replacement was impressive. It may be of some relevance that Guzan is nine years younger than the 36-year-old Given, even if age is supposed to matter less for goalkeepers. Kevin McCarra

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s