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There was a spectacular goal in the Ekstraklasa clash between Pogon Szczecin and Slask Wroclaw on Sunday. Former Derby County midfielder Przemyslaw Kazmierczak scores an absolute screamer of a volley in today’s viral of the day.

Unbelievable tekkers…

Written by Charlie Cook @charlie_cook09

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Following the news that John Terry has been found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand and that he will no longer pull on the famous white jersey of England, there will be many that see this as a triumph for the decent over the disgraceful. Despite his many controversial mistakes, his footballing ability has never been called into question. While Terry has been on a mission of self-destruction for as long as the mind remembers, there is the argument that we have pushed and harried England’s best defender and leader into early retirement, and our reasons are completely non-football related.

Mark Lawrenson said on Match of the Day 2, “It seems Terry is pre-empting the FA by retiring. He’s almost citing a witch-hunt with his statement. But away from that, he’s always been outstanding for England as a leader and a player on the pitch. They will miss him”.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and defend a man who has compiled a shameful repertoire, which rivals even the infamous Joey Barton, if a little less sociopathic. He is guilty of a multitude of misdemeanours, all of which could have been easily avoided with even the slightest hint of brain power. Problems were clear right from the start of his career; from kicking off repeatedly at night clubs to revealing his sensitive understanding of world affairs by mocking American tourists at Heathrow airport days after 9/11 – it was plain to see from an early age that Terry was, in many respects, a bad egg.

What followed was the Wayne Bridge affair in 2010, a tumultuous period that cost him the England captaincy as punishment. Who would have believed that Terry, having been reinstated, would lose it again less than a year later? The irrepressible cloud that has hung over Terry since the incident of apparent racism against Anton Ferdinand in 2011 has not since dissipated, and Terry has cited the FA’s stance on the matter as the key factor in his decision to retire.

Having been cleared of racially abusing Ferdinand in July, Terry found himself the subject if an FA investigation into the matter. Objectively, you can understand Terry’s evident frustration at this. He was found not guilty, but the FA still pressed charges against him. Their decision to do so, whether you agree with the punishment or not, has been vindicated with Terry found guilty of the FA enquiry. It is evident however that they no longer wanted him to play for England, and his decision to retire will have been met with relief from English football’s governing body, but will there be a cost for their obsession?

Terry is a colossal leader and an outstanding defender. He is, and has been for the best part of a decade, a footballing role model for young defenders the world over. Of this, there is no question. It is worth noting that Terry is no longer the powerhouse defender that he was, but he is still only 31 and in footballing terms a player of his quality will be hard to replace. Fabio Cannavaro led Italy to a World Cup triumph in 2006 at the age of 33 and in an ideal world Terry would play on helping nurture his future replacements.

His two worlds are separate; his ugly, off the field side, and his heroic performances on it. Unlike other bad boys of English football, he has been able to shut out the destructive, and concentrates on leading his team to victory. We all expect a trail of injured players and multi-coloured cards to follow when the likes of Lee Catermole, Marlon King and Ryan Shawcross take the field, but Terry is different, as much as we hate to admit it.

Terry has led Chelsea to three Premier League titles, four FA cups, two League cups and a Champions league since 2004, making him Chelsea’s most successful captain. He was named Uefa Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009. He was PFA Player’s Player of the year in 2005, and was also in the FIFAPro World XI from 2005 to 2008. As England captain, he always displayed absolute professionalism on the pitch throughout his tenure.

The endorsements from England bosses are endless. Fabio Capello resigned on the eve of Euro 2012 after Terry was stripped of the captaincy for the second time; Roy Hodgson consistently backed Terry, and always picked him to start for England right up until his retirement. Asked whether the Chelsea skipper is a natural leader in 2001, Steve McLaren told the BBC: “Yes, of course he is. I think everyone accepts that, everyone can see it, everybody who knows John Terry behind the scenes knows that.” McLaren was almost right. Yes, everyone can see he is a leader, no doubt those who work with him know that he is (with a few notable exceptions), but the nation cannot and probably never will accept John Terry.

Written by Tom Gatehouse. See more of his work at: http://goodbadribery.blogspot.co.uk/ or follow him on twitter @tragatehouse

 
Edited by Charlie Cook @charlie_cook09

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Before each set of Premier League fixtures, I have a look at ‘BBC football expert’, Mark Lawrenson’s predictions. Every week I have the same reaction. I reckon I could do better. Season after season I complain about his ‘woeful’ tipping. Now it’s time to put my proverbial money where my mouth is and try to beat Lawro.

Each week I will give a small preview to the game explaining my choice and follow it with mine and Lawro’s predictions.

The points: 1 point for a correct result and 3 points for a correct score.

 

SATURDAY

Norwich v West Ham

I fancy Norwich to get their first win of the season in this one, but it will be tight. Sam Allardyce’s team will play their own scintillating brand of long ball football, but without Andy Carroll and away from home it may not be quite so effective. I was very impressed with Norwich at Spurs a couple of weeks ago, especially Robert Snodgrass who has been brilliant. They are beginning to gel under Chris Hughton, and I think they may just knick this one.

My prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

 

Arsenal v Southampton

Arsenal will be heavy favourites after their good win at Anfield and I expect them to back that up with their first home win of the season. It won’t be as easy as many expect though. Sothampton were 5 minutes away from an upset win over Manchester United last round, and were leading 2-1 at Manchester City with not too long to go either. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Giroud open his account for the gunners and Southampton score a goal to end Arsenal’s run of 3 games without conceding.

My prediction: 3-1

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

 

Aston Villa v Swansea

Villa need a win, and they need some goals. Swansea have lost Chico to suspension plus Neil Taylor and new recruit Kyle Bartley to injury, so there is no better time to do it than against an ailing defence. Swansea have undoubtedly been the surprise of the season so far. Many, including myself, expected them to struggle with the loss of Brendan Rodgers, but Michael Laudrup has brought in some fantastic players and they have really kicked on. There is a long way to go, but they are a very exciting team. I think this one could end in a draw.

My prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

 

Fulham v West Brom

There hasn’t been an away win in fixtures between these two sides for over 10 years. Fulham started the season with a bang, but have since faltered. The loss of Moussa Dembele is huge. Dimitar Berbatov will be a boost, but the energy and quality that Dembele brought to the midfield cannot be replaced. He was the best player on the pitch when they went to Old Trafford. West Brom have started very brightly under Steve Clarke with wins over the two Mersyside clubs at home and a very good point away to Spurs. I think their success may continue in London, but it will only be a point.

My prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s prediciton: 2-1

 

Manchester United v Wigan

I think Wigan could get a bit of a pasting here. United are due a big win. There were concerns over the fitness of Robin van Persie and Kagawa midweek, but they are both fit. I thought they were excellent at home to Fulham a few weeks ago, and could have scored many more than 3 in the first half. The inclusion of Darren Fletcher in the squad will be a massive boost to them too. Wigan have conceded 24 goals in their last 7 games at Old Trafford and I don’t expect that stat to get much better.

My prediction: 4-1

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

 

QPR v Chelsea

Leading up to this game their has been more talk about the handhsake than the contest. I predict their to be handshake, or a snub of a handshake or whatever. Who actually cares whether they shake hands. The FA should just scrap them altogether as they have cause more problems than they are worth. Evra v Suarez, John Terry v everyone enough’s enough. Get rid of them. In terms of the game, I think it could be very tight. Chelsea are top of the league, and QPR are second bottom, but I think QPR will get better as the season progresses. Granero is a magnificent signing from Real Madrid and I think they could just grab a cheeky point at Loftus Road.

My prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

 

Stoke v Manchester City

Stoke fans will be excited about the signing f Michael Owen, but this game could come a bit early for him. Stoke set themselves up to be very hard to beat and then go from there. The news that Sergio Aguero is close to a return is a big boost for City, other than Carlos Tevez who has been outstanding, they havn’t been all too convincing at the start of this season. Stoke have drawn their last 8 games in all competitions. They have also drawn their last 3 at home to Man City. No surprises that I think this one is going to be a draw too.

My prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

 

Sunderland v Liverpool

This is not an easy trip for Liverpool, and it gets worse next week with Manchester United travelling to Anfield. Sunderland are improving under Martin O’Neill. They got a good point away to Arsenal and were close to beating Swansea at Liberty Stadium. Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, have looked very sharp and this is Sunderland’s first home game of the season so they will be looking to impress their new fans. Liverpool were brilliant against Manchester City, but gifted a sloppy equaliser to Tevez late on. They were very good in the first half against Arsenal too, but had no cutting edge in attack. They need to find goals very soon, as their only goals have come from set plays so far this season. I think Sunderland are starting to look like a very good side and I expect them to take all the points.

My prediciton: 2-1

Lawro’s prediciton: 2-1

 

SUNDAY

Reading v Tottenham

Reading were unlucky not to at least get a point away from home to Chelsea, and they would have won at home to Stoke if it wasn’t for a goalkeeping howler. Tottenham are still looking for their first win under AVB. They are struggling to cope with the loss of Modric and Van der Vaart, but with Moussa Dembele, Adebayor and Clint Dempsey all fit and able to start I think they will be too strong for Reading.

My prediciton: 1-3

Lawro’s predicition: 1-2

 

MONDAY

Everton v Newcastle

Newcastle started off brightly with a win against Spurs, but were pretty ordinary against Chelsea and Villa. They will need to improve significantly to get anything at Goodison. Everton are another team that were very impressive early on, with wins against Man U and Villa. Fellaini’s comments about this season being his last at Goodison during the week will have been a shock though, he has been outstanding. It will be interesting to see if that will have any effect on the dressing room. He has been somewhat of a talisman for them.  His performance against Man U was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season. With Krul, Tiote and Colocinni out for Newcastle, I think Everton will be comfortable winners.

My prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

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What has become of England’s so called ‘Golden Generation’? Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham, Ferdinand and others have failed to produce the heroics that were expected of them. They have not gone further than the quarterfinals of any major tournament. After each tournament that ends in failure, the calls for an overhaul of the squad and an influx of youth get stronger. It was no different after Euro 2012 and considering the performances of Cleverly and Oxlade-Chamberlain against Moldova, I thought it would be interesting to assess the future of English football.

This ‘Golden Generation’ was packed full of fantastic players. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand, to name a few, were rated amongst the best footballers in the world. Unfortunately they were not able to play like that for England. One of the most obvious examples of this, was the midfield partnership of Lampard and Gerrard. During the noughties, Gerrard and Lampard were two of the best midfielders in the world. Touted as a world beating partnership for England, they never managed to gel and looked disjointed when playing together.

Words like ‘dynamic’, ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’ have been used to describe the top English players in the past. These qualities are vital to the English team, but without some guile and creativity to compliment them they can be wasted. This generation of players lacked a technically accomplished passer of the ball, a Xavi for instance. This may sound like an obvious comment to make considering that Xavi is widely regarded as the best midfielder in the world, but so were Gerrard and Lampard at their best. In his prime Gerrard was the driving force behind any Liverpool success, but it is no surprise that he hasn’t been as potent since Xabi Alonso left. Against Moldova, Frank Lampard reminded us how devastating he could be. His skill was in his ability to time his runs perfectly, and had the enviable knack of always being in the right place at the right time.

Both Gerrard and Lampard could pick a pass but they thrived on having a player behind them who would get on the ball and dictate the tempo of the game. English football needs to develop two or three of these type of players. I am not suggesting that we should endeavour to take on the Spanish tiki-taka style, but we need players to compliment the more English qualities. If you look at the top Premier League clubs it’s easy to see the mix of power and dynamism with guile and creativity working. Last season’s champions, Manchester City, have Yaya Toure and David Silva and more recently we have seen Arsenal beat Liverpool with Diaby and Cazorla combining brilliantly.

Luckily for England it looks like they are starting to produce this type of player. Cleverly was outstanding against Moldova and Alex Ferguson’s refusal to buy a central midfielder suggests he has a lot of faith in the youngster. He is technically astute and an accomplished passer of the ball. Jack Wilshere is another in this mould. He had a brilliant start to his career, including a Man of the Match performance against Barcelona, outplaying Xavi and Iniesta in the process. Wilshere himself said: “Players like Xavi and Iniesta are great players. Who wouldn’t try to model their game on them?” Those role models come as no surprise, considering he has been brought up at Arsenal where they play a possession based game. Wilshere’s technique is superb, he likes to get on the ball and dictate the tempo of the game as much as possible. He can pick holes in the opposition by running with or passing the ball. He is a phenomenal talent.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also shown his quality over the last year. Although he is currently playing on the wing, Arsene Wenger sees him as a future central midfielder. He is more direct and powerful than Cleverly and Wilshere, but the three of them are all technically superb and together will provide the heart of the future England team. With these three in the engine room the future could be very bright.

This is a potential England line up come Euro 2016:

Potential England side in Euro 2016

Goalkeepers:

Joe Hart – Hart was one of the standout goalkeepers at Euro 2012, he has a huge amount of experience  for a 25 year old. He is now a Premiership winner with Manchester City too and has many years at the top ahead of him.
Jack Butland – Butland has also emerged as a contender for the number 1 spot. He has been highly rated for a couple of years, and got his chance on the world stage during the Olympics where he was outstanding. England are in safe hands.

Defence:

Kyle Walker – Walker won the Young player of the year award last season. He is very strong defensively and would have started at Euro 2012 had he not been injured.
Micah Richards – Richards will also push Walker hard for the right back slot and if he could add some discipline to his game then Walker better watch out.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones – The pair have been learning from the best in Ferdinand and Vidic at Manchester United. Both are powerful in the air and very comfortable with the ball at their feet. Jones, is perhaps the more advanced at this stage but Smalling is seen as the replacement for Ferdinand at Man U.
Steven Caulker – Caulker could also provide competition at centre-back. He had a great season at Swansea last year and will be hoping to break into the Tottenham first team this term.
Kieran Gibbs – Gibbs has unfortunately had his progress halted by injury, but is still a fantastic talent. He has been thought of as the next Ashley Cole. He has a long way to go but the potential is there.
Ryan Bertrand – Bertrand has also been likened to Cole. He had a great end to last season at Chelsea even starting the Champion’s League final.
The depth of talent is certainly there and with Gary Cahill, who is only 26 added to that group then if they reach their potential they could be a very strong defensive unit.

Midfield:

Wilshere, Cleverly and Oxlade-Chamberlain have already been mentioned but there is also a wealth of talent to challenge these three.
Jack Rodwell – Rodwell has just secured a big move to Manchester City where his first team chances may be quite rare. He is a very athletic defensive midfielder. He has great positioning and is a brilliant tackler.
Ross Barkley – Rodwell’s former teammate is also rated highly at Everton.
Josh McEachran – McEachran was named Chelsea Young Player of the Year in 2011, but has since had a frustrating period on loan at Swansea. Hopefully his stint on loan at Middlesborough will be more fruitful.
Jonjo Shelvey – Shelvey is another who looks like he is about to make his breakthrough. He was Man of the Match for the U21’s against Azerbaijan on the weekend and Brendan Rodger’s tiki-taka style will suit him perfectly.

Forwards:

Wayne Rooney – Rooney is still only 26 years old, despite having made 76 appearances for England. He has had a controversial International career: Sent off at the 2006 World Cup, out of form at the 2010 World Cup due to allegations about his private life and suspended from the first two games of Euro 2012. However, he can become a leader and a role model for the younger generation as he gets older. England have a World Class striker to lead the line.
Theo Walcott – As long as Walcott doesn’t lose his pace, he can only get better. He showed against Ukraine in the Euros how devastating he could be.
Raheem Sterling – Sterling is very similar to Walcott. Lightning quick and a brilliant finisher. He looks dangerous whenever he gets the ball for Liverpool and doesn’t look remotely out of place in the Premier League despite only being 17.
Players like Ashley Young, Adam Johnson and James Milner will continue to improve and are still young enough to play for the next 4 years at least. Add that to the emerging talents of Danny Welbeck, who had a very promising Euros and Daniel Sturridge, who was a regular starter for Chelsea last season and England have a lot of attacking depth.

If we are being realistic, this complete overhaul is not going to happen before the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. John Terry and Ashley Cole will only be 33, and Steven Gerrard will have just turned 34. This will represent their last chance at a major tournament, but by Euro 2016 the new crop will be fully integrated. The most important thing about the emerging players is that there seems to be a common ability. A technical quality, that has been missing from the England teams of the past. The pace of Walcott and Sterling, the dynamism of The Ox and the craft and vision of Cleverly and Wilshere will form a devastating attack. They have a very good blend of power, pace and creativity. The likes of Beckham, Gerrard and Lampard may not have fulfilled their promise, but if the performances of Cleverly and Oxlade-Chamberlain are anything to go by, in addition to Wilshere et al, then we could be looking at a new ‘Golden Generation’ in the coming years. Perhaps, the real ‘Golden Generation’.

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This is not a list of the 5 worst players in the Premier League. Each player’s position on the list is based on their talent in relation to how highly rated they are by the media and fans. So don’t expect to see names like Marouane Chamakh or Emile Heskey. I know they are not very good, but they aren’t rated very highly either. Here is my top 5, let me know what yours is too?

5. Ashley Young

Ashley Young has been a huge disappointment. When he signed for Manchester United in a high profile £16 million move from Aston Villa, so much was expected of him. Unfortunately he had a largely underwhelming first season at Old Trafford. He started brilliantly with a couple of assists in his League debut against West Brom and two goals and three assists in the Red Devils’ famous 8-2 win over Arsenal. Since then, though, Young has tallied just one goal and one assist for United. He is very talented, but infuriatingly inconsistent. At the end of last season, he went through a rather deplorable phase of regularly hitting the turf as though he’d suffered a one inch punch from Bruce Lee, which would be all well and good, if he could only stick one in the back of the net.

Ashley Young misses his penalty in the Euro 2012 quarter final shootout against Italy

4. David De Gea

Manchester United paid £17 million for 20 year old David De Gea last summer. Finally, Manchester United had signed a replacement for the legendary Peter Schmeical. Attempts to replace him with the likes of Fabien Barthez and Raimond van der Gouw failed spectacularly. Ok. fine. Edwin van der Sar was a fantastic player for  Man U for 6 seasons, but every Manchester United goalkeeper that plays at Old Trafford will eventually be compared to The Great Dane. David De Gea has time on his hands, but he hasn’t come close to either van der Sar or Schmeical. He is a wonderful shot stopper, but he is nervy when dealing with crosses prefers an extravagant punch to an easy catch which puts his team under unnecessary pressure. He has a lot to prove, especially with the £17 million price tag to live up to.

3. Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott has been overrated since Sven-Goran Eriksson unfortunately thrust him into the limelight by selecting him as a 17-year-old for England’s 2006 World Cup squad. In hindsight it was completely ridiculous. He hadn’t even played in the Premier League. He really struggled to cope with the attention that was thrust on him. Not too easy when you are dubbed the English Thierry Henry. The hat-trick in Croatia propelled Walcott to new levels of adulation, but he’s struggled with consistency ever since then. His most irritating trait is to run the ball out of play without any pressure from the opposition, and his crossing at times is very poor. Walcott with his pace, can be sensational but the good performances are too rare for him to match some of the hype that surrounds him.

2. Gareth Barry

I am not completely sure how Gareth Barry became an England regular. He went through a purple patch that lasted about 4 games under Fabio Capello where people thought he was the English answer to Xavi. Barry was a relatively big fish in a small pond at Aston Villa but at City he is a tiny fish in the biggest of Oceans. I don’t know how well that analogy works, but I am sure you understand what I mean. He is not as good as many make him out to be. Liverpool even tried to ship Xabi Alonso off to Arsenal to accommodate him at one point. Unbelievable. He is a good passer of the ball, but much of it is lateral and makes little impact. He has no distinguishable attribute that separates himself from most other Premier League midfielders, and is now just an older, less talented Jack Wilshere.

1. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale scores a hat-trick against Inter Milan mugging off Maicon in the process

A hat-trick at the San Siro 2 years ago had people comparing Gareth Bale to Lionel Messi. Let’s just put that into context: Messi scored 50 League goals last season and got 27 assists. Gareth scored 9 with 10 assists. Now I am not seriously suggesting that Gareth Bale or anyone for that matter should be compared with Lionel Messi, bar Cristiano Ronaldo who brings that on himself, but many people in the last couple of seasons have done so. He is still a very good player, but he is nowhere near as good as most make him out to be. Bale took the Premier League and Champions League by storm in 2010-11 season but now the opposition has caught up and Bale has regressed. He has pace, size and all the athleticism you could ask for in a winger but lacks the intricate technical skill required to be elite. His preferred move is to kick the ball 10 yards in front of his opposition number and then to beat them to it. The more experienced and intelligent Premier League defenders have got wise to this keeping him quiet in the big games. It’s a shame that the ageing Maicon didn’t have this inside info otherwise Gareth Bale may not have been top of this list.

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Tottenham lacking in creativity

Tottenham struggled to create chances against Norwich on the weekend. The Norwich midfield was more than a match for Spurs and they deserved their 1-1 draw. Dembele made a difference when he came on, but it was clear to see that Tottenham were missing Rafael Van Der Vaart and especially, Luka Modric. Gylfi Sigurdsson, does create chances and he looks to be a top prospect. He had a great start to his Premier League career with Swansea, but he is still very inexperienced. He now has to deal with the pressure of filling Van der Vaart’s shoes and at Spurs the expectation levels are that much higher. Although he looked good in pre-season he has struggled to have the same impact in the first few League games. This will come as the season progresses and he fits in to his new surroundings.

The real loss for Spurs will be in the centre of the park though. Modric completed over 2200 passes last season, averaging 70 passes a game. None of the new recruitments get close to this sort of turnover. Every Tottenham move went through him, ESPN FC describes him as “skilful, creative, classy, a playmaker with immense vision.” It’s the playmaker in him that has not been replaced. Dempsey and Dembele are more direct players, and it make take a slight change in style for Tottenham to adapt to their strengths. They still have quality throughout their squad and Spur’s first team still looks very strong, but it may take a few more games for them to adapt to life without Modric. We saw at the beginning of last season, when he was heavily linked with Chelsea that they really struggle without him. A slightly more direct approach will suit Dempsey and Dembele better.

Same old problems for Liverpool

Only Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham had more shots per game last season than Liverpool but they still only managed to score 47 League goals. More worryingly, only 5 teams scored less goals at home last season and only 4 won fewer games at home than Liverpool. This is largely down to their profligacy in front of goal. Suarez is a brilliant player, and on his day can produce moments of absolute genius. The hat-trick away to Norwich last season, where he scored a spectacular 40 yard lob, immediately springs to mind. He is not a finisher though. He can be very wasteful in front of goal.

Yesterday, against Arsenal, they once again lacked that cutting edge. They were on top for most of the first half but just couldn’t find the back of the net. They also seemed to be very short of options off the bench. Stewart Downing was the only attacking change that Rodgers was able to make yesterday. He admitted after the game that it was a mistake to let Andy Carroll go and that he was very confident in signing a replacement before deadline day ended. To make matters worse, Carroll had a very good debut for West Ham and showed exactly how useful he could have been to Brendan Rodgers who was obviously under the impression that he was going to sign Clint Dempsey. What is clear is that: if Liverpool do find a goalscorer, whether it’s Owen who Rodgers refused to rule out, or Suarez discovering some shooting boots, they create enough chances to be a force this season. If they don’t, they will be battling for a Europa League spot once again.

Are Manchester United a one man team?

The most common insult thrown Arsenal’s way last season was that they were a one man team. I am not actually suggesting that Arsenal were or Manchester United are, but this season United fans may well come to understand how Arsenal fans felt. Yesterday, Robin van Persie scored a sublime hat-trick to defeat Southampton 3-2. Other than missing a penalty he was at his brilliant best: The first was a classy finish, the second was a real poachers goal and the third a sublime near post header to wrap up the game and his hat-trick.

Van Persie doesn’t have the best fitness record. Last season was his first injury free season in his 7 years in Highbury. Arsenal fans were hoping that the ‘Wenger curse’, that affected Hleb, Flamini and plenty of others who have left would strike Van Persie and that his fitness would maybe be in question after a long season followed by the Euros. If anything he looks fitter than ever. He looks very sharp and every time he got the ball yesterday he looked like scoring. This could well be a long season watching Van Persie for the Arsenal faithful, whereas Man United fans could come to revel in the tag of being a ‘one man team’. Who could blame them, when the one man is that good though.

Just one final thought…

Stoke love a draw don’t they. Since they won their first pre-season game 1-0, they have drawn the next 8 most recently against Wigan on Saturday. They have in fact drawn 14 of their last 19 games. May be worth a punt…

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For many it’s a mystery that why Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has no hair, the young midfielder suffers from a rare disease known as “Alopecia totalis”, in which there is a complete loss of hair.

In severe cases the disease causes loss of eyebrows and eyelashes too, famous Italian referee “Pierluigi Collina” is another sufferer in the world of football.

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