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PLAY IT SHORT: Chelsea can't buy character; Arsenal ticket prices hurting players; Is Rooney happy as support-act?; Jarvis worth every penny

COLE'S MIND ALREADY IN PARIS?Chelsea veteran Ashley Cole looked a player wanting to get away on Saturday. In the final minutes he was humiliated by Guy Demel, being nutmegged on the touchline. And then his sloppy pass led to Modibo Maiga wrapping up the victory for West Ham United. You couldn't accuse Cole of chucking it in, but his performance was out of character and suggested his mind was elsewhere - perhaps Paris?

CHELSEA FAILED TO BUY CHARACTERWhat would Saturday's result have been if Kevin Nolan was wearing Chelsea Blue? Yes, on the ball he didn't have a massive influence, but when Chelsea were threatening to over-run the hosts in the first-half, it was the Hammers captain who kept rallying his teammates. Focus! Concentrate! C'mon! At 1-1, he was the same, driving his troops forward. The game was there to be won and as Nolan pushed and pushed his men forward, Chelsea's heads dropped. For Roman Abramovich and Michael Emenalo, it must have looked nice on paper: Hazard, Oscar, Marin, et al. But where's the leaders? Where's the generals when John Terry and Frank Lampard are missing?

JARVIS LIVED UP TO RECORD FEEMomo Diame won the plaudits - and rightly so. But West Ham United teammate Matt Jarvis also can look back at Saturday's shock win over Chelsea with pride. The winger gave Cesar Azpilicueta a bath in the second-half and looked worth every penny of his club record fee. Azpilicueta enjoys a huge reputation across Europe, but had no answer to the jinking Jarvis, who produced arguably his best performance in the Premier League.

SWANSEA HEAD-AND-SHOULDERS BETTER THAN ARSENALThe crisis at Arsenal shouldn't detract from Swansea City's performance at the Emirates. The Swans proved simply better, both as a team and individually. The likes of Ki Sung-Yeung and Michu were considered by bigger clubs, but it was Huw Jenkins and his front office which had the bottle to bring them to the Liberty and they're now getting their rewards. And what about young Ben Davies at left-back? Only last month he was still on 400 quid-a-week, yet for Saturday he was good as any player on the pitch.

ARSENAL TICKET PRICES CONTRIBUTING TO FORM WOESAre the day trippers hurting Arsenal at home? There's a growing opinion among the regular support that the price of watching Arsenal is freezing out the regular fan. Instead, the tourist and one-off day tripper are now filling seats in greater numbers and contributing to the 'morgue-like' atmosphere of the Emirates. Along with transfer spending and contract policy, the price of season tickets is another issue the board needs to examine when it can have such an influence on the performance of the team.

ASTON VILLA DEVELOPING IRELAND FUTUREIt's been a week of shocks, with some great performances to discuss - and none more so than Aston Villa's kids stunning Sporting in Lisbon. Villa beat the much-vaunted Sporting 5-1 win in their own backyard to again qualify for the knockout round of the NextGen Series. It was set up by Irish strikers Michael Drennen and Graham Burke, who both struck twice. Another Irish lad, Jack Grealish, also was impressive on the night. Villa boss Paul Lambert has high hopes for the 16 year-old, calling him into his first team squad already this season. If they're good enough, Lambert will give these kids their chance. Even on Saturday, Derrick Williams, another Irish youth international, was given his Premier League debut for the draw at QPR.

IS ROONEY HAPPY BEING SUPPORT ACT?Is Wayne Rooney ready to drop back? It's broke over the weekend that Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wants to pair Robert Lewandowski, the Borussia Dortmund centre-forward, alongside Robin van Persie in attack and have Rooney play behind the pair 'in the hole'. Rooney has always stated he'd like to eventually drop into midfield, but only earlier this season claimed he didn't fancy the move until later in his career. At 27, he feels he still has goals in him. But he's already playing second fiddle to RvP and is now facing being pushed further back should United sign Lewandowski. And where does this leave England if their top striker is no longer regarded as a goal scorer by his club manager?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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