DE GEA BLOWS ANOTHER TWO POINTS FOR UNITED
You have to fancy Simon Mignolet or Asmir Begovic would've dealt better with the cross that led to Clint Dempsey's injury-time equaliser for Tottenham last night. Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea had a good game at White Hart Lane, making several excellent reaction saves. But he was found out at the death and two points were again blown due to a keeper error. The Spaniard will fill out and get stronger, but how long can Sir Alex Ferguson wait? A dominant seven point lead over Manchester City now suddenly looks vulnerable at five points. De Gea was also at fault for Danny Sturridge's goal for Liverpool last week. The tiny details matter at the level United are competing at and it's difficult seeing Ferguson tolerating De Gea when the errors continue - even at £17 million.
DEMPSEY DELIVERS PERFECT RESPONSE TO AYRE
Clint Dempsey's late, late equaliser for Tottenham was the perfect response to Liverpool after Ian Ayre's dig last week. The Reds managing director claimed they did the better business after missing out on the American with their deal for Danny Sturridge. In the long run, Ayre will be right, but Dempsey is no Spurs flop with five goals so far this season playing in a variety of positions under Andre Villas-Boas.
ABRAMOVICH STILL THE WINNER OVER COLE CONTRACT
It's a compromise for both parties with Ashley Cole agreeing a new deal at Chelsea. Roman Abramovich didn't want to lose Cole, but was insistent on their over 30 contract policy being adhered to. Cole, for his part, was demanding longer terms, but common sense has prevailed with Abramovich upping his contract in exchange for the one-year deal climb down. At £200,000-a-week, Cole is now the highest paid defender in the game. Abramovich still has his contract policy intact, the best left-back in the game and a Blues support a little happier - particularly after victory over Arsenal.
POCHETTINO DOESN'T DESERVE ADKINS FALLOUT
Nigel Adkins was expecting it, but for the rest of us, the decision of Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese to sack his manager came out of the blue. Just last week, we mentioned the meeting with Mauricio Pochettino, but how could you predict Cortese making such a decision after beating Aston Villa and drawing with Chelsea? Pochettino is on a hiding to nothing, but does have the ability to build on Adkins' great work. The Argie is being marked down due to his sacking at Espanyol, but barely six months earlier he was being mentioned for the job at PSG and also as Jose Mourinho’s successor with Real Madrid. If Saints players, surely still reeling, can keep their minds open, they'll benefit from the coaching of Pochettino. Jose Callejon earned his move back to Real Madrid thanks to Pochettino's influence, as did Pablo Daniel Osvaldo with AS Roma. It was under Pochettino that Inter Milan's Philippe Coutinho played his best football. He makes good players better. It's just hoped, despite the behaviour of Cortese, those on the south coast give him the chance to win them over.
LIVERPOOL AND COUTINHO PERFECT FIT
Liverpool is the perfect move for Philippe Coutinho. News of their £8 million offer for the Brazilian should excite Reds fans. Yes, he's struggled at Inter Milan, but those who have followed Coutinho's career since his time at Vasco da Gama are convinced he just needs the right platform to fulfil his potential. Agent Sabatino Durante, an expert on the Brazilian transfer market, says Coutinho boasts the same talent as Santos superstar Neymar. Given the instant impact of Danny Sturridge, who had the same problems at Chelsea as Coutinho has with Inter, the new environment created at Anfield by manager Brendan Rodgers appears tailor-made for the Brazilian.
STURRIDGE MUST BE WINNING OVER DOUBTERS
Has he silenced the doubters? Let's hope so. Great for Danny Sturridge to score his first at Anfield in front of the Kop, but the dummy to create Luis Suarez's strike was worth all three of the goals he's struck since arriving from Chelsea. Now it's hoped Sturridge gets his head down and takes advantage of working alongside this modern-day Kevin Keegan. Sturridge's ability on the ball has never been in question, but the criticism of his work when without it grew louder and louder at Chelsea. English football couldn't ask for a better mentor than Suarez. If Brendan Rodgers can build on the former Manchester City trainee's ability and marry it with the drive and workrate of Suarez, then Liverpool - and England - will have some player on its hands.
MURPHY TWINS EXCITING PEOPLE AT NORWICH
There's a growing buzz in East Anglia about the Murphy twins at Norwich City. Josh and Jacob both turned pro in the New Year and are starring for the Canaries' U21 team. Josh stole a march on Jacob earlier this season when he was called up for Carling Cup tie against Northampton Town, but they've both been recognised by England U19 coach Noel Blake with two caps to their name, as 17 year-old's, already this season. A week ago, Jacob hit a hat-trick and Josh also scored in the U21's 5-0 rout of Stoke City. Norwich boss Chris Hughton believes they're the real deal and there's a feeling inside the camp that if they can get clear of the dropzone a Premier League debut for the Murphy brothers will happen before the end of the season.