PLAY IT SHORT: Fiery Torres can be new Drogba; Woodward faces Januzaj test; Rooney shaming teammates; Amalfitano made for England
WOODWARD CANNOT FLUFF JANUZAJ TEST
The market may be shut, but the pressure hasn't eased on Manchester United's new chief executive Ed Woodward. Never mind the fumbling over their first-choice shopping list, a new problem is now front and centre on Woodward's desk: Adnan Januzaj's contract. Time is ticking away, with the midfielder's existing deal having less than 12 months to run and the likes of Barcelona and Juventus eager to ferry him away from Manchester. Woodward needs a win here. His supporters point to the Marouane Fellaini deal, but the Belgian was David Moyes' signing. He was always going to follow his gaffer from Everton. Januzaj is a different matter altogether and Moyes hinted at problems in negotiations only this week when admitting they were battling "outside influences" regarding the teen. The question arises - could Woodward survive Januzaj's departure?
CAN TORRES BE THE 'NEW DROGBA'?
Could Fernando Torres be Chelsea's new Didier Drogba? Certainly, the Spaniard has added more power to his frame since his Liverpool days, which has been blamed, in part, for him losing his blistering speed. But there is an opportunity for Torres to be Jose Mourinho's lone centre-forward. He has the physique to make the role his, it's just a question of whether, at 29, he can see this opportunity ahead of him and is willing to work on transforming his game to suit Mourinho's needs. Torres gave Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen a horrid time on Saturday. It was definitely reminiscent of Drogba in his pomp, before his wrongful dismissal. There could be something there for Mourinho and Steve Holland to work with.
BERAHINO A TRIUMPH FOR BAGGIES YOUTH SYSTEM
In the aftermath of Saido Berahino's heroics, what will Izzy Brown and Dan Crowley be thinking now? Unlike the latter two, Berahino has stuck with West Bromwich Albion and been rewarded with the chance to prove himself on the bigger stage of all. As Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace has been arguing since preseason - their system works. Will Brown get the same chance at Chelsea? Or Crowley at Arsenal? Berahino, after his heroics for England U21 and in Capital One Cup, looked a Premier League natural at Old Trafford. A quick-thinking first-half header could've been his first, with David De Gea rooted to the spot, but the effort flashed past the wrong side of the post. However, he was clinical when it mattered in the second-half, firing past De Gea to earn the Baggies a historic win. Can Brown and Crowley, having left the Hawthorns for London, be sure of achieving the same dreams?
ROONEY SHAMING SENIOR TEAMMATES
So what is Wayne Rooney thinking now? For all the bleating from the likes of Rio Ferdinand about how Manchester United's senior players needed to 'help the new manager', it's only Rooney who is consistently turning in a competitive performance. Has there been worse back-to-back displays from a United team this century in the Premier League? The great irony is the senior players who are letting down Moyes, are the same that complained to the new manager in preseason about Rooney and all the drama over his on-off courting of Chelsea.
AVB PROVING LEVY RIGHT AT SPURS
Daniel Levy can afford himself a wry smile. Twelve months ago he was pilloried in the media and by sections of the Spurs support for going with Andre Villas-Boas. AVB's revelation that he turned down PSG over the summer wasn't just about the Portuguese talking up his own credentials, but also confirmation of the Tottenham chairman's eye for talent. After the chaos at Chelsea, AVB was seen as damaged goods. His tactics, man-management, even his vocabulary were all questioned. Now a year on, even after the sale of Gareth Bale, Spurs look genuine top three contenders and AVB is the man of the moment.
AMALFITANO MADE FOR PREMIER LEAGUE
Morgan Amalfitano is thriving in the rough and tumble of the Premier League. His sharp reflexes and quick feet are tailor-made for the pace of the English game. A deft shimmy left David de Gea bamboozled for his goal on Saturday. In contrast, last week the screamer fired across Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was all about power. The Frenchman has the lot and Albion chief Richard Garlick should be tying him to a permanent deal from Olympique Marseille before he can be nicked away by a bigger club in January.
MESCA OFFERS HOPE AT FULHAM
Terrific to see Martin Jol getting Mesca involved at Fulham as soon as he could. The Dutchman has received huge criticism about his Dad's Army line-up this season, so to throw 20 year-old Mesca in against Chelsea last week shows how much he thinks about the Guinea-Bissau attacker. Mesca missed the entire last season with a knee injury, but despite his lack of experience, is already rated ahead of Ashkan Dejagah in Jol's thoughts and has Damien Duff also under pressure. Jol is giving him every chance to establish himself before the January market, when a decision will be made about releasing the winger for loan. Taken off the hands of Chelsea, Cottagers coaching staff see no reason why Mesca cannot reach the level of kid brother Bruma, who is now playing at Galatasaray with Didier Drogba.
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