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PLAY IT SHORT: Man Utd find their missing Fergie points; Wenger lucky to escape Higuain scrutiny; Jose Canas must cut theatrics; Fantastic 24hrs for Southampton fans

EMPTY MEDICAL ROOM ADVANTAGE MOYES OVER FERGIE Liverpool-icon-turned-pundit Jamie Carragher declared the missing influence of Sir Alex Ferguson would be worth a loss of "10 to 12 points" to Manchester United this season. But after seeing the team sheet for victory at Swansea City, David Moyes actually could make up that difference with a near empty medical room. Unlike Fergie last term, Moyes could count on Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling on Saturday. And it was noticeable how influential Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck were on the day. No longer seeking to learn the ropes, both England men looked more willing to take the reigns and shape the game themselves. Swansea were no easybeats, it was a great test for Moyes' team at the Liberty and they came through it like champions.

QUALITY ENGLISH TALENT ON DISPLAY AT LIBERTYYou hope England coach Roy Hodgson had scouts at the Liberty on Saturday. For all the moaning about the lack of English talent in Premier League teams, Manchester United against Swansea City featured nine local players. All exceptionally gifted, playing for good, footballing teams and all capable of playing at international level. It's not as bad as the moaners would have us believe.

CANAS WILL BE GREAT - WITHOUT THE ANTICSJose Canas can be pleased with his Premier League bow. His theatrics aside, the former Real Betis midfielder shone on debut for Swansea City. He was bright, clever and showed bottle with his passing. This is no sideways water carrier. Canas was willing to gamble and knock the ball through United's rearguard. The diving and the wailing drew criticism from both sets of fans on the night, but Canas deserves a month to rid himself of his La Liga habits. He even caught himself about to wave an imaginary card for one foul late in the first-half before putting it back in his pocket. He's trying.

BARDSLEY'S CAREER MELTDOWNThree years ago we all thought Phil Bardsley had turned the corner. With his Sunderland career at a crossroads, Bardsley turned to boxing champ Steve Foster Jr to get himself fit. He seemed to have turned the corner and there was a lot of goodwill for the former Manchester United fullback over the way he'd given himself the best chance possible of getting things back on track. Fast-forward to this year and you wonder what next for Bardsley. Just months after the casino controversy, we now have his Instagram barb after the defeat to Fulham. Those ex-pros who defended his casino antics should have listened to the Sunderland faithful. It's no achievement for a club the size and history of Sunderland to beat the drop - and it's certainly nothing to celebrate. Now when it should be all hands to the pump, Bardsley mocks the opening day defeat. Paolo di Canio wants rid. But is it any surprise managers, serious about building a winning culture, are giving Bardsley a swerve?

WENGER LUCKY TO ESCAPE HIGUAIN SCRUTINYArsene Wenger may be fed-up with the media's probing of his pursuit of Luis Suarez, but the Arsenal manager should be grateful. At least he can point to Liverpool's reluctance to do business as reason why he and Ivan Gazidis can't get the deal done. But what of Gonzalo Higuain? Here was a genuine world class player who WAS available. Yet while Arsenal haggled over a price with Real Madrid, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis simply stepped in and paid the market rate. And yes, €37 million is a good price. If Tottenham are willing to pay €30 million for Roberto Soldado, then the fee Napoli met for Higuain is well justified. There hasn't been enough scrutiny on Arsenal's failure in the Higuain battle. Wenger should be thanking the reporters he confronted after the Aston Villa defeat, not berating them.

WILLIAMS' SEASON-LONG AUDITION Good to see Jonny Williams highlighted in the lead-up to Crystal Palace's defeat at Tottenham. Wales coach Chris Coleman's comments about the youngster made their way to the press previews yesterday morning. Big things are expected from Williams and while it might be rough on Palace, he's really auditioning this season for a Champions League move.

GREAT 24 HOURS FOR SOUTHAMPTON FANSSouthampton boss Mauricio Pochettino started Saturday's win at West Bromwich Albion with six English players in his line-up - including 18 year-old debutant Calum Chambers. Five of the XI were Saints academy products and in Chambers, Pochettino is showing he has the bottle to make the most of the club's excellent youth system. An opening day away win, Chambers' debut and the record signing of Pablo Daniel Osvaldo from AS Roma. A great 24 hours for Saints fans.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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