PLAY IT SHORT: Marwood shoots himself in foot; Bent perfect for Arsenal; Fergie faces Vidic crunch; Do Chelsea have new Dalglish?
MARWOOD HURTS CITY TRANSFER PLANS
It was brutally honest, but you wonder if Brian Marwood didn't shoot himself in the foot when admitting that Manchester City's academy couldn't prioritise for English talent over the weekend. By his own admission, FFP will mean an even crazier scramble for the best local kids available and you wonder where City will sit in the consideration of any young hopeful's parents after Marwood's comments. Consider Foday Nabay, whose just won a call to the England U16 squad. The Birmingham City superkid was big news over the summer, with both City and Manchester United chasing his signature. In the end, Nabay, still just 14, chose to stay with Brum. But if he was to be on the move, how would Marwood's confession had gone down?
CITY'S BEST KIDS ARE ALL ENGLISH
The crazy thing about Brian Marwood's comments regarding opportunities for local talent at Manchester City is that it's the English lads who are making the biggest strides at the academy. Devante Cole and Shay Facey have just won calls to Noel Blake's U18 squad to play Italy. Behind them, there's Ashley Smith-Brown, who had Spain's U16 coaching staff asking after him last season and then there's young Aaron Nemane, who made his U18s debut last week. Aaron, only 14, scored twice, with his first goal at that level coming from his first touch! City development chief Mark Allen admits they have high hopes for the lad.
ONLY RODGERS DOUBTS ARE COMING FROM OUTSIDE ANFIELD
It has to be said - all the bluster about Brendan Rodgers' envelopes stunt has come from outside the Liverpool dressing room. Pepe Reina even welcomed the psychological ploy when quizzed about it on Spanish radio last week. It does appear the pressure on Rodgers is manufactured. There's been no disparaging leaks from the locker room, which is in stark contrast to two other new managers, Michael Laudrup (Swansea City) and Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham). Indeed, when you consider the word from Swansea is that the players are missing Rodgers, you begin to understand how his man-management methods are truly going down with the Reds squad. Yes, the start to the Rodgers era has been underwhelming, but there's no cracks showing. The players, the board and the fans are with him. It's that sort of support which perhaps gave Rodgers the confidence to snap back at one outsider, Alan Shearer, over criticism of Joe Allen last week.
BENT TO ARSENAL A NO-BRAINER
The Darren Bent situation at Aston Villa is baffling. If he is to be put up for sale in January, he won't be short of offers. Liverpool and QPR have been mentioned, but a return to Tottenham can't be ruled out - especially if AVB is serious about playing to win every competition they compete in. And then there's Arsenal. A pure finisher, at 28, and no doubt available for a fraction of the £22 million Randy Lerner paid for him. Arsene Wenger has to be tempted. If Arsenal are looking contenders in the New Year, he'll need a goal scorer - and preferably one who doesn't need bedding down in the Premier League. Bent's arrival would be a no brainer.
FERNANDES NO KNEE-JERK OPERATOR
Tony Fernandes was never going to show the door to Mark Hughes this week. Just as he did with Caterham Cars, Fernandes will have done his research on Sparky and known his methods do take time for players to adjust to. And as a long time Manchester United fan, he'll also have been aware of how long it took Sir Alex Ferguson to build a winning team. Fernandes is at the Rs for the long haul and every decision is being made with an eye on the future. Mike Rigg has been installed as football director. Park Ji-sung will help the club build recognition across Asia and Hughes, as he did with Fulham and Blackburn Rovers, will build a successful top ten team. Of course, there'll be hiccups along the way, but the idea that Fernandes is simply a caricature of the knee-jerk foreign owner is a long, long way from the truth.
FERGIE FACES VIDIC CRUNCH DECISION
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has to be spending the international break mulling over what to do with Nemanja Vidic. He turns 31 this month, missed the majority of last season and now has suffered a setback in his recovery. Can Fergie afford to wait for him - and does he have the cover?
ISLAM FERUZ - THE NEW DALGLISH?
Does Chelsea have the one hope for Scottish football on their books? After the disastrous defeat in Wales, Scotland appears at its lowest ebb. But just as Tottenham star Gareth Bale was ripping the Tartan Army apart, Islam Feruz was banging home a hat-trick in the U19's win over the much-fancied Switzerland. Ferried away from Celtic last season, Feruz's development hasn't suffered. It's premature, of course, but could Feruz be the best Scot to emerge since Kenny Dalglish?