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PLAY IT SHORT: Merseyside thriller made in Chelsea; Campbell's wonderful Man Utd moment; Stoke disgrace; Man City paper over cracks

CAMPBELL'S MAN UTD MOMENTIn the aftermath of Manchester United's draw at Cardiff City, it was all about Wayne Rooney and his lashing out at Jordan Mutch. But Fraizer Campbell deserves just as much coverage in today's press. It had to be a career moment for the Cardiff striker scoring against his old club. On the eve of the game, Campbell talked about being starstruck at United training and how it worked against his early development. Last night, burning off Jonny Evans and finishing past David de Gea, his career came full circle. Campbell was always going to start last night, but Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay must have fancied him for something special after seeing Rio Ferdinand in the visitors' starting line-up. Campbell has been conspicuous in his absence for World Cup bolter nominees. But with his pace and his finishing, he must deserve a second glance from Roy Hodgson. Having battled back from multiple knee injuries, Campbell's impact in the Premier League this season has been one of the great stories of the campaign.

SCINTILLATING CITY PAPER OVER CRACKSFrom 14 seconds on, Manchester City were irresistible yesterday against Tottenham. To hit 13 goals in the past two home games, indeed their entire record at the Etihad this season, does show how City can be unstoppable in front of their own fans. When it all clicks, City are breathtaking. But it'd be too easy to forget about the game's lead up. Joe Hart's continued absence was the big headline, but there were also reports of Pablo Zabaleta being sacked by Manuel Pellegrini as vice-captain. Perhaps the away form isn't simply down to tactics, or as Pellegrini puts it, 'missed chances'. You fancy we'll continue to learn more about City's title resolve and unity at places like the CCS and Goodison Park than in front of a full house at the Etihad.

STOKE LATEST VICTIM OF UK WORK PERMIT DISGRACEIt's difficult to pick what's more infuriating: the ridiculous decision to deny Juan Agudelo his UK work permit or the arrogance of the panel not to explain their reasons to Stoke City. Mark Hughes is dead right. These self-appointed 'experts' have just cost the English game £10 million quid. Agudelo will find his way to the Premier League. But it will come via a club on the continent and see millions ferried away from local football. The decision is a disgrace and the least Stoke deserve, having worked on this deal for a year, is an explanation. Absolutely shameful.

LIVERPOOL ACADEMY SACK SHOCKERIt's baffling at best. The axing of Frank McParland and Rodolfo Borrell from the Liverpool payroll is a shock. The only hint we've had was managing director Ian Ayre claiming the club was "moving in a new direction". Has there ever been such a period in the club's modern history when LFC have boasted so much young talent? The Robbie Fowler group may go close. But rattle off the names: Ibe, Sterling, Kelly, Suso, Wisdom, not to mention those who are due to be introduced to senior football by Brendan Rodgers like Sinclair, Yesil and Ilori. There doesn't appear any bitterness from Borrell and McParland about the decision. But it's still a surprise and their replacements do have a lot to live up to.

A MERSEYSIDE THRILLER - MADE IN CHELSEAA Merseyside thriller made in Chelsea. Plenty is already being made of Romelu Lukaku's two goals for Everton and Danny Sturridge's late, late equaliser for Liverpool and how Jose Mourinho's team could do with such contributions. But it goes deeper than that. Watching Lukaku and Sturridge make the headlines on such a stage and in such a game must give food for thought to someone like Islam Feruz. And what of Patrick Bamford, just capped by England U21s? And then there's Izzy Brown in the U18 team. Is it realistic for any attacking talent below the Chelsea first team to genuinely shoot for a senior chance when strikers of the calibre of Lukaku and Sturridge are having to get out of Stamford Bridge to truly fulfil their potential?

CAN ALLEN SURVIVE DERBY HOWLER?Can Joe Allen survive THAT miss? It's being dubbed the worst in Liverpool derby history. The Welshman is already offside with a section of the Reds support. How he could have done with slotting that one-on-one away. Brendan Rodgers believes in him. But with Lucas Leiva so good in that screening role, is it overkill having both the Brazilian and Allen in the same midfield?

MIRALLAS AND SUAREZ HAD PREVIOUSThere was a little bit of previous between Kevin Mirallas and Luis Suarez ahead of the Belgian's X-rated challenge on Saturday. Suarez stamped on Mirallas in the corresponding fixture last season and also went down the back of Sylvain Distin's calf in the same game. The Uruguayan's actions were defended by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers at the time, but condemned by former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann, who insisted he should've been sent off. But as BR pointed out on Saturday, if the shoe was on the other foot (or the studs scraping down the other knee), would Suarez have survived a red card? It's difficult to argue yes.

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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