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PLAY IT SHORT: New Man City chief has Barcelona nervy; Taxi for Anderson?; Arsenal find RvP replacement; Begovic world class for Stoke

SORIANO MAKING BARCELONA NERVOUSGiven his history with the current Barcelona board - and with access to an open chequebook - Ferran Soriano must fancy winding up his old club in the coming months. City were last week linked with Cristian Tello, Sergi Samper and Gerard Deulofeu. The new Manchester City chief executive knows all about the trio. Indeed, he knows the La Masia academy inside-out and is sure to enjoy turning up the heat on Sandro Rosell et al as he seeks to make his mark at the Etihad.

BEGOVIC GENUINE WORLD CLASS FOR STOKEYou have to feel for Thomas Sorensen. Watching Asmir Begovic on Saturday, the Dane must know he has next to no chance of dislodging his Stoke City teammate. Begovic's late save from Yaya Toure was incredible - and the one against Javi Garcia was, well, unbelievable. Against another keeper, either effort would've gone in and Roberto Mancini's City would be celebrating a well-earned three points. But Begovic was the difference and justified Tony Pulis' faith with two genuine world class saves. You just wonder whether his efforts inspired Ryan Shawcross to go that extra yard and clear Edin Dzeko's effort from underneath the crossbar with the last kick of the game.

STERLING ANSWERS RODGERS BEST WAY POSSIBLELiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has to be excited about the response he received from Raheem Sterling at Sunderland. The shimmy to set up Luis Suarez's goal had us all on our feet, but Rodgers will be just as pleased by Sterling's answer to his warning in the morning press not to expect any sudden pay-hike. Sterling and his camp were greeted on the morning of the game with Rodgers ruling out making the teen an instant millionaire, insisting his wages must be kept in check to keep him 'hungry'. And the attitude shown on Wearside can only encourage everyone at Liverpool that they have something special on their hands.

HANDSHAKES SHOULD CONTINUEVery few of us can even get close to understanding what Anton Ferdinand was feeling going into the game against Chelsea. Looking back at what he's had to put with, the snub of John Terry was always going to happen. But you wonder how much stronger the message would've been if the QPR defender had looked Terry straight in the eye and shook his hand. After all the good will of the London Games, for a campaign to scrap the pre-match handshakes because it's all 'too hard' really isn't what the best competition in the world should be aspiring to.

TIME FOR SPURS TO SEND AWAY PRITCHARDSurely it's time for Tottenham to send Alex Pritchard out on-loan? Against Barcelona last week in the NextGen series he again shone. He's a genuine No10, very classy on the ball, a great passing range and has an eye for goal. But Pritchard is now 19 and still to make a full first team debut. He was tempted away from the West Ham United academy three years ago, but now at the Boleyn Ground, peer Robert Hall is involved in Sam Allardyce's first team while Pritchard is still waiting for his chance. We need to see what he can do at senior level.

GERVINHO THE MAN TO REPLACE VAN PERSIEArsenal's board will love it. Arsene Wenger may've found their replacement for Robin van Persie without paying a cent. Wenger pushed Gervinho into a central role against Southampton and was rewarded with a brace. The Ivorian actually joined the Gunners as a striker, having scored 18 goals in his final season in France. Wenger may've had doubts about Gervinho's frame being able to handle Premier League defences, but after a year in England - and in the London Colney gym - he's shown a central striker's role is not beyond him.

TAXI FOR ANDERSON?Anderson has to be worried at Manchester United. The international break made no difference. Just as against Southampton, Anderson was left out of the squad for victory over Wigan Athletic. Making things worse was Nick Powell's stunner. There doesn't appear a way back for the Brazilian.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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