JENKINSON GENUINE PREMIER LEAGUE TALENT
After Carl Jenkinson's performance on Saturday, you can see why Arsene Wenger thought nothing of questioning Bacary Sagna's commitment to the cause. Jenkinson was outstanding at right-back in a losing Arsenal team. From the gangly, clumsy lad we saw this time last season, he's now a genuine Premier League talent. No wonder England coach Roy Hodgson is thinking of calling him up for San Marino. If Sagna was fit, Wenger would have to think long and hard about dropping Jenkinson.
AND IF RvP WAS ON THE END OF ARSENAL'S CHANCES ...?
Arsenal deserved something from their defeat to Chelsea. The two goals conceded were preventable and you have to wonder what difference Per Mertesacker would've made. The Gunners played the more enterprising football, created the better chances, but lacked the cutting edge. Where would Arsenal be with Robin van Persie on the end of the chances they're now creating?
ADKINS NEEDS TO GET SAINTS KEEPER RIGHT
If Southampton are to stay up, Nigel Adkins has to get his choice of goalkeeper absolutely spot on. Everton were good value for the three points on Saturday, but young Argie Paulo Gazzaniga should've done better for two of their three goals. Can Artur Boruc pull off an inspired campaign? He made his reputation at Celtic, but lost his way in Italy with Fiorentina. A top drawer keeper can earn the points needed to keep a club like Saints up, but you fear the scramble for a free transfer like Boruc isn't the solution Adkins needs.
RODGERS SHOWING RIGHT RUTHLESS STREAK
There was a nagging doubt about Brendan Rodgers: the results weren't there, but he was playing a good game with the Merseyside media. He had done everything right with the local pack to give himself some breathing space. But was there more to him than just being a good media performer? Well, after his rocket for Jose Enrique and Stewart Downing last week, the answer has to be 'yes'. He's thrown down at his senior players, demanding they match the enthusiasm of the kids he's now introducing. It's a clear message: pick it up or be left behind. It's the sort of ruthlessness - and done so publicly - that we rarely see from managers these days.
GREAT TIME TO BE EVERTON FAN
Everton are flying and David Moyes will deserve all the plaudits that come his way this week. Sitting in second, his work in the transfer market has been rewarded. Seamus Coleman, cherry-picked from the Irish league, creating a goal for high-profile signing Nikica Jelavic against Southampton really captures the expertise of Moyes in the market. That's not to mention handling the Marouane Fellaini outburst. Remember that? The whole blow-up is now just an after-thought. Ross Barkley is getting experience at Sheffield Wednesday, while behind him John Lundstram captained England U19 to victory last week, with Hallam Hope getting on the scoresheet. It's a good time to be a Blue.
FLETCHER STRENGTHENS O'NEILL HAND IN MARKET
Martin O'Neill will be buzzing over the success of Steven Fletcher. Not only with the goals he's delivered for Sunderland, but also how he's strengthened O'Neill's hand with Sunderland chairman Ellis Short. The £12 million spent looks a bargain and the next time O'Neill asks Short to go the extra distance for a big money deal - he will expect to be backed.
FERGIE NEEDS FLETCHER TO ANSWER SOS
The manner of the goals conceded by Manchester United have to set the alarm bells ringing for Sir Alex Ferguson. The finger is being pointed at the absent Nemanja Vidic, but the way Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale were allowed to run from deep before converting simply lays bare United's great weakness. There's no steel in midfield. Coughing up three at home isn't the stuff of champions. Darren Fletcher could be Fergie's trump card. He'll start in Romania against FC Cluj and is the one 'destroyer' available to the manager. United need him fit and mobile.
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