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“I don't think Chelsea can ‘forget’ moving to a new stadium. The vote on Thursday appears, to me at least, to be a call for more information rather than a non-negotiable stance from the Chelsea Pitch Owners.
“Chelsea seemed to want to bully their way to the freehold for Stadium Bridge without presenting any sort of vision as to how they envisage the future. Had the club presented a clear plan, with a timescale and potential sites within three miles of Stamford Bridge, then there is a chance the vote would have gone in their favour.
“The CPO exists to protect the club, its roots and its history. It is not there to block Roman Abramovich or the club's progress. For a start, it would be worthwhile for Chelsea to explain exactly why they need a larger stadium (there are often thousands of empty seats at home games) and why there is no possibility of expanding Stamford Bridge.”
“I don't think you can compare the two partnerships. For a start, I don't even think Andy Carroll would get into Liverpool's strongest starting line-up at the moment. The Reds look far better, in my eyes, with Suarez as the main central striker in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 system. Carroll certainly provides a useful option with his aerial ability but this Liverpool side needs to be built around Suarez, who is at his best when playing quick and incisive passing football. For whatever reason, Kenny Dalglish's men tend to play too many long-balls when Carroll is on the pitch, giving Suarez less opportunity to turn games with his exceptional movement, trickery and finishing.”
“Arsenal's results have improved in recent weeks but the game against Chelsea will be their first real test since the defeat at Tottenham at the start of the month. Robin van Persie is, quite clearly, the key for the Gunners and as long as he is on the pitch they have a chance because the Dutchman's form has been simply stunning.
“Arsenal's form will boost the players' confidence but you have to remember they have had a nice run of fixtures – and even then they have made hard work of it. I still have serious reservations about Arsenal defensively and Chelsea are strong enough to take advantage. I can't see Arsenal taking any points from the game.
“As for a title challenge, that is pie in the sky. The Gunners need to win silverware so a League Cup or FA Cup triumph is their best bet.”
“David Moyes has performed miracles with no budget at Everton but there is no way the club can expect to compete with big-spending rivals. Everton have the seventh strongest squad in the division thanks to some incredibly shrewd work in the transfer market and excellent coaching on the training ground.
“The Toffees are currently 13th in the league but they are notoriously slow starters – and strong finishers. A top half finish would be perfectly acceptable given the financial constraints at Goodison Park and I think Everton will finish in the top eight.”
“If I was going to put my mortgage on a result this weekend, it would be for Manchester City to beat Wolves at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow. It may not be as comprehensive a result as some are expecting, however, as Roberto Mancini is expected to rest a couple of his big-name players with an eye on the crucial Champions League match at Villarreal on Wednesday. City have so much attacking quality that they should still be able to overcome Wolves – as they did in the League Cup in midweek – with a comfortable goals margin.”
“From what I'm hearing, the short and sweet answer is: no. There have been reports this morning of a possible January move for Nicolas Gaitan of Benfica but my understanding is that Sir Alex Ferguson has no plans to strengthen his squad until next summer.
“The United manager's long-term priority is to sign a central midfield playmaker but he does not intend to make a formal move in January. He is not a big fan of the January transfer window and likes to get his business done early in the close season. That will only change if forced by a change in circumstances, probably injuries.
“United tend to take a long-term approach to transfer targets and will start putting in the hard work early next year to secure their targets. The likes of Gaitan and Tottenham's Luka Modric are known to feature in Ferguson's thoughts.”
“It seems odd that a board that were so quick to sack Sam Allardyce last season continue to support Steve Kean despite opposition from just about every Blackburn supporter.
“Blackburn have been very poor this season, although there have been signs of encouragement in the last week. They were a touch unlucky to lose to Spurs on Sunday and the extra-time victory over Newcastle will give the players a massive confidence boost.
“Nevertheless, I think Blackburn will lurk around the relegation zone for as long as Kean remains manager and eventually the owners are going to have to make a decision on his future. The morale around the club cannot be helped by supporters' protests every week while talk of a new contract is utterly baffling.”
“I think the return of Fernando Torres could be the key for Chelsea when they face Arsenal tomorrow, particularly in light of Didier Drogba's three-match ban for his red card against QPR last weekend.
“Torres has looked sharp this season and will be champing at the bit to line himself up against Per Mertesacker, who has looked slow and clumsy for Arsenal this season. Drogba has a brilliant goalscoring record against the Gunners but I don't think Chelsea will miss him this weekend.
“Ramires provides energy to the Chelsea midfield as a box-to-box player while Jose Bosingwa is available after serving his one-match suspension when the Blues beat Everton in the League Cup on Wednesday. Ross Turnbull is suspended following his red card in that game, but he wouldn't feature in any case.”
“As strange as it may sound, I don't think David de Gea could do much about the 6-1 drubbing and he actually made some good saves to stop the scoreline becoming even more embarrassing for Manchester United.
“The young Spaniard has the best ratio of shots saved of any goalkeeper in the Premier League and has improved hugely since a shaky start to his career at Old Trafford.
“That said, he still has to improve elements of his game, not least the way he deals with crosses into the penalty area. For that reason, it has been mooted that Anders Lindegaard – who has impressed when called upon – could start at Goodison Park tomorrow. Even if that is the case, De Gea is still the club's No.1 goalkeeper.”
“It's not for me, as a journalist, to pre-judge an FA investigation without full knowledge of the facts or access to all the evidence. I don't know for sure what John Terry said, or in what context, to Anton Ferdinand and he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
“Ferdinand is giving a witness statement to the FA today and it will be up to the governing body whether or not to charge Terry. The Chelsea and England captain does not deny he said the words in question but the issue is over the context in which they were delivered, with Terry saying he was responding to an accusation from Ferdinand.
“There is no modern day precedent for a high profile Premier League footballer being found guilty of using racist language so it is hard to hypothesise on possible punishments. What I can say is that the FA have taken a strong stance on racism towards England players in away international fixtures and a guilty verdict would be taken extremely seriously. If found guilty, Terry could expect to be stripped of the England captaincy in addition to a hefty fine and lengthy ban.”
“A trip to Everton is a very stern test for Manchester United on the back of their crushing defeat against City last weekend, but I think they will respond strongly enough to pick up three points.
“Sir Alex Ferguson's side took a small step forward on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over Aldershot and they have proven in the past that they have the ability to bounce back from disappointment. It is the winning mentality that has made United so successful in the last 25 years under Ferguson.
“I think Ferguson will make a point by dropping some of the stars who underperformed last Sunday – notably Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Anderson – but he is a master of man-management and he has to show faith in his squad.
“I don't think United will be at their best but after a week on the training ground they should be far more organised defensively. Wayne Rooney will get a hostile reception on his return to Goodison Park but I expect him to make the difference in a narrow United victory.”
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