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What a weekend that was - most goals scored on a matchday so far this season, with Southampton getting eight of them, there were six pens, four own goals and three off.

Briefly on the subject of the penalties - six were awarded but only four scored. Two were 'saved' not 'missed'. We're all so concerned with the correct phraseology these days let's give the keepers credit for doing their job. In this case Lloris and Hart. If a player 'misses' the target so be it, the pen has been 'missed'. If not, the keeper had 'saved' it. 

It's great to see so many goals and obviously there are many reasons why teams concede, but one thing did occur to me this weekend, where have all the central defenders gone? Chelsea will win the title, in my opinion, because they have the best two - Terry and Cahill. City have Kompany. There's Phil Jagielka at Everton (I know, but he plays for England!) and I can't think of too many more worth a mention.

It used to be the case that we had loads of them - Adams, Keown, Bould, Campbell, Ferdinand, Bruce, Pallister, Vidic, Carragher, McGrath, Distin, the more you think the more come to mind. But you'd struggle to get beyond the four I've mentioned from this era. Why?

I remember when they changed the 'pass back' rule the thinking was it would turn big 'stoppers' into ball players, or produce a generation that would want to play with the ball at their feet. It maybe has, but not many of them can defend properly anymore.

I wonder how many times Arsene Wenger has regretted not re-signing Cesc Fabregas this season? How good does Fabregas look? A class act. I suspect Fabregas is somewhat relieved things have worked out the way they have. Arsenal haven't changed. Not good enough in a battle.

Mourinho is still playing games tho. No Costa this past weekend and he won't play in the C Lge v Maribor, but he wouldn't have played in the last two anyway would he? Against Palace and Maribor? No! I guarantee he plays v Utd next weekend.

Now comes Van Gaal's first real test. Three of United's next four are 'monsters'. We'll get a really good idea of where they are next Sunday v Chelsea and there's City to follow pretty soon after that. I don't think they'll win any of them v the big boys. By the way Louis, what on earth are 'lateral defenders'? Full-backs? The game has gone mad!

Liverpool are all over the place. Rodgers has for his first real test on. Does he know his best team now? I don't think he does. I also hear he's asking everybody he can if he made a mistake with Balotelli. The answer is always the same - 'yes'. Ive told you before what Graham Taylor used to say, 'everybody thinks they can change a wrong 'un. You can't'.

West Ham are flying. Never mind this nonsense 'the fans changed Big Sam'. I've never heard anything so daft. Sam has been managing at West Ham within the limitations of what he had. He's got better and 'bigger' players now and it shows. He's not a mug. They'll hit the wall soon. Whose fault will that be?

Delighted for Southampton. Absolutely brilliant start.

And I would've loved to have finished without mentioning 'Arry, but I can't. What a disgraceful attack on Adel Taraabt that was on Sunday. Talk about trying to deflect criticism away from himself. In any other job that falls into the 'bullying' category. He'd be in front of a tribunal. I actually think the FA should act, but of course they won't. Gary Monk is in trouble for calling Moses a 'cheat', but hasn't 'Arry done the same with Taraabt?  The facts are 'Arry has won 5 of 33 P Lge games he's been in charge of at QPR. They're a shambles and it's his fault. Only his fault.

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First the bad news. Well, it's bad news for those of you, who for some reason feed off other peoples' misfortune. I'm having a ball.

I mention this only because of the persistent nonsense I read on line. Finished? No. Not by a long way. More flourishing.

There's so much I'll put straight when I publish the book I've just written, but still the time isn't right. I'll come back to that.

I work in a country where, of course, there's a lot of work to do - not just building for a WC in 2022, but understanding what the rest of the world sees as 'acceptable'. That certainly applies to 'workers' rights'. No-one here in Qatar is hiding from that. All sorts of positive work is going on in that direction, but these things take time. Thank goodness the WC is coming because the publicity surrounding it brings positive change.

I'm working for guys with two very powerful weapons - unlimited ambition and unlimited money. In my career I've been lucky enough to have been part of start-ups at TV-am and BSB, which subsequently became Sky. There's nothing like it. The buzz. The build. The 'no-one likes us but we don't care' attitude. At Sky we took them all on - and won.

This job, at BeIN Sports is almost the same. The big differences are the size of the company and the size of the audience we have. Both are huge. Average weekend viewing figures for a P Lge match are always in excess of 10m. 165m watched the C Lge final the year before last. Im fronting shows that are simply much much better than ever I have. And I'm proud of what we're doing. Ask anybody in our business which company they fear most and you'll only get one answer. So, I'm in great nick thanks and at home I've got all sorts of bits and pieces going on that are both exciting and rewarding.

I've been asked a lot the last week about my comments on talkSport last Saturday about Jamie Redknapp. Let me clear up what I said and again, I'll leave the rest for the book.

Yes, along with Geoff Shreeves I did persuade him to join us at Sky. Yes, my old gaffer, Vic Wakeling had decided to let him go at the end of his two-year deal. Yes, I stuck my neck out and argued his case for an hour. Vic changed his mind and thanked me for his 'b********g'. Yes, Jamie left the contract unsigned for five months while he looked round for better options causing me huge embarrassment. And yes, 'smash it' and 'hanging out of the back of it', were both phrases I can give him ownership back of. His contribution to the conversation which was carefully edited out of the tape that was floated in order to cause me maximum damage will prove that. I have the original as well as some great tales from our 3 years of car journeys. 

Meanwhile, back to the football. It's great to be back in business. Alan Pardew remains under the cosh. Van Gall has completed three months, so we can judge him now and I'd say so far so good

Arsene Wenger needs to have a close look at his medical dept and Brendan Rodgers desperately needs a goal from Balotelli.

Expect Fabian Delph to be out for three months after a shoulder op and Ched Evans to resume his career. I'm not getting into the subject deeply, but trust me, that will happen.

Watch this space for more across the weekend!

 

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I read an article this morning headlined 'Captain is still in the shadow of forerunners'. I'm sorry? Why?

It's written by Matt Dickinson whose opening paragraph includes this conclusion - 'two more goals and he (Rooney) will be level with Jimmy Greaves, which is not the same as saying he will be equal'. I'm sorry? Why?

Is Matt arguing that Rooney has surpassed Jim?  Of course not. He goes on 'Rooney has reached his 42 goals after 98 caps. It took Greaves just 57 games to amass his 44. He had his duck shoots, including three in a 9-0 rout of Luxembourg.....'

Rooney has been fantastic for England in a modern era. Greaves was every bit as good at a different time, when England were consistently one of the best teams in the world.

I'm old enough to have seen Jim play for England and I got to know him really well during our days together at TV-am. He's a top class guy whose had his dark times. I admire him as much for what he did off the field (he's a recovering alcoholic) than anything he did on it.

Rooney will break Jim's record. I'm certain now he'll go onto break Sir Bobby Charlton's. It won't make him better or worse than either of them. It'll make him the proud owner of a goals record for his country and we should appreciate him for what he's done. Simple.

Sadly he'll almost certainly never have the success of Sir Bob in a white jersey, but he's done his bit. Let's recognise that and stop carping. Give the guy a break.

A couple of other things I noticed this week. Sepp Blatter thinks it's worth re-visiting the 'away' goals rule. Not before time. I've said for many a year now that it's outdated and should be changed. How can it be fair that a team playing away in the second leg of a tie has an extra half hour to get the goal they need? Nonsense. And for me it stifles 'open' play. When teams get a goal on the road in the first leg they shut up shop. Why can't a result be just that? If extra time and penalties are required to sort things out,  so be it.

UEFA now want to consider 'making debt reduction' part of any change to FFP rules. Good. If we're to have FFP then it has to be 'fair' for all. I still don't understand why Man City were penalised for spending whilst at the same time not having one penny piece of debt, but United, who carry a £350m debt, were not? Madness.

Mind you, if the Belgian lawyer Jean Luis DuPont (the same guy that represented Bosman) has his way the whole Financial Unfair Play system will bite the dust. Keep an eye on that.

FIFA have backed Chelsea's 'correct' treatment of Thibaut Courtois. No. Not having that. Football still plays fast and loose with the health of those who play the game. There will be a heavy price to pay,  literally, before long. Ask the Astle family their views on this subject. Or research the very same issues in the NFL.

FIFA did get this one right in my view. Mourinho is 'out of touch' with his views on racism in football according to Jeffrey Webb, a Vice President. Big subject that I'm delighted to say Andy and myself helped get rolling when we had the architect of the 'Rooney Rule with us on our show at TalkSport nearly 2 years ago now. Nobody was talking about it - apart from us - back then. Everybody is now.

And finally, what a week for sports books. The pre publicity generated by KP and Roy Keane's efforts  has been fascinating. I can't wait to read them. We'll all have our views on the contents and the fall out, but just because the two authors' have offered us theirs doesn't make them bitter, mad, dark, childish or any of the other insults thrown their way. That particularly applies to Keane. Just like me, he questions much of what Sir Alex Ferguson has done and said, especially since leaving Old Tradford, whilst accepting that he's also the greatest manager of all time. As the Scot himself would say 'there's no doubt about that!'

Keane asks 'Why dish so much dirt on leaving Old Trafford? On those who'd helped him win so much?' I've asked the same questions many times before. There was no need. It wasn't right. Remember what he used to say 'What happens at this club stays within the club'. He should've added 'Until I sign a book deal'.  

Meanwhile Fergie had admitted that his squad needed the surgery applied by Louis Van Gaal. As I said! 

And the Daily Mail are serialising another pointless 'Arry Redknapp book!